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Acro Media: Live Component Guide, Part 2: Drupal 8

20 November 2018 - 7:45am

A while ago we introduced a Live Component Guide to our corporate website that gives our designers and content creators and quick way to lay out content on new and existing pages. It’s worked out great so far and has generated quite a bit of interest. A couple months old now, that initial blog post explaining why we did it and how it works has had over 400 views and the recorded demonstration on YouTube has been watched for more than 1500 minutes. Not bad considering it’s a very Drupal specific, niche post.

While I was working on our corporate site components, others at Acro Media were working away on adding similar components to our internal Drupal 8 framework. Our corporate website is currently running on Drupal 7, and so, in some of the feedback that we received, people naturally wanted to see an example of the Live Component Guide in Drupal 8. After all, that’s the latest version of the Drupal platform that all new Drupal sites are being built using it.

I’m happy to announce now that those components have made their way into Acro Media’s Drupal Commerce demo site, Urban Hipster! Want to see it? I know you do. Check out the video demonstration below or go straight to the Urban Hipster’s Live Component Guide and take look for yourself.

Categories: Drupal

Code Karate: Drupal 8 FlexSlider Module

19 November 2018 - 10:27pm
Episode Number: 220

The Drupal 8 Flex Slider Module allows you to use the Flex Slider library to build out slideshows on your Drupal website. This video covers how to get Flexslider to integrate with Drupal views as well as Drupal fields.

Tags: DrupalContribViewsDrupal 8Image HandlingMediaSite BuildingDrupal Planet
Categories: Drupal

OpenSense Labs: Building Strong Roots of Digital Customer Experience with Drupal

19 November 2018 - 10:15pm
Building Strong Roots of Digital Customer Experience with Drupal Vasundhra Tue, 11/20/2018 - 11:45

As a part of the audience, we unanimously measure the quality of experience by one simple factor - how long does it take to get what we want.

Right?

In today’s customer experience economy, organizations are no longer compared on the basis of their direct competition, but they are compared on the basis of the services they provide to their end users.

And according to the National Retail Federation, the e-commerce growth for the US grew from 3.7% to 4.2% in 2017, which included tech giants like Amazon, E-bay etc. These techies were successful in reaching the customer funnel ecosystem. 

'How' you may ask?

Well, they acknowledged that the key of constructing successful and best in class digital experience was through website users and their experience. 


Why Digital Customer Experience is Important?

Satisfied Customer usually returns and buy more, they tell other people about their experience. Thus, it is important for organizations to understand that end-to-end experience is essential for future growth as well as customer loyalty of a company. 

A customer satisfaction survey conducted by B2B International conveys the importance of the customer's expectations. The study reveals that it is crucial for businesses to improve their ability to deliver great digital customer experiences. 

Thereby, reaching the customers or the audience through digital channels is something which every organization must do to survive and grow in this digital era. 

Enhanced digital customer experience not only becomes a salient strategy for the organizations but helps them evolve beyond conventional web development.

Depending on the audience’s situations, aim, and expectations a poor customer experience can make or break a business emblem. Obstacles Faced by Organizations in Digital Customer Experience 

Forbes states that only 16% of the organizations were successful in the journey of digital transformation, which of course is a very low percentage. 

84% of companies fail at Digital Transformation

Digital transformation, here, implies the integration of digital technologies into the areas of business, fundamentally changing the way they operate and deliver values to the customers.

But why do companies fail to walk along digital transformation?

Because adapting to changes is tough! 

Echoing the same sentiment, a survey by Mckinsey reads that some 70% of change programs fail to achieve their goals mostly due to employees’ resistance or lack of management support. 

Digital transformation includes a significant change and the type of work the organization does. Making changes is kind of difficult. It becomes important for the organizations to have someone on board who is aware of the people’s mind and how they adapt to business models.

Major barriers faced by organizations in digital customer experience include:

  1. Limited Budget 
  2. Lack of (overall) digital strategy 
  3. Organizational structure
  4. Employee pushback/ resistance
How to Offer the Best Digital Customer Experience?

Here are the ways by which an organization can eliminate the obstacles and cuddle a digital native process of working out that allows them to deliver a class intuitive customer experience.

  • Know your Customers

There is no point in designing and constructing a digital platform if you are not aware of your audience. If you really want to understand customers needs and wants, then you have to connect and empathize with customers situations.  

You can begin with customer-facing teams and CRM software followed by social media monitoring to gain deeper and diverse understanding. This would provide a foundation to construct data-driven and customer-centric decisions. 

“The best way to connect with the customer is to empathize with their situation and needs.” 

The happier the customer is with you, the longer they stay connected. If the customers are being treated poorly and the feedbacks are being ignored, then there are chances that they would be less sustainable and engaging to the products you sell. This is the reason why organizations that deliver a superior customer service outperforms the ones which do not.

 

  • Being Data Driven 

A report by Aberdeen states that there are organizations which have implemented data-driven culture, and they have witnessed a seven percent annual increase in terms of revenues which they make in a year. 

“By implementing a data-driven culture, organizations can witness a 7% annual increase in revenue.”

The increase in the revenue has been conquered through the increase in the efficiency of the operational activities. 
 
83% of the organizations and businesses that have made the shift in data-driven culture have experienced an improvement in the time taken for one operational cycle to complete. 

“83% of businesses which switched to data-driven culture have experienced shorter operational cycles.”

Moreover, the shift in the time taken per cycle was coupled with the fact that organizations have implemented the data-driven model witnessed a reduction of 12% in the organizational costs.
 
Thus, by harnessing the power of data analysis, the organization can create a detailed plan for customer-focused marketing messages. Using data to make customer communication more personalized can lead to a mass-marketing campaign. 

“By implementing data driven culture, organizations have witnessed a 12% decrease in operational cost”

Dynamically tailoring the experience and needs of the customer or the audience can result in an increase in the online relating. Delivering a delightful personalized experience is now what every retailer must aim for. 

  • Integrating the data stack 

Doesn’t it sound exciting when I say that disparate data sources can be rolled up into one single tool? Simply put it there are tools that marketers can use to efficiently execute initiatives, across a number of channels at the same time. 

The list includes:

  • Social Media scheduling tools like Buffer and Hootsuite
  • Analytical tools like Kissmetrics and Google Analytics 
  • CRM software like Salesforce and HubSpot

Integrating these tools isn’t just pleasant when it comes to offering leading digital experiences, but it also constructs a consistency across the marketing stack. 

In the age of assistance, where the customers want brands to give them exactly what they desire for, leading marketers use integrated data and technologies to understand their audience. 

According to a recent study by the Association of National Advertisers, companies that spend the most on marketing technologies yield an average of 10 percent new revenue.  Integrating marketing and advertising stack provides the organizations with a better understanding of the customer. 

Intent signals for the shoppers that might be weak on their own become powerful when they are integrated. Things like search intent, videos viewed, and the content that is read across the web help the marketers engage and assist customers just at the moment they need.

  • Optimizing your digital assets 
Website is one of the most important assets in digital experience

This is the mantra which should be followed by every organization. Your website is literally a virtual storefront for the brand, and it has only a few seconds to mark a solid impression.

The digital marketing industry is rich with acronyms like SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing), SERPs  (search engine result page). Search engine marketing would have numerous changes. Those changes would include search engine algorithms, change in customer behavior, and evolvement of search channels.

With these changes come opportunities which are customer, market, and search driven. Optimization of digital assets would refer to the practice of taking inventory of the company’s marketable and digital assets and implementing a process of keywords for promoting relevant channels. 

The search done by end users tends to be more conversational in nature. Content creators and marketers are challenged to meet those demands through more robust asset optimization efforts without losing the essence of the organization. Each website has digital assets including web pages, images, videos, blog post etc. A digital asset optimization strategy identifies content in all these forms and formats and applies them to qualify what we call as “promotion”. 

Dedicating the time to design and understand the needs of the customer is the most effective way to win the race in digital transformation. 

  • Intuitive Graphical User Interface and the Web Property

Once you have identified your customer, it is important to recognize the barriers they face while engaging with your website or product.  
 
Users are becoming more experienced with the use of digital display and expect a splendid experience on the platform they choose. Providing the user with immediate visual feedback about each action, and allowing multiple programs to display simultaneously is the key for a better user experience
 
One of the major advantages of using minimalistic and easy graphics and icons is that it makes the system operation more intuitive, and easier to learn. 
 
Allowing the users to tweak elements on the screen using a mouse, stylus or even fingers, GUI lets them process words and web design program as an option for a better customer experience.
 

Simpler GUI can make the process more intuitive and user-friendly
How does Drupal Help in Constructing Strong Digital Customer Experience?

Since the release of Drupal 8 (in 2015), the CMS has opened a large variation of digital experience possibilities for millions of websites and applications. 

Focussing on the customer experience was the part of the idea. It is a high-quality open source content management system which not only provides strong digital customer experience but understands the website users to move from website to different devices. 

How? 

Let's read.

  • CRM Integration

A CRM software records the customer's information (phone number, email address, social media profile) to create a user persona and give an understanding of user choices to the organization. 

Drupal 8 supports the website creators to keep using their favorite marketing tools to stimulate customer interest and actions. With easy third-party integration, merging a CRM with your Drupal website is a seamless process.  

Even if Drupal is a content management system at the core, it is evolving into a web experience management system delivering quality content across a range of device and third-party system. 

  • Mobile Responsive 

This is a technological constraint era and our world has gone all innovative. The number of mobile web users is increasing with each passing day. According to the new 2018 Global Digital suite of reports from “We Are Social” more than 3 billion people around the world now use social media each month, with 9 out of 10 users accessing their chosen platform as mobile. 

It is important to make sure that the website is accessible for mobile users, and set campaigns and content targeted for the mobile users. 

Drupal caters to this need as it is mobile responsive and offers out-of-the-box mobile theme, building a strong platform for the organizations to bring a quality audience. 

One of the most inevitable advantages of choosing Drupal is that it works well for almost all devices including iPhone, iPad, Android, and even blackberry. With each improved version of Drupal, the focus is centered around a “Mobile first architecture”. So it meets even the future needs of the mobile experience.

 

  • Personalization

Web personalization indicates that on the basis of attributes like profile, behavior and the location of the internet users, the website creator should construct a dynamic and personalized content to provide the users with the relevant website experience.

Website personalization is the key to the effective user experience.

It becomes important for the websites to implement personalization, allowing them to customize and display content. 
Personalization is one of the most conventional features of Drupal 8, letting the website holder determine what a user is interested in, and based on the data collected, Drupal allows the user to create a good user experience and uphold the demands of the audience. Its services initiatives have streamlined the process of sharing meaningful information with external systems.

There is no limit as to which marketing tool the user can apply, as Drupal managed content can be turned standardized data sharing formats. 

  • Multilingual 

Customer support is the backbone of the business, and offering multilingual support has become increasingly important for the business and the organizations. 52.4% of online customers prefer to buy products in their native language (according to a report by Common Sense Advisory), and the percentage was higher in certain countries like Japan and France. 

What Next to Expect in Drupal?

DrupalCon Seattle 2019 will also focus on improving and evolving the needs of customers with sessions on Content and Digital Marketing.

The track would cover the sessions on overall customer experience and ways to improve it. Discussions around the role of CMS (and Drupal specifically) in the world where personalization, automation and customer experience would be the prime focus.

Whether you are using a Drupal-specific tool or integrating third-party marketing platforms, there are many critical things that will be discussed.  

To Wind Up

Understanding and measuring customer experience is the biggest challenge faced by organizations. Customer’s expectations are higher than ever and word of the mouth travel fast. As the customer becomes even more powerful with digital innovation, the importance of customer experience becomes more vital. It includes the identification of consumer brand interaction and the perception of the audience.

At  OpenSense Labs, we aim at improving your customer's journey by nurturing and taking care of the methods that entirely focuses on the experience. Contact us at hello@opensenselabs.com to discuss your customer strategies for higher retention and increased revenues.

blog banner blog image Drupal Drupal 8 Customer experience Digital Customer Experience Graphical User Interface Personalization Digital Customer Experience Trends Online Customer Experience Digital Customer Experience Strategy Blog Type Articles Is it a good read ? On
Categories: Drupal

Blue Drop Shop: I give you 600-plus Drupal talks. You’re Welcome!

19 November 2018 - 11:38am
I give you 600-plus Drupal talks. You’re Welcome! bds-admin Mon, 11/19/2018 - 13:38
Categories: Drupal

DrupalCon News: A First Look at DrupalCon Seattle’s Scholarship & Grant Recipients

19 November 2018 - 10:06am

We extend a hearty congratulations to our 10 scholarship and 12 grant recipients. A global team of community members were given the green light to award more funds than ever before, aiming to have a cross-section of contributors in attendance at DrupalCon Seattle 2019. As a result, we’re awarding aid to people from nearly every continent: six attendees from Europe, nine attendees from the Americas, two attendees from Africa, four attendees from South Asia, and one attendee from Australia.
 

Categories: Drupal

Appnovation Technologies: Acquia Engage Wrap-Up & Your Digital Strategy Roadmap for 2019

19 November 2018 - 6:18am
Acquia Engage Wrap-Up & Your Digital Strategy Roadmap for 2019 What an amazing week! Our team was in Austin for Acquia Engage, the digital transformation conference that brings together digital leaders and innovators to discuss the whys, whats and hows of delivering best-in-class customer experiences. This 3-day conference kicked off with a warm welcome reception, which provid...
Categories: Drupal

Dx Experts: Drupal 8 and GitLab CI setup guide

19 November 2018 - 2:14am
GitLab CI for Drupal 8 websites. We use a simple approach that applies any committed changes to your Drupal 8 website automatically
Categories: Drupal

OpenSense Labs: Drupal + JAMstack: A Paradigm Shift

18 November 2018 - 10:48pm
Drupal + JAMstack: A Paradigm Shift Shankar Mon, 11/19/2018 - 12:18

Delicious. Sweet. Yummy. You may taste the jam and say these words or just the thought of jars containing jam stacked together may propel you to blurt out these words. Talking about the stack, in the technological space, we no longer talk about operating systems, specific web servers, backend programming languages or databases. In the web development arena, we think of different sorts of development stacks like the LAMP stack, the MEAN stack etc. And there is a new kid in the block called JAMstack which is not about specific technologies but a new way of building websites and apps.


What is the concept behind JAMstack?

To build a web development project with the JAMstack, three integral criteria should be met namely:

  • JavaScript: It governs the dynamic programming during the request/response cycle running completely on the client (e.g. Vue.js, React.js etc.)
  • APIs: Abstraction of all the server-side processes or database actions into reusable APIs is done which are accessed over HTTPS with JS (e.g. Twilio, Stripe)
  • Markup: By leveraging a site generator for content sites or a build tool for web apps, templated markup must be prebuilt at deploy time (e.g. Gatsby.js, Webpack).
Benefits of JAMstack
  • High performance: When it comes to reducing the time to first byte, pre-built files served over Content Delivery Network (CDN) enhances web performance. You do not have to wait for the pages to build on the fly as JAMstack allows you to generate them at deploy time.
A high TTFB penalizes the Speed Index of a page
Source: DareBoost Blog
  • Robust Security: Abstraction of server-side processes into microservice APIs minimises the security threats. Also, the domain expertise of specialist third-party services can be utilised.
  • Better Scalability: CDNs are a great way of ensuring scalability when your deployment amounts to a stack of files that can be served anywhere.
  • Great developer experience: More targeted development and debugging can be done by the developers with loose coupling and separation of controls. Moreover, the need to administer a separate stack for content and marketing goes away with the expanding selection of CMS options for site generators.
Best practices
  • The entire site must be served on CDN. Rather than living on a single server, JAMstack projects can be distributed as they do not rely on server-side code.
  • Atomic deploys should be employed. This ensures that no alterations go live until all the changed files have been uploaded.
  • Governance of instant cache purges by CDN ensures that when a deploy goes live it really goes live.
  • Everything should dwell in Git. This minimises contributor friction and streamlines staging and testing workflows.
  • Utilise modern build tools like Babel, PostCSS, Webpack etc.
  • Automate markup builds. This is because JAMstack markup is prebuilt and content alterations won’t go live unless and until you run another build.
How is JAMstack different from other development stacks? Source: Memory Leak’s blog | Medium

Jamstack is an alternative to the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) and MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular and Node.js) stacks.

LAMP is used to build dynamic websites and web apps. In this, pages are reconstructed from a database on request instead of being held as flat documents ready for delivery. It is easy to add content and modify them. However, JAMstack delivers content at a much faster speed.

MEAN and LAMP are more similar to each other and are very different from JAMstack.

MEAN is also designed for building dynamic websites and apps. All the MEAN components are written in JavaScripts. The key difference is that MEAN still assembles pages from databases on request like LAMP. MEAN and LAMP are more similar to each other and are very different from JAMstack.

Source: Memory Leak’s blog | MediumImplementing JAMstack and Drupal together

Web development projects that rely on a tight coupling between client and server is not built with the JAMstack. This comprises of a site built with a server-side CMS like Drupal, a monolithic server-run web app relying on backend language and a single page app that is using isomorphic rendering for creating views on the server at runtime. So, how can Drupal and JAMstack work together?


In a session held at Bay Area Drupal Camp 2018, a demonstration showed a method of integration of Gatsby with Drupal. Gatsby is one of the leading JAMstack based static page generators. The demo showed that Gatsby is not a replacement for Drupal and Drupal would still control the content, site structure and how content is created. Whereas Gatsby would be governing little things like the public facing site.

Gatsby is not a replacement for Drupal and Drupal would still control the content

It talked about ‘Gatsby Drupal Kit’ which is under development stages that can help jumpstart Gatsby-Drupal integrations. It is designed to work with a minimal Drupal install as a jumping off point and provide a structure that can be elongated to a larger and complex site.

The demonstration focused on a base Drupal 8 site connected with Gatsby and the best practices for making Gatsby work for real sites in production. The emphasis was also on the sane patterns for translating Drupal’s structure into Gatsby components, templates, and pages.

Conclusion

Once you have fully understood the specific risks and put in place appropriate workflows, the JAMstack exhibits its share of opportunities. Creating a static site takes time and needs an architecture involving orchestration of several solutions. Today, it may seem intricate but so was your first dynamic site involving choosing a host, master FTP, juggling the web server logs and so on. With experience, JAMstack users would be more and more adept in leveraging its full potential.

OpenSense Labs has been making the digital transformation dreams come true for its partners with a suite of services.

Contact us at hello@opensenselabs.com to leverage JAMstack for Drupal sites.

blog banner blog image Drupal 8 Drupal JAMstack Gatsby JavaScript API Markup Web Performance Content Delivery Network CDN Blog Type Articles Is it a good read ? On
Categories: Drupal

Code Karate: Drupal 8 Configuration Read-only Module

18 November 2018 - 7:49pm
Episode Number: 219

The Drupal 8 Configuration Read-only module allows you to lock down some of your environments to prevent users from making configuration changes. This lets you use the Drupal 8 configuration management system to push up all your changes, while preventing you from changing any settings, content types, views, or any other configuration on your production website.

Tags: DevOpsDrupalContribDrupal 8Drupal PlanetDeployment
Categories: Drupal

Gbyte blog: Why you should be using the Simple XML sitemap 3.0 release candidate

18 November 2018 - 6:06am

The third major version of simple_sitemap has been seven months in the making. The module has been rewritten from the ground up and now features a more reliable generation process, a significantly more versatile API and many new functionalities.

Major new features Ability to create any type of sitemap via plugins

The 8.x-3.x release allows not only to customize the URL generation through URL generator plugins as 2.x did, but also creating custom sitemap types that mix and match a sitemap generator along with several URL generators to create any type of sitemap.

This 3-plugin system coupled with the new concept of sitemap variants makes it possible to run several types of sitemaps on a single Drupal instance. Now e.g a Google news sitemap can coexist with your hreflang sitemap.

A sitemap variant can but does not need to be coupled to entity types/bundles. When creating a sitemap generator, one can define where the content source is located and what to do with it upon sitemap generation/deletion.

Ability to create sitemap variants of various sitemap types via UI

In 3.x links form a specific entity bundle can be indexed in a specific sitemap variant with its own URL. This means, that apart from /sitemap.xml, there can be e.g

  • /products/sitemap.xml,
  • /files/sitemap.xml or
  • /news/sitemap.xml.

All of these can be completely different sitemap types linking to Drupal entities, external resources. or both. They could also be indexing other sitemaps. The name, label and weight of each variant can also be set in the UI.

Categories: Drupal

Jeff Geerling's Blog: Real World DevOps

17 November 2018 - 1:07pm

This blog post contains a written transcript of my NEDCamp 2018 keynote, Real World DevOps, edited to match the style of this blog. Accompanying resources: presentation slides, video (coming soon).

I'm Jeff Geerling; you probably know that because my name appears in huge letters at the top of every page on this site, including the post you're reading right now. I currently work at Acquia as a Senior Technical Architect, building hosting infrastructure projects using some buzzword-worthy tech like Kubernetes, AWS, and Cloud.

Categories: Drupal

DrupalEasy: New book: Local Web Development with DDEV Explained

17 November 2018 - 11:01am

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Drud Technology's DDEV-Local web development tool. I selected it as my local development tool of choice for both my clients and my Drupal Career Online students after an exhaustive search. I've been teaching monthly 2-hour online workshops getting folks up-and-running with DDEV, and I've taught numerous full day "Getting started with DDEV" workshops at various Drupal events around the United States.

Since I've been writing, testing, and refining curriculum related to DDEV for well over a year now, it made sense to take everything I've learned and put it in a format that makes it available to even more folks looking to easily adopt a professional local development environment. I'm super-happy to announce that the book is now available for purchase on amazon.com at a price designed to get it into as many hands as possible - just $5.99 for a digital copy and $9.99 for the dead tree edition.

This first book, Local Web Development with DDEV Explained, is the result of a partnership wtih Steve Burge and the rest of the fine folks at OSTraining, which is the publisher. They've allowed me to retain full control of the book while at the same time tapping into OSTraining's extensive experience in publishing and marketing books related to open source content management systems. 

The book covers the full range of topics related to local web development and DDEV. Topics covered include:

  • Why a professional local development environment is important.
  • What a professional local development workflow looks like.
  • Installing DDEV on Mac OS X, Windows 10, and Ubuntu.
  • Step-by-step example of starting a new Drupal 8 project with Composer and DDEV.
  • Step-by-step example of getting an existing Drupal project up-and-running with DDEV.
  • Adding a Solr container.
  • Common workflows using DDEV.
  • Extending DDEV with hooks.
  • Using Xdebug with DDEV and PhpStorm.

The bulk of the book's content is straight from my training curriculum, so you can be sure that it is tried-and-true, and, as always, reflects only best practices. My goal is always to teach the right way to accomplish a task - no hacks or shortcuts.

My goal is to update the book several times per year, with a list of topics for the first revision already growing. I'll be starting on it in the next few days! By purchasing a digital copy, you'll automatically get updates to the book as they're released. 

Categories: Drupal

aleksip.net: Drupal’s Layout Initiative and component-based theming

17 November 2018 - 9:52am
A quick overview of some things happening with Drupal’s Layout Initiative from the perspective of component-based theming, a theme development approach that has been gaining popularity in the past few years.
Categories: Drupal

Sooper Drupal Themes: Out Now: New Profile Feature, Automatic Product Installation & More!

16 November 2018 - 10:27am

We are more than happy to announce that November brings new long-awaited updates and features to the Sooperthemes products! In this September's Sneak Peek blog post we talked about introducing an interface for site administrators to create user profiles that limit elements, buttons and CKEditor toolbar items a user sees in the Glazed Builder interface. This feature is now LIVE and ready-to-use. Moreover, new documentation is available and can be found on our Help Center page. Last but not least - Automatic Product Installation is back in business!

Glazed Builder User Profiles

Take content authoring one step further with the new User Profiles feature. Site administrators can now limit what users with specific Drupal roles get to see in the Glazed Builder Interface. Profiles give you total control over who has access to specific Glazed Builder elements, Drupal blocks, views display and CKEditor buttons. We made profiles into configuration entities, therefore they are also exportable in both Drupal 8 and Drupal 7 - this could be achieved by using the feature module. 
To set up a new Glazed Builder Profile go to Configuration>Content Authoring on your Drupal administration panel and select Glazed Builder.  By clicking "+Add Glazed Builder Profile" button  we are now able to configure a new User Profile based on: Roles, Glazed elements, Drupal blocks, Views, CKEditor buttons (inline & modal editing).

Help Center: New Documentation

We are continuously working towards making Sooperthemes products easy and convenient to use. On our Documentation page you are going to find 30 new tutorials explaining how every Glazed Builder element works. In the near future, short explanation videos are going to be added to each docs page. Longer video tutorials with the focus on how to build complete Drupal websites with Sooperthemes' products are on their way to our YouTube channel as well! 

Automatic Product Installation

Our free installation service has been refactored to be compatible with Drupal 8 and is now back online! You can install complete Sooperthemes demo websites on your a2hosting or other SSH/Drush capable web-server. All you have to do is head over to Automatic Hosting Installation Service page, and choose:

  1. The Drupal version you want to install (Drupal 8 or Drupal 7)
  2. The Glazed Demo of your choice
  3. Fill in the form for your automatic webhosting installation
  4. Grab a tea or coffee and watch your website come to life in under 5 minutes
Bug Fixes and Improvements

We listen to our customers and actively seek out advice on how we can improve the experience with Sooperthemes products. Thanks to your input on Sooperthemes Support Forum we were able to fix several issues that some users might have encountered. Also expanded the features for some Glazed Builder elements.
Bug fixes:

  • Fixed a bug where mobile automatic playback for full screen videos wouldn't work properly
  • Better Pantheon hosting: fixed an issue where images wouldn't load properly on Pantheon dev environment
  • Fixed an issue where a "Data you have entered may not be saved" error would appear when leaving a Saved page
  • Fixed an issue where a section with a video background disappears on small screens

Improvements:

  • Added additional options to the background video player for disabling playback on mobile devices
  • Added additional options to the background video player for showing player controls
  • Added a new option for aligning breadcrumbs
  • Added an option to "not play video on mobile"
  • Added an option for adding styles to Glazed Builder text editor

For more details on the latest update check out the CHANGLOGS:

Glazed Builder CHANGELOG

Glazed Theme CHANGELOG

Categories: Drupal

OpenSense Labs: Essential Drupal Modules for an E-learning Platform

16 November 2018 - 5:17am
Essential Drupal Modules for an E-learning Platform Shankar Fri, 11/16/2018 - 18:47

From the vantage point of a school, some of the features that prove its greatness are a library with a superabundance of books, science laboratory with advanced scientific instruments, projection with 3D technology and so on. Today, where almost everything is happening through the internet, the education sector is not left far behind. E-learning platforms have taken the world by storm with its unprecedented provisions of online learning. And E-learning platforms need great features as well to be able to disseminate knowledge across multiple channels efficaciously.


A lot of significant features can spring up in your mind that you think should be in an e-learning platform. It can be tons of courses on a plenitude of subjects for the learners. Or it can be digital certifications that can be provided for a successful completion of a course. Drupal comes with some amazing set of modules to essential features of an e-learning platform. Let’s look at some of the important features and see how Drupal has the answer for that.

Courses

Modern learners are infatuated with the notion of getting a top-quality education and love to choose from an extensive list of courses on an e-learning platform. Some of the Drupal modules that can be helpful in creating courses include:

Course module lets you build e-learning courses with any number of tracked requirements for completion. It allows any content type to be used as an e-learning course comprising of graded or ungraded course subjects. It offers course object API for defining learning objects that can be added to a workflow.

For assigning and mapping credit types to learner profiles and courses, Course Credit module is useful. On successful completion of an activity, online learners will be able to receive or claim credit for which they are eligible. 

To expose Course module as a Course object, Course relationships module is effective which allows parent courses to include sub-courses. It can grant access to sub-courses by enrolling into or purchasing a parent course.

Quiz

Through online tests and quizzes, an instructor can track the progress of students and analyse the effectiveness of the curriculum. Simultaneously, it paves the way for the students to track their own progress and improve their skills accordingly.

Quiz module allows you to build graded analytics in Drupal where a quiz is given as a series of question and the answers are, then, stored in the database. During or after the quiz, the scores and results are displayed. Administrators can also provide automatic or manual feedback. This module can be leveraged as an object in a larger Learning Management System (LMS) or a supplemental classroom activity.

Certification

Skills and certification tracking is one of the important features of an e-learning platform.

Certificate module helps in creating and awarding PDF certificates with the help of tokenised HTML templates. It provides the interface for governing custom certificate templates and mappings and allows integration with Wysiwig for rich certificates.

Open badges, which are digital images are used to recognise an individual’s skills and achievements, can be created with Drupal. Open digital badging module helps in providing a Mozilla OBI compliant badge empowered by the learning system.

To create badges earned by students on their successful completion of a course or a class, Opigno Mozilla Open Badges App module lets you integrate Opigno LMS with Mozilla Open Badges. In this, badges will be exhibited in the user profile and can be automatically synchronised with Mozilla Backpack.

Social learning/ Message boards

E-learning platforms should allow students to learn from one another

Modules like Opigno Messaging and Opigno Forum, which are related to Opigno LMS distribution, govern the private messaging feature to let users share messages between them. It allows you to select a list of recipients and start a discussion thread with the selected users. It is worth noting that these modules are not covered by Drupal’s security advisory policy.

Social Login and Social Share modules eliminate the need of creating a username and password by allowing you to log in using the social network sites and helps in sharing the content with your network.

Consistent instructor presence

The role of the instructor is significant in e-learning as he or she is instrumental in encouraging and inspiring the students.

Opigno instructor-led training module helps in implementing instructor-led training (ILT) entity. It can be added to learning paths in combination with online modules and virtual classrooms. ILT sessions let you register attendance of users and provide them with a grade. These sessions can be made mandatory in the learning path and are automatically added to the user’s calendar. Also, note that this module is not covered by Drupal’s security advisory policy.

A well-designed LMS

A streamlined and a well-designed LMS means that it should be easy to navigate, well-organised, and must contain high-quality content.

The LTI Tool Provider module allows a Drupal site to act as a Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) Tool in any LMS that supports the LTI standard. LTI compliant LMSs include Angel, Blackboard Learn, Moodle, and Sakai. Please note that this module is not covered by Drupal’s security advisory policy.

Kaltura module helps in integrating the Kaltura video platform capabilities into Drupal thereby allowing you to instantly enrich your Drupal site with video, audio, and images.

Chamilo integration module allows integration of Drupal with Chamilo LMS by offering ways to see Chamilo resources into Drupal blocks.

Would love to have a starter kit for building the LMS? Open LMS distribution, which is developed and actively maintained by OpenSense Labs, is a learning management system based on Drupal 8 that comes with robust features.

Open LMS offers numerous kinds of content type like textual study material, video lectures, documents that can be utilised as a course material for students. Also, it lets you add H5P, HTML5 based interactive video content type, to the course.

Moreover, it provides a quiz and subjective test functionality, assignment functionality powered by Webforms, and calendar functionality to schedule courses. Please note that Open LMS is not covered by Drupal’s security advisory policy.

Conclusion

E-learning platforms have changed the landscape of education. And Drupal as an open source software and a robust content store helps in innovatively build an efficient e-learning platform.

Some of the significant features have been discussed in this blog post that is fulfilled by Drupal’s incredible set of modules. OpenSense Labs has been powering digital experience dreams of its partners with its expertise in Drupal development.

Contact us at hello@opensenselabs.com to build a great e-learning platform with Drupal.
 

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Categories: Drupal

OSTraining: How to Use Google Webfonts in Your Drupal 8 Site

16 November 2018 - 1:11am

Although Drupal has reputation for being a developers' platform, lots of user rely on Drupal's admin area for key tasks.

For typography in Drupal sites, the best way to change your site's fonts via the admin is a module called @font-your-face

The @font-your-face module allows you to work with webfonts like Google Fonts or Font Squirrel. It also provides the ability to work with paid font services like Typekit or fonts.com.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to configure and use this module in Drupal 8.

Categories: Drupal

OpenSense Labs: Drupal-Healthcare: Things to Look for in Your Vendor

16 November 2018 - 1:01am
Drupal-Healthcare: Things to Look for in Your Vendor Vasundhra Fri, 11/16/2018 - 14:31

When the whole world works on the simple facet of fellowship how can the healthcare industry not constitute to the same concept? 

Development and marketing collaborations between the healthcare organizations and web development agencies can be mutually beneficial. Whether your healthcare organization is built on Drupal or if you are looking for redesign and new prospects with Drupal, there are a number of things that have to be kept in mind, and if the main agenda is to collaborate, a series of questions have to be answered.


What is it about Drupal that makes leading healthcare organizations chose this platform? How has Drupal evolved to help healthcare organizations serve better to their patients? 

Reasons Why the Healthcare Industry Should Choose Drupal 
  • Web Accessibility 

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 commands that all the websites should be accessible to everyone regardless of their age, ability, or a combination of technology and ability. With the release of Drupal 7, the Drupal community is committed to providing universal accessibility not just for the end users but for the developers too. 

Web accessibility is the comprehensive practice of guaranteeing interaction with, or access to the web, for all the people irrespective of their abilities.

Flexible and fully customizable theming, and features make it possible for Drupal sites to meet WCAG accessibility and section 508 requirement. Some of the web accessibility features may include:

  • The provision of HTML5, which provides new and better semantic components that tell the browser and assistive technologies about the type of content coming forward, and how the complementary information provided (HTML) is related to the content.
     
  • The provision of “Drupal.announce()”, a method which helps the pages update in a non-visual manner. 
     
  • Without breaking the tab order in local navigation flow, Drupal directs non-visual and non-mouse users to access prime element on the page in a logical order. With its tabbing manager, Drupal defines tab orders explicitly for keyboard users. 
     
  • Other Drupal web accessibility modules such as text resize, style switcher, alt text, CKEditor abbreviation, high contrast, it makes it easy to make a universal user-friendly website. 
     
  • Drupal also uses fieldsets which give a visual diagram around the field gathering. It breaks the form into subsections, making it easier to understand for visually impaired people.

The Drupal accessibility handbook and theming guidelines ensure that the Drupal themers are well aware of the best practices while they are building their website. themes

  • Third-Party Integration

The ability of Drupal to integrate with third-party applications is the primary building block of generating a robust functional system. Making the task easy for developers, seamless third-party integration allows a bonus for marketing strategic stand too. 

Integrating Drupal with an EHR system 

The Electronic Health Record (EHR) system is steadily gaining its ground in the healthcare industry. Used for electronically storing up data of the patients in the digital format it offers a completely new level of playing field for both the patients and providers. 

Bestowing the physicians with faster access to the medical records, EHR avoids errors and minimizes the cost which is associated with paperwork. 

Drupal, when integrated with an EHR keeps the data protected at all times and prevents duplicacy of the content, while still permitting the user to interact with the view and input the information which is necessary for the role.

It securely shares the information with patients and other clinicians assisting providers more efficiently diagnose patients, reduce medical errors, and provide safer care

Some of the most adopted EHR systems in use that can be integrated with Drupal are NueMD e-MD, PHI etc.  

 

  • Mobile first design 

Around 61.2% of the worldwide population is indulged in the use of a smartphone, and in such an innovative environment the manipulation of mobile compatible websites is hard to ignore upon. 

Incorporated with mobile friendly themes which is suitable for any screen size, Drupal works well for almost all devices which include iPhone, iPad, Android, and even blackberry. There is no doubt that having a medical based mobile website armed with all relevant information to target a diverse group of people and partners is a profitable mechanism for every medical organization. 

Drupal makes it easy for users to have a better mobile experience on healthcare websites. The mobile first designs let them set up online profiles, helps them in maintaining records, and other medical practices. 

  • Security 

According to HIPAA Journal, there have been about 2,181 healthcare data breaches (2009-2017) involving more than 500 records. 


Healthcare industry is massively reliant on technology these days, not just the hardware to cure illnesses, but also when it narrows down to send, retrieve, and store data. 

Drupal’s lockdown security and publishing of detailed security reports have been a major shield to the organizations. With the evolution in the Drupal system, the platform has conquered a huge reputation for its security and robust performance. Hospital websites store an ample number of data, records, reports, digital assets in their database. 

The modules and extensions are provided with a layer of extra security to the website, marking Drupal a highly secure CMS.  

Not only this, but Drupal also contributes to resolving security issues that are supported by the security advisor. It also offers help for contributing module maintainers in fixing security issues. 

  • Multilingual feature 

With medical tourism getting popular and healthcare technology advancing sparingly forcing people to look for better medical assistance across various parts of the globe. It is not uncommon to encounter patients who speak a language other than English.

To expand the access to people across the globe in healthcare,  Drupal grants 4 easy modules to translate the website into more than 94 languages providing healthcare websites a better scope of communication with the patients. It is also easy to build a custom language not available in Drupal. 

  • Better user experience and engagement 

Medical healthcare websites are often used by people in distress. And if operations, like finding the right health care provider, or finding medical records, and paying bills, should be tough and unintuitive, it would leave people more frustrated. 

In fact, Google tells us that website speed has a great impact on how people perceive it. Therefore engagement through media features and at the same time uninterrupted communication online with faster loading is important. 

With an excellent array of modules, Drupal 8 has to be the right choice for creating an engaging user-friendly website in the healthcare sector. Over the past few years, Drupal has evolved to be more flexible and better for technical as well as non-technical users, presenting a customizable administration dashboard and responsive web designs. 

Drupal lets the user personalize the website in a way they desire. Acquia Lift Connector, Drupal module, offers integration with the Acquia Lift service with an improved user experience for personalisation

Important Factors to Look for in a Drupal Partner 

Now that organizations have started using Drupal as their CMS to revamp or build their organization’s website, the next step would involve choosing up of Drupal vendors. 

Every Drupal vendor is different and posses a unique set of skills, thus choosing the right partner makes it important. This can be done by checking some vital factors which can include:

Important factors

Points to remember

Skillset

  • The organization has enough experience and capabilities to manage projects of healthcare

  • Experience with diverse business verticals to prove its worth.

Reputation

Monitoring and Processing

  • Ask for case studies for its previous clients.

  • Look out for the credentials of the technical team.

Verifying about the site performance

  • Enquire about the development plan and ways to improve it

  • Check their knowledge on best practices. 

Maintenance and technical support

  • Robust customer support service for regular updates and maintenance services. 

 

Things to Remember Before Choosing a Drupal Partner 
  1. Do they have the right amount of healthcare experience?

    Every healthcare marketing agency has creative resources available in their vanity, but only an experienced partner adds up to the plans, solutions and original thinking. 

    Thus, no matter if the firm has beaten up with high-quality challenges or low-key struggles, every potential partner should have capabilities of providing solutions, and it can only be done when that potential partner has knowledge and experience of solving the health-related travails.

    Patients expect a very specific functionality in the health website, from providing directories to patients reports, it becomes really important to find a partner that is able to build modules and timely update them. 

    Not only this but healthcare organization are apprehended to follow HIPAA compliance guidelines which protect individuals' medical records and other personal health information. The healthcare industries can’t afford to take risks when it comes to HIPAA and PCI compliance

    One wrong or missed encryption and the company's reputation is put under the radar. Which is not only bad for the branding but also violates the rules. Therefore, demanding experience to be an important factor. 
     
  2. Do they have an adequate content strategy?

    Content strategy is important to all the healthcare websites. It is important to team up with the partner that would help you to organize your site in a way that clearly reflects the main objectives of the visitors. 

    There is a need of a  partner with an agency that will help to organize the site content in a manner that is clearly reflected on the visitor’s objectives, and build out the information architecture in Drupal. 

    Drupal’s content model can be complicated if the user is not familiar with the platform. If you operate with an experienced strategist that would help you to see the long-term vision before you start adding content into Drupal, it will help in the long run. 
     
  3. Do the goals and services match?

    A true healthcare organization partners should deliver greater cerebral and inventive values. Which includes the delivery and projection of the agendas. How to conquer it? 

    Have a serious talk about money management.  

    Many firms work on a plan to meet or exceed the possible budget. However, a partner minded organization has a cost-effective way of meeting or exceeding goals. The aim is to construct a strong measure of results, outcomes, and high return-on-investment. 
     
  4. Do they have a plan for performance measurement?

    Every organization would have projects with a certain goal. Here, it becomes an important factor for you to know how does your potential partner measure the scale of performance towards that goal?

    Benchmarking is the term which is used to compare the current performance and the overall standard. Every Drupal based agency measures and quantifies the results based on the - manual page. It describes various methods to measure the performance of the web server, allowing you to witness the performance and even improve it for the future.

    Performance measurement can also be analyzed with the help of Performance Bucket model. This model helps in making the detect-triage-diagnose process more efficient.

    Applications insights is a service that lets the developers monitor the performance, availability, and usage of the entire applications. It becomes an essential part of the application lifecycle.

    As mentioned above, a user tends to abandon a website if it doesn’t load after 3 seconds, and when it comes to healthcare websites, loading time becomes an important factor. Having a predefined performance budget would allow you to enforce better results.

    Your long-term potential partner should be induced by a good design team and development cycles which would help in maintaining the value limits that takes care of the website performance. Performance Budget is one such design and development which would help the user to establish and maintain the culture of an organization, helping them to deliver a smooth.
     
  5. Long-term partnership

    It is true that Drupal healthcare websites are quite amazing but on the other hand, they are big and complex. Thus, make sure that you pick an organization that would be there to support you even after the procedure of website-went-live is done. A long-term partner is needed if the custom modules built on the website requires regular updates and security patches. 
     
  6. What methodologies and tools do they use to manage their project?

    Drupal has several modules several distribution and modules developed to perform several project management functions. A clearer idea on which methodology is right for what project contributes to the desired goals in the end. There are several project management frameworks which should be used by an organization to build a successful project. Agile frameworks like:
     
    • JIRA
    • Scrum
    • Kanban
    • Scrumban
Case study for PMG

Produce Market Guide is a product of a Farm Journal which shares information on fresh fruits and vegetables. The advanced search feature on the website was slow, which resulted in a poor user experience. 

To fulfill the needs and the standards of loading time, the site was mapped and decoupled with the Elastic search. The new website now is a lot user-friendly with search application and better loading result. Because of the third party integration like Kibana and Logstash, the admin can now track the user behavior and personalize the user experience. The project was completed within a month which followed the principles of SCRUM and AGILE with team fluidly arranging the needs accordingly. 

Future of Healthcare Marketers using Drupal 

As an organization, the requirements are bound to change from time to time and using a single vendor or a specific partner can sometimes be the hindrance. This is a common scenario in healthcare industries. Fortunately Drupal makes a lot of things easy for healthcare marketers or organizations.

It prevents everyone from getting caught up with a single vendor

Drupal exponential growth in the healthcare industry has been rapidly increasing. With the healthcare industry in the third position of top 10 industries using Drupal, it continues to grow mature. 

High profile hospitals like C.S Mott Children’s Hospital, Duke medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Northwest medicine etc has further elevated Drupal’s profile. It’s these types of reputed organizations with a progressive digital team which tells us that Drupal has a bright future in the healthcare sector. 

Conclusion

The Drupal platform is an open source CMS, there are many agencies around the country that have developers familiar with Drupal. Having developers who are familiar with Drupal isn’t the same as having a team that understands the inherent complexity of healthcare websites. 
 
OpenSense Labs believes in providing the best Drupal partnership for you. Contact us at hello@opensenselabs.com for a rich and conducive partnership.

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Categories: Drupal

Acquia Developer Center Blog: BLT and DDEV -- Together!

16 November 2018 - 12:22am

BLT (Build and Launch Tool) provides an automation layer for testing, building, and launching Drupal 8 applications. It is the default recommended tool used by Acquia Professional Services.

We use BLT in Professional Services to sync databases, manage configurations, create artifacts for deployments, and tons of other things that -- most of the time -- save us time. If you have not tested it yet I’d recommend you to have a look: https://github.com/acquia/blt

DDEV, on the other hand, is a Docker-based, open source tool that helps you to quickly spin up a (local) environment in applications like Wordpress; Drupal 6, 7 and 8; Backdrop, and Typo3. Have a look at https://github.com/drud/ddev

Tags: acquia drupal planet
Categories: Drupal

Redfin Solutions: Progressive Decoupling: A React App in Drupal

15 November 2018 - 8:51am
Progressive Decoupling: A React App in Drupal

It's almost time for NEDCamp, and I can't wait!

Redfin will be presenting a session there on our toe-dipping foray into the world of "progressively decoupling" Drupal.

Recently, I was on an episode of Talking Drupal to explore a little bit more about React and Drupal together--this shoudl whet your appetite for the session at NEDCamp. Give it a listen!

Chris November 15, 2018
Categories: Drupal

Kanopi Studios: Drupal 9 is Coming, Part 2: Choosing to Stay on Drupal 7 For Now

15 November 2018 - 8:41am

This is Part 2 of a three part series about choices you can make with the news of Drupal 9’s release. Part 1 is an overview. Part 2 is what to do if you choose to stay on Drupal 7. Part 3 is what to do it you choose to upgrade to Drupal 8. 

With the recent news of the release date of Drupal 9, and that Drupal 7 & 8 will be end of life Nov 1, 2021, our Director of Engineering Kat White wrote Part 1 of a blog post series with an overview of how you should next approach your Drupal site . . . is it best to stay on Drupal 7? Or should I upgrade now to Drupal 8?

In that article, Kat outlined the pros and cons of going from D7 to D9, or upgrading now to D8.

In Part 2 of this series, let’s assume you’ve decided to stay on Drupal 7 for now. What next?

The average lifetime of a website is three years. So if you have had your Drupal 7 site for a three years, hurrah! You’ve done well with your return on that investment. And Drupal 7 is robust and supported enough that there’s still a lot of growth and life in your site. So unless there’s a specific module or item that only D8 can offer, you can feel confident that your D7 site will be solid for a few more years.

But this also means you have about two years to maintain that D7 site: in Fall of 2020, you’ll need to start prepping for that Drupal 9 upgrade (or — gasp! — switching to another CMS). This also buys you two years to secure funding, and get all the stakeholders on the same page for the next upgrade.

So here are some of the incremental bites we recommend you take over the next two years of maintenance:

    • Review your website strategy: assuming you built your site a few years ago around business goals, how is the site working towards those goals? Have your goals shifted? Does your site still achieve your mission? It’s always good to revisit your strategy to ensure any changes you make are on the right path.
    • Always audit your content: Content has a way of getting out of control quickly if there are multiple editors and the lines of governance get blurred. Archive or delete unnecessary content. Also review it for your authority voice and mobile strategy.
    • Review your SEO: In addition to keywords, make sure your content is mobile-focused, that your URL structures are meaningful, and schemas are used to describe the content of a page.
    • Code Quality: How clean are your code standards? Are the styles that drive the look and feel of the site well-structured and easy to extend? Is there good documentation? Completing a code audit would be smart to make sure your code is as quality as possible and fits your goals.  
    • Optimize your user experience: There are many tweaks that can be made to a site to make sure users are finding things. Can you run a usability test on a red button vs a blue one? How about using heatmap software to see where users are clicking and scrolling, and tweaking accordingly? Between surveys, interviews with users, looking at analytics, and testing, you can constantly improve the user experience of your site.  

If you’re a more visual person, I gave a talk at BADCamp just last month about going from D7 to D9 if you prefer video.

And if you need extra help with nurturing and growing your existing D7 site, we can help. Kanopi Studios has a dedicated Support Team that currently maintains over 75 Drupal 7 sites, and will be taking on new Drupal 7 support clients at anytime. Additionally, we will be an official long-term Drupal 7 support provider once the application on Drupal.org is available.

If you want help or want to talk through anything do with your Drupal 7 site, please call Anne directly at 1-888-606-7339 or contact us online.

 

The post Drupal 9 is Coming, Part 2: Choosing to Stay on Drupal 7 For Now appeared first on Kanopi Studios.

Categories: Drupal

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