Esoteric Gaming Jargon

Gnome Stew - 10 August 2018 - 5:00am

In our hobby and industry, there are quite a few terms of jargon tossed about. Not all of them are specific or unique to tabletop gaming, but for enough of them we gamers have our own definitions. Someone new to RPGs might need a little guidance on understanding what we’re saying when we drop some of these terms.

About ten years ago, Walt put together an RPG glossary here on Gnome Stew. This list is by no means a replacement, but, rather, an appendix to his wonderful and in-depth article. I’m not going to cover the basics like GM, PC, NPC, etc.. Walt’s glossary does a wonderful job of this already.

This post will be a little long in the tooth because of the number of terms I’m going to lay down on you, so I’m just going to jump in the list. Also, I tried to group the definitions together in a way that made sense instead of alphabetically.

Grognard – French for “grumbler.” An old soldier. I suppose grumbler and old soldier can be synonymous. In the RPG world, we use it to describe folks who enjoy older RPGs as opposed to the newer selections.

Newb/Newbie/N00b – A newcomer to the hobby. Can be applied to pretty much any hobby or profession. Usually used in derogatory terms, so be careful with this one.

RAW – Acronym: Rules As Written; Some groups will run a game RAW. This especially applies to organized play, so that all players and the GM are on the same page as far as rules go.

RAI – Acronym: Rules As Intended; This occurs when different people or groups interpret the written rules in different ways. This can come from ambiguous wording in a rule, or a shift from RAW due to personal preference.

House Rules – House rules are used to alter the RAW language to adapt the game to personal play styles, personal preferences, to adjust for shortcomings in the rules, or to overcome serious flaws in an otherwise playable game system.

Homebrew – A homebrew RPG can apply to both worlds and rules. With worlds, the GM will run in a setting they have come up with themselves (or within a group effort). With rules, the GM is running a set of rules that they (or a group) have come up with. In many cases, homebrew worlds and systems never see the light of day outside the immediate gaming group immersed in the worlds/rules.

Organized Play – This is where a character is not part of an ongoing campaign, but the player controlling the character moves from adventure to adventure and levels up according to proscribed meta-rules. Some examples of organized play are Pathfinder Society, D&D’s Adventurers’ League, and RPGA’s “living campaigns.”

THAC0 – Acronym: To Hit Armor Class Zero; This method of determining if someone hits a target with an attack has fallen out of favor because of the difficulty of the math involved. THAC0 has its roots in the wargaming systems Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson played and used as a basis for the original D&D system in the 1970s and continued to be found in mainstream gaming until D&D 3.0 was released. It can still be found, sometimes with variations, in some modern games.

Metagame – The information outside the game that involves the game. This is generally player knowledge that is outside what their character knows. An example of this would be the knows that trolls (in D&D) can’t regenerate fire or acid damage, so they throw oil on the troll and light it up, even if their character has no way of knowing this tactic at the time.

Monty Haul – A style of gaming or campaigning where the GM loads up the PCs with treasure, magic, experience points, and other loot even if it’s not fully earned. This is named after “Monty Hall” from the “Let’s Make A Deal” TV show.

Hack ‘n’ Slash – A style of gaming where the players are basically playing a tactical simulation against the monsters the GM throws at them. The whole point of the game is to Munchkin a character to become the most effective killing machine possible to slay as many monsters as possible.

Min/Maxing – This concept is where a player will completely cripple (or minimize or min) one or more aspects of his or her character in order to trade off for additional powers in areas where they want to be supreme (or maximize or max).

Munchkin – A player who must “win” the game at all costs. This can be a power gamer, a min/maxer, a cheater, or someone who will memorize every bestiary, every spell, and every rule in order to metagame the process of playing to gain an advantage.

Power Gaming – A player that, within the rules provided, will find a way to create the strongest and most capable character possible. This is a slight difference from Min/Maxing in that most power gamers will do everything they can to avoid having any weaknesses that are exploitable by the GM during the course of the game.

On The Fly GM – A GM that changes the direction of the campaign or storyline because players’ ideas are better than the GM’s.

Anonymous NPC – These are NPCs who have no names. They typically are the barkeeps, shop owners, messengers, etc. who the PCs interact with in a transactional manner, but not in a way that changes the direction of the story.

Named NPC – Named NPCs are people in the world under control of the GM who have a name. These tend to be folks who alter the course of the story, plant new story seeds, are targets of quests, or obstacles to overcome.

Mook/Minion – These are synonymous with Anonymous NPCs in that they aren’t important to the storyline. However, they do pose an obstacle the PCs must work together in order to overcome. Mooks typically work for a Boss or BBEG.

Boss/BBEG – BBEGs are the Big Bad Evil Guy/Gal of a campaign or story arc. They control mooks, set their own plots into action, have goals and motivations, typically have a back story, and consider themselves to be the hero of their own story. Generally, when the BBEG is taken down, the world changes, the story arc concludes, and, unless a fresh BBEG is presented, the campaign might roll to a close.

GMPC – Acronym: Game Master Player Character; A GMPC is a fully-fledged character controlled by the GM, is an equal member of the party, collects loot and experience points, and travels with the rest of the party. The GMPC is generally protected by plot armor, and tends to be more of an annoyance to the players than any benefit. Temporary GMPCs (such as an experienced guide or bodyguard) can work well in games, but generally not for the long term.

Plot Armor – This occurs when a single character has become so vital to the continuation of the storyline or campaign arc that the GM cannot afford to kill the character off. The plot itself has become “armor” or immunity from death for the character.

Railroading – A style of running the game in which the players’ decisions have limited impact on the story arc that is being told. This can work well in one-shots or convention games due to the limited scope and time involved, but long-term railroading can lead to player dissatisfaction.

Sandbox – A style of running the game in which no predefined story arc exists. The GM may prepare encounters, locations, treasure, and other vital items to the game beforehand, but when the GM sits down at the table he or she may not have a true idea of what will happen next because the world (or local area) is laid out in front of the players for them to pick a direction.

Fail Forward – This is a style of running the game in which failure to overcome an obstacle will not stall or stop the progress of the story being told. It will certainly alter the story and will generally produce some sort of interesting consequence while allowing the obstacle to be overcome, avoided, destroyed, or somehow mitigated.

Dungeon Crawl – A style of game in which the PCs make their way through a dungeon (usually one of large scope or a “megadungeon”) during the course of the campaign. They might retreat to the entrance (if possible), return to the handy village that is nearby, and resupply at the Anonymous NPCs’ shops. However, the bulk of the gaming is done within the confines of a dungeon.

The Three Pillars – A concept in which RPGs are described as being part exploration, part social interaction, and part combat. These three parts make up the three pillars holding up RPGs.

Session Zero – A session in which the GM and players get together to define a social contract, pick a game, generate characters (and potentially a world/setting), agree upon a theme and style of play, and generally kick off the start of a campaign.

Rule Zero – A understood concept in which the GM has final say on any ruling, despite what a rulebook may say. This is where many house rules are generated when a GM is consistent in implementing rule zero.

Crunch – The hard and fast rules, numbers, tables, charts, and other artifacts of the game that can be rigidly defined or understood.

Fluff – The descriptive text of a rulebook or setting book in which the ambiance, style, themes, genres, and feelings of the game are encoded, but not rigidly defined.

PvP – Acronym: Player vs. Player; This occurs when a player decides to use their character to attack another player’s character. This can be part of a story arc, caused by a BBEG, or can be a sign that the gaming group has come to an violent and ugly end and should disband (or alter membership).

Buff – The act of boosting another PC’s ability or abilities. This can be done via assistance, spells, magic items, or innate character abilities that alter other abilities or other characters.

Nerf – The act of lowering another PC’s (or mook’s or BBEG’s) ability or abilities. Has the same sources as buffs.

Tank – A character designed to absorb as much damage as possible while allowing the rest of the group to take down the opponents.

DPS – Acronym: Damage Per Second; This phrase has come to describe a character who has the main job of doing as much damage as possible in order to take down opponents before they get taken out of the fight.

Controller – A character designed to control the battlefield, area of play, or other locale in order to gain an advantage for his or her group.

Healer – A character who is mainly focused on keeping the rest of the group alive and in as good of shape as possible. Often combined with buffs to offset nerfs.

Leeroy Jenkins – When a player gets bored or tired of planning, they will kick down the door, charge into the lair, and attack whatever is on the other side. The phrase comes from a moment in the World of Warcraft online game where a player tired of the excessive planning of one of the players, screamed his name, and charged into the BBEG’s lair. The event resulted, as you would expect, in a TPK. You can see the video on YouTube.

Murder Hobo – A person or group of people who have no base of operations and they respond to every encounter as a physical fight in which they kill everyone around them. Very little social interaction occurs with murder hobos, and very little story telling occurs during games involving murder hobos. This can be fun if, during session zero, the group agrees to go with a hack ‘n’ slash style game.

Rules Lawyer – A player who knows every rule, every nuance, every errata, and every combination of how these things work. They typically will correct and attempt override GMs who are attempting to invoke rule zero.

Bennie – Abbreviation for “benefit.” These are in-game bonuses given to players by the GM for exceptional play or to help shore up a weaker character during random character generation. Bennies can also be a metagame currency allowing players to adjust rolls or influence the storytelling aspect of the game.

Boxed Text – The text in adventures or modules that the GM is supposed to read out loud (or paraphrase) to the players when an event occurs or locale is discovered.

FLGS – Acronym: Friendly Local Game Story; This is where gamers can get together to acquire supplies for gaming, play in a back room, post notices on cork boards about games, and build their community.

LARP – Acronym: Live Action Role Playing; A style of gaming in which the players can be in costume, use props, and physically move around an area to marked off locations in order to meet with each other, NPCs, the GM, etc.

OOC – Acronym: Out of Character; Generally this is limited to comments and questions about food, bathroom locations in the house, or rules questions. Most conversation around the table should be IC, not OOC.

IC – Acronym: In Character; These are the words spoke by the player to represent the actual things his or her character is saying.

PBeM – Acronym: Play by Mail; This is a method of gaming in which the players and GM communicate via physical mail. However, email has mostly supplanted these types of communication due to the near-immediate delivery of email.

PbP – Acronym: Play by Post; This is a method of gaming which the players and GM communicate via some form of posting or message board on the Internet. There are many variations of this approach to gamine because of the various technologies available today.

Social Contract – An agreement between everyone within an RPG group on style of play, themes, trigger areas, genre, and other choices made at the table to guide how the players will interact with the GM and each other.

TPK – Acronym: Total Party Kill; This usually occurs through a series of poor decisions by the players, bad dice rolls, new GMs making judgement mistakes, or experienced GMs deciding to end the campaign via “in rule” fiat that kills every last member of the party.

Now that this list is done, I have some people to thank who helped out on this article:

  • Angela Murray — For starting the conversation that led to this article.
  • John Arcadian — For jumping on the ideas and requesting I write this article.

For suggested phrases:

  • The Gelatinous Rube (@TempestLOB)
  • Guy Milner (@milnarmaths)
  • Duke Aaron McGregor
  • David Dolph
  • Rob Abrazado
  • Darren Wade
  • Travis Casey
  • thom_raindog (@thom_raindog)
  • Buddy Fazzio
  • LoneWorg (@LoneWorg)
  • Craig Barnes

So, did I miss any esoteric or weird phrases used in RPGs? If so, drop a comment with the phrase and your definition. If you’ve heard a word or phrase and aren’t sure what it means, feel free to drop that in a comment and request a definition. I’ll see what I can come up with.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Issuu viewer

New Drupal Modules - 10 August 2018 - 1:56am

Allows you to render embedded Issuu viewers.

Issuu viewer creates a simple field type that allows you to render embeded Issuu viewers on the site by entering the docuemnt id.

Simply create a 'Issuu viewer (iFrame)' field.
The configuration for the height & background color are located in: /admin/config/user-interface/issuu_viewer

Categories: Drupal

Commerce Salesforce Integrator

New Drupal Modules - 10 August 2018 - 12:13am


The Commerce SaleForce Connector module connects Drupal8 COMMERCE with the SalesForce Connector APP. It contains basic set up required to transfer data between Drupal and SalesForce.


To require this module to work, SalesForce Connector APP is needed to be installed on the SALESFORCE account. The app URL and other configuration setting information are given in the README.txt file.


Categories: Drupal

Stock Photo Field

New Drupal Modules - 9 August 2018 - 8:29pm

Stock Photo field creates a simple field type that allows you download a local copy of an image simply by entering the stock photography image's url.

This module lays the groundwork for adding stock photography Providers. Given a properly configured Provider, this module
will give you a local copy of an image from a 3rd party stock photography website. A provider will need to be added via a contrib or custom module.

Categories: Drupal

Perfect World-owned Echtra Games is behind the next Torchlight game

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 9 August 2018 - 11:53am

That game is Torchlight Frontiers and will take place in a "shared, persistent, and dynamically generated" world, a new addition to the series that had previously only offered co-op multiplayer play. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Datadome Integration

New Drupal Modules - 9 August 2018 - 11:13am

This modules provides integration with the DataDome Bot Mitigation Service (
It currently supports automated creation of the DataDome JavaScript tag and logging of access events by bots and other undesirable clients.

Categories: Drupal

Jam City's Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery clears $50 million in revenue

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 9 August 2018 - 10:15am

The mobile intelligence firm Sensor Tower estimates that the free-to-play mobile game has generated $55 million in revenue since its late April launch. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Views Node Filters

New Drupal Modules - 9 August 2018 - 9:48am

Provides extra node filters to views.

Node Title (select list)

Provides the ability to create a dropdown of node titles to filter by.

Categories: Drupal Keeping dynamic HTML classes easy to find

Planet Drupal - 9 August 2018 - 8:30am
The Problem

I imagine many of us have been there: there’s some CSS class in your markup, and you need to do something with it. Maybe you want to remove it, change it, or perhaps alter its style declarations. “Easy peasy,” you think, “I’m a developer. I got this.” And so you should.

Next, if you’re anything like me, your first instinct is to fire up your search tool of choice and search your codebase for that string. You’d expect that would lead you to where that class is getting added to your markup, along with anywhere CSS rules are applied to it… right?

Except it doesn’t. Phooey. That class string doesn’t appear anywhere except in your browser's dev tools. At this point, you either toss your developer pride overboard and hack a fix in some other way, or you search for assorted variations of your string in ever shorter segments until you find something resembling this:

$classes_array[] = 'some-' . $class;

Aha! It was helpfully obfuscated for you. And of course, you could hardly expect to simply search for that class name and find its CSS rules. That would be too easy! So naturally, they were written in SASS like this:

.some-#{$class} { // Some declarations… }

Now that’s just what it might look like in PHP and SASS, but I’m sure you can imagine what it might look like in your templating language, javascript, or whatever CSS-pre/postprocessor you might abuse.

The point is, you’ve gotta slow down and tread a little more carefully here; this isn’t a simple find-and-replace job anymore. There are a few reasons why such code might have been written:

  • The latter half of that class might originate from a fixed list of options exposed to your content editors.
  • Perhaps there’s some other logic in play, that has intentionally been kept out of the CSS: your element gets a class based on its region or container, for example.
  • Your colleagues are actively trying to make your life difficult.

If you’ve never been in this situation - good for you! Future-you called and asked that you avoid munging together parts of a CSS class like this if you possibly can. Do it for future-you. Don’t let them inadvertently introduce bugs when they fail to spot your class-munging!

The solution

“But what if,” I hear you cry, “I need to generate a class dynamically. How can I keep future-me on side?”

Well, dear reader – I hear you. Sometimes you really don’t want to explicitly list every possible variation of a class. Fair enough. So I have a proposal, one that I’d like a nice name for but, y’know, naming things is hard. Maybe the “Searchability class” pattern. Or “CSS search placeholder classes”. Or “CSS class search flags”. Suggestions on a postcard.

Anyways, returning to our earlier PHP example, it looks like this:

$classes_array[] = 'some-%placeholder' $classes_array[] = 'some-' . $class;

Producing markup like this:

That is: wherever you add a dynamic class into your page source, additionally put a recognisably formatted, static version of that class alongside it. That would also include anywhere you generated classes in JavaScript or any CSS-pre/post-processing madness.

Obviously, you don’t need these placeholder classes in your actual CSS (if you wanted to edit the static CSS, the regular class will already show up in searches) but if you are doing this in some dynamically generated CSS, then you’ll want to drop the static version of the class in as a comment. So our Sass example would become:

// .some-%placeholder .some-#{$class} { // Some declarations… }

Once this becomes an established practice within your team, instead of fumbling around trying to find where a given class may have come from, you’ll be able to spot those placeholder strings and search for those, and relatively quickly find all the relevant bits of code.

So I think this is something we’re going to try to adopt/militantly enforce upon ourselves at ComputerMinds. As a Drupal shop, something like %placeholder makes sense, as that syntax is used elsewhere in core to denote dynamically replaced parts of a string. It also has the advantage of being slightly tricky to actually use in a CSS selector (if you don’t already know, I’m not going to tell you). You really don’t want any styling attached to these.

So there you have it – the “Searchable CSS class placeholder flags for generated class names” pattern. We’ll keep working on the name.

Categories: Drupal

ADAPTIVE GAMEPLAY AESTHETICS (PART 1): A Disruptive Game Design Framework - by Krzysztof Solarski Blogs - 9 August 2018 - 8:08am
This 2-part essay provides a disruptive game design framework based on shape language and traditional composition for heightening physical empathy and the sensory experience of players with a focus on art and narrative-driven games and transmedia.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Accessibility vs. Memorability. - by Victor Sanchez Blogs - 9 August 2018 - 8:02am
When we perceive a game as accessible? are there any factors that foresee its memorability? are these two characteristics at odds? There is a psychological model that try to throw some light on these questions.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Commerce Salesforce Connector Module

New Drupal Modules - 9 August 2018 - 7:31am


The Commerce SaleForce Connector module connects Drupal8 COMMERCE with the SalesForce Connector APP. It contains basic set up required to transfer data between Drupal and SalesForce.


To require this module to work, SalesForce Connector APP is needed to be installed on the SALESFORCE account. The app URL and other configuration setting information are given in the README.txt file.


Categories: Drupal

The Magic Moment of Discovery - by Justin Reeve Blogs - 9 August 2018 - 7:28am
What is it which fills a game world with wonder? This article examines the relationship between exploration and discovery by analyzing Watch Dogs 2, The Witcher 3, and Breath of the Wild.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

A Media Ecological Analysis of the Game Late Shift - by Seth Edens Blogs - 9 August 2018 - 7:23am
An analysis of the video game Late Shift from a media ecological perspective.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

A Lifetime Posmortem: From Failure to PS4 - by Diego Freire Blogs - 9 August 2018 - 7:23am
Chibig Studio was found after Abraham, the designer, programmer, producer and CEO, close her previous company. First by his own, he found success on mobile game. After that, the studio grew. This is a timeline about failures and lessons.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Gnomecast #46 – Gen Con 2018

Gnome Stew - 9 August 2018 - 5:34am

Join Head Gnome John for a series of short interviews with attendees at Gen Con 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Settle in for a bonus-sized episode!

Download: Gen Con 2018

The interviews in this episode include:

Keep up with all the gnomes by visiting, following @gnomestew on Twitter, or visiting the Gnome Stew Facebook Page. Check out Gnome Stew Merch, and support Gnome Stew on Patreon!

Check out John at

Follow Ang at @orikes13 on Twitter or find her in the Misdirected Mark Google+ Community.

Want some bonus bonus content?

Gnome Stew frequent guest author Keith Garrett was at Gencon with his camera and took a bunch of pictures!  Here’s a photo album of some of the sites of Gencon 2018!

.flickr-img-responsive { width:100% !important; height:auto !important; display:block !important; } .LoadingImg img { max-width: 45px; max-height: 45px; box-shadow: none; } .weblizar-flickr-div{ padding:10px; } @media (max-width: 786px){ .col-md-3 { width:49.9%; float:left; } } .play-pause { display: none !important; } .gallery34982 { overflow:hidden; clear: both; } .fnf{ background-color: #a92929; border-radius: 5px; color: #fff; font-family: initial; text-align: center; padding:12px; } jQuery(function() { // Engage gallery. jQuery('.gallery34982').flickr({ apiKey: 'e54499be5aedef32dccbf89df9eaf921', photosetId: '72157699633457694' }); }); Gencon 2018 Photos By Keith Garrett ×
    × Previous Next jQuery(function() { // Set blueimp gallery options jQuery.extend(blueimp.Gallery.prototype.options, { useBootstrapModal: false, hidePageScrollbars: false }); }); Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar
    Categories: Game Theory & Design

    Hubspot embed

    New Drupal Modules - 9 August 2018 - 5:00am

    Hubspot Embed gives you the ability to add Hubspot Embed codes and render them.

    You can place them in a Hubspot Embed Block, a text field with the Hubpsot Embed field formatter, or you can use the Hubspot Embed ckeditor button to embed inline.

    Categories: Drupal

    Vardot: How to Rank #1 on Google Using Drupal CMS?

    Planet Drupal - 9 August 2018 - 4:47am
    Ahmed Jarrar August 9, 2018

    SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a hot topic when it comes to the discussion of online marketing. In today’s Internet climate, most people usually find websites by typing in a few keywords into their search engine of choice, like Google. Folks trust Google to present only the most relevant sites to their search queries, so it’s only natural the first couple of sites that get thrown up are the ones that get the most clicks and visitors.

    As a consequence, those top page rankings are viewed as a prime real estate by those who want to boost traffic to their websites. After all, hardly anyone would bother checking the sixteenth results page when searching for a word or phrase. This is where SEO comes in.


    What Is SEO? 


    SEO is the practice of optimizing a website to rank high among search engines. It’s a set of rules for organizing, populating, and presenting your website in such a way that improves its search rankings and puts businesses in a better position to earn.

    Perhaps intentionally, having a well-optimized website not only makes search engines happy, it also makes visitors happy. Well-optimized websites are fast and easy to navigate, leaving your visitors with a positive impression and making them want to stick around your site a little more.

    If you want to drive all that traffic to your website, it’s important to have the basics of SEO down pat, and have a grasp on what good and bad SEO practices are. It’s also important to have a good engine underneath the hood of your website, and Drupal just might be the CMS for you if that’s the case.

    At its core, Drupal was built with SEO in mind. It has the power, flexibility, and tools needed to optimize every facet of your website for search engines, and in its huge kit of modules, there are quite a few that are dedicated to giving you an easier time when it comes to improving the optimization of your website. You really can’t go wrong with Drupal if you have your web page's search ranking in mind, and here are just a couple of things you can do with Drupal to improve your SEO and shoot to the top of Google search results.


    Implementing Metatags


    Meta tags are bits of text that are integral when it comes to improving your website’s search ranking, because, in a way, it tells search engines what the content is on each page on your website. This could be the titles of your pages to the little descriptions you see underneath the website links on a Google results page. You and your search engine need these bits of information to properly present and index your site on the search results page.

    Usually, you can leave it up to your search engine to generate your page’s metadata for you, but by using the Drupal Metatag module, you can customize the metadata yourself. Set your own information such as page titles and descriptions to more properly and correctly present your site to your search engine and the online world.


    Cleaning up Your URLs


    Having bad, messy-looking links is a no-no when it comes to SEO. You want links that are easy to read and not just a jumble of letters and numbers so that they look more attractive to prospective visitors and to your search engine, who may be looking at your URL for keywords when it determines your site’s ranking.

    Many web developers never realize the implications of messy URLs and leave their link syntax as-is, but going through each and every page on your website and manually setting the URLs isn’t an attractive option either. Luckily, Drupal generates clean URLs by default, improving the readability of your links and making things a bit easier on you.

    If you want your links to be better and even more easy on the eyes, popular Drupal module Pathauto is a configurable system that automatically creates clean and extremely readable links that are perfect for your site’s optimization.

    Another thing to keep in mind is making sure that your links actually go somewhere. Nothing sours the user experience more than clicking a link and being presented with a 404 page, and this in turn negatively affects your search rankings.

    You can avoid this from happening by using the Redirect module. If you happened to have changed the page’s URL after Google indexed it, or moved the content to a different URL, this module allows you to make 301 redirects from that old link to the new one, quickly and painlessly, without having to go through the headache of cleaning up after yourself and fixing broken links.


    Improving Page Speed


    Google has been using the speed your page loads as an influencing factor in search rankings for years at this point. As they point out, sites that load faster have users that stay on for much longer, so it’s not only Google that you’re pleased by speeding up your website.

    You might have to spend a little to have your website up to speed, but Drupal comes with several measures to help pages load faster, such as using BigPipe.

    However, it’s not only desktop users you have to keep in mind, but mobile users, too. Given the leaps and bounds that technology has undergone in the last couple of years, you now find more and more people browsing the web on their smartphones and tablets. It’s important to make sure that your site experience is just as friendly and accessible on mobile devices as it is on desktop computers. As anyone who has used a desktop site on a mobile device knows, it’s not a pleasant experience.

    Drupal’s default theme is responsive by design, which means it will display well on mobile screens of any size without having to do complicated rewrites of code or having to juggle multiple URLs to make sure your site displays correctly. With Google now also looking at the page speed of mobile sites, it’s now more important than ever to focus on delivering a good, well-optimized mobile experience to improve your SEO.


    Read more: SEO Checklist Before Launching Your Drupal Website


    Talking to Your Search Engine


    Optimizing your website can be a little tough when you don’t even know basic things such as where your site traffic is coming from. Installing modules like Google Analytics makes you privy to such information, and for someone with their finger on the pulse of the site’s SEO, it’s perhaps one of the most important tools they can have.

    With Google Analytics, you get to know things about your site visitors: Where in the world they come from, which links they followed to get to your site, which pages they visit and how much time they spend on those pages, what keywords they searched to find your page and more. If you’re concerned about SEO, then getting information about your website directly from Google, the most popular search engine in the world is valuable information to have, and can help you make decisions on what to improve on next.

    And while you’re pulling information from Google about your website, you can also provide information about your website to Google in the form of an XML sitemap. These are specially formatted, condensed summaries of the pages of content on your website that you can submit to Google to help them find your site and let their bots crawl through your pages. Google can crawl through your site without an XML sitemap, but you take on the risk of them possibly missing pages.

    With Drupal, generating an XML sitemap is as easy as installing the XML sitemap module which creates one for you, and modules like Cron can automatically make sure your sitemap is kept up-to-date with the latest information from your website.



    These are only just a couple of the things you can do with Drupal to improve your SEO. Like all things worth doing, you can’t just press a button and magically have a well-made website ready to dominate the first page of the Google search rankings. It takes a good grasp of the basics, as well as a little effort, to have a perfectly optimized web page.

    However, the road to that coveted #1 spot on the search results pages become a lot less bumpy thanks to the ease that Drupal gives you when it comes to optimizing your site.

    Want to boost your site’s traffic and rank #1 on Google with Drupal? Message us through our Contact Us page, or via email at

    Categories: Drupal

    OpenSense Labs: From Conception to Reality: Drupal for Futuristic Websites

    Planet Drupal - 9 August 2018 - 3:45am
    From Conception to Reality: Drupal for Futuristic Websites Shankar Thu, 08/09/2018 - 16:15

    “Great Scott!”, exclaims the scientist in the renowned science fiction trilogy ‘Back to the Future’ which hit the cinema screens in 1985.  This exclamation by the scientist, who travels 30 years into the future in his flying car, is suggestive of remarkable inventions by the homo sapiens which is a colossal conundrum to solve in the present world set in this motion picture.


    Drupal has been revolutionising the web application development with its flexibility in integrating with futuristic technologies

    Since the first ever website, invented by British Scientist Tim Berners-Lee, went live in 1990, the tech enthusiasts have been looking at the enormous technological advancements in the years that followed. In a similar fashion, Drupal has been revolutionising the web application development with its flexibility in integrating with futuristic technologies.

    What is Drupal doing with the futuristic technologies to give you the “Great Scott!” moment?

    Futuristic Technologies: Strategic Trends with Broad Industry Impact

    As stated by Gartner, an intertwining of people, devices, content, and services is known as an intelligent digital mesh. Digital firms are supported by enabling digital models, business platforms, and a rich, intelligent collection of services.

    Intelligent: With AI seeping into virtually every other technology, well-defined focus can allow more dynamic autonomous systems.
    Digital: Amalgamating the virtual and real worlds in order to create an immersive environment.
    Mesh: The connections between a growing set of people, business, services, devices, and content for delivering digital outcomes.

    Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018  by Gartner Intelligent digital mesh is the intertwining of people, devices, content and services

    Immersive experiences, digital twins, Artificial Intelligence, conversational platforms, Blockchain, continuous adaptive security among others, as depicted in the illustration above, form a foundation for the next generation of digital business models and ecosystems.

    Beyond Websites: Integration of Future Technologies and Drupal

    Drupal is among the front-runners when it comes to content-heavy websites. With new discoveries happening outside of Drupal, it is only better to leverage the benefit of Drupal’s flexibility to incorporate next-generation technologies.

    Artificial Intelligence

    An area of computer science which stresses on the creation of intelligent machines that can work and act like humans, Artificial Intelligence has been the talk of the town ever since it burst onto the scene. How can it be leveraged for your Drupal websites?


    There have been several phases in the way humans interacted with the computers. First was the Terminal Interface which involved the use of command line or DOS prompt. The second phase was the Graphical Interface which used visual representations of programs, files, and actions. The third wave is the Conversational Interface which allows users to interact with the computers using a natural language.

    Chatbots, powered by artificial intelligence technologies, are wonderful for your website as they offer conversational UI and can hugely benefit your enterprise. Drupal offers a useful set of modules that can help in the integration of chatbots in the website thereby providing a conversational interface to the users.

    Facebook Messenger Bot module, created by The White House, gives you the tool for developing chatbot on a Facebook Messenger Platform.

    Chatbot API, another Drupal module, can be used to incorporate a bot in the site. It is an additional layer that falls between your Drupal installation, your Natural Language Processing (NLP) and your various chatbots and personal assistants. It can work with systems like Dialogflow, Alexa, Cisco Spark Microsoft and Twilio.

    Digital voice assistants

    While chatbots are primarily a text-based medium, digital voice assistants can be more human-like with the ability to talk like a human. For instance, Google Duplex, the latest entrant in the scene of digital voice assistants, can provide lifelike conversation thereby having a human-like chat and booking hotels on your behalf.

    Alexa, an integration module for Amazon Echo services, allows Drupal to respond to Alexa Skills Kit requests. The demonstration given below shows that by indulging in a casual interaction with Alexa, the shopper is able to preheat the oven, add the ingredients and cook the food without even looking at the phone or laptop.

    When the shopper provides a verbal query, this input is converted into a text-based request which is then sent to the Freshland Market Drupal 8 website (a fictional grocery store). From there, a coupling of custom code and Alexa module respond to the Amazon Echo with the requested information.

    Cognitive Search

    Forrester, research, and advisory firm, defines cognitive search and knowledge discovery as “the new generation of enterprise search solutions that employ Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning to ingest, understand, organize, and query digital content from multiple data sources”.

    Azure Cognitive Services API module allows Drupal to leverage the benefits of Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services. It helps in exposing machine learning APIs and allows developers to incorporate intelligent features like detecting emotion and video, understanding speech and language, and recognising face, speech, and vision.

    Augmented Reality

    Gartner defines Augmented Reality as the real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects. It is this “real world” element that differentiates AR from virtual reality. AR integrates and adds value to the user’s interaction with the real world, versus a simulation.

    A Drupal agency developed a chatbot prototype which helped customers to choose recipes based on the health constraints and their preferences. Chatbot provided an interactive experience to the users which helped in avoiding intensive research for the grocery shopping. By integrating AR in Drupal, they tried to take it one notch higher.

    The demo in the video displays a shopper interacting with the AR application. Freshland Market’s mobile application (fictional grocery store), which is built on Drupal 8, guides the shopper to make better decisions while shopping through AR overlays.

    It superimposed relevant data like product ratings, price and recommendations over the product items detected by the smartphone camera. By showing the products that are best for her diet plan, the mobile application personalised the shopper’s experience.

    Drupal’s web services support and JSON API module assisted in providing content to the mobile application. The Drupal 8 site of Freshland Market stored all the product-related information. So, if the Drupal content for any of the product items is edited to display the item being on sale, it automatically reflected in the content that is superimposed through the mobile application. Furthermore, the location of the product was stored on the site which guided the shopper to the product’s location in the store.

    Another use case is the Lift HoloDeck prototype which was developed using commercially available technologies - Drupal (content store), Acquia Lift (web personalisation service), Vuforia (AR library) and Unity (3D game engine).

    Lift HoloDeck team developed a mobile application that superimposes product data and smart notifications over physical objects that are detected on the smartphone’s screen.

    Consider a situation where a user informs about his purchases to a coffee shop through his mobile application. Entering a shop, he would show his phone screen displaying “deal of the day”. The application superimposes diet plan, directions on how to order, and product data on top of the beverage. By glancing at the nutritional information, he would order his preferred choice and would get a notification stating that his order is ready to picked up.

    Virtual Reality

    Virtual reality is basically computer-generated environments or realities that can be used to simulate a physical world in a specific environment to make it feel real.

    Virtual reality can be used to build cross-channel experiences. The demonstration shown in the video below features a student who is eager to explore more about Massachusetts State University (a fictional university). The video depicts that he is able to take a virtual tour directly from the university’s website sitting on his sofa.

    Placing his phone in a VR headset, he can go around the university campus, explore buildings, and look at the program resources, photos and videos within the context of the virtual tour.

    The Massachusetts State University’s Drupal site stores all of the content and media that is featured in the virtual tour. Drupal backend helps website administrators to upload media and position hotspots directly. Using JSON API, the React frontend pulls in information from Drupal.

    Internet of Things

    In the broadest sense, the term Internet of Things (IoT) subsumes everything that is connected to the internet but it is increasingly being used to define objects that can talk to each other. The IoT can be anything ranging from simple sensors to smartphones and wearables connected together. Combining these connected devices with automated systems can help in gathering information, review it and create an action plan to assist someone with a particular task or learn from a process.

    DrupalCon New Orleans 2016 had a session which delved around bringing Drupal and internet of things together. It exhibited a demonstration that used a barometric pressure sensing, GPS-enabled wearable armband connected to the internet which could, then, display an icon to provide the weather forecast of the current location.

    The armband, which was tethered to iPhone, sent latitudinal and longitudinal data to a ThingSpeak channel (an API for the IoT) using mobile data. It, in turn, tracked the location of a ship by sending this data over HTTP to the Drupal 8 website. When the site received this authenticated POST data, new location nodes were created. It updated the map and table that is built with Views and changed a block on the sidebar to display the matching icon of weather in the current location of the ship.


    Don & Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution (2016) define the blockchain as “an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

    Chainfrog has been working on blockchain technology since its early stages and devised a use case where the user data including communication history, address and the profile data will be available to everyone in a large organisation.

    “Blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

    To synchronise and securely segregate Drupal user data, big companies map user registration forms with a centralised company API. These big companies usually have more than one Drupal installations for different departments within the enterprise with a central codebase.

    Thus, instead of having an expensive API layer, Chainfrog proposed using Drupal 8 custom module via a distributed ledger for the synchronisation of user data. So, instead of making an HTTP call everytime a new user is added, they planned to adopt a peer-to-peer immutable ledger thereby removing the middleman, in this case, API.

    Blockbinder, a product of Chainfrog that helps in connecting existing databases instantly, would keep a tab on user records in a data table whenever a new user is added to the Drupal system. Within 30 seconds of any new addition in one of the Drupal installations, all the installations would synchronise the user data.

    At DrupalCon Nashville 2018, we propounded possible use cases for the coming together of Drupal and Interplanetary File System (IPFS). IPFS, which has its working principle based on blockchain technology, is a peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol. Centralisation is at the core of Drupal’s workflow in comparison to IPFS’ decentralised nature. We looked for ways to make them work together.

    Drupal, which allows content editors to seamlessly produce content, can be entwined with IPFS for an amazing digital experience. From helping archivists to store superabundance of data to helping Service Providers as a global Content Delivery Network (CDN), there are tons of benefits. We presented a use case to make this a reality which can be explored in this video.


    These are some of the frontiers that Drupal has crossed. There are lots of emerging technologies whose potential with Drupal can be explored like..?

    Future is bright with lots of new inventions happening in the technological fields to make the world a better space. Digital firms can make significant strides in their online presence by integrating future technologies with their website. Drupal gives a great platform for the businesses to look beyond websites and incorporate emerging technologies to build futuristic websites

    Want to know how we develop Drupal sites for our clients and also maintain and support them? Ping us at to set the ball rolling and make your website exciting with the incorporation of emerging technologies.

    blog banner blog image Drupal Futuristic website Future technology Futuristic technology Futuristic web app Artificial Intelligence Chatbot Digital voice assistant Conversational interface Conversational platform Cognitive search Augmented Reality Virtual reality Immersive experience Internet of things Blockchain Interplanetary File System IPFS AI AR VR Drupal module Drupal 8 Blog Type Articles Is it a good read ? On
    Categories: Drupal

    Vcs provider client

    New Drupal Modules - 9 August 2018 - 3:43am

    Provides a factory and clients for some version control providers.

    Currently gitlab and github.

    This is what powers parts of the service, for example to check if a project needs an update, and so on.

    Categories: Drupal


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