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New Drupal Modules - 18 September 2017 - 8:35am
Categories: Drupal

AT Internet

New Drupal Modules - 18 September 2017 - 8:07am

AT Internet integration for Drupal 8.

Note:
This project is not maintained by AT Internet.

Categories: Drupal

Drop Guard: Drop Guard is cutting costs by 40% - facts and figures

Planet Drupal - 18 September 2017 - 6:45am
Drop Guard is cutting costs by 40% - facts and figures

While working with other NGOs and agencies during the last 1,5 years, we collected more and more information about the time and money that Drop Guard will save your agency. On our website, we claim that Drop Guard will cut your update costs by 40%. CTOs and COOs want to challenge numbers like this and ask how exactly this ROI is calculated. That’s why I want to share the detailed information in this blog post with you.

Security updates are released every Wednesday. If you work in a Drupal shop that cares about security, you have to apply updates for every site every Wednesday or at least Thursday.

Drupal Business Drupal Planet
Categories: Drupal

Chromatic: How To: Multiple Authors in Drupal

Planet Drupal - 18 September 2017 - 6:35am

A brief rundown of how to configure Drupal to display multiple content authors.

Categories: Drupal

Appnovation Technologies: Appnovator Spotlight: Richard Hales

Planet Drupal - 18 September 2017 - 5:41am
Appnovator Spotlight: Richard Hales Who are you? What's your story?  Richard Hales - "Talent Acquisition". With 13 years in recruitment, working with some top global brands, hiring some of the best talent. I now use that experience and those connections to find the very best people for Appnovation What's your role at Appnovation?  Working in the UK, I am ideally placed to serv...
Categories: Drupal

Vardot: What Is A Chatbot, And Why Is It Important For Your Business?

Planet Drupal - 18 September 2017 - 4:06am
What Is A Chatbot, And Why Is It Important For Your Business? Dmitrii Susloparov Mon, 09/18/2017 - 14:06

There is a great deal of enthusiasm surrounding chatbots in the Internet technology world today. Fanning the flames was the news that the White House had created a Facebook chatbot using Drupal. This post explains what a chatbot is, its current status, and how it can benefit business enterprises.

What is a chatbot?

Chatbots are software agents which communicate and collaborate with human users through text messaging using a natural language, say English, to accomplish specific tasks. Examples of common tasks in a business context are product inquiries, ordering, and troubleshooting.

 

Chatbots holds the promise of being the next generation of technology that people use to interact online with business enterprises. From a historical perspective, the first generation of customer contact technology involves websites. Users opens the company website within their browser, navigate web pages to get the information they want and to trigger various e-commerce transactions, such as ordering a product. Next up are mobile apps which users can download on their smartphones or tablets. The problem with apps is that people have to manually download and learn to use each of them. Chatbots lead the way for the next wave of technology. With chatbots, there are no new apps to download. This is because most users already have at least 1 instant messaging application installed on their communication devices, e.g., SMS, Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Kik, etc. Another advantage for chatbots is that, because chatbots communicate using a natural language, users don't need to learn yet another new website interface and to get comfortable with the unavoidable quirks.

 

The chatbot interface is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. AI is tasked to understand the text that users enter and pass on the knowledge to the backend for processing. Another benefit of using AI is that the chatbot will learn over time to better understand user preferences and as a result, deliver better and faster services.

Why are chatbots important to enterprises?

It was reported that, in 2016, for the first time in Internet history, there were more people using messaging apps than social media. It follows that chat has outpaced social media to become the de facto standard in how mobile users want to make contact. Mobile users are known to be an impatient bunch, ready to abandon any website en masse if they are made to wait for mere seconds after their initial request. Is your business staffed properly to handle this 24x7 onslaught of customer product queries, sales orders, and support requests?

 

Image Source: Business Insider

 

Chatbots can be programmed to monitor and respond to those chat sessions that fall within their domain expertise, such as troubleshooting, return merchandise authorization (RMA), sales inquiry, etc. For chatbots to do their job, enterprises first need to capture the aforementioned domain knowledge in a knowledge base. Once the knowledge becomes accessible, chatbots can staff the all-important corporate functions 24x7.

 

By deploying chatbots, a business can save money by easing the staff head count while guaranteeing good service response time. Besides its always-on feature, another major advantage of using chatbots is the consistency in how your business processes are applied: chatbots will execute the business logic consistently in all customer contacts.

 

Chatbots, advanced that it is, is not the panacea of all enterprise customer service problems, nor does it completely replace the entire human work force. Human agents are still required to solve the more complex problems that are beyond the ability of chatbots. While chatbots can resolve the most basic troubleshooting tasks, second-level support technicians are still required to tackle the complicated product issues.

State of the union

The chatbot technology is still an emerging technology. There are many components that have to work together to make chatbots work. As of today, the technology stack is not standardized, and a clear market leader has not yet manifested itself.

 

Just as there are many messaging apps, there are as many, if not more, chatbot building platforms, each designed to work with a subset of specific messaging apps. Some messaging app vendors, such as Facebook and Telegram, also provide their own official chatbot building platforms. Besides those, there are other third-party chatbot platforms that support multiple messaging apps. For instance, Chatfuel is a chatbot platform that supports both Facebook and Telegram. The Microsoft Bot Framework supports Facebook Messenger, Slack, and SMS.

 

Most chatbot building platforms claim that chatbots can be developed in minutes with no coding required. While creating a chatbot may take only minutes, making it do something useful involves customization including configuring the AI front-end engine, the e-commerce and payment processor backend, etc. Given the myriad technical choices and possibilities, it is best to leverage professional help to guide the development of chatbots for your business enterprise.

Chatbots and Drupal

Many businesses have already crafted their online presence in the form of a website using an enterprise-class CMS technology, for instance, Drupal. The good news is that you can add chatbot technology to your existing technology infrastructure, rather than starting from scratch.

 

If you have already built an enterprise-class Drupal website, you are a one-step ahead of everyone else. The Drupal infrastructure is essentially a portal that captures your business logic, including the backend portion that interfaces with your e-commerce and other back office systems. Adding chatbots to your overall technology stack involves adding the proper middleware to connect your chatbot frontend with your Drupal-based business logic backend.

 

As stated in the previous section, chatbots itself is an emerging technology that may be outside the scope for most in-house development expertise. Adding the middleware to join together chatbots and your Drupal backend is an extra level of software complexity. This middleware framework is available from the Drupal community, but is currently in a very early stage for commercialization. To ensure success for your chatbot project, professional consulting is highly recommended.

 

If you require professional services, whether to build from scratch an enterprise-class Drupal website with chatbot integration, or to add chatbot capabilities to your existing Drupal platform, Vardot is pleased to offer such services from its Jordanian headquarters or its American and Egyptian regional offices. Contact us now for more details regarding your project!

Categories: Drupal

Deeson: Component driven front-end development

Planet Drupal - 18 September 2017 - 3:58am

At Deeson we’ve been working on ways to develop our front-end independently from any back-end application.

Our front-end team has developed web applications using decoupled JavaScript frameworks including Angular and React but we’ve found that for many website projects a full web application is overkill and the traditional HTML templating approach is still the most efficient.

Our back-end application is usually Drupal but we’re increasingly using other frameworks such as Laravel or Symfony and would like to be able to use a consistent approach for our front-end teams. 

We’ve developed a system for this that allows modern build tools, practices Component Driven Development, allows the generation of living style guides and is agnostic to the back-end.

Component Driven Development 

A component, for us, is a collection of HTML, CSS and JS that goes together to form some display element. Consider this against a more traditional approach where HTML, CSS and JS are stored in separate global files, for example, in a global style.css and app.js files.

By grouping code together into components, we separate our application by the domain language, rather than arbitrarily by file extension. This isolates components and makes them easier to develop and maintain.

Components get named based on the domain language of the project and client. Components are not defined for the designer by the limitations and modeling of the application. This provides a common language for the designers, developers and client and reduces the chances of misunderstanding when it comes to the development of functionality.

Using the BEM approach to structuring CSS we isolate much of our CSS to specific components rather than continuously generalising CSS in the way a CSS framework like Bootstrap does. This isolates much of the CSS to a specific component giving us high cohesion and low coupling allowing for confident maintenance, removing much of the fear of wondering what effect changing a piece of CSS is will have on the whole site.

This better matches the way that we work where the complexity of our challenging designs mean rapid delivery using a CSS framework isn’t possible.

Living style guides

The output of our front-end development will include a style guide which will render each of our components into static pages.

Style guides are useful as they demonstrate the components independently of the specific implementation. This allows more rapid front-end development as front-end developers can work without having to worry about how the back-end will integrate.

Over time, however, these style guides move out of sync with the applications they were developed to provide styling information for. An application developer's job is to integrate the HTML provided by the style guide into the finished site. This has meant copying and pasting code out of the style guide templates and into the application’s templating system.

At this point we have duplication of code and the ability to maintain a strict style guide is lost. When the style guide is updated, all the application templates affected must be identified and updated as well.

Our approach makes the style guide a living style guide. The front-end templates we produce for our components get referenced directly from the target applications theme system. This means that our front-end templates are the exact same ones that the application will be using within the theme.

Front-end developers can make changes to it knowing that those changes will flow through into the application without need for a second step.

For Drupal developers this means either providing new theme functions for the front-end templates or referencing our front-end templates from within Drupal templates.

Modern build tools, agnostic to the back-end

Freed from the constraints of a specific application’s templating system we can select the most appropriate tools for the job of front-end development.

Our front-end tooling uses the latest standards and tools. We’re using yarn for package management, and webpack to bundle the static assets. 

Very little knowledge of the back-end is assumed or needed in this approach. You can confidently bring new front-end developers onto your team who are used to using the latest tools without having to spend the first few weeks teaching them the specific theming language and quirks of your back-end application such as the Drupal theme layer.

A real example 

We’ve got an exemplar project to showcase this way of working. If you clone the project at https://github.com/teamdeeson/cdd-demo and follow the instructions in the README you’ll get a Drupal 8 project up and running with a theme that uses this process. You’ll see we’ve developed a componentised version of the Bartik theme for this.

If you are intrigued by this and would like to hear more, you’ll enjoy my talk on the subject at DrupalCon Vienna on 26th September.

In summary

Component driven front-end development has worked well for us at Deeson, allowing rapid independent development of our front-end code. Our designers are freed from the previous constraints of designing for a Drupal website and our developers get to use the latest tools and get onboarded quicker.

Like the sound of the way we do things? We're currently hiring a Senior Front-end Developer.

Categories: Drupal

Global Content

New Drupal Modules - 18 September 2017 - 2:51am

This module allows to create global content items which will be displayed on the whole website (ie. header, footer, block, etc.). By default, this module uses the "block" and "page" theme preprocess (see ".module" file).

How to

Here are steps to configure and display global content items:

Categories: Drupal

Cyrillic to Latin

New Drupal Modules - 17 September 2017 - 11:34pm

Convert cyrillic to latin letters on the fly for Serbian language. At this moment, the module will convert only strings that are passed through Drupal t() function. That means that content won't be translated.

How to use it?

You just need to install it. There is nothing to configure.

Categories: Drupal

cloudbanking

New Drupal Modules - 17 September 2017 - 9:48pm

One Platform - All your payments!

Categories: Drupal

PreviousNext: OK Drupal - powering chatbots with Drupal

Planet Drupal - 17 September 2017 - 5:28pm
Share:

Conversational UIs are the next digital frontier.

And as always, Drupal is right there on the frontier, helping you leverage your existing content and data to power more than just web-pages.

Want to see it action - click 'Start chatting' and chat to our Drupal site.

by lee.rowlands / 18 September 2017

Start chatting

So what's going on here?

We're using the Chatbot API module in conjunction with the API AI webook module to respond to intents. We're using API.ai for the natural language parsing and machine learning. And we're using the new Chatbot API entities sub module to push our Drupal entities to API.ai so it is able to identify Drupal entities in its language parsing.

A handful of custom Chatbot API intent plugin to wire up the webhook responses and that's it - as we create content, users and terms on our site - our chatbot automatically knows how to surface them. As we monitor the converstions in the API.ai training area, we can expand on our synonyms and suggestions to increase our matching rates.

So let's consider our team member Eric Goodwin. If I ask the chatbot about Eric, at first it doesn't recognise my question.

Eric isn't recognized as an entity

So I edit Eric's user account and add some synonyms

Adding synonyms to Eric's account

And then after running cron - I can see these show up in API.ai

Synonyms now available in API.ai

So I then ask the bot again 'Who is eric?'

Screenshot showing the default response

But again, nothing shows up. Now I recognise the response 'Sorry, can you say that again' as what our JavaScript shows if the response is empty. But just to be sure - I check the API.ai console to see that it parsed Eric as a staff member.

Intent is matched as Bio and Eric is identified as staff member

So I can see that the Bio Intent was matched and that Eric was correctly identifed as the Staff entity. So why was the response empty? Because I need to complete Eric's bio in his user account. So let's add some text (apologies Eric you can refine this later).

Adding a biography

Now I ask the bot again (note I've not reloaded or anything, this is all in real time).

A working response!

And just like that, the bot can answer questions about Eric.

What's next?

Well API.ai provides integrations with Google Assistant and Facebook messenger, so we plan to roll out those too. In our early testing we can use this to power an Actions on Google app with the flick of a switch in API.ai. Our next step is to expand on the intents to provide rich content tailored to those platforms instead of just plain-text that is required for chatbot and voice responses.

Credits

Thanks go to @gambry for the Chatbot API module and for being open to the feature addition to allow Drupal to push entities to the remote services.

And credit to the amazing Rikki Bochow for building the JavaScript and front-end components to incorporate this into our site so seamlessly.

Further Reading Tagged Chatbots, Conversational UI, Drupal 8

Posted by lee.rowlands
Senior Drupal Developer

Dated 18 September 2017

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Categories: Drupal

WordPress Migration (from DB)

New Drupal Modules - 17 September 2017 - 3:06am
Categories: Drupal

Price

New Drupal Modules - 16 September 2017 - 6:22am

Price field with different tweaks.
Started as a decoupling commerce_price from commerce.
The work is in progress...

Categories: Drupal

Status report

New Drupal Modules - 16 September 2017 - 5:06am

Checks the status of third-party services.

Categories: Drupal

Dave Hall Consulting: Trying Drupal

Planet Drupal - 16 September 2017 - 3:34am

While preparing for my DrupalCamp Belgium keynote presentation I looked at how easy it is to get started with various CMS platforms. For my talk I used Contentful, a hosted content as a service CMS platform and contrasted that to the "Try Drupal" experience. Below is the walk through of both.

Let's start with Contentful. I start off by visiting their website.

In the top right corner is a blue button encouraging me to "try for free". I hit the link and I'm presented with a sign up form. I can even use Google or GitHub for authentication if I want.

While my example site is being installed I am presented with an overview of what I can do once it is finished. It takes around 30 seconds for the site to be installed.

My site is installed and I'm given some guidance about what to do next. There is even an onboarding tour in the bottom right corner that is waving at me.

Overall this took around a minute and required very little thought. I never once found myself thinking come on hurry up.

Now let's see what it is like to try Drupal. I land on d.o. I see a big prominent "Try Drupal" button, so I click that.

I am presented with 3 options. I am not sure why I'm being presented options to "Build on Drupal 8 for Free" or to "Get Started Risk-Free", I just want to try Drupal, so I go with Pantheon.

Like with Contentful I'm asked to create an account. Again I have the option of using Google for the sign up or completing a form. This form has more fields than contentful.

I've created my account and I am expecting to be dropped into a demo Drupal site. Instead I am presented with a dashboard. The most prominent call to action is importing a site. I decide to create a new site.

I have to now think of a name for my site. This is already feeling like a lot of work just to try Drupal. If I was a busy manager I would have probably given up by this point.

When I submit the form I must surely be going to see a Drupal site. No, sorry. I am given the choice of installing WordPress, yes WordPress, Drupal 8 or Drupal 7. Despite being very confused I go with Drupal 8.

Now my site is deploying. While this happens there is a bunch of items that update above the progress bar. They're all a bit nerdy, but at least I know something is happening. Why is my only option to visit my dashboard again? I want to try Drupal.

I land on the dashboard. Now I'm really confused. This all looks pretty geeky. I want to try Drupal not deal with code, connection modes and the like. If I stick around I might eventually click "Visit Development site", which doesn't really feel like trying Drupal.

Now I'm asked to select a language. OK so Drupal supports multiple languages, that nice. Let's select English so I can finally get to try Drupal.

Next I need to chose an installation profile. What is an installation profile? Which one is best for me?

Now I need to create an account. About 10 minutes I already created an account. Why do I need to create another one? I also named my site earlier in the process.

Finally I am dropped into a Drupal 8 site. There is nothing to guide me on what to do next.

I am left with a sense that setting up Contentful is super easy and Drupal is a lot of work. For most people wanting to try Drupal they would have abandonned someway through the process. I would love to see the conversion stats for the try Drupal service. It must miniscule.

It is worth noting that Pantheon has the best user experience of the 3 companies. The process with 1&1 just dumps me at a hosting sign up page. How does that let me try Drupal?

Acquia drops onto a page where you select your role, then you're presented with some marketing stuff and a form to request a demo. That is unless you're running an ad blocker, then when you select your role you get an Ajax error.

The Try Drupal program generates revenue for the Drupal Association. This money helps fund development of the project. I'm well aware that the DA needs money. At the same time I wonder if it is worth it. For many people this is the first experience they have using Drupal.

The previous attempt to have simplytest.me added to the try Drupal page ultimately failed due to the financial implications. While this is disappointing I don't think simplytest.me is necessarily the answer either.

There needs to be some minimum standards for the Try Drupal page. One of the key item is the number of clicks to get from d.o to a working demo site. Without this the "Try Drupal" page will drive people away from the project, which isn't the intention.

If you're at DrupalCon Vienna and want to discuss this and other ways to improve the marketing of Drupal, please attend the marketing sprints.

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Categories: Drupal

Ddate Block

New Drupal Modules - 16 September 2017 - 2:58am

Dddate block provides configurable blocks displaying a Discordian date.

Categories: Drupal

Drutopia Landing Page

New Drupal Modules - 15 September 2017 - 4:55pm

A base feature providing a landing page content type and related configuration.

Development is on GitLab and mirrored here.

Categories: Drupal

Better Local Tasks

New Drupal Modules - 15 September 2017 - 2:36pm

Drupal's 'local tasks' tab array doesn't always look great. It can also interfere with the theme when administering content.

This module just adds a bit of polish to the local task tabs, by fixed positioning it and adding some icons, and hover animation.

Categories: Drupal

Flexible Layout

New Drupal Modules - 15 September 2017 - 1:59pm

Provides a dynamic regions for layout discovery that can be output in rows and columns.

Categories: Drupal

Joachim's blog: Brief update on Drupal Code Builder

Planet Drupal - 15 September 2017 - 1:31pm

I've completely revamped the Drush commands for Drupal Code Builder:

  • First, they're now in their own project on Github
  • Second, I've rewritten them completely for Drush 9, completely interactive.
  • Third, they are now geared towards adding to existing modules, rather than generating a module as a single shot. That approach made sense in the days of Drupal 6 when it was just hook implementations, but I increasingly find I want to add a plugin, a service, a form, to a module I've already started.

The downside is that installing these is rather tricky at the moment due to some current limitations in Drush 9 beta; see details in the project README, which has full instructions for workarounds.

Now that's out of the way, I'm pushing on with some new generators for the Drupal Code Builder library itself. On my list is:

  • plugin types (as in the plugin manager service, base class and interface, and declaration for Plugins module)
  • entity type
  • entity type handlers
  • your suggestions in the issue queue...

And of course more unit tests and refactoring of the codebase.

Categories: Drupal

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