All RPGs and Storygames by Tod Foley are now available at DrivethruRPG and RPGnow. Bring these games to your table!
Sagenda is an online booking software that helps your clients fix appointments and meetings with you online. Sagenda Drupal module is available at absolutely NO COST for you or your clients! And the best thing about it is that you may have an unlimited number of bookings and/or customers. Our users always come first; that’s why Sagenda doesn’t display ads!
I was lucky enough to attend the Belgian DrupalCamp along with fellow Amazees Dan and Vijay. Organized by the Drupal community, this event is held annually in different cities in Belgium.Christophe Jossart Tue, 11/27/2018 - 11:58
Over 300 people attended this year, many of them backenders but also frontenders, designers, business strategists, and other stakeholders all coming together to share learnings, experience, and excellent local beers in the city of Ghent.
DrupalCamp Ghent was organised by the Drupal community, and we want to say thanks to all the organisers for making all of this possible, with a special mention to Peter Decuyper who enlightened us with his sketch notes of the sessions.
It is the essence of camps to make the (difficult) choice between the sessions you will attend, so here are the highlights of the ones that we attended.
The organisers paid extra attention to the relationship between sessions, so many talks nicely complemented each other.Decoupling and the future of Drupal: about UX, code, design and humans
The position of Drupal is constantly being re-evaluated. One of the values of the Drupal is paying attention to the people. The work of these last months brought one more time the proof of this value by covering a large variety of persona.
Authors and site builders
UX was covered in many ways, Clément Génin has been debunking the myths about user-centric design, and he explained the what by talking about a mindset and not a magic formula that can be applied on an existing project. I perceived his session as a way to build a love story between the designer and the end user.
Preston So gave us even more perspective, he started his keynote with the history of the Drupal frontend to continue with the emergence of wearables, digital signage, augmented reality, and conversational UI. Then, he introduced the concept of contexteless / universal editing with a multipolar Drupal that can reduce the custom work needed for decoupling. A good example of this trend is GraphQL. Content is like water: when the shape changes, it should adapt to its context rather than being context specific.
When it is about content, the editor is one of the most important stakeholders. Ruben Teijeiro provided a few answers to problems like page refresh, too much site building, or keeping the link between content editing and decoupling. Among other solutions, he mentioned modules like Elementor, Content Planner, Glazed Builder or Editable.
Dries Van Giel gave us an introduction to Sketch, a fully vector-based tool suited for web design, that leverages features like components (symbols), shared styles among documents and element export in multiple formats. This meets the current approach of component-based design (like Pattern Lab or Fractal does) and reusability.
GraphQL is all the rage nowadays, Peter Keppert talked about
- When to use decoupling: multiple frontends for one CMS, Single Page Apps, …
- The benefits of using GraphQL for that purpose: a self-documented schema, that is strongly typed and that allows to cache queries in the database.
- The points that need attention compared to other solutions: possible information disclosure and the complexity that induces a change on the team.
- The integration in the Drupal contrib ecosystem with Paragraphs and Box
Fabian Bircher explained how the Configuration Management (CMI) has evolved since Drupal 8.0. At the time, it was designed to cover the basic flow of deploying without modifications. Contributed modules have implemented several other use cases like configuration split or ignore, Drupal 8.6 added the installation of a site from a given configuration and Drupal 8.7 will introduce the new ConfigTransform service. Using Drupal as a product can also be implemented with the Config Distro module.
With his typical sense of humour, Branislav Bujisic gave us an introduction to Functional Programming. The foundation of his session was a comparison between Alan Turing states and Alonzo Church functions. He introduced concepts like immutability, static typing, and side effects elimination to improve testing and caching (memoization), with a control over complexity and more performant code. Even if PHP is not a functional language, a few of these principles can still be applied. Truly inspiring!
Testing and code quality
If you are looking for a way to contribute back to the Drupal, a lot of core and contributed projects needs manual testing. Just have a look at the 'Needs review' status on the Drupal issue queue. Automated testing is also welcomed, Brent Gees gave us all the keys to get started seamlessly with Unit, Kernel or Functional tests in his presentation How to get started with writing tests for contrib.
When it is about client work, the time that can be spent on tests may be more limited, and the approach is more about testing the assembly of components, so a pragmatic solution is to use fast Functional Testing with solutions like Behat. Tom Rogie showed how to configure Behat for several environments and browsers in a Continuous Integration workflow, but more importantly, what to test.
Improve easily the quality control tomorrow in your projects. Yauhen Zenko provided a nice way to run tools like PHP Linter, coding standards compliance and mess detection, wrapped in a Composer based solution.Search
Joris Vercammen covered the best practices for Search API configuration, demonstrating in the meantime that most common use cases can be covered by a plain database server.
For a live demo, head to http://drupalsear.ch, that exposes most Search API features with the new Drupal Umami profile.
Advanced topics like machine learning and AI were illustrated by the maintainer of the Search API Solr Search module and the Solarium library, Markus Kalkbrenner with streaming expressions, graph queries and the inner workings of the Solr, sweet!
Serverless is a buzzword that can lead to confusion. Slootjes explained it with Functions as a Service (FaaS) and the action of removing the hassle of server provisioning and scaling.
Thijs Feryn, the author of a Varnish book, adopted the perspective of caching by diving deep into the http protocol. It was nice to get detailed explanations about the foundations of the web and the Symfony framework. The session was also demonstrating that Drupal already implements most of the best practices regarding caching.
It was awesome to see how many things can be learned in such a small amount of time, and we are already looking forward to the next edition!
Small module to provide a redirection to custom URL to unpublished nodes, if visited. Provides a choice among 301 and 302 redirect.
Permission can be set for any role to administer this module.
Adds a new pager type that inserts paging links into the "Link" HTTP header, which is great for REST Export views. The header always includes "first" and "last" links and includes "next" and "prev" links when appropriate (absence of either link means there is no respective page of results). Works with Drupal page cache and uncached pages, but not yet with the dynamic page cache.
Gostor - Nymphs: Minor Goddesses, a new race for D and D 5E, by Jean-Philipe ‘JP’ Chapleau provides exactly what it promises, the race of nymphs, nature spirits or the most minor of goddess, inspired by Greek Mythology in a playable form.
A short background of the place of nymphs is followed by the types of nymphs. A few paragraphs on using nymphs and four paragraph length adventure seeds
Nymphs, as presented here, have three playable subtypes: underworld, forest and waterway, while wild nymph and hags are noted for story reasons, and sky nymphs appear as monsters. They seem balanced though all, naturally, have some magical abilities.They are supported by two backgrounds, whose features need clearer definition of how they should be used, and one new feat, which really seems more aimed at NPC nymphs as it makes the character an ally of hags.
Two new "monsters" round out the product, sky nymphs (which oddly, cannot fly) and wild nymphs, both which have a very minimal descriptions outside their statblocks.
While this product achieves its aims, there is so much more it could have done. It only allows for female nymphs, for example, while males would have another name there is no reason for nature spirits to be confined to one sex. Some tables for suggested characteristics to go with the backgrounds and a magic item or two would have really solidified the usefulness of this product. As it is, it seems of more use to a DM than players, but even then it would have been nice to have had more support material.
3.5 rounded up to 4.
Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/
This October at the Bay Area Drupal Camp (BADCamp,) we soaked up Drupal talks, gave a few of our own, high-fived friends, and fomented literary political activism. How? In line with this year’s circus theme, we turned our sponsor booth into a place for BADCampers to step right up...and send messages to their elected representatives.Categories Articles Drupal Fun Nonprofits Author The Kalamuna Team
Provides tight integration with Freshdesk help desk software from Freshworks. This module focuses on E-commerce web sites actively registering users/customers who would like to sync Drupal users with Freshdesk contacts and provide links and ticket management within Drupal user accounts or dashboards.
- Push/sync users to Freshdesk from Drupal including profile photo
- Provide links within Drupal to user's Freshdesk profile/board
- Map roles to Freshdesk companies for advanced permissions management
- Easy UI-based configuration
Adds a Hero Content type. Allows you to embed videos from Facebook or YouTube as a hero.
Evolving Web: Drupal Admin UX Study: What We Can Learn from Contentful, Craft CMS, Squarespace, and WordPress
So far, we have conducted a survey to get feedback from content editors, performed a card sort to see how content editors group their tasks, and recently, conducted a comparative usability study that looks at the authoring experience provided by other content management systems.
We chose four content management systems that offer different experiences: Craft CMS, Contentful, SquareSpace, and WordPress with Gutenberg. In this article, I’ll walk through the different aspects that we tested: first impressions, the editing experience, the publishing workflow, and what we can learn.The setup
Going through the process of setting up several other content management systems was an eye-opening experience. I highly recommend it for anyone involved in building Drupal websites for a living. The setup process gave me lots of food for thought about the onboarding experience for new users, what configuration comes out of the box, and the language and positioning of Drupal in the CMS landscape.
We recruited volunteers with Drupal content editing experience (from 1 month to 9 years of experience!)
My colleague Annika Oeser and I conducted the studies using a script that we had put together. We asked participants for their first impressions of each platform, then asked them to do a few simple tasks: creating an article from content in a Google Doc, editing and previewing it, and then deleting the content. Then, we asked what they thought of the platform.First Impressions
First impressions are important. Each platform that we selected had some type of content editor dashboard that we presented to users. While some platforms have more of a learning curve than others, it’s obvious that platforms with a more inviting dashboard will encourage new editors to like the tool and want to use it more.Contentful
Right away, participants found Contentful intimidating. One even said it looked “scary”. The dashboard’s messaging is not aimed at content editors (although in the setup process, it asks if you're a content editor or developer), and the terminology is just obscure enough to be intimidating. As one participant pointed out that “None of this says build an article”. That being said, the interface didn’t prevent authors from performing their task, it just made them more apprehensive.
On the content overview page, there are filters to narrow down the list of content. Because of the colorful button-like design of the filter, some participants mistook this for the link to add content.Craft CMS
Overall, participants liked the fact that Craft CMS has a form to create content directly from the dashboard. Putting content creation forms on the dashboard makes it clear that this is a platform designed for content editors. That being said, everyone complained that the form was too narrow, and made the experience of filling in the form not great. Participants all liked it better once they were on a dedicated content creation page.
Some participants mentioned a solution, removing the “Craft News” block form the default dashboard to free up space, which is possible by configuring the dashboard if you know how to do this. I also think that having a button to expand the form or jump to the content entry page would be incredibly helpful.Squarespace
The Squarespace dashboard gives content editors the impression that it would not be ideal for larger, more complex websites. Everyone mentioned that the UI seemed “simple” or “for a blog”. I found this an interesting observation. The editors in our study were all familiar enough with their requirements for a CMS (a large amount of content, taxonomy, content hierarchy) that they felt that the simplicity of Squarespace might be too good to be true, and that they would be alright with a more complex UI if it meant a more featureful one.WordPress
Participants described WordPress’s dashboard as “clean”. They see right away that it's an interface designed for them. Although there are more advanced features presented (e.g. Appearance, Plugins, Tools, Settings) the UI for creating and editing content are prioritized. Granted, some of our participants had WordPress experience, giving this particular UI the bias of familiarity. One mentioned that "They don't change the interface often, which is good."Content Editing Experience
To assess the content editor experience, we asked participants to create an article and then add some standard elements to it (an image, a link, bold text, a quote). When building the study, we selected four CMSs with very different editing experiences:Contentful
Contentful provides a content structure similar to Drupal, with content types broken down into fields. It has some very particular terminology which will be unfamiliar to most people. Instead of a WYSIWYG editor, it provides a markdown editor with a tab for previewing the content.
It’s amazing how important labels are. Participants were confused by labels like “Slug” and the subtle difference between the purpose of the “Description” and “Body” fields. Another thing, most content editors don’t know markdown. So as much as developers might love having the markdown editor tab and a tab for previewing the content, this experience seemed like a big hurdle to content editors. A minor experience gap that we noticed was in the way the link button in the editor pre-fills “https” at the beginning of the link. Since most editors copy and paste a URL instead of write it out by hand, this led to mistakes and frustration.Craft CMS
Craft CMS has a WYSIWYG editor for editing long text, but instead of a large main content textarea, it provides a UI for creating sections, such as headings, text, images (this works similar to Drupal’s Paragraphs module).
All the participants easily understood the UI for adding sections to create the Article Body. It was somewhat confusing to have two ways to add some elements, for example an image or a quote can be added through a Text section, or by creating a new Image or Quote section. If anything, this maybe shows content editors’ eagerness to add content "the right way" and their willingness to work within a content structure rather than having one large WYSIWYG editor.Squarespace
Squarespace provides a much more visual editor. The editing interface appears in an overlay. Users paste everything into one text area. There is also the notion of adding new elements (images, quotes, etc.) to this text area using a + button.
There were a couple ways to add images in Squarespace. Adding a “Thumbnail” image in the metadata of the post, which is used in the teaser version of the post. Or, using the + button to add an image element, which can then be dragged/dropped above or below other elements, such as text, buttons, etc.
None of the participants found the + button without help. I had always assumed that this UI was easy-to-use, but for a content editor not expecting to use a page building experience to add images to content, it was clearly not obvious. As one participant said "I would never have found that, it's so not clear."
Another sticking point was that the thumbnail image field in the "Options" tab doesn’t adequately explain to users that the image won’t be displayed on the full post page, only in teasers. This is something I see a lot on Drupal sites, that have images that are used in content listings, but without a proper help text to explain this to editors.WordPress
WordPress’s new Gutenberg editing UI provides a similar experience to Squarespace, in that the editor is visual and invites users to create components, such as headings, text, columns, or media.
One participant described the interface as having an “instant preview” quality. It seemed like they thought that the way the article they were creating looked here would be how it would look as published content. "I like this a lot". "The paragraphs are clearly divided with white space". One called the different components that were created "blocks".
"The great thing here is that I can see everything". Almost all the participants brought up the fact that they assumed they could edit the HTML. "I assume I can go to the source code if I need to".Publication Workflow
We asked authors to preview, edit, and then delete the content they had created. We knew from user surveys that content editors want autosave, but from watching them go through these steps for each CMS, we realized the anxiety that the publication workflow can cause. Content editors really want to be reassured about the state of their content.Contentful
Contentful is designed as a backend for a decoupled website. So the preview provided is not an actual preview, but a read-only version of the fields of content you’ve created. Unsurprisingly, content editors found this confusing. In terms of workflow, users found it difficult to delete the content, because the current state of content and the fact that it needed to be unpublished before it was deleted was not clear. It seemed like the status of the content was unclear, and users ended up back on the content listing page to change the status.Craft CMS
Craft CMS has a “Live Preview” that provides a side-by-side editing and previewing interface. All the editors liked seeing that when they add content, it looks like a page right away. One exclaimed “I'm great at this, look how good it looks.” The one part of the workflow that was confusing for editors is when they click “Save” from the initial dashboard, and they’re not redirected to the page they’re just created. If this button was "Save and preview" and it went to the edit screen with live preview, that would be more natural.SquareSpace
SquareSpace doesn’t provide a way for authors to preview content before publishing. They expected that clicking on the content in the listing would display the preview. Saving and publishing the content was intuitive for users.WordPress
Overall, the publishing workflow in WordPress seemed to be the most clear to users. Having the status of the content, and the links to preview, publish, and delete in close proximity seemed natural to all users. The only part that participants got stuck on was the phrase "move to trash". Some users suspected that this meant they had to empty the trash. One other sticking point was the preview. The WordPress Gutenberg UI looks so much like the front-end of a site that users are surprised or disappointed when they realize that the theme enabled on their site looks different and perhaps less good.Takeaways
We learned a lot from this usability testing. Here are some of the most interesting takeaways:
Editors appreciate that a more complex UI is necessary for a more complex website. This doesn’t mean we don’t need to create a user-friendly admin UI, it just means that some degree of complexity is expected.
A content editor-friendly dashboard, with content-editor tasks prioritized and easy-to-understand terminology will help smooth the learning process.
Sometimes editors find it hard to distinguish between the admin UI and the front-end UI when learning a new platform.
Editors have anxiety about clicking save and what this will do. Having autosave and a clear workflow for previewing content will make this process smoother.
Editors feel like they should be able to edit the HTML. They don’t want to learn markdown. That being said, I think the goal of a great content authoring experience would be that authors don’t feel that they have to edit the HTML, because they have the right balance of flexibility and content structure.
Editors want to know what the state of their content is, and they want clear options to Preview, Save, and Delete. The state of the content and the links to change the state should be in close proximity.
Even with a small number of participants, usability testing can help inform improvements in a user interface. We learned a lot from testing with just 5 participants.
Now that we’ve taken the pulse of how content editors interact with these CMSs, I think it would be helpful to look more closely at the experience of creating more complex content. I would like to do a follow-up study looking at authoring of structured content, something Drupal is highly valued for and excels at, and more flexible, landing-page-style content, something that Paragraphs has been widely used to for over the last couple years. I think it’s essential that Drupal provides a great interface for both these use cases (whether in core or contrib). Testing how editors edit both styles of more complex content will help us understand how to do this better.How Can I Get Involved?
A huge thanks to my colleague Annika for planning and running the usability testing with me and to McGill University for providing the venue for the testing.+ more awesome articles by Evolving Web
Some weeks before I had to overcame an interesting task. A media webportal in Drupal 8.x with more than 4k articles decided to change the site default language from englush to greek (mainly for SEO reasons but this doesn't matter).
If you’ve been reading about new -- and promised -- easy-to-use page builders, you many not be aware that the Drupal community has been working on a super ambitious visual design tool, Layout Builder, that will be included in the next version of Drupal, Drupal 8.7, scheduled to be released this Spring, 2019.Tags: acquia drupal planet