Adriana Cacoveanu

Adriana Cacoveanu

ADRIANA CACOVEANU, Content Writer

Adriana is the OPTASY team's digital content creator and copywriter. Her “mission” within our team is to masterfully blend the 2 main ingredients' listed in any valuable blog post's recipe (valuable information + the reader-friendly writing), as well as to craft informative and engaging content promoting our work: study cases on Drupal.org, fresh content for various pages on our company website, e-book content etc.
 

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Acquia Cohesion: Empower your Non-Developers to Build Drupal Websites Four Times Faster
What is Acquia Cohesion? What challenges that you're facing nowadays does it help you solve? Or, if you want to put it this way: How does this Acquia & Cohesion DX8 solution enable your organization to align with the "do more with less" agile trend? In this respect, in today's blog post we'll:   define this Acquia product focusing on what sets it apart from other website builders out there identify your organization's specific needs, that Acquia Cohesion's designed to addresses highlight some of its most powerful and...  empowering features  1. What Is Acquia Cohesion?   It's a low-code Drupal add-on that empowers less technical people in your team — content authors, marketers, designers — to build websites faster and cheaper via a simple drag-and-drop user interface. In short: it simplifies the whole Drupal site-building process. It gives power to non-dev teams to:   come up with new designs set up new layouts create web pages use components site-wide, while selecting different styles to boost the user experience assemble new Drupal websites from scratch   No CSS, PHP, HTML or Drupal theming knowledge required... Now, just imagine:   how much time your developers would gain, time that they could then invest in more innovative work instead how much easier it'll be for your non-developers to be 100% brand compliant how much faster it'll get to launch new websites whenever needed how much simpler it'll get for your non-technical team to manage hundreds, even thousands of Drupal websites   2. Why Did Acquia Acquired Cohesion? Well, for 3 obvious reasons. Acquia wanted to enable organizations to:   launch their Drupal websites faster (up to four times faster) achieve brand consistency across their ecosystems of websites grant their non-dev teams more freedom and more control over the website infrastructures that they manage   In a few words: Cohesion DX8 makes Drupal (even) more accessible to companies worldwide.   3. 4 Signs that Your Company Needs this Low-Code Site Builder   Quote's source: Dries Buytaert's blog. Let's take these 4 scenarios and see if you can relate:   your team's striving to "juggle with" 100s of Drupal websites, each one carrying its own network of e-commerce and social media tools and integrations your short-term strategy includes launching... a few more scalable 100s websites your marketers and content creators always need to wait in line for the development team to do its own work before they get to add any content to your new websites your non-technical team depends on the development team for every content update they need to make (swapping a text box with an image, updating the layout...)   Are these challenges all too familiar to you? Then you're definitely one of Acquia Cohesion's target users: An organization looking to reduce their build times dramatically and to streamline the management of hundreds or even thousands of Drupal websites.   4. Real-Life Example of Acquia Cohesion "In Action"   Quote's source: Information Age. Bayer is such an organization that recognized this site builder's potential and used it to overcome the challenges that it was then facing:   building thousands of standardized websites fast(er) granting their non-dev team "independence" from developers to create Drupal websites at scale   5. Features You'll Want to Try First Now that we've tackled your "Why" questions, let's address your "How" question, as well: How do you make the most of Acquia Cohesion?  Therefore, we've hand-picked the 3 of its most powerful (and empowering) features that you'll be tempted to explore and exploit first:   5.1. In-Context Editing In-browser, on-page editing couldn't get any more convenient than this: Your content editor would just need to click anywhere on the web page where they need to make the update, hit the "Quick Edit" button and... edit it. From making changes to the content itself to updating the layout of the page and settings, your editorial team can make changes on the fly. Where do you add that the permissions control system helps them keep track of who has access to what. 5.2. Style Builder The style builder that Acquia Cohesion ships with provides your design team with minimal coding experience components that they can easily:   drag and drop arrange assembly   ... to their liking to create unique page layouts. Thus, they get to put together their own templates right in the browser. Note: feel free to go beyond the built-in styles and to get the most of the CSS properties and selectors.   5.3. Design Replication Just imagine: what if you could reuse one of your current Drupal site's design and style configuration across your other hundreds of websites? What if you could sync templates, components, brand styles across your global network of sites... faster and easier than ever before? Well, Acquia Cohesion stores that kind of power. You just need to... unlock it and use it to your advantage.   The END! These are the key benefits that you can reap from using Acquia Cohesion within your organization. Do you find them strong enough to choose this particular website builder? Image by Chris Wolf from Pixabay  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 14'2019
What Will Be the Chatbot Trends in 2020? From Enterprise Chatbots to... Emotionally Intelligent Bots
How will the chatbot and conversational agents market look like next year? Which are those high-impact chatbot trends in 2020 to expect and to prepare for? Trends to adjust your customer experience strategy to... And one thing is for sure: there's no way back...   You either standardize and invest in AI-powered chatbot development and implementation or you're... left behind.    Because experts anticipate that by 2020 approx. 85% of the interactions that customers engage in with businesses will be chatbot-intermediated. And because the now improved AI-based language capabilities are already paving the way to more sophisticated chatbot solutions for:   user support customer service information management   In short: there's no other way but... the “bot way”. So, what will be the hottest trends of 2020 for chatbot (and associated technologies) development? Keep on reading...   1. Voice-Based Bots Quote source: Big Data Made Simple Are you prepared for the... rise of voice?   For a great customer experience will be a great voice experience in 2020...   Get ready to start using voice as the key medium for helping your customers:   find their way on your website/mobile app find the product/identify the services they need place an order check their... bank balance   Voice will become a too important medium to explore and to “exploit” in order to attract new customers and retain your current ones. To send out your updates, deals, and offers... In other words: you should grant talking bots a central place in your customer experience strategy by 2020. Note: do not take talking bots or conversational interfaces for merely assisting chatbots, though. With:   voice language processing, speech recognition and AI technologies getting more and more advanced skyrocketing consumer adoption of voice-enabled devices   … voice-activated chatbots will be one of the rising trends next year. Your customers will be uttering their queries instead of typing them on your site/app:   Will they be getting a helpful reply or... just the echo of their voices?   2. Enterprise Chatbots: One of the Biggest Chatbot Trends in 2020 Expect to witness conversational platforms take over... the workplaces. This is going to be another huge trend in chatbot development in 2020. And it's pretty... predictable if you come to think of it:   Agile teams are on a constant quest for ways that could make their collaboration in the workplace more efficient.   Using just a verbal request for accessing a file or triggering a software tool — that would otherwise call for an X-step process — is, indeed, efficiency at its best. And convenience... Is your team ready to rival these future teams who'll be taking full advantage of business chatbots next year?    Keep in mind: faster and better will be the best 2 words to describe the workflows of the future. So, you might want to consider welcoming enterprise chatbots into your workplace.    3. AI-Powered Chatbots The future of chatbots is... AI-driven. Chatbots will generate better customer insights by analyzing past and current data. And so, they'll feature more robust capabilities for identifying customers' preferences and behavioral patterns and for anticipating their future needs. Now, what organizations wouldn't want to leverage that kind of capabilities to power their own customer experiences with, right?   4. Emotionally Intelligent Bots IMAGE Image by Lola Kno from Pixabay     Another one of those high-impact chatbot trends in 2020 that you should prepare for. For we're about to witness some major developments in the field of emotional AI (or emotion-detecting AI, if you wish):   Chatbots will become... artificially empathetic. Meaning that they will be able to properly respond to human emotions, even if they can't replicate the processes behind those emotions.   They will still be able to... mimic the result of those processes. Hard to imagine it? Well, you'd better imagine and embrace this vision, for in 2020 chatbots will do more than (just) recognize speech: they will detect tone and emotion, as well.   Now, just think about leveraging the power of emotion detection AI in your own customer service department...   The future of chatbots will be dominated by emotional/emotion-recognition/emotionally intelligent/empathetic chatbots — however you prefer to call them.   5. NLP-Based Chatbots  Quote source: Tech Funnel   Lift the language barrier and you'll be rewarded unlimited power to perfect the customer experience that you provide...   Luckily, in 2020 chatbots will be turbocharged with highly improved natural language processing capabilities.  The “usual” obstacles, such as properly identifying a dialect, will be overcome. So, get ready to welcome chatbots capable to interpret your customers' messages with greater accuracy...   6. Automated Call Centers Put together AI and NLO technology and you get the ideal setting for an automated call center. Expect visual assistants to become a... “real” presence in the call centers' field in 2020. Sophisticated chatbot solutions will be empowered to assist customers in a human-like manner.   7. “Universal” Chatbots Multitasking or multifunctional bots will be another one of the hottest chatbot trends in 2020.  Just take this too common use case scenario:   You have a mobile app incorporating multiple services: schedule, alarm, finance manager, bank account. The user will get to interact with one chatbot (or bot persona or “universal” bot) that will trigger the “service-specialized bot(s) that he/she'll want to use.   Imagine a chatbot acting as an interface for multiple departmentalized agent bots...   The END! These are the 7 chatbot design trends to expect and to prepare for if you want to deliver the best customer experiences in 2020.  Which of them best fits your business needs? Let us know and we're ready to turn it into a chatbot that fits perfectly into your company's customer experience strategy. Main image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 10'2019
From Mobile Apps to... Multiexperience Apps: 4 Reasons to Consider a Multiexperience Development Platform
Chatbots, wearable apps, immersive apps, progressive web apps, conversational apps... It's a fact: applications as we know them are growing into... multiexperience apps. So you should consider powering your own app infrastructure with a multiexperience development platform. But first, you may want to reflect on the limitations of your current app development platform: it supports web and mobile applications only...   By comparison, a MXDP would adjust the digital user experiences that you create to a multitude of interaction modalities — touch, gesture, voice — and devices: web browsers, smartwatches, smartphones, voice-driven devices...   And it's complete experiences that users expect these days...   1. But First: What Is a “Multiexperience” in the Digital Realm? The term “multiexperience” incorporates:   all the different ways users interact with a brand (touch, audio, gesture) the multitude of physical devices delivering the user experiences resulting from those interactions   Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash    “And what is multiexperience development” you might further ask yourself.   Take it as the process where, using a plethora of different technologies, you create multiple fit-for-purpose applications. Apps perfectly tailored to suit different touchpoint-specific modalities (voice, audio, gesture...).   2. Multiexperience Development: Future-Proof Your App Development  According to Gartner Inc's research, organizations face an increasing challenge to create digital user experiences that go beyond those delivered through web and mobile apps. For data is becoming extremely accessible and being “consumed” in an overwhelming no. of ways: hands-free, mobile, voice, etc. While convenience and personalization are now the key elements of great user experience...   So, you should consider switching from mobile-focused app development to a multiexperience (app) development strategy.   You should consider future-proofing your applications by “injecting” them with multi experiences. From wearable apps to conversational apps (chatbots and voice assistants), to progressive web apps, and immersive apps... there's a wide range of apps of the future that incorporate and deliver multiple experiences. But how could you possibly develop apps perfectly adjusted to each channel, each user interaction modality? Apps adapted to the given customer contexts...   You opt for an all-technologies-in-one multiexperience development platform...   "What are they more precisely?" Keep on reading...   3. MXDPs: What Are They? How Are They Different from MAPDs? A multiexperience development platform is... the mobile app development platform of the future. It enables you to develop one app and then deploy it across a whole variety of devices and platforms.   From AR to wearable, to chat and voices, an MXDP speeds up the development of a plethora of targeted, seamless and highly scalable digital user experiences...   4. Why Shift to a Multiexperience Development Platform? 4 Reasons Now, let's talk... clear benefits. Are they strong enough so you take the leap from your already familiar mobile app development platform? Well, judge for yourself. Here are the 4 strongest reasons to move to an MXDP:   4.1. It Speeds Up the Deployment Process How long does it take you now to deploy an app to Amazon Web Services or to any other cloud services provider? Now, imagine sending your data straight to your AWS account... Moreover, when using a multiexperience development platorm you get a full-distributed environment. And that can only translate into better control over your own deployment. Add this convenience, as well, to the whole cloud-based deployment process and... try to anticipate how much time you'd save.   4.2. It Increases Operational Efficiency Within Your Organization Faster day-to-day operations... How does an MXDP help you achieve this goal? It's quite obvious:   A central, interconnected system incorporates and thus streamlines all your internal processes.    As opposed to struggling to orchestrate a heavy network of various different programs, one for each type of day-to-day internal task.   4.3. It Cuts Down Time to Market for Your App And there are 2 main “culprits” behind this benefit of using a multiexperience development platform:   reusable code accelerated design processes   Furthermore, if you release faster, you get user feedback faster so... you can apply the needed improvements... faster.    4.4. It Removes the Security Risk of Shadow IT Have you ever tried to count the apps, IT systems, devices, services, and infrastructure that are being used across your organization? Is it even possible to keep track of them all? Well, that's one of the strongest benefits of using an MXDP: you get a bird's eye view over your software asset. This way, you can remove the risk that shadow IT poses.   The END! Quite curious now: are all these predictions regarding the multi-experiences apps and reasons for switching to an MXDP strong enough for you to... take the leap? Main Image by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 03'2019
Drupal Migrate API: An Overview of the Migration System in Drupal 8
About to migrate your website from... Drupal 7 to Drupal 8? Or maybe from an external data source to Drupal 8? The good news is that Drupal Migrate API, the migration system in Drupal 8, is extremely powerful and conveniently flexible. The "trick" is that you should be familiar with all its robust features, hidden gotchas and planning steps to take. But, fear not: we've got you covered. Here's a quick-start guide to migrating in Drupal 8, which covers both Drupal-to-Drupal and external data store-to Drupal migration scenarios.   1. But First: What Is Drupal Migrate API? It's Drupal's robust migration system that enables you to pull data from various sources and to "inject" them into... Drupal (duh).   And the entire framework is made mostly of... migration plugins:   source plugins process  plugins destination plugins   It's these migration plugins that are responsible for extracting, transforming and fitting data into the Drupal 8 destination website. 2. A System Designed to Pull Content to Drupal from... Any Source One of the Drupal Migrate API's most powerful features is extracting content from... pretty much anywhere:   XML previous versions of Drupal MariaDB, MySQL JSON CSV other platforms (e.g. WordPress)   The overly simplified Drupal 8 migration process would look something like this:   connect the Drupal Migration API system to your external datastore write your custom migration paths transform the source data into a suitable format to fit perfectly into the content types and fields in your destination Drupal website   3. Consider Creating Your Own Custom Source Plugin Is there no way to pull content from your source? Then you'll need to write your custom source plugin to map the extracted data to its destination fields. A plugin that suits your own migration scenario to the slightest detail. For instance, mapping the titles and subtitles of the... blog posts on your current WordPress website to the article node type's titles and subtitle fields in your Drupal 8 destination website. IMAGE Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay   You'll need to define the specific fields in your source data to the Drupal 8 Migrate API so that it should perform a proper mapping. 4. Process Plugins: The Key Elements in the Drupal 8 Migration Process They play a critical role in any Drupal 8 migration, being responsible for converting the source data into the appropriate format.  Here are just a few examples of process plugins "in action" during the migration process:   they import data behind HTTP authentication they parse images from text   Image source: Drupal.org  5. The Migration System Handles Everything... "The Drupal Way"  The unparalleled flexibility of the Drupal Migrate API resides in its way of handling each operation... the Drupal way. It's "smart" enough to automatically import and validate the source data into the right fields of the destination site. It's designed to "understand" how to adjust the imported data to the various fields, entities, and configurations specific to your Drupal 8 destination website. In short: the Drupal 8 migrate system makes it easy for you to handle all migration operations the... "Drupal way".   6. Drupal 8 Migration Modules that Extend the System's Functionality Now, let's say that, although extremely powerful, the Drupal Migrate API framework doesn't meet all your functionality requirements. You can always enhance its flexibility with migration modules that serve your particular migration needs. Here are just 3 examples:   Migrate Plus It adds extra features to the framework such as an URL source plugin that makes it possible for you to pull data from XML, Soap, and JSON file formats.   Migrate Tools The module provides tools for various running and managing migration operations. Here are just some of the Drush commands triggering such operations:   migrate-import – it will run a migration. migrate-status – it will display all migrations and their status migrate-rollback – it will roll back a migration Migrate Source CSV It enables you to import CSV files to your Drupal 8 destination website.   Migrate Spreadsheet It makes it possible to extract data from spreadsheet files...   7. External Data Source to-Drupal Migration: A 4-Step Guide Now, let's talk facts. Or, better said: the essential steps to take for migrating your content from an external source to Drupal 8.   first, enable the Drupal 8 Migrate module next, install both Migrate Tools and Migrate Plus for the Drush migration commands and a whole variety of much-needed extensions and plugins set up a custom module for your specific migration case use YAML configuration files for field mapping from the right data source; trigger your process plugins to convert data to the right format   Note: your config files should get stored in “my_migration_module/config/install/“. 8. Drupal-to-Drupal 8 Migration: A 2-Step Guide If it's a Drupal-to-Drupal migration challenge that you're facing, here's the whole process brought down to its key steps:   run the "migrate-upgrade" command in Drush using the "-configure-only" flag to trigger stub YAML configurations    Upgrade Using Drush copy the resulting YAML files into the config/install directory of your custom module (remember to give them proper names and to edit them)   9. Final Word The Drupal Migrate API is highly flexible and, therefore, very powerful.    It's designed for a whole variety of migration scenarios, of different levels of complexity: from importing a collection of blog posts to... pulling hundreds of thousands of nodes.   And yet, with great flexibility comes great complexity: Since every website's user-generated content architecture is different, every Drupal 8 migration is highly website-specific. With no "one-size-fits-all" type of standards at hand, you're at the same time free and "constrained" to... customize your migration to your specific needs. Better said: with great flexibility comes... great(er) responsibility. Main image by wandaquinn from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 30'2019
Acquia Cloud Site Factory: Why Would You Even Consider It for Your Multisite Network?
Just imagine: a world where you upload a piece of content on one dashboard and it goes live on all your... 300 websites instantly! A world where you can create a new website with just one click... That's the Acquia Cloud Site Factory-governed reality. And now, back to your day-to-day-reality where:   you lose huge amounts of money with every minute that just one of your... thousands of websites is down you struggle with the challenge of delivering a unified user experience across multiple websites, legacy systems, geographic regions, languages you need to have brand new websites/different digital experiences added to the network on the fly, yet you're dealing with huge delays your development team is... tangled up in mundane editing tasks your marketing team is fully dependent on the IT department for every single new campaign or website that they might need to spin up your developers deal with spotty access to your multisite network, so if one of them needs to tackle an emergency issue on one of the websites, another one could be unavailable   And remember: Dries Buytaert's made this prediction back in... 2005.   1. Your Current Situation Let us guess:   you're a franchise you're a university managing an entire infrastructure of microsites, in a variety of different designs, content, structures, and features you're a multinational company about to enter new markets, thus planning to build different new websites for each one of those markets you're a real estate company planning to create a new website for every property in your portfolio   Or, let's try a more generic profile:   You're an... organization that delivers digital experiences across hundreds or even thousands of different websites.   2. The Main Challenge(s) You're Facing Now, let us "guess" some of the struggles that you're dealing with while trying to efficiently "joggle" with your multitude of websites:   2.1. Delivering a Personalized Experience on Each and Every Website We can empathize with that:   Managing multilingual regional websites does translate into major challenges from a personalization and customization standpoint.   For instance: what if you need to integrate a specific payment gateway to just one of your hundreds of websites? Or you need to incorporate any other functionality specific to an individual market that you're targeting? With Acquia Cloud Site Factory you can have your regional microsites up and running in no time. Moreover, you can address various issues, like new market-specific features to be implemented, without fearing that you leave other websites in your "cluster" exposed. With a simple central dashboard at your disposal, adding, creating and delivering a new fully personalized digital experience gets dramatically streamlined. With zero risks of duplication... 2.2. Granting Your Development Team a Unified Access to All Your Websites Here's a real-life situation:   Your website visitors signal an issue, so one of your developers tries to address the problem. This means that another one would be unable, due to spotty access to the system.   But what if all your developers could get simultaneous access? Wouldn't unified access for your entire development team streamline the whole "issues tackling" process? 2.3. Providing a Unified Experience to Your Content Authors   And you can't possibly provide a unified experience across your multi-site network neither to your editors or to your visitors when you have:   n different branding styles n different levels of responsiveness n different codebases with to be maintained individually n different themes   2.4. Updating The Entire Infrastructure in Real-Time Let's say that you need to implement a set of regulations at the network level (GDPR, for instance). And we're talking about... thousands of websites. A "mission impossible" for your current situation, when you have hundreds of databases to update individually, right? Luckily, the Acquia Cloud Site Factory provides you with a unique database for all your websites. A single source for your entire infrastructure. Update once and roll out that change across your entire multi-site network.   2.5. Empowering the Marketing Team to Create New Brand Experiences on the Run Your digital marketers are currently pretty dependent on their colleagues from the IT department for every:   new banner that they'd want to revamp microsite that they might need to create and align with your marketing strategy landing page that they might want to put together and distribute    But what if you give them so much freedom that they could spin up new highly branded, media-rich websites based on pre-configured templates? With Aquia's Site Factory you empower the marketing team to create and deploy new digital experiences... on the fly. Agility at its best.   2.6. Maintaining Brand Consistency Across Your Network And this must be one of the biggest challenges you're facing: how do you keep and boost brand consistency over an entire network of websites? Especially if we're talking about a global presence. With your brand experiences delivered in different languages, with the help of multiple distributed teams, across different legacy platforms, with multiple stakeholders involved... The Acquia Cloud Site Factory platform helps you ensure brand consistency through:   templates that content managers can use to create/duplicate websites a single source of update (a unique database)   3. Entering: Acquia Cloud Site Factory It's a multi-site management platform that provides you with:   one central, simple dashboard a centralized database a feature-packed site-building environment powerful workflow tools that give your developers more control over the enterprise digital experience ... and your marketing team more freedom and flexibility   In short: a digital platform where you can build, deploy, update, centralize and manage a huge number of different websites fast and at scale.   And we're talking here about highly branded, content-rich, dynamic websites...   4. But How Would It Benefit Your Own Multi-Site Network? Why would you move to a single platform? What are the benefits that you'd "reap" from running your complex infrastructure on the Acquia Cloud Site Factory? Image source: Acquia.com   4.1. You'd Minimize Site Development and Maintenance Costs With:   a single database for pushing all your updates to a whole team of digital marketers free to spin up new websites by simply filling in pre-built templates   ... you cut down costs significantly. 4.2. You'd boost brand consistency across all your websites Fast and consistent updates...That's the "beauty" of having just one database as a single source for pushing changes distributed throughout your entire network. 4.3. You'd Accelerate Time to Market Launching landing pages and spinning up brand new microsites with just one click reduces time to market dramatically.   4.7. You'd Orchestrate Thousands of Websites Centrally One dashboard for an entire network of websites... Now, just think of the resources you'd save and the security threats you'd prevent by centralizing all your multi-site management tasks carried out across multiple:   regions marketing and design systems legacy CMSs products...   4.2. You'd Simplify and Automate All Multi-Site Management Operations The Acquia Cloud Site Factory platform streamlines all your multi-site management efforts. No more manual work, no more duplicates...  The platform provides developers with a robust set of workflow tools that enable them to grant role-based permissions to the content team.  4.4. You'd Update Faster And it goes without saying: with one central database you get to easily mass-update your entire network.   4.5. You'd Deliver a Coherent Experience to Your Content Authors and Users  A centralized way of managing your large "cluster" of websites removes the risk of delivering a... disjointed experience to your content managers and website visitors.   4.6. You'd Scale Your Brand... Globally Acquia Cloud Site Factory is built with above-the-average scalability needs in mind, that's for sure.  Image by Megan Rexazin from Pixabay   4.8. You'd Free Your Developers for More Complex Projects By taking the marketing team "off their back" you'd lift some of the burden hanging on your developers' shoulders. And allow them to focus on more strategic tasks instead... Also, the workflow tools that the platform ships with grant them more control over the enterprise digital experiences delivered across your network...   4.9. You'd Grant Your Marketing Team More Flexibility to Innovate Power to the (marketing) people... By enabling them to set up new websites and other brand experiences on the fly, you allow them to seize every great opportunity that they might be currently missing. Since updating content and launching new digital experiences is now so discouragingly cumbersome.   The END! Is it a bit clearer to you now how moving your multi-site infrastructure to Acquia Cloud Site Factory would benefit you? Main image by Bethany Drouin from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 27'2019
Drupal 9 vs Drupal 8: Or Is It Rather Just “Drupal 8 vs... a Cleaner Version of Drupal 8”?
What's in a name... after all? Or... in a number in this case. Wouldn't a "Drupal 9 vs Drupal 8" comparison be identical with a "Drupal 8.x vs Drupal 8.y" comparison, except for one number? So, why is there a need to... change numbers (too)?  Because Drupal depends on the vendor support lifecycles of PHP and Simfony. As simple as that. Therefore, Drupal 9 will mark not just the moment when Drupal 8 has been "fully" sanitized of all its deprecated code, but an upgrade to a newer version of Simfony (and Twig). Note: starting Nov. 2021, Simfony 3, now at the heart of Drupal 8, will no longer receive security patches. Now, let's have a look at some of the Drupal 9 features in relation to Drupal 8's well-known features, paradigms, and approach to upgrades.   #1 Drupal 8: The Last Version that Breaks with Its Predecessors The Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 migration was the last hair-pulling upgrade. So they promise us... Can you sill remember all those high hopes you've had regarding shiny new Drupal 8, its innovation model and all those oh! so tempting improvements? Then you must surely remember that moving to Drupal 8 quickly turned into an... ordeal. The other side of the "innovation coin" that it seduced us with was that:   It was too different from its predecessors.   So different that... your Drupal 7 contributed modules weren't compatible with it and lots of custom code had to be rewritten. Well, that was the last cumbersome migration in Drupal. If you've already got rid of all deprecated APIs by the time Drupal 8.9 turns into Drupal 9, the upgrade will be... silky smooth.   #2 Drupal 9 vs Drupal 8: Expect Simfony 4/5 and Twig 2.0 Image source: Drupal.org Some of the key differences between the two are the versions of Symfony and Twig that they use/will use. Since Simfony 3 will go end-of-life in November 2021, Drupal 8, as well, will need to be "sacrificed" for a newer major version of Drupal. One that should use upgraded versions of these PHP projects (Twig and Simfony).   #3 Drupal 9: The First One Backward Compatible with Its Predecessor Image by MoteOo from Pixabay And this is a huge difference and leap forward from Drupal 8. For it's precisely this incompatibility with Drupal 7 that... caused so many headaches during the previous upgrade.  In this respect, Drupal 9's built, from the ground up, to be backward compatible with Drupal 8 from day 1. That, of course, if you keep your current Drupal 8 website up to date and "well-groomed". Cleaned up of all out of date code...   #4 Contributed Modules Will Be Compatible with Both D8 and D9 "The compatibility of contributed modules is historically one of the biggest blockers to upgrading, so we will also make it possible for contributed modules to be compatible with Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 at the same time." (source: Dries Buytaert's' blog)   In short: if you stick to your update routine and keep removing deprecated code, your Drupal 8 contributed and custom modules will be compatible with Drupal 9, as well. #5 Drupal 9 vs Drupal 8: Without vs With Deprecated Code There's a major inconvenience that stems from Drupal 8's continuous innovation model:   Innovative features keep... piling up, at high(er) speed.   With every improvement brought to these new features, certain code gets automatically... deprecated and just left there to linger. So, this is one of the critical differences between the 2 versions: the newer one will be stripped of old code.   #6 Drupal 9 Will Have Updated Third-Party Dependencies That's right, not only that Drupal 9 will remove support for all code marked as deprecated in Drupal 8, but it will use updated third-party dependencies.   # Final Word Any Drupal 9 vs Drupal 8 comparison would have to include 2  key differences:   different approaches to upgrades different versions of the underlying technologies   We're quite curious what's your opinion about the promises made regarding the Drupal 9 release:   that contributed modules will work on both versions of Drupal? that, since it'll be completely backward compatible, the upgrade will go... uneventful?   Are you confident, sure or skeptical that moving to Drupal 9 will go... hassle-free? Main image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 23'2019
What’s New in Drupal 9? Any Game-Changing Features to Expect and... Prepare for?
These days, this is the question on the lips and minds of anyone developing/designing/creating content in Drupal or (just) managing a Drupal website: "What's new in Drupal 9?".  The "fear" is there and it's legitimate... For the (bad) experience that you've had with upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 is still haunting you, isn't it? You just cannot forget that the whole process quickly turned into a rewriting of Drupal from the ground up...   Your contributed modules were not compatible with Drupal 8 and there was a ton of custom code to be rewritten...   So, how would an honest "Drupal 9 vs Drupal 8" comparison look like? What completely revolutionary and therefore high-impact features should you expect and... plan for (at least psychologically)? And I bet that you don't settle for the "The great news is that... there's no breaking news at all" type of answer, either. That's why we've gone beyond this explanation that everyone seems to have embraced by default and dug deeper.  The result? An inventory of all the changes (for there will be, even if not as dramatic as those that we've got used to from the previous major Drupal releases), ranging from:   upgrades of the underlying technology to a paradigm shift in the Drupal upgrading process itself to contributed modules that are every likely to get replaced with others to changes with an impact on Drupal 8's current "load" of third-party dependencies   So, let's dive right in, shall we? 1. Upgrading to Drupal 9 Will Be... Buttery Smooth (Unlike with D8) And this is the most exciting "no big news, yet a significant mind-shift" type of answer to your "What's new in Drupal 9?" question. It looks like the Drupal community has learned from its past mistakes... the hard way and it's determined to prevent them. What does this mean for you? It means that beginning with Drupal 9 all major Drupal software releases will be seamless, painless and... buttery smooth. Basically, Drupal 9 is Drupal 8 stripped off all its deprecated code.   If you've removed all old code and dependencies by Drupal 8.9, upgrading your website to Drupal 9 will be as hassle-free as... any Drupal release.   Image source: Drupal.org   2. What's New in Drupal 9? Newer Major Versions of Symfony and Twig  Ready to say goodbye to Symfony 3? It will get replaced with Symfony 4 or 5 after November 2021.  Also, expect an upgrade to Twig 2.0.  These upgrades can only translate into higher performance, improved developer experience, and enhanced security. Tip: you might want to take Symfony 4 for a short test drive on your Drupal 8 website, just to see how well it handles the new version. 3. Drupal 9 Drops Support for All Deprecated Code in Drupal 8 Another valid answer to your "What's new in Drupal 9?" question is:   It won't support any code marked as deprecate in Drupal 8.   Tip: since this "sanitizing" process is going to be a long, ongoing one, we suggest you turn it into a routine; keep removing out of date code from your Drupal 8 website to make sure that upgrading it to Drupal 9 will be as... buttery smooth as possible. Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay     4. Contributed Modules: Expected to Work in Both Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 Now, this is definitely a standout change, that breaks away from the "the news is that... there is no news" opinion. Practically, there are high chances that contributed modules share a single codebase so that they can work both on Drupal 9 and Drupal 8 websites. And that's...new in Drupal. A whole new paradigm.   5. Drupal 9 Will Cut Down on Third-Party Dependencies With all deprecated functionality getting removed by the time Drupal 9 gets released, its load of dependencies will get significantly lighter. 6. Panelizer Is Expected to Get Removed and Replaced "What's new in Drupal 9?" Well, most likely Panelizer will get replaced with the Layout Builder, the "rockstar" module of the moment. So, you'd better consider letting go of this module. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay   7. The Majority of Drupal 8 Modules Will Be Compatible with Drupal 9 Call it a change, a new approach or... just "something" that sets Drupal 9 apart from its predecessor: By the time it'll get released, all Drupal 8 contributed modules will be fully compatible with this new major version of Drupal. Almost half of the Drupal 8 modules turned out to be compatible with the analysis run in April this year, so... the future looks highly promising. 8. Final Word The "nothing new in Drupal 9" shared opinion isn't 100% accurate. Ok, if we compared this upgrade to the previous one, all these mind-shifts and new approaches in Drupal 9 are, indeed, no painfully disruptive changes. No new dramatic paradigms of development. But they are, nevertheless... changes. Differences... Not so much between Drupal x and Drupal 9, but between an old and a new model of upgrading Drupal. Main photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 19'2019
What Are the Best Google Site Search Alternatives? Top Reasons to Consider Cludo
What are some powerful Google Site Search alternatives? On-site search solutions that should be:   flexible effective versatile (easy to use on any CMS) quick to set up easy to configure  cloud-based AI-powered   … and to provide you with actionable insights on your visitors' search behavior. How about... Cludo, an internal search engine, and insights generator? Now, you might want to keep your “feature wishlist” at hand as you evaluate this competitor to Google's custom search solution.    1. But What Is Cludo? It's a robust on-site search tool that you can easily set up on your website, no matter what CMS you're using. This way, you add a search interface where you can pull relevant data on your visitor's search behavior. Its greatest strength? Its ease of use: It empowers you, irrespective of your technical level, to set it up and to further optimize the content it delivers, quick and easy. Unlike other Google site search alternatives, with Cludo you get easy access to actionable analytics. With a simple to use dashboard, you can pull powerful data and use it to constantly improve users' site search experience without having to be a... data analyst expert.   2. What Makes Cludo One of the Best Google Site Search Alternatives? And still: “Which are those unique features that Cludo provides?” For there must be other key reasons why it's now rivaling Google's own custom site search solution... Well, let me highlight just some of its most powerful features:   customizable index: you get to customize the criteria so that certain pages get pushed forward; you even get to specify what type of content should and shouldn't be searchable   machine learning-based autocomplete: it provides users with robust suggestions and corrects their misspellings in real-time   actionable search insights: it provides you with key data on who your website visitors are and what precisely they're searching for; you can tap into this information to deliver engaging and relevant content, to further optimize users' site search experience   an easy-to-use interface: Cludo's UI is designed so that even if you're not a technical user you should still be able to configure your on-site search solution quick and easy   semantic search: it delivers accurate and relevant results even if your website visitors type in words that are totally different from your anticipated search terms; Cludo taps into intelligent semantics, uses bigrams and synonyms to deliver the most comprehensive search results   3. Cludo vs Google Custom Site Search Engine    What if we confronted the two powerful site search solutions? Which would be the Google limitations that we would see exploited and counterbalanced by robust Cludo features?   3.1. Google Custom Search Engine  Its functionality is pretty straightforward: thanks to the search bar added to your website, your visitors can look for specific content quickly. Now, when it comes to its limitations, there are a few:   fewer customization options it doesn't provide you with the tools (e.g. actionable analytics) needed to constantly improve and customize the site search experience delivered on your website   3.2. Cludo Now, when it comes to Cludo, it does ship with some unique features that come to “exploit” Google Site Search's lack of them:   first of all, it's equipped with all the features you need for customizing the site experience: you get an easy to use dashboard where you can pull relevant analytics on your users' behavior and specific needs … this way, you can tailor the delivered content accordingly and provide them a fully customized site experience it ships with a banner analytics feature: you can add banners to your results page for... upcoming events, key search terms, etc. The END! Summing up now: If, when evaluating some of the Google Site Search alternatives, you value particularly those features that enable you to customize the user experience, then Cludo might just be the solution you're looking for. Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jul 29'2019
What Are the Most Famous Node.js Applications? 4 Large Scale Apps Built with Node.js
"What are some of the biggest companies using Node.js?" Some Node.js applications trafficked by... millions of users, on a daily basis, processing huge loads of data in record time... Those globally-known projects that are currently leveraging this JavaScript runtime's most powerful advantages: top performance and unmatched scalability... A legitimate question to ask yourself if you're toying with the thought of creating your own project on Node.js these days.  In this respect, here are 4 such global players who've switched over to Node.js to get inspired by:   1. LinkedIn The business-oriented social network, with over +450 million members, has been one of the first global players to feature a mobile app backend built entirely on Node.js. Why Node.js?   because it scales like no other because it outshines Ruby on Rails, the technology that the company switched from, from a performance standpoint because it's the best for calling other services; and it was critical that their app should communicate seamlessly with their database and the platform API   Main benefits for using Node.js:   they doubled their traffic capacity they speeded up the development process: both front-end and back-end mobile developers can now tap into their JavaScript skills and merge into one single team they've freed their resources, reducing the number of servers from 15 to... 4 they've boosted their app's performance on the client-side; it now runs up to 10 times faster   2. Paypal   200 million users, transactions in +100 currencies... Now, that says something about Node.js's built-in capabilities to withstand huge amounts of traffic and to overcome major data processing challenges. No wonder that this globally-known online payment service is now featuring a client-facing side web app on Node.js. Why Node.js?   because it enables development teams to use the same language, JavaScript, for both the browser and the server … and this speeds up the development lifecycle dramatically (removing the need to use Java, on one hand, and JS, HTML, CSS, on the other hand)   Main benefits for using Node.js:   they've built their application 2 times faster it's one of those Node.js applications that's got significantly lighter; it now includes 40% fewer files and 30% less code the “new” network app now serves twice as many requests per second   3. Netflix, One of the Highest Traffic Node.js Applications  Netflix's user interface is the perfect example of how Node.js's built to cope with massive loads of traffic and data-intensive streaming scenarios... In short: you have a global streaming service, a heavy network infrastructure of 130 million users, with its server-side rendering powered by Node.js. Why Node.js?   because it simplifies and streamlines the whole development process: developers now get to use JavaScript for both client-side and server-side coding because it ships with a rich collection of modules for any functionality they might need to implement because it's just... fast; speed and load time sure are some critical aspects to consider in case of a high traffic video content provider like Netflix   Main benefits for using Node.js:    a modular, lightweight and fast application: load time has been reduced by 70% they've cut down their build times dramatically (with JavaScript now being the only language used for both the back-end and the front-end of their app) user customization is now possible   Note: Netflix's UI is, no doubt, one of the most successful Node.js projects out there and it's not just their app's skyrocketing popularity that confirms it, but the company's own intention to move their data access layers to Node.js, as well.   4. Uber Connecting drivers and passengers worldwide, the ever-growing online transportation network dependeds on a system with outstanding data processing capabilities. And Node.js excels at I/O-intensive tasks...  Why Node.js?   because it scales like no other, coping with an increasing demand for mobile taxi services because it's designed to support distributed systems sending a heavy load of network requests because it gets constantly and continuously upgraded by its dedicated open source community because it's built to process massive amounts of data in record time, risk-free because it provides quick error analysis and almost instant code deployment; programs get scanned through and new code deployed in... no time   Main benefits for using Node.js: Uber is one of those Node.js applications processing +2 million remote procedure calls within one second; even when challenged to withstand high spikes of traffic...   The END! Are these heavy-weight names convincing enough? Are these 4 large scale and top performant Node.js projects inspiring enough for you? Photo by Marianne Krohn on Unsplash  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jun 25'2019