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TC Drupal News: Volunteers still needed for Twin Cities Drupal Camp

May 30, 2019 - 02:13

Twin Cities Drupal Camp is coming up very soon, and we have some great trainings, sessions, and more planned. But TCDC doesn’t happen by itself — it runs on volunteers who give a little time and effort to make the camp run. People just like you. Volunteering to help with camp operations is another great way to contribute to Drupal. So what do we need help with?

Thursday: before camp set up and registration Friday: before camp set up, staff registration desk, count room attendance, start /stop session recorder, help with party setup and take down Saturday: help guide unconference groups

So if you’d like an easy way to contribute to Drupal, volunteer to help during camp. Can we count on you?

Use the contact form to sign up: https://2019.tcdrupal.org/contact and indicate when and how you‘d like to help.

Drupal core announcements: Francesco Placella (plach) to become full-fledged Framework Manager

May 29, 2019 - 22:18

I'm pleased to share that Francesco Placella (plach on Drupal.org) is moving from a "provisional" core committer to a full-fledged framework manager. (Read more about Drupal core's governance structure.)

Francesco has been a member of the Drupal community for over 11 years. He contributed an incredible amount to multilingual efforts, the Field and Entity API, and was a top contributor to the Drupal Association's D8 Accelerate program, so you can also thank him for Drupal 8 getting released. :slightly_smiling_face:

This experience has given Francesco an extremely well-rounded knowledge of Drupal's API underpinnings, making him a perfect candidate for Framework Manager. He is also extremely meticulous in his patch reviews, and always willing to jump in on problems to help others.

The rest of the committer team all were extremely happy to recommend his promotion to full-fledged committer, so please join me in formally welcoming plach to the team!

Ben Marshall: Change Drupal 7 Menu List Class & Attributes — The Drupal Way!

May 29, 2019 - 21:14

Have a few menus on your site & looking for a quick way to add or change the menu classes and attributes? Use the theme_menu_tree__[menu_name] override in your theme’s template.php file to change Drupal 7 menu list class and attributes:

// template.php

/**
 * Override theme_menu_tree().
 */
function theme_menu_tree($variables) {
  return '<ul class="menu">' . $variables['tree'] . '</ul>';
}

/**
 * Override theme_menu_tree__[menu_name]().
 */
function theme_menu_tree__main_menu($variables) {
  return '<ul class="menu">' . $variables['tree'] . '</ul>';
}

The code above will allow you to easily change all menu ul classes and other attributes or just the main menu’s ul classes and attributes.

Looking for a module to change Drupal 7 menu list class & attributes?

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find one that handles the individual menu ul instances cleanly, but the Menu Attributes module is a start. It gives users the ability to set the following attributes for each menu item — this does not help with setting the ul classes & attributes:

  • id
  • name
  • target
  • rel
  • class
  • style
  • accesskey

What about Drupal 8? Check this out article out by Tamas Hajas: Drupal 8 Twig: add custom CSS classes to menus (based on menu name).

Related Articles

The post Change Drupal 7 Menu List Class & Attributes — The Drupal Way! appeared first on Ben Marshall.

Mediacurrent: How to Maximize Your Agency Partnership for a Promotion-Worthy Website 

May 29, 2019 - 20:50

Gaining approval to launch a new website is a big investment — and it’s expected to achieve a big reward. Your internal team (and customers) expect it to match up to their favorite website. That could be Amazon, Apple, or any number of well-known brands relying strongly on their website.

Needless to say, the expectations for a new website are very high, regardless of your budget. Compounding the challenge is the fact that a site build remains a complex process due to technology, expectations, diverse perspectives, and competing goals within the organization.

The challenge for the business is that a new website build is not standard operating procedure. It is not something that is done regularly. It is often resisted by the internal users because as much as people want the latest and greatest site, they may also fear change. So the risk-reward can be very high for the person in charge of the project, but selecting the right digital agency and leveraging your agency-partner relationship can tip the scales in your favor. Your agency-partner, let’s say partner, can help you, because it is standard for them.

Perspective from both sides of the aisle 

My career experiences have given me a broad perspective and good understanding of the internal challenges one faces to get buy-in for a major website re-build project.

Today, as a Mediacurrent Project Manager, I primarily work with existing clients for both site builds and post launch support, and I also work on pre-sale projects.

I was previously hired by a top 20 medical device manufacturer into a new position responsible for Online Marketing Strategy and Analytics, reporting up to a reasonably new head of the department of Marketing Services. Up to that point, online marketing and the website was not a focus for the marketing team. We made the case for a new website, got management and budget approval, chose Drupal, and I managed the entire process — including vendor selection.

The RFP Process
  • If you have an existing agency partner, they can help you. It would essentially be consulting time, but often the partner sees a lot of RFPs and can identify areas that you may have missed.

  • Have a diverse group of people involved in the process. This can make the process slower, but can help significantly in the end if you have early buy-in from all the right parties.

  • Accept what you think is fair based on the request vs. resources and experience being made available to you. You may not always have the names of all the individuals assigned to your project, but the partner will ensure the resources meet the need.

Development
  • If the partner doesn’t offer, ask for regular demos of functionality throughout the development phase. This will help you see the work being done and you can make adjustments as needed. Be careful with adjustments though. You want them to be clarifications and not changes to the original scope of work.
  • Don’t go short on Quality Assurance (QA) time. Partner QA teams do nothing but QA and are well versed at finding things you may not think to look for. Allow the partner to QA each ticket you review. If you by-pass QA or do it yourself, you run a high risk that there will be issues and ultimately misses.
  • Keep your stakeholders abreast of the work being done, so they see progress. Invite them to the demos and reconfirm their approval.
Training Internal Users
  • During development, begin planning for training your internal users. Without their buy-in, you will fail. Keep them informed of the progress and if possible create a campaign that raises awareness and keeps the project top of mind.
  • Be sure to build your site with help text for each field. When demos take place, have them recorded so you have videos of both front and back end for the users to understand how what they insert is rendered.
  • Your partner can help plan training sessions to get everyone acclimated to the new system.
Post-Launch
  • Websites are evolutionary; new features and functions arise as users get acclimated to them. Most likely there will be items that didn’t make the initial launch in order to keep within time or budget, but having a support agreement will allow you to continue to improve your site. If necessary, have your partner convey the fact that these new features and functionalities are possible, but can be done post-launch to keep the project on time.
  • Reporting is critical. While this has to be established during the development phase, you need to develop a series of reports. There should be a report for the product team with specific areas for them to focus on and the senior management team, which wants to know if their investment is paying off. Your partner can help develop these as they have done them for other clients in the past, as opposed to taking time to do it yourself.
  • Your hosting and development companies need to work in unison, and sometimes this can be more than two companies. Keep them connected to ensure the entire platform is optimized.

While these are high-level considerations, I believe they are all critical to success. When you have the opportunity to build a new site or revise an existing one, following these guidelines will put you in a position to be successful and to leverage that success to a promotion.

OPTASY: OPTASY Favorites: 5 Best Drupal Blog Posts in May and Why We Enjoyed Them

May 29, 2019 - 20:32
OPTASY Favorites: 5 Best Drupal Blog Posts in May and Why We Enjoyed Them adriana.cacoveanu Wed, 05/29/2019 - 13:32

May has been most generous with us, no doubt about it: it has "spoiled" us with a heavy load of both useful and usable Drupal content. The community has been altruistic enough to share their “enlightening” experiences of working with Drupal, their discoveries and latest contributions. As for us, we "feasted" on their articles and tutorials, even managed to sync all our personal tops and to come up a unique "best Drupal blog postslist for this month.
 

Ranging from valuable tutorials to overviews of the latest Drupal releases, to glimpses of these Drupal contributors' hard work, our selection is as varied as it is valuable.
 

Agiledrop.com Blog: Interview with our developer Peter, one of the release managers of PHP 7.4

May 29, 2019 - 17:21

Our developer Peter is one of the release managers of the upcoming PHP 7.4 release. Even though he has a lot on his plate right now, he was able to take the time to answer a few questions and give us a glimpse into what new features we can expect. Enjoy the read!

READ MORE

Vardot: Drupal SEO: 13 Things That Improve Ranking

May 29, 2019 - 15:30
Firas Ghunaim May 29, 2019

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) might not be the first thing you think of when designing a new website, but building an optimized framework from the start will help you drive traffic to your site and keep it there.

With our Drupal SEO checklist in hand, you can build an excellent website that draws customers in as soon as you launch. To give you a quick summary before we go into detail, here’s a bullet list of what to check before the launch day.

  • Check that all web pages have unique titles using the Page Title module

  • Check if your XML Sitemap and Google News Sitemap are configured properly

  • Check if the Redirect module is enabled and configured

  • Check if the Global Redirect module is enabled and configured

  • Check that .htaccess redirects to your site

  • Check that your homepage title includes a descriptive headline, logo, and primary image

  • Check if your meta tags are filled with descriptive information

  • Check that OG tags are filled correctly and with descriptive information

  • Check if your site's information displays well when shared on social

  • Check if your path alias patterns are meaningful

  • Check if Google Analytics is enabled and configured

  • Check if Site Verification is enabled and configured

  • Check if Search 404 module is enabled and configured

 

Drupal SEO: 13 Things that Will Improve Your Site's Ranking

 

1. Check that all web pages have unique titles

Titles are the first element that any user will see --whether they come directly to your site, find it on a search engine, or see it shared on social media. Not only do good page titles help customers who are already on your site, but they help with social sharing, and picking your site out of search engine results.

 

All of your pages should be easily identifiable to the end user. Not only should they have unique titles, but they should also have meaningful titles. Having multiple pages with the same titles (like “Get in touch”, “Contact us” and “Make a booking”) will simply confuse your end users and search engine crawlers.

 

From an SEO perspective, page titles are among the most important types of data you can fill, because they help search engines understand what each of your web pages is about.

 

Writing good titles is extremely important, and having keywords in your title that match a user's search greatly improves the chances of them clicking on your page. Moz suggests the following format for title tag design: Primary Keyword - Secondary Keyword | Brand Name.

You can set up unique page titles much easier if you install the Drupal Page Title module.

 

Read more: 10 Drupal Modules that Will Boost Your Website’s SEO

 

2. Check if XML Sitemap and Google News Sitemap are configured properly

The XML Sitemap module for Drupal creates a robot-friendly map of your site that Google and other search engines can crawl to categorize your website. You should configure XML Sitemap early in your site build for the best effect, but you can also alter the settings later on at admin/config/search/XML if needed.

You can view your sitemap from http://yoursite.com/sitemap.xml (just replace “yoursite.com” with your own domain).

Google News Sitemap offers a similar but different service that creates a Google-specific map for ranking under their “News” section and to appear as news items on their main SERP pages. These two modules work nicely side by side to make your site easy for search engines to crawl and index.

 

Image from Drupal.org

 

Please note that if your site contains accelerated mobile pages (AMPs), there is no need to create sitemaps for them. The rel=amphtml link is enough for Google to pick up on AMP versions, which means you can easily gain traffic from Top Stories carousels and mobile search.

 

3. Check if Redirect module is enabled and configured

Redirect is a handy module for making sure users always make it to your site. It uses case-insensitive matching to help catch broken links with redirects and tracks how often users are hitting those redirects.

You can use redirects to capture any broken links, set up promotional links, or simply capture typos users are entering when trying to access your site.

 

Image from webwash.net

 

4. Check if Global Redirect module is enabled and configured

If you’re using Drupal 8 you can skip this one because the functionality has been rolled into the Redirect module. Otherwise, install Global Redirect to work in tandem with Redirect to catch any broken links.

Global Redirect will test all links with and without a trailing slash, ensure links are case-insensitive, and if a link is truly broken, it will return a user to your home page rather than a 404 page that decreases the position of your site in SERPs.

 

Image from webwash.net

 

5. Check that .htaccess redirects to your site

Some users attempting to visit your site will navigate to www.yoursite.com, while others will simply type yoursite.com. By setting up your site to handle either request using an .htaccess redirect, you can be sure you won’t miss any visitors.

 

6. Check that the homepage title includes a descriptive headline, logo and primary image

Design a homepage title that contains a descriptive headline as well as a slogan, to represent who you are as a business. This is usually the first impression you give off to visitors the moment they land on your site or catch your entry on a search engine.

This is a good opportunity to load your website up with SEO-friendly keywords, but don’t go overboard and sacrifice your image for it - keyword stuffing may not only decrease the trust index of your site but also its conversion rates.

 

 

 

7. Ensure that your meta tags are filled with descriptive information

SEO-optimized meta tags remains to be one of the top on-page ranking factors. You can think of these as expanded page headers --short-form descriptions of your website that give users and search engines a clearer idea of what to expect out of a webpage.

Make sure to install the Metatag module on your site to have an easy, user-friendly interface for updating metadata. With the module installed you can easily populate meta data with keywords, page descriptions, and more.

The Metatag module will also give you extra control over how your site appears when shared on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Read more: SEO tips for your Drupal site

 

8. Check that OG tags are filled correctly and with descriptive information.

OG tags are meta tags specifically designed to ensure your site communicates nicely with Facebook. By setting these tags correctly you will be able to control exactly how your site appears on Facebook, including what images and what taglines are used.

 

9. Check if your site information displays well when shared on Facebook and Twitter

After configuring the Metatag module and OG tags, pop over to Facebook and make sure that your site shares the way you would like it to. It’s important to test this out now before users start sharing your site.

Similarly, try tweeting a couple of your pages to see how well your Twitter Cards come through. If you don’t want to show your site to your audience until you are sure it’s set up properly, you can check Twitter Cards using the Card Validator.

For more information on configuring Twitter cards, check out these user guides by Twitter.

 

 

10. Check if your path alias patterns are meaningful

By default, Drupal will set your URLs to node/123 - while this works great for the database backend, it doesn’t work well for your end users, or for search engines.

You can use the Pathauto module to create rules and patterns for your URLs that will significantly cut down on your maintenance times and simplify your site navigation.

 

11. Check if Google Analytics is enabled and configured

While having Google Analytics configured won’t improve your SEO, it will give you all the data you need to understand where your users are coming from and how they behave once they hit your site.

Installing the Google Analytics module makes setting up and configuring Google Analytics a breeze.

 

12. Check if Site Verification is enabled and configured

Having your site verified will make it easier for search engines crawlers to reward you with a higher rank, and for Google to allow you to access private search data. With site verification, you will receive better data and better search engine rankings for just a few minutes work.

The Site Verification module makes it easy to prove to search engines that your site is truly your own.

 

13. Check if Search 404 module is enabled and configured

The Search 404 module is a saving grace for reducing your bounce rate and SERP rankings, as well as for improving your overall user experience. Instead of your users finding an ‘Error: Page not Found” in place of the content they were hoping for, they will be offered a search of your site based on the URL string.

For example, if www.yoursite.com/great-seo-tips doesn’t exist, use this module will automatically search your site for “Great SEO tips” and show visitors the results.

 

While SEO may seem like a tricky subject to wrap your head around, the basics are easy with the right modules and guidance, and Drupal is a great content management system for building search engine optimized websites.


If you liked our SEO checklist, then check out the other educational materials that we at Vardot have designed to help you build a top quality website. If you’re looking for even more ways to improve your site’s SEO, have a look at SEO articles on our blog --or better yet, get in touch with our team!

Acro Media: BigCommerce & Drupal for Growing Ecommerce Businesses

May 28, 2019 - 21:45

This is the second post in a two part series focused on specific platforms for experience-led ecommerce. The first post focused on Drupal, an open-source CMS, as an excellent option for creating content-rich customer experiences when combined with an ecommerce component of your choice. This post will focus on BigCommerce, an increasingly popular open SaaS ecommerce platform, and how its strengths in ecommerce can be complemented by an integration with Drupal.

A quick introduction

Like the last post, here’s a quick introduction to the main concepts and software discussed.

SaaS

Whether it’s accounting, marketing, ecommerce, etc., SaaS (software as a service) platforms are a great option for many businesses. With this service model, businesses simply sign up and pay a monthly fee to use the platform. This is an attractive option because the cost is generally quite reasonable and the onus is on the service provider, not the business, to host the service and keep it up and running. For a business, it’s hands-off and requires little to no IT staff to manage.

Open SaaS

Open SaaS is still a relatively new term and has a couple different meanings. For this post, I’m using open SaaS to describe a SaaS services that is also open for integration and innovation through APIs and webhooks. This means that a business can use the SaaS service as-is, but it’s not restricted by it. This will become more clear the further you read through this post.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is gaining popularity as a SaaS ecommerce platform. As a service, BigCommerce provides everything a business needs to quickly create an online store and start selling products. It has a wide variety of customizable themes available, supports custom themes, and has an extension library to add additional functionality to the base platform. While this is all quite normal for SaaS ecommerce, what makes BigCommerce an exciting platform is it’s commitment to being open via APIs and webhooks. This allows BigCommerce to be used as a headless backend store management area with the front-end of your choice, opening up a world of possibilities for creating customer experiences not previously possible with other popular SaaS ecommerce solutions.

SaaS at different stages of growth

Ecommerce businesses can grow quickly. Being set up for scalability to handle this growth is extremely important early on to eliminate headaches later on. This is the main reason why all of us at Acro Media are always talking about the importance of utilizing the right commerce architecture. The right architecture will enable a business to scale effectively without bottlenecking operations with swivel-chair processes. BigCommerce is uniquely capable of handling this growth, from startup all the way up to enterprise powerhouse.

SaaS for startup and small businesses

For many small ecommerce businesses, SaaS ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce provide a quick and cost-effective solution to get to market. These businesses typically have a low IT budget and are just looking for solutions that are easy to implement and use. In many cases, SaaS checks these boxes and is the perfect starting point. This is why platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify and SquareSpace have become so popular. We call this scenario commerce-led because the ecommerce platform used dictates what other software and integration are also used in combination.

SaaS for medium, large and enterprise businesses

While SaaS is typically great for startups and small businesses, established businesses are an entirely different situation. They’re now looking at technology as an enabler for reaching the next level. They see personalization and the customer’s experience as an area where they can differentiate themselves from their competitors. These businesses are now hitting the limitations and restrictions of their SaaS ecommerce platform due to the fact that SaaS is typically built for the most common use cases and is therefore rigid in allowing these businesses to add the unique functionality and the integrations that they need. As technological requirements for a business changes, the software used must change too. These businesses are now looking at investing in stable technology that increases efficiencies, automates time consuming tasks, and gives them the edge in defining their customer journey. This may mean moving away from a commerce-led architecture and into experience-led. Often, ecommerce replatforming is part of this move.

BigCommerce is different

So, where does BigCommerce and Drupal fit into the mix. As I mentioned earlier, BigCommerce as a SaaS service is an ideal ecommerce platform for startup and small business. Not only does it give these businesses the ecommerce tools and stability needed to easily conduct business online, but it’s uniquely capable of growing with these businesses further, all the way through to enterprise.

How? Through BigCommerce’s open APIs and webhooks, BigCommerce can be run headless as a robust and secure enterprise-level ecommerce backend that compliments the incredible content experience capabilities of Drupal as the frontend. This means that these businesses can start with a SaaS solution that works great and then replace the frontend with Drupal if and when it makes sense to do so. They integrate directly together, creating a SaaS & open source hybrid ready to disrupt the insanely expensive enterprise ecommerce space, finally giving companies a capable and cost-effective alternative solution that is built for growth, scalability and integration.

Why Drupal?

If you haven’t read the first post in this series, I’d recommend you take a moment to do that. It discusses the strengths of Drupal for experience-led ecommerce complete with some examples. In short, customer experience is seen as a major competitive advantage in established ecommerce and Drupal is able to provide that experience while also being able to integrate with the ecommerce component of your choice. One choices being BigCommerce.

How it works

Acro Media teamed up with BigCommerce to create the BigCommerce for Drupal integration, so we are very in-tune with the strengths of both platforms. Here’s a high-level breakdown of how the integration works.

  1. Set up a BigCommerce store
    The business signs up for an account with BigCommerce and adds products, payment gateways and shipping options as it normally would. The BigCommerce backend is used for all of the ecommerce functionality, so the store configuration happens here.

    As mentioned earlier, existing BigCommerce store’s don’t need to create a new store for this integration with Drupal to work. Drupal just replaces the frontend, so the integration can happen at the beginning or anytime in the future.

  2. Connect BigCommerce and Drupal
    Drupal is then installed separately and the BigCommerce for Drupal module is added along with any dependencies. The module’s settings page within Drupal is where the BigCommerce store is connected and products get synced. This brings the products into Drupal as content.

  3. Complete the Drupal website frontend
    The rest of the website is then built within Drupal like any normal Drupal website. This involves setting up additional content types, configuring the display of this content and imported products, and finally theming the site.

That’s it! Drupal is where the content lives and what customers interact with. Operational staff who manage the store and fulfill orders do so within BigCommerce. When customers decide to purchase products, they do so through an embedded BigCommerce secure checkout.

And there you have it, the best of both worlds!

Further information

Interested in learning how your business can leverage the strengths of BigCommerce and Drupal together?

Or check out these related resources.

DrupalEasy: Layout Builder in core - first impressions

May 28, 2019 - 17:59

I recently decided to begin rebuilding the various landing pages on DrupalEasy.com using Layout Builder, introduced as a stable module to Drupal 8.7 core. Prior to this, the various landing pages on the site had been built using Paragraphs module.

While I appreciate what Paragraphs module can do as a layout tools for individual entities, I learned the hard way that perhaps it isn't the best tool for the job of building landing pages. 

I've been keen to use Layout Builder for awhile, but also hesitant to make the switch. Layout Builder has (unstated) lofty goals - to be the de-facto method of building landing pages in Drupal. I'll be perfectly happy if I didn't have to use Paragraphs or Panels in the future, instead relying on a core module.

I was biding my time until Layout Builder was stable in core, and now that it has come to pass, I wanted to take the time to rebuilding our landing pages while updating their content, layout, and styles just a bit.

For starters, I created a new "Landing page" content type. Knowing that all of our landing pages will just be a series of blocks, I didn't add any fields - in fact, I removed the default "Body" field from the content type. I also created a default layout by selecting the "Use Layout Builder" checkbox on the content type's "Manage display" page. Knowing also that I may want to tweak the layout of some of our landing pages, I also selected the "Allow each content item to have its layout customized." (this effectively replaces the Panelizer contrib module). 

From there, I clicked the "Manage layout" button and set up a default layout for our landing pages. I'm not going to take you step-by-step through the process, but it's quite intuitive - and far better than any of the community's attempts to provide a browser-based layout tool in the past (no offense to anyone who has tried - it's a really difficult problem!)

After that, I created a new "Landing page" node and went directly to the "Layout" tab. The default layout I created in the previous step was ready for me to populate - but I was also able to tweak the layout for just this node as well. The process for adding content to the layout is easy primarily because it utilizes Drupal core's settings tray functionality. Existing blocks, custom blocks, as well as fields belonging to the content type are easily placed. I especially like the "Show content preview" checkbox for simplifying (and speeding up?) the interface during construction. 

My experience wasn't without hiccups, however. I did run into a couple of issues that I'd imagine a few other folks will stumble upon as well.

First, I tried adding a system Search block to one of my layouts. When I did this, I was unable to save the layout. I traced this issue to an issue related to rendering form blocks inside Layout Builder. At the time of writing this post, I didn't feel there was a mature enough patch yet, so I opted to remove the Search block for now. 

As this site is hosted on Pantheon, **and its codebase is built on https://github.com/pantheon-systems/example-drops-8-composer** , I ran into an issue where I was unable to add a new section to any layout. Turns our it was caused by this issue - luckily the fix for this was easy.

Finally, as I use the Bootstrap base theme for this site, when adding a bit of styling, I noticed that I had to override (using CSS) some of the breakpoints that Layout Builder uses by default. Specifically, Layout Builder has a 40em breakpoint, which doesn't align with Bootstrap's (default) 768px breakpoint. Not a big deal to do with a little bit of CSS (Sass), but important to note nonetheless. I used the following Sass to align layout builder's 2-column layout with the Bootstrap breakpoint:

.layout--twocol-section {
  &.layout--twocol-section--50-50 {
    > .layout__region--first,
    > .layout__region--second {
      @media #{$mobile} {
        flex: 0 1 100%;
      }
      @media #{$tablet} {
        flex: 0 1 50%;
      }
    }
  }
}

Overall, I'm really happy with Layout Builder so far - the resulting landing pages are easier to update - both from a content and a layout standpoint. It also provides a good deal of confidence knowing that I'm now using a core solution that will only improve with time.

Srijan Technologies: Smart Content Personalization Modules for your Drupal 8 Website

May 28, 2019 - 16:15

As a marketer, you want to make sure that the content you create stays with them. But chances of standing out in the crowd are meagre.

Why?

Because

OSTraining: How to Display a Cookie Compliance Banner in a Drupal 8 Site

May 28, 2019 - 07:02

Since 2018, European site-builders have a legal obligation to meet a specific requirement. Their sites must display a banner to inform people about the use of cookies.

This European requirement is mandatory in order to comply with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

In other words, you must ask user permission if you want to store cookies on the browser of a European (EU) citizen.

The EU Cookie Compliance D8 module provides an easy way to manage this type of functionality. In this tutorial, you will learn about the installation and basic configuration of this module.

Let’s start!

Sooper Drupal Themes: 10 Awesome Places to find a Remote Developer and More

May 27, 2019 - 19:00
Have you thought of hiring a remote developer?

Here at Sooperthemes, we stumbled upon the challenge of looking for remote talent to hire, specifically a remote developer. With this in mind, we scoured the internet for the best websites where you can find a remote developer to hire. Hiring remote staff is a completely different process, compared to hiring an on-site employee. However, this also comes with a lot more freedom from where to choose talent for your business, since remote staff hiring usually gives access to a bigger pool of candidates from different countries or even different continents! This list has a focus on finding remote developers, however, it can also be used to search for other classes of remote professionals. Having said that, here are the top 10 places from where you can hire a remote developer:

Upwork

Upwork is the first on the list of places from where to hire remote employees. It has a lot of job bidding which can drive the cost of hiring down. However, a lot of job bidding can also lead to price fixation and a drop in the quality of work, it’s a double edged sword. Currently, they have an escrow account that is put in place in order to protect both parties involved in the deal, the client and seller. Lately however, there have been a number of negative reviews, from both sides, the clients and sellers. On top of that, there are fees to be paid when using their system in order to make the payment. A workaround for this is to use the platform to make contact with the remote developer and to take the rest of the business outside of the platform.

Freelancer.com

Freelancer.com is similar in concept with Upwork. They do provide a huge pool of talent, however, with a great pool of people to choose from, there are chances to stumble upon untalented workforce. It is also great for project based work. On the other hand, it can get quite pricey, with service fees of 3%. Freelancer.com is the 2nd go-to place were Sooperthemes is looking for remote developers.

Jobrack

Are you searching for labour from Eastern Europe? Then Jobrack is for you. Jobrack prides itself by providing Eastern European talent that work for less money than their Western counterparts. This way businesses can save money while also being able to acquire skilled workforce from the remote corners of Eastern Europe. Jobrack is the Eastern European website dedicated to remote  hiring.

TopTal

TopTal claims to provide the top 3% talent in the industry. They have a rigorous screening session that basically ensures that the people that are selected are indeed top notch professionals. Because of this, TopTal doesn’t have a rating system in place, since it's already implied that they have the best that the market has to offer. On the other hand, hiring off of TopTal will generally result in generally bigger fees to be paid, since talent is usually more expensive compared with lower skilled workforce. If you have a budget and want to cut to the chase, while also saving time on the screening process, then TopTal is the best place for you to find highly skilled workforce.

Guru

Guru is another platform that is similar to Upwork and Freelancer. However, compared to the abovementioned, Guru has better search parameters that enable you to pinpoint the right talent for the job. On top of that, they do have a pay-back feature in case the client is not satisfied with the quality of the work that was delivered to him. One downside is that Guru has a 2.5% handling fee every time a client is making a payment towards the employee. On the other hand, there is a cash back of 3.5% if the payment is done through check, e-check or wire transfer.

Fiverr

Fiverr is the most straightforward platform on this list. You can find here a lot of sellers that are selling their services at a starting price of 5$. However, if you decide you need more complex work done, then you can choose a more expensive package, that will be able to fulfill your higher expectations. Not only that, but if you’re unsatisfied with the work received, then you are able to get a revision from your seller if the package does include them in the price. Some sellers will charge more money for an increased amount of revisions for the project. On top of that, Fiverr is really protective over the buyers at the detriment of the seller, which is good for buyers but sometimes results in unfair results for sellers. This might scare away sellers who can find business elsewhere on better terms.

Indeed

Indeed is a platform that is continuously scouring the internet for job openings. On Indeed, you have the option to be find remote talent, although at a much slower rate than on other platforms. Indeed is not a dedidacated remote staffing website, however there might still be some hidden gems hidden.

GetACoder

If you’re looking to hire more technical staff, like a remote developer, then GetACoder is the right platform on our list. The platform is focused on being able to provide sellers (employees) from 234 different country locations. Because of this, the prices are driven down. On top of that, as a buyer (employer/client) you can post jobs for free. One of the drawbacks are that there are no tests for the employees to pass, meaning that there might be unskilled workforce, thus requiring a good screening process from the side of client.

Drupal Jobs

Drupal Jobs is the place where you can search for Drupal remote developers and on-site. Drupal Jobs is a niche hiring and job seeking platform that focuses on Drupal development jobs. Drupal Jobs may not have the sheer number that other sites have, but given the fact that this website is entirely dedicated for good Drupal developers, it is worth it.

Codementor

Codementor is a website that is specifically dedicated for clients to be able to find software developers. Codementor has a fast and efficient registration process. After that, it doesn’t take much time for a client to be able to find the right freelancer that is willing to do the job for him. If you’re a client that is searching for a remote developer or on-site, then Codementor is definitely the right place from where you can start.

Costs for using these services:

Company

Pricing

Upwork

  • 3% processing fee on the amount paid to the freelancer

Freelancer.com

  • 3% or $3, whichever is greater for fixed price project

  • 3% for hourly paid jobs on every payment made to the freelancer

Jobrack

  • The price for a job posting starts at $149

TopTal

  • TopTal requires a $500 upfront deposit that will be applied as credit to the first invoice once a freelancer is hired

Guru

  • Job posting is free. Promoting the job posting starts at $29.95

  • 2.5% handling fee when paying an invoice

  • 3.5% Cash back when paying with check, e-check or wire transfer

Fiverr

  • All services purchased up to and including $40 have a fee of $2

  • Services that are more than $40 will have a fee of 5%

Indeed

  • It’s free to post job offers on Indeed, however, for promotion there is a fee starting at $5

GetACoder

  • 10% commission fee plus a $5 dollar fixed fee for “free” members.

Drupal Jobs

  • Pricing starts from $199 for a single job posting that lasts for 30 days

Codementor

  • No service fee, membership is granted by being part of the community

Conclusion

Hiring remote employees always seems like a daunting task, especially if you don't know the right places where to search. However, with this list, now you know where you can find the best remote employees that the market has to offer. On top of that, when keeping in mind the challanges that come when hiring a remote employee, which were discussd in a previous article, you can better mitigate the shortcomings and better leverage the positive aspects of remote hiring.

DrupalEasy: Some of my favorite (newer) DDEV things

May 27, 2019 - 16:03

Local development environments are in the midst a bit of a renaissance recently - mainly driven by the maturation and adoption of Docker-based solutions.

I've been using (and recommending) DDEV for awhile now, and one of the things that I really like about it is the consistent pace of development. Since early February, there have been three minor releases of DDEV (1.6, 1.7, and 1.8). With each minor release of DDEV comes new, often very useful features. Here's just a few of my recent favorites:

NFS Mounting

One of the few disadvantages of using a Docker-based solution over a native local development solution is often the performance (depending on your operating system and hardware). In the DDEV 1.6 release, NFS mounting was introduced - this is a method to mount the DDEV Docker containers using NFS instead of the default Docker mount - resulting in significant performance gains. While using NFS mounting does involve a one-time system -setup, the results are well worth it.

Windows Chocolatey support

For Windows users, Chocolatey is similar to Homebrew for Mac OS X. With DDEV 1.6, you can now install DDEV using Chocolatey from the command line.

DrupalEasy has live, online, monthly 2-hour DDEV workshops - the next one is June 12, 2019. Local DDEV config files

If you're working in a team environment, then having a local DDEV config file is a huge advantage. Prior to DDEV 1.7, if you wanted to utilize a DDEV post-start hook, it had to be configured in .ddev/config.yaml. In a team environment, this file is shared among all developers, so everyone would share the same post-start hook (even if they didn't want it). Starting in DDEV 1.7, you can have your own .ddev/config.local.yaml with only your additions or modifications to .ddev/config.yaml. For example, if you want to add a post-start hook and not share it with the rest of your team, just create a .ddev/config.local.yaml file and add it there.

Easy local https by default!

It is pretty much standard practice these days to have your production environment only available via https. It only makes sense that your local development environments should behave in the same manner. In DDEV 1.8, support for the most-excellent mkcert project was added, so with a one-time, super-easy mkcert installation on your host operating system, DDEV will automatically default to providing you with an https connection to your local development environment. 

There's a lot of great reasons to use DDEV (check out more of them in my DDEV book!), and it is exciting to know that every six weeks or so, we'll be getting new ones with each DDEV release.

Lullabot: Behind the Screens: Behind the Screens with Cathy Theys

May 27, 2019 - 14:00

Cathy Theys could often be found roaming contribution days at DrupalCons organizing people, but she's recently switched gears back to development. I caught up with her in Seattle to find out why.

OpenSense Labs: Interactive Screens: Drupal for Building Digital Signage Solution

May 26, 2019 - 20:47
Interactive Screens: Drupal for Building Digital Signage Solution Shankar Sun, 05/26/2019 - 19:17

Possibly the greatest ever digital signage advertising was created for British Airways which had it all. The advert, connecting to live flight information, displayed a child pointing up to the sky as an aeroplane flew above him. This was so cleverly done that the advert showed the flight number and its destination as well.

What a great blend of entertainment and education using the latest technologies! Source: British Airways

The digital signage system is scalable and its usefulness can be extracted to a great extent like digital menu boards for restaurants or the interactive digital movie posters for movie theatres. Drupal has the power to be a remarkably scalable digital signage solution for different sorts of organisations thereby reducing costs, speeding up time to market, and building engaging experiences for the people.

Digging Deeper Into The Terminology: Digital Signage

Digital signage refers to a centralised content dissemination platform for serving digital content on screens. It can be leveraged to display information through television programming, menus, advertising and other messages.

It can be seen in the form of digital signboards, billboards, and other such display devices for displaying visual information. It is connected by a content management system like Drupal that sends the digital content to be displayed. The information displayed can be anything ranging from static data and charts and graphs to images and video streaming.

Digital signage is a centralised content dissemination platform for serving digital content through television programming, menus or advertising on screens.

It can be commonly seen in outdoor marketing campaigns to display promotional content. Moreover, industries that rely on real-time information delivery to its employers or customer such as stock exchanges, airports, and sports stadiums can use digital signs to a great extent.

Digital Signage Can Be Used In Awesome Ways

Its uses can be seen through the eyes of organisations to understand the different ways it can be implemented. Some of the biggest brands have harnessed its immense potential.

Netflix, one of the largest over-the-top media service providers, carried a promotional campaign that relied on the humbled animated GIF. Instead of using a long video clip, they opted for reaction-based clips which were just a few seconds long. These videos were tied into the events that were actually happening around the globe.


Swedish pharmacy Apotek Hjärtat developed a controversial billboard using a built-in smoke detector. Every time a smoker passed by, the billboard would cough loudly at them before displaying a series of products to help people stop smoking. Although it turned heads, questions were raised whether such an overt messaging is effective or not.


Coca Cola’s Small World Machines Initiative had a grand ambition and offered a live link between India and Pakistan. Coke machines were placed in both the nations where people could interact with one another through the screen like touching hands, drawing peace, love, and happiness symbols together.

A Trio Of Major Merits Through Digital Signs

Enormous possibilities of digital signs are pretty evident with so many big brands using them to a great effect. Using digital signs can prove beneficial in many ways.

  • Enhances customer engagement: People love colourful and moving images rather than static images which help in enhancing user engagement.
  • Makes a good impression: Content can be updated remotely within seconds. For instance, such quick updates can help retailers to form a good impression and adjust to customer demands without having to deploy employees or new signs printed.
  • Revs up revenue: Digital signs can help increase your sales and revenue. In 2014. Taco John deployed digital menu boards and witnessed a 12% increase in sales.
How Can Drupal Be The Perfect CMS For Digital Signage Solutions?

Well, it all boils down to the CMS that would be relaying digital content on to the screen to attract people. Drupal is one of the big players in the content management systems that can be the perfect fit for creating digital signs.

Content Creation

Your CMS should allow the content creation to be done intuitively and support all the common file types. Drupal comes with intuitive tools for content creation, workflow and publishing for streamlining content authoring.

Remote Access

With Drupal, on-the-go team members can assess, edit and approve content from mobile devices to keep content and promotional campaigns flowing on to the screens regardless of where they are and what device they are working on.

Content Revision

Drupal helps in enabling a swift and simple way to track all the alterations and revisions which is a must-have if you have multiple editors and need to handle a history of content changes.

Content Workflow

Drupal allows you to administer custom, editorial workflows for all the processes involved in the content production. It lets you view the stage your content is in - from creation to assessment to publication.

User Controls

Authentication and user permissions in Drupal helps in handling editorial workflows efficaciously and previews show how the content will look on screen before the content editors would finally approve and relay them on to the screens.

Content Scheduling

Drupal has the provisions for scheduling the content at your own convenience. It is possible to schedule a campaign to be published at a certain time. In case, a campaign is no longer required or outmoded, it can be unpublished as well.

Security

Drupal is one of the most secure CMS platforms among the leading players like Wordpress, Joomla and Magento. In a report published by Sucuri called Hacked Website Report, Drupal turned out to be the least vulnerable to security attacks in comparison to Wordpress.

Scalability

Your CMS should be able to grow with you and accommodate more screens. Drupal is a highly scalable solution with high traffic sites like Grammy, NBC Olympics, University of Oxford and many other renowned names performing astoundingly well even during the busiest of times.

Support And Maintenance

Drupal is an open source solution and you can rest assured that the Drupal community comprises of numerous vendors who are adept at providing round the clock support and maintenance.

At Opensense Labs, we have designed the Bucket and on-the-go models of support and maintenance services. We offer support in the day-to-day operations. Our support hours run parallelly with business hours but are extendable as per your needs.

Use Cases

The University of Iowa, which is powered by Drupal, kicked off a Drupal Digital Signage Service to offer new digital capabilities inside the campus.

Drupal’s flexibility in content management and delivery in combination with Intel Compute Sticks, mini-computers that serve each screen or sign, proved rewarding. This helped in offering wireless connectivity to the Drupal-based content as it is relayed on to the screens in real-time.

Source: University of Iowa

The digital signs provided key information for students like the time at which a bus would arrive or leave, emergency alerts, advertisements for student groups, computer lab availability, university news, and events etc.

The University reported rapid adoption of the service as many colleges and divisions within the University used the free and user-friendly solution on several screens. Stakeholders used templates and drag and drop tools and widgets for customising and governing the screen content.

The University’s move to expand the use of Drupal to digital signs proved beneficial in many ways. An IOWA NOW news story stated that “the backend is incredibly user-friendly. It’s the same system our websites run on, and so very intuitive. The web-based platform allows us to update information and slides from anywhere and anytime”.

Being an open source software, Drupal incurred no licensing fees. Hardware costs were lower too. Thanks to the project team’s discovery that the digital signs could be run on small, energy-efficient compute sticks. Moreover, wireless connectivity eliminated the expense of data ports and cabling.

Source: University of Iowa

The Drupal Digital Signage system, rather than using a webpage, used a specialised software application. This made the displaying of content as simple as plugging the URL of a sign into a browser. Users were granted access permissions for specific signs and by utilising templates and a drag-and-drop interface, they could display the content or widgets in numerous regions of the screens. That content, displayed on the screen, could also be shared with other units.

Furthermore, the digital signs, being accessible to all screen-reading technologies, saved staff time. Being easy to learn, training time got reduced.

Content editors only needed to enter news or events into a familiar interface. The content would go to both their websites and digital signs simultaneously without having to perform double entry.

Another example can be seen through Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) which plays a huge role as the largest public transit system in the United States of America. It had benefitted tremendously by using Drupal and Amazon’s Internet of Things (IoT) service from Amazon Web Services (AWS). With Drupal, the MTA was able to leverage the same CMS that powers its website to serve content and data to thousands of digital signs in hundreds of stations in New York City. By utilising the power of digital signage into station countdown clocks, MTA has been able to disseminate a great customer experience.

Source: Acquia

The content can be built inside Drupal and data is pulled from external feeds in order to supply the countdown clocks with data. Data can be pulled from transit information, weather and message provider as Drupal is equipped with provider APIs. Once data is given context via Drupal content model, it is pushed to the digital signs with the help of a data pipeline that was implemented to leverage IoT service from AWS. Using progressively decoupled Drupal approach, a front end experience was developed using ReactJS for displaying the data. As data flows, React governs all the important on-screen presentation and utilises the data that is received to inform the display on the countdown clock.

Future Of Digital Signage

According to the statistics given by the Statista, the statistics portal, the digital signage market worldwide was valued at 19.61 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 and the display market was estimated at 6.07 billion U.S. dollar in 2015.

Future of digital signage is bright as is for Drupal and together they can work wonders. Source: Statista

This number is going to see a significant rise by 2023 as the market value is poised to reach 32.84 billion in 2023. Digital signage technology is not just here to stay but grow multifold.

Conclusion

Digital content distribution can surely be taken to next level by making it engaging through digital signage solutions. Drupal can be the perfect choice of CMS for relaying content on screens.

We provide Drupal services with top-of-the-line expertise. Contact us at hello@opensenselabs.com to explore Drupal as a superb platform for building digital signage solutions thereby providing a whole new level of customer experience.

blog banner blog image Digital signage Drupal Drupal 8 Digital signage solution Interactive screen Customer engagement Marketing Drupal distribution Digital sign Drupal CMS Open Y University of Iowa User experience Customer experience Blog Type Articles Is it a good read ? On

OpenSense Labs: Why is Drupal great for multilingual sites

May 26, 2019 - 18:32
Why is Drupal great for multilingual sites Shankar Sun, 05/26/2019 - 17:02

World Economic Forum, an International Organisation for Public/Private Cooperation, has its digital presence not only in English language but other prominently spoken languages like Spanish, Chinese, French and Japanese as well. Rio Olympics 2016, which is also known for the infamous haul of 9 golds by Usain Bolt, had its online presence in both English and French. Oxfam, an international confederation of 19 organisations that has the objective of mobilising the power of people against poverty, has its website in Spanish and French languages other than English. What is common between all of them? Their websites are powered by Drupal which is one of the leaders in the open source content management system (CMS) market.


Built and maintained by an international community of developers, Drupal has been a marvellous solution for organisations around the globe that are in need of swiftly launching their websites that is tailored to a variety of language needs. As a matter of fact, Drupal 8, the latest version, was created keeping multilingual use in mind. But why should an organisation consider building a multilingual site in the first place? Let’s understand its significance before taking a plunge in exploring Drupal’s capabilities in building a localised site.

Significance of multilingual sites


English is certainly the most widely spoken language in the world and dominates the internet space. But it would be wrong to consider it is as the most preferred language. Chinese, Spanish, Arabic and many others, as you can see in the graph above, are spoken by millions of online users. So, optimising your site and going multilingual gives you a huge advantage.

Some of the major benefits of having a multilingual website are:

Source: DayTranslations

One of the most important benefits of going multilingual is that you can enhance communication as even though English has its preeminence over the online space. That doesn’t mean that everyone wants to buy from English language websites. Research from CSA Research says that people prefer to make purchases while browsing in their own native language as more than half of the people who were surveyed bought from sites that were available in their own language. Another important benefit is that you can expand your reach and cover a wider audience. Localised websites also result in increased client satisfaction. Multilingual SEO is of paramount importance too and localising your website into different languages helps improve your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking locally across the globe.

Moreover, website localisation is efficacious and gives you a competitive advantage. In a survey by Content Marketing World, 60% of participating marketers agreed that there is a dearth of multilingual content marketing strategies. Therefore, not capitalising on the immense amount of opportunities that website localisation presents can prove detrimental to your business pursuits. You may lose out to a local business that is well known and also fare badly against another foreign company that is localising better. Also, not only you get to touch a wider demographic of the audience, you get the opportunity to increase your audience as you will be noticed by a massive pool of potential buyers for your product and services. And you do not get penalised for duplicated content on translated sites. Localising your website also bring about higher conversions and skyrocketed return on investment. Even if you cannot please everyone, you can please the majority of them when you make your site multilingual.

Considerations for turning your site multilingual

In order to develop a great multilingual site, there are some considerations that should be kept in mind.

Building a site in any language needs a clearly thought-out plan for content and needs a detailed picture of your business objectives and vision. For instance, you should know who the ideal customer for your products and services is and where does he or she live. And you should know which language will have a wider reach amongst your potential customers.

You would, then, require a wisely laid-out strategy. You can register top-level domains like .mx for Mexico or .fr for France. You must know that photographs, artwork, fonts, and colour choices carry different meanings across different cultures. Visitors should find it easy to navigate and find their native language microsite. Different languages should be used appropriately and nothing should come across as offensive or insensitive to the different cultures.

Most importantly, you need to determine the best technological solution for creating your localised site. A robust CMS like Drupal can be a remarkable option that can dovetail with your multilingual strategy.

Drupal in the mix

If you are in the need of quickly creating customised sites in any language of your choice or an intricate multilingual web application with dynamic, language-based displays, Drupal is a wonderful option. Without the need for any additional components, Drupal 8 can be installed in over 90+ languages. Drupal’s out-of-the-box support for language handling assists you in delivering localised digital experiences and saves time and money. Drupal 8 core comes with four core modules for localising content on the website.

Administering Language


The Language handling module lets you pick your choice from 94 languages.
 
Language configuration has been streamlined. Assign a language to everything from taxonomy terms to administration language. You can even delete the English language. Each user can also select his or her own language for the admin interface.
 
The detection of browser language can be easily configured with external language codes. There is also a built-in transliteration for the machine names.

Translating Interface

Interface translation module provides a central directory to manage interface. It has built-in translation UI for simplifying content editing. By allowing automatic downloads and updates, it lets users use any translation interface available in the Drupal community in any language supported by Drupal 8.
 
English language interface can be customized. You do not have to use English as your default language.

Translating Content



Content translation module is applicable to all of your content. It lets you translate everything from the pages to the taxonomy terms. It allows you to configure custom fields of a web content.
 
Like interface translation, the default language of your content can be flexibly configured. You can even hide or display the position of language selector.

Managing Configuration



Everything that comes with the configuration of your website can be translated using this module. Things like views, blocks, panels, field panels or text formats can be easily translated with its built-in responsive translation interface.
 
Moreover, there is a provision of an overview screen to help you in the process.

Case studies


Sevilla FC, founded in 1890, is one of the oldest football teams in Spain. A digital agency helped it to implement a series of quality and qantitative enhancement in its digital services via web, mobile and social media channels. Drupal turned out to be a fantastic option in their pursuit of improving the digital experience. Drupal’s in-built multilingual capabilities, top-of-the-line open source security, tremendous scalability, great content workflow tools and the support for agile project delivery were the major factors that made it the right choice for this project. With a continuous increase in the number of international fanbases of Sevilla FC, it was important to create a multilingual site. The multilingual capability of Drupal 8 streamlined the process of localising their website into multiple languages.

What if your native language is not available to choose from 90+ languages that the Drupal offers? OpenSense Labs leveraged Drupal 8 to provide a clean architecture and design for the betterment of digital presence of the Ministry of Finance in Somalia.


The remodelling of the website needed new content types with user-friendly navigation and the addition of a custom type of publication to publish annual reports. Agile development methodology helped the project to be completed within six weeks. And, as Somali isn’t available in the list of languages provided by Drupal 8’s out of the box solution, the flexible multilingual infrastructure of Drupal aided in adding it easily.

Conclusion

While English language internet users have been the primary source of the target of every business. There has been an unprecedented growth in the non-English language online users as well. Reaching them out is beneficial for widening your customer base and establishing their business in newer markets. Your content determines the website traffic, customer retention, and conversion rates. CMS is the warehouse of your web content. It is significant to choose the right CMS before even making your first move towards making your site multilingual.

Drupal 8 has made tremendous improvements to include the built-in multilingual feature. It delivers multilingual websites right out of the box. Its 4 key modules for language, interface, content, and configuration of your website helps in efficaciously building a multilingual site.

Drupal development is our forte and we are committed towards the provision for great digital experiences. To tap into newer markets with multilingual Drupal websites, reach us out at hello@opensenselabs.com.

blog banner blog image Drupal 8 Multilingual Site Drupal Multilingual Drupal multilingual site Blog Type Articles Is it a good read ? On

Drupal blog: Drupal-powered Justice.gov sustains traffic surge from Mueller report post

May 25, 2019 - 05:47

This blog has been edited and reposted with permission from Dries.
 

On the day that the Drupal-powered Justice.gov website released Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-awaited report on Russian interference in the U.S. election, the site experienced a 7,000% increase in traffic.

The report was successfully delivered without interruption via Acquia, using Drupal. 

According to Federal Computer Week, by 5pm on April 18, there had already been 587 million site visits, with 247 million happening in the first hour the report was released. The site typically receives 8 million visits per day. 

There were no IT performance or availability issues during the release of the 142-MB report, which is ideal during these types of high-pressure events when the world is watching. Thus, no news is good news. 

Keeping sites like this up and available to the public is an important part of democracy and the freedom of information. 

I'm proud of Drupal and Acquia’s ability to deliver when it matters most!

Gábor Hojtsy: Analysis of top uses of deprecated code in Drupal contributed projects in May 2019

May 24, 2019 - 20:00

Dwayne McDaniel did some thorough reporting of deprecated code use in all Drupal 8 contributed modules in March. Ultimately this kind of reporting would be best to have on drupal.org but while that is figured out, Dwayne's data set provides a very nice way to mine data about Drupal 9 readiness of contributed modules and to inform our tooling to improve the process. His original numbers showed that almost 44% of contributed modules had no deprecated code use at the time. What I was interested in was how to help the rest of the 56%.

Dwayne created an updated process and a new repository this week with fresh data. I was still curious so I delved right into the data and started mining it. A key question I was interested in is how much of the most widespread deprecations are actionable right now. An actionable deprecation is something core deprecated in a previous version that is not supported anymore, so you can update your code to remove the use of that API. Currently Drupal 8.6 and 8.7 are supported, so deprecations there should only be acted on for your custom code. However deprecations in and before 8.5 are entirely fine to act on.

First I counted the top list of deprecated APIs used from Dwayne's data across all of contributed projects. Then I wrote a script to collate api.drupal.org documentation to the deprecation notices. Ideally phpstan itself would report these messages directly and Matt Glaman is working on that. However since that is still blocked on the phpstan side, one needs a different data source to find the deprecation documentation for each occurrence, so I took to api.drupal.org to get that for now. Once that is found, we can categorize the deprecations into actionable, not actionable and actionable for custom code only. For the later case you know which core version you are using, and that should be an up to date minor version. So you don't need to deal with what core branches the community supports otherwise.

The results look really promising so far in terms of how much contributed modules can make progress on even today. If all already actionable deprecations get resolved, there will be very little left at least of the deprecations we already know.

A month ago Dezső Biczó created a set of proof of concept Rector fixes to automate some of these deprecation fixes, so I opened an issue with this new data set to try and cover the top ones that are not just actionable but approachable to automate.

As with all interesting data sets, this summary is just the tip of the iceberg. There is huge potential to mine this data set for other uses, such as finding modules that potential contributors at an event could contribute fixes to. I don't know yet how much I can continue to work with this data myself, and of course others doing analysis of their own would be more than welcome.

Are you a drupal.org project maintainer? Now would be a good time to fill in your Drupal 9 porting information in your project, so you can let contributors know how to best engage with your in the process towards Drupal 9.

https://t.co/hf2ENvlZSo projects can now specify Drupal 9 porting information, so *you* can direct *your* contributors to provide the most valuable help on the way to Drupal 9, fund the process or just step back (for now). Edit your project to help your contributors help you! pic.twitter.com/l1OWwOllBK

— The Drop is Always Moving (@DropIsMoving) May 21, 2019

Disclaimer: The data is based on the state of contributed projects on May 20, 2019 based on Drupal core's 8.8.x development branch on May 20, 2019. The lookup on api.drupal.org was not perfect and I found some bugs there that are being resolved as well so the data gets more accurate. Also, as contributed modules will get updated, there will be less uses of deprecated APIs. As core will introduce more deprecations, the data could get worse. There may also be phpstan Drupal integration bugs or missing features, such as not finding uses of deprecated global constants yet. This is a snapshot as the tools and state of code on all sides evolve, the resulting data will be different.

Digital Echidna: Thoughts on all things digital: Smart Date Module Puts a Premium on Time, User Experience

May 24, 2019 - 17:05
Time is always of the essence. From a consumer perspective, you want to know when events take place, when something’s open or closed, how long a meeting or activity will last. And, from a development perspective, you want to be able to create a date…

Agiledrop.com Blog: 7 questions you're probably asking yourself when considering Open Social

May 24, 2019 - 16:49

Open Social is a Drupal distribution that enables anyone to quickly & easily set up a platform for their own community, no matter its size or needs. In this post, we'll take a look at the platform's powerful capabilities.

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