All RPGs and Storygames by Tod Foley are now available at DrivethruRPG and RPGnow. Bring these games to your table!
Ubisoft's upcoming sequel isnâ€ t just skipping Steam. According to a UK-based digital game retailer, The Division 2's Epic Games Store semi-exclusivity means it wonâ€ t be sold on other digital stores either. ...
Get a behind-the-scenes look at theÂ non-authoritative architecture behind the game at GDC 2019 next week in San Francisco! ...
Jacob Rockowitz: A request for a Webform logo and possibly a logo kit for Drupal contributed projects
Thank you for backing the Webform module's Open Collective
First off, I want to thank the backers of the Webform module's Open Collective. After my last blog post, Open email asking organizations to back the Webform module and Drupal-related Open Collectives, we have 14 backers and a current balance of $908.44 that needs to be spent.
I also received a comment and an email about the need for some process for paid support. It’s worth noting that the Drupal Association is exploring a paid support model for assisting with security releases. We should recognize that Drupal 8 was a major software change and it is one that is still changing the Drupal community. And while I am thinking about how the Drupal community is changing and how we can develop better support around the Webform module, one of my more immediate concerns is improving the Webform module's Open Collective, and brand is the first thing I want to address.
Improving the Webform module's Open Collective
There are some useful tips and guides for building and maintaining an Open Collective. I appreciate Pia Mancini’s statement that "A collective is not a sprint," which makes me feel comfortable taking time to build out the Webform module's Open Collective.
Defining and strengthening the Webform module's mission will help clarify to backers what they are supporting and getting from the Webform module. The product summary for the...Read More
DrupalCon Seattle is about a month away, and we're putting the finishing touches on this year's plans. Drupal's biggest annual conference affords us the opportunity to support the project, share our expertise, and connect with our colleagues from far and wide. We love DrupalCon. Here's what we've got in store this year.
The D&D Adventurer’s League is in the midst of some important changes. While I have no inside information about what drove those changes, why they happened, or what changes might yet happen, I have some thoughts about what might have precipitated them, and why they’re REALLY important for the larger table top RPG community. Here’s what I think. Read it and let me know why you agree, where you think I’m seeing it wrong, and how you think things will play out.What is the D&D Adventurer’s League?
It’s an organized play system. Everyone builds characters according to common sense rules, and then plays specific adventures. People track experience, gold, and loot. A lot of conventions run organized play games, but you can run them at game stores, and at home too. Most game play sessions are 2-4 hour serialized one-shots that fall into a larger narrative. (Like TV shows in a season.) You don’t have to sign up or register or anything. Just get the build guidelines (for free HERE), read those rules, and start playing. You can find more information HERE and HERE. I like organized play (or “OP”). It’s like “speed dating” for gamers. You can play with a bunch of different people and you will most likely make some new friends and find new people you like. Some people don’t like it. That’s cool. It’s not for everyone. For me, it doesn’t replace a great home game, but it’s a nice addition to some good home games.The “Old Guard” of Dungeons and Dragons
Some sort of organized play system has been a part of D&D since 2nd edition. Sometimes the company that makes D&D (currently Wizards of the Coast, or “WotC”) is extremely unconcerned with the OP system, other times they’re extremely hands on. OP has adapted and survived through the ages. Currently, it seems (and I’m operating with no special information here) that WotC is extremely interested in active oversight of the D&D Adventurer’s League (or AL). It’s a great way to evangelize the game, find more players, get game stores and conventions involved, and allow new people to get involved.
Given all that history, imagine a spectrum of game styles.On one hand you have very tactical game play.
- Miniatures are on a gridded map.
- Combat is the most important way to solve challenges.
- Combat utility is the most important part of your character.
- Role Play (RP) can be limited or absent.
- Theater of the mind (mapless) combat is preferred.
- Most challenges are solved with RP, exploration, trickery, or stealth.
- Backstory, personality, and skills are the most important part of your character.
- Combat can be limited or absent.
Only a very few people play purely tactical or purely narrative games. In reality – BOTH playstyles are valid and normal ways to enjoy D&D. Most people enjoy a mix of both tactical AND narrative game play.
If we were to graph this out with the types of play on the bottom (horizontal) axis, and the number of people who enjoy that type of play on the left (vertical) axis, we’d get a bell curve that looks like this.
There are a few more-tactical “power gamers” on the left. There are a few more narrative “story tellers” on the right. The majority of the community is somewhere in the middle and likes both types of play depending on the group, day, game, or encounter.
In organized play systems from 2nd edition to the present, the majority of the players learned to play D&D through friends or family. Many of them learned how to play from previous editions, and were familiar with moving miniatures on a grid. In 3rd edition and 4th edition, tactical play was EXTREMELY important, and this whole bell curve shifted to the left somewhat. When 5th edition came around, many of these folks treated this edition similarly to 3rd and 4th. Even though 5th edition has been vastly simplified compared to 3rd and 4th editions, it’s a fine game for very crunchy, simulationist, tactical play. Organized play worked well for it.
Because organized play adventures are often played at stores and conventions, and because of the nature of organized play, the games had some important basic characteristics that strongly shaped how they were played.
- They were not custom built for your character. The NPC who gave you the quest wasn’t your mentor, the opponent hadn’t killed your grandparent, and the commoners don’t know your character personally. You could do that in a home game, but that wouldn’t work in OP where a bunch of different tables had to play the same adventure.
- Quite often, these adventures had time limits. They were mostly designed for 2, 4, or 8 hours of play so that you would sit down with a group of people and play them in one sitting. Then next time you would sit down with a different group of people and play a different adventure in one sitting.
- Different tables of an adventure had largely similar outcomes. The characters saved the dragon, slew the princess, and saved the city.
- These games were focused on entertaining the group of players at the table. You had no responsibility or constituency outside of the table.
The internet has become a big disrupter in our hobby (like it has everywhere else!) It’s hard to believe that Acquisitions Inc. started as long ago as 2008. In 2009 you had the Critical Hit podcast playing D&D. 2012 saw the advent of Nerd Poker. The two shows that really exploded into the mainstream with D&D pod/videocasting were The Adventure Zone in 2014 and Critical Role in 2015. By now (Q1 2019) there are thousands of people playing D&D for your enjoyment on hundreds of podcasts.
These shows, undeniably, have brought a very significant popular interest to the hobby.
And with this interest came new people. Maybe they had never played D&D, but they knew a lot about it from watching/listening to other people play.
I don’t know what to call these new people. I’m going with “live play enthusiasts” but that doesn’t cover it because some of these shows aren’t live, and are pre-recorded, edited, and then released. We’re a decade into this movement, and we still don’t have good language to describe it. Let me know if you’ve got a better collective noun.
And these people are different than the folks I’ve been talking about thus far in some important ways.
- Where the old guard and much of the OP/AL community was taught D&D by playing with friends and family, or taught themselves by reading books, the live-play enthusiasts learned D&D by watching/listening to audio or video shows of people playing D&D.
- The audio/video streaming D&D shows used a fair few professional or semi-professional actors or voice actors (as opposed to just us regular folks!)
- The live play adventures were custom-built for the characters. Everything was essentially a home game.
- There were no time limits. Whatever was going on in the narrative determined the pace. When the show ran out of time, they paused action til the next show.
- Every adventure is unique and no one will ever play that game again, like a home game.
- The focus of the activity was creating a fun ensemble and plot that would entertain other people in the audience (as opposed to just entertaining the players.)
Just like above, you could rate these games, and the preferred playstyles of these players, on a scale of more tactical to more narrative, with some preferring one playstyle to the other, but with most people enjoying a mix – just like before.
The live play enthusiasts had their whole set of expectations shifted to something that was more narrative because of the nature of live play for an audience. There was overlap between the groups, sure, but there was definitely a gap in their expectations about what D&D should be like.
The challenge is, how different are these expectations? There’s no easy way to understand that. The two groups could be pretty close, or pretty far apart.
We Need Each Other
Here you have two cultures with different backgrounds, assumptions, expectations and needs. We need each other. BOTH groups want to have a fun time playing D&D with friends. The Adventurer’s League needs new players. D&D needs new players. Those new players are the lifeblood of a healthy hobby. The live play enthusiasts want to play D&D. We’re a perfect match!
This leads to a period where the hobby undergoes some changes as the two cultures merge. Work is needed on both sides. If the Adventurer’s League (and by extension Wizards of the Coast) wants to welcome these players, then the Adventurer’s League will have to shift to meet their expectations and have more narrative options. They need to move that bell curve to the right and explore more storytelling options to be good, welcoming hosts to the new players.
Additionally, the live play enthusiasts are likely to figure out that not every DM is Matt Mercer, one of the McElroy family, or Chris Perkins. The live play enthusiasts will want to be good guests. They will shift their bell curve to the left and experiment with more tactical options than they’re used to in order to adapt to the community.
What I expect to happen is BOTH of these things. I genuinely believe both cultures will shift to meet in the middle somewhere.
Adventurer’s League is Shifting to Become More Narrative
I think we are seeing the AL try to become more narrative. The changes to treasure points and advancement checkpoints aside, the adventures for Season 8 are far more narrative.
- Waterdeep: Dragon Heist – Dragon Heist set the tone for Season 8. While there are PLENTY of good fights in there, some of the most critical plot points hinge on interesting NPCs that you have to nudge into action. The villains would rather embarrass than kill the PCs. The ultimate goal of the adventure isn’t even for the PCs to kill the enemy. This is a huge shift from other hardback adventures from Wizards of the Coast that revolve around the PCs greasing the bad guy.
- Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage – Yep, it’s a dungeon crawl, but even then the exploration of the areas is absolutely critical.
- Season 8 Adventures – The AL adventure format has been redesigned from the ground up. The adventures are far more narrative and require significant DM improv to really sing. Most encounters have options to use social RP or trickery/stealth to overcome encounters instead of killing all the bad guys. This is all a drastic departure from Season 7 and prior adventures where most XP was awarded for monsters killed.
- 2018 Open “Gangs of Waterdeep” – This event is strongly based around roleplaying, trickery, stealth, and problem solving. Combat is largely the result of a plan gone bad. Again, this is a previously-unthinkable change from prior Opens which were extremely tactical (though with wickedly clever puzzle-solving!)
- Epic 8-01 “Chaos in the City of Splendors” – While this follows strongly in the tone of the Season 7 Epics, it represents a strong shift to a more broad reliance on the “three pillars” (combat, RP, and exploration) and allows for narrative play if you want it, and more tactical play if you prefer that.
As you might expect, the changes are not universally loved. Chatter on Twitter and Facebook seemed to indicate that parts of the AL community felt like no one was listening to them. Change is hard. Change without an explicitly-stated REASON for that change is extremely hard. As I’ve said, I have no inside information, and this is all speculation on my part that the changes have been made to enact a cultural shift to welcome new players from the live-play fandom; no one official has confirmed this. To my knowledge, no one official ever said “hey, we want to welcome new players who are a little different than our old players – what’s the best way to do that?”What’s next? What SHOULD be next?
Here are some things that I think might help optimize the cultural integration. The business literature is full of advice on how to integrate corporate culture after a merger, and some of those suggestions aren’t too far afield from what we’re seeing here. Do you have some suggestions for what might be, or should be next for the Adventurer’s League?
- Educate the AL community. Make people mindful of the cultural exchange and get their buy-in on integration. Paradigm shift is hard. Paradigm shift is even harder when you don’t know you’re supposed to be shifting paradigms! Sell the old guard on the goals behind the change and they will be the strongest proponents for it.
- Listen to the AL community. Efforts should be made to tell the AL community what the goal is, and then to get their suggestions on ways to get there.
- Lead from the top. Have the AL admins and respected voices in the community discuss need for additional narrative support. They have to convince people that change is needed.
- Learn and teach narrative play. Invite some of the better practitioners of narrative play to participate in showing the more tactical community that more narrative play is fun and valid way to enjoy playing D&D. This could be a new experience for some players, so make it easy for them to get experience with it and get comfortable with it.
- Respect your roots. For all that narrative play is a new initiative in the AL community, that doesn’t somehow invalidate tactical play as a valid and enjoyable playstyle! Not everyone is going to like narrative play and not everyone has to. Tactical play options need to remain part of the DNA of Adventurer’s League.
- Educate the live play enthusiasts. Find a way to have some of the more popular streamers talk about AL and how and why it’s different. Let audiences know that the D&D people play at home/in game stores/at conventions is different than in streaming shows. Include AL admins so that the streaming audience knows WHY AL has to be somewhat different than live play/home games. WotC has plenty of live streams and other shows they support – those shows should be running AL content so that people can see what it looks like.
I think the Adventurer’s League is going through some entirely normal and expected growing pains and cultural shifts, but I’m confident that it will come through them soon and smoothly, and continue to be a vital part of the D&D community.What do YOU think?
How does the community you come from shape YOUR expectations for the tactical/narrative balance in D&D? When and how did you learn to play D&D? What playstyle do you enjoy best?
Do you play in the Adventurer’s League? How long have you been playing? Do you feel it is becoming more narrative? Do you like that? What’s a better way to make those changes?
What changes are ahead for the hobby and for Adventurer’s League?
This is a continuing discussion and I’d love to hear your viewpoints!
What’s a PC background? What is its purpose? How long should it be? For answers to these great questions, head on over to part 1 of this series. You can also find the second part where I do a deep dive into what goes into a backstory.Fears
Everyone fears something. It’s part of being an intelligent being. Pick a fear or two for your character. They can be something as minor as, “Snakes creep me out because they move without legs.” Or it can be a full-blown, catatonic-inducing phobia of the color purple. (Imagine meeting a king in his full ermine and royal purple cloak with this one and having to ask for funds to support a quest.)
Fears and phobias do round out a character, but (again) the most important detail here is why does the character have the fear/phobia. Most of these mentally anguishing conditions spur from an event in life. This is not always the case with phobias, but if you can pinpoint a root cause, this will give the GM some fodder for creating more interesting encounters.
(GMs: Don’t abuse fears/phobias. Touching them on occasion is cool. Doing all the time is being a jerk.)Limitations
What limits your character? Do they have a code of conduct? Religious vows? Pacts with some other higher power? An overwhelming drive to protect nature? What will they do for love, but they won’t do that?
As an example from my Modern Mythology urban fantasy series of novels: My protagonist, Marcus, won’t escalate means of violence. It’s in his internal code of honor to never draw his gun on someone with a knife. If someone throws a punch at him, he won’t draw his knife. And so on… Yeah, this leads to some pain on his part, but he doesn’t consider downing an opponent a “win” unless the fight is fair.Wounds
What physical or emotional wounds does the character have to deal with? What makes them hurt, even when at max hit points? In what way is their internal machinery (again, physical or emotional) holding them back?
There are plenty of games out there that quantify these wounds in a mechanical manner, but if you can throw in one or two of these in your backstory, it’ll create a richer character with ample opportunity for role playing it out.
Imagine this: A fighter with a limp. Not a bad one, but enough for it to be noticeable. It’s not going to reduce his movement (in game stats), but others view him as inferior or weak because of the hindrance. The fighter can play this up to put his opponents off guard until steel is drawn. That’s when his fancy footwork comes out and he dazzles his opponents with moves they never thought a limping man could pull off. On the flip side, the GM could set some assassins on the character’s trail with a description of “Kill the man with the limp in the village of Urloon.” Hrmm… What if others with a limp turn up dead, and the party has to figure out what’s going on before the assassins strike at the correct target… or kill another innocent?Collaboration
The last thing I’m going to leave you with in this series is the concept of collaboration. Don’t write your backstory alone in a cave and walk out with a “final” version that’s carved in stone. Be flexible. The GM may already have some ideas in mind for campaign or adventure hooks. See if she’s willing to let you drop one of those into your backstory.
When another player shares their few paragraphs of backstory with you, you might find a cool enemy that they created. Maybe you can alter your backstory to include a common enemy or replace another enemy you created with theirs.
I know it sounds like I’m endorsing a second “session zero” just to smooth out backstories. I’m not. I’m actually going to encourage everyone out there to collaborate and share via email, Slack, Discord, or whatever means you find easiest for your group.
At the end of the day, be flexible with your backstory and remain open to new ideas or concepts. Role playing, at its heart, is collaborative storytelling. There’s no reason your backstory shouldn’t be a collaborative effort as well.
Here's a quick recap of our blog posts from February - we hope you enjoy them!READ MORE
Few things are as good for a business as a website that looks great and runs well. When you’ve established a strong digital presence and rank well on Google, then you’re set to chase and convert leads to your heart’s delight.
Before any of those gains materialize, however, there’s the tricky task of building that website.
If you’ve chosen to use the Drupal CMS, then congratulations: you’ve made the right choice. Drupal is agile, powerful, and home to a wide community of developers and entrepreneurs.
Moreover, Drupal makes it possible to choose themes: templates that do most of the legwork of designing a site so you need only worry about the parts that matter (ex. your lead magnets, SEO, and copy).
Since not all themes are created equal... we’ve compiled a rundown of the 7 best Drupal themes to use in 2019:
1. Progressive by NikaDevs
Progressive is a theme that offers great value for money.
Its creators have packaged it with over 200 interactive elements, meaning you’ll be sure to find a function that lets your site move and behave just the way you envisioned it. It comes with video hosting, unique slider effects, and visual features that are guaranteed to capture an audience’s attention.
Our favorite thing about the theme is the set of four homepages offered at entry. While other themes force you into a single aesthetic mode, Progressive offers its solutions without placing implicit restrictions on your design options.
Compatibility: Drupal 7 & 8
Best used for: Businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Case Study: Time Center
2. TheMAG by PinkDexo
Today’s marketing is all about content that informs, entertains, or intrigues. It’s for this reason that TheMAG by PinkDexo ranks on our list of the best Drupal themes for 2019: it’s built to house content and house it well.
TheMAG is ideal for sites that want to rake in ad revenue, profit from content, or showcase products. It comes with a wide range of layout options and interactive elements, but it shines the most when used to present content in the style of a --you guessed it-- magazine.
We recommend taking a look at the theme before getting too excited. It’s a perfect fit for certain niches (blogging, journalism, entertainment) but other types of businesses would do best to continue reading through our list.
Compatibility: Drupal 7, Drupal 8, Drupal Thunder, & Drupal Commerce
Best used for: Media and Entertainment. Businesses that lean on blogging activity.
Case Study: Afaq Online Magazine
3. Winnex by gavias
Winnex perfects soft and professional design through its clean look and implicit geometry. It took the best lessons out of the adage, “less is more,” and used them to create an intuitive theme for professionals looking to market their services.
The theme gives users an easy time of site development thanks to its block-based, drag-and-drop interface, its support staff, and the numerous video tutorials they’ve produced.
Winnex gets all the basics right, but our favorite feature is how effortless it is to upload and display videos. After all, when it comes to pitching a service, it pays to set your site up with content that builds user trust.
Compatibility: Drupal 8
Best used for: Consultancy and other B2B services.
Case Study: Amman Stock Exchange (ASE)
4. Porto by refaktor
Part of a CMS’ job is to simplify the job of web design. In this regard, Porto is a theme that surpasses expectations. We’re hard-pressed to think of any other theme that can get so much done in so simple a way.
Porto features an unparalleled level of customization, with nearly endless options for page layout, header design, color mixing, and media hosting. This means that any business -- from consultants to home repair services, to e-commerce businesses -- can build their dream site using the theme.
Compatibility: Drupal 7, Drupal 8, Drupal Commerce, & Bootstrap 3.x
Best used for: E-Commerce. Businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Case Study: ProEquest - The Premier Equestrian E-Commerce Platform
5. Jango by NikaDevs
NikaDevs is back on the list with another highly versatile theme. Like Progressive, Jango offers endless potential for web design. Unlike Progressive, however, Jango presents itself as a theme for more timeless web design.
You’ll see fewer colors and gimmicks in their marketing, which can work well to favor businesses that need a site that keeps things simple. As with all themes on this list, Jango is structured, responsive, and offers support for its users.
Jango is a straightforward Drupal theme in the sense that it performs as needed, with minimal flash and maximum impact.
Compatibility: Drupal 7, Drupal 8, Drupal Commerce, & Bootstrap 3.x
Best used for: Any business that wants a simple and effective website.
Case Study: United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
6. OWL by gavias
Cafe and restaurant owners can breathe easy knowing there’s a Drupal theme specially designed for them. OWL is a quick and easy to use theme that knows the needs and demands of the food industry.
Our favorite feature of OWL is its capacity to host high resolution, Retina-ready images that food photographers are sure to appreciate. Coupled this with a simple interface and support for all kinds of modern programming tools (ex. Bootstrap, Custom CSS, SASS, etc.) and you have the perfect theme for restaurateurs.
Compatibility: Drupal 8, Bootstrap 3.x
Best used for: Hospitality. Restaurants and Cafes
Case Study: Makarem Hotels
7. Edmix by gavias
Our final entry, and our third from developer gavias, is a theme that caters to educational sites and businesses that offer online courses or tutorials. Edmix appears to take the best design features from of popular sites like Coursera and Udemy, giving its users the ability to shine a spotlight on their courses and videos.
As is the standard for gavias themes, the interface is easy to use and comes with assistance in the form of their support team, and library of tutorial videos.
Compatibility: Drupal 8, Drupal Commerce, & Bootstrap 3.x
Best used for: Online universities, masterclass services, etc.
Case Study: Georgetown University
This list covers what we think to be the best Drupal themes for a business operating in 2019. As you’ll notice, the best themes are versatile, and they allow for a high degree of customization to let businesses present the best sides of themselves without sacrificing style.
If you’ve had luck with any of the themes above, or if you know of a theme that you feel deserves a place on the list, feel free to write to us or leave a comment below.
Likewise, if you need help using Drupal or deploying any of the themes we’ve listed, Varbase is a powerful website builder platform that empowers businesses to build fast, reliable, and search optimized websites in record time.
A webform component "webform_paystack" which fires the Paystack payment.
The webform submission is delayed till after successful payment. If payment is cancelled, the webform is not submitted.
Install as normal module
Add a new component "webform_paystack" and fill in the email, amount and Paystack public key fields.
Please note that the email and amount fields are the component keys for your email and amount fields.
From Drupal experimentalist, to migrating the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's website, to thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Jim Smith is bridging communities and sharing his story.
This week's highlights include some early looks at From Software's anticipated Sekiro, the goofiness of GaaS bike sequel Trials Rising, and how SimCity inspired a lot of urban planners, & more. ...
Search is a key feature in web experience, and for a lot of people, it's the go-to method to find content. We use search countless times a day on our smartphones in various contexts. And yet, when we're building out websites, search is often an afterthought that we don't spend much time on. Search gets added to the laundry list of site features, like meta tags and social media links.Drupal Core Search
Drupal is fantastic at managing content. It gives you loads of flexibility when it comes to building out your information architecture and categorizing content. But we often don't set aside a lot of time to build out a customized search UI to find that content. At the end of a project, you might just turn on the core search module and call it done. And then we find out that people use Google to search our website.
Drupal's core search functionality hasn't changed much in the last 10 years, and is lacking features that users expect. It can be slow, and it doesn't correct for misspellings or allow you to prioritize results. Search should make your content easy to find, and make your site more engaging for users. Over the years, we've worked on lots of websites that integrate with Solr, to provide an enterprise-level search engine on top of Drupal. But setting up Solr takes time, and can be tricky if you don't have a lot of time to set it up, or the know-how to configure your server.Why Cludo?
We recently decided to add search to evolvingweb.ca, and decided to try out Cludo. It's a "search as a service" tool that allows you to add on a search interface to an existing site. Kind of like you'd add Disqus, or Google Analytics. It was pretty easy for our developers to set up Cludo. Besides some challenges setting up search of the French language side of our site, particularly searches with UTF8 characters, the setup was straight-forward and only took a few hours to add.
The immediate advantage is that you don't have a lot of setup time for a search that just works how users expect. But after it was all set up, I realized that there are a lot of extra features that you get that we wouldn't normally take the time to configure for a basic search:
- Autocomplete - start typing the title of a node and it'll autocomplete
- Customize the index - you can pick and choose what's searchable and what's not
- Analytics - you can see who searches for what, giving non-technical users visibility on how users search for content
- Boosting - you get nice defaults for results ordering, but you can also customize the criteria to prioritize certain types of pages or certain criteria
- Machine learning - an add-on feature that does the boosting and changes the autocomplete ordering for you based on user behaviour
- Easy-to-use interface - non-technical users can update all the settings through Cludo's UI
Before you ask, yes there's a module for that! The Cludo module was released a couple weeks ago. It's still in development, but you can try it out. You just have to add your Cludo account number and key, and it provides a search form block that you can place on the page.
Here are some examples of websites using Drupal:
- This website (just click on that search icon in the header)
- Larimer County
- Parkinson's UK
- Blank Rome
So what's the catch? Cludo isn't a free service, it comes with a $200/month price tag for most websites. And it will cost more than that if your site has more than 20,000 pages or you want bells and whistles like document search, machine learning or searching private content. There are discounts for non-profits and educational organizations.
There's a trend towards using third-party services for everything from marketing automation tools to comments and now search. I know a lot of Drupal developers prefer to use open source tools as much as possible. I think the great thing about third-party tools is that it gives us another option. We can offer our clients a way to get a search interface up-and-running quickly, without a lot of up-front development time. It gives the end-user something that's easier to configure.
On the other hand, for a large website with a lot of content, we might want more control over the functionality and costs. And for an intranet, we might want more control over where the data is stored. If we have a lot of site installs, Cludo could start to become very pricey. In these cases, using Search API would be a better option. But for lots of use cases, when that "instant" quality is the priority, Cludo is a great option, to make sure your content is discoverable and that your users can find it.+ more awesome articles by Evolving Web