Jul 13 2018
Jul 13

“Bitcoin is a technological tour de force” - Bill Gates, Co-Founder of Microsoft

There is a new Birdman in the town! An idea that has gripped the biggest institutions in the market. A technology, that enthusiasts believe, could change the world.

"A truly extraordinary invention that does really mundane things", as told by Paul Brody, E&Y Global blockchain leader.

Some see it go much further than the effect on "big stock trades". Further into cracking down on music piracy, child labor and a lot of other things around the world.

Yes, I'm definitely talkng about Blockchain Technology!!

What is all the noise about?

This fuss about blockchain technology has been around for a long time now. So long that even Google is working on its own blockchain related technology. We all know that it has brought quite a change in the tech flow! But what is the clatter about?

This might help you out a little

Google Trends

As defined by the experts in the tech world, "Blockchain technology is a decentralized, replicated & shared ledger for managing and keeping record of transactions across multiple participants".

In layman’s terms, transactions no longer use a centralized database for storage, instead store among the participants itself (called nodes). Before the blockchain technology swept everyone right of the floor, traditional transactions were centralized and dependent on a third-party to create a trust-worthy environment where the transaction partners are strangers. With multiple issues from high transaction costs and low speed to single point of failure and lack of transparency, businesses were in need of a better system in place.

With blockchain technology, the distributed ledger technology allows different nodes to interact directly with each other, being independent of a third party source. Also, blockchain technology handles every other issue with ease.

How Blockchain Works

The Transformation

Before it raced ahead to be recognised as the potential to become the disruptive standard in commerce, Blockchain was originally devised for Bitcoin. This 'not-so-real" cryptocurrency is based on the distributed ledger principle. As one of the most common blockchain application with a market capitalisation of more than $19 billion (as known on April 13th 2017) and a daily traded volume of $330 million, it allows transactions by decentralised confirmation and integrating it to the blockchain.

In addition to the trusted ledger functionality, blockchain very quickly adapted to exchange of files through the transactions. As a major brakthrough, NXT since 2013 and LINQ by Nasdaq since 2015 have been using the blockchain technology to transfer tokenised assets.

It was all about blockchain 2.0 from the late 2015 when Ethereum was launched to allow the use of smart contracts on a much larger scale than Bitcoin. These contracts allow automatic execution of code on blockchain.

What Does This Mean for Digital Content?

Quite recently, the digital world was rocked by one of the most complex cases of data breach by a leading organization that caught the entire world completely by surprise! Yes it was the Faebook’s data breach controversy. And ofcourse you all know about the “Google Terms of Service” that allows Google to actively track almost every internet activity of yours.

My point is, this data, handled by a central entity, is easily accessible and the user does not have complete control.

However, with Blockchain technology, things are going to be different. Spearheading the momentum of decentralization, Blockchain ensures that the data stored is completely tamper proof. This being the main reason enterprises have shown interest in this technology.

centralized vs decentralized

With the capability to decouple the business logic from data using "Smart Contract", Blockchain ensures that no single organization can take hostage of data.

Some of these Blockchain powered decentralized technologies that are playing a vital role in digital content management are : IOTA for decentralised payment processing, Smart Contracts from Etherium, Bitcoin, Hyperledger, Blockchain database from BigchainDB.

The fact that decentralized CMS allows users to control the content they produce is something that businesses around the world are ready to embrace.

Where Does Drupal Fit In?

The idea that Drupal and Blockchain can work together to create a secure decentralized architecture is quite fascinating. Look at this tweet by Dries, way back in 2016.

Tweet

We all know that the workflows of Drupal and Blockchain are completely different. While Drupal uses a centralized database, blockchain on the other hand does not require a middle man and instead acts a verification element.

This is where things get interesting.

Let us for example consider a Hospital with a number of branches around the country. A healthcare network is huge, with great amount of data. Doctor information, patient information, academia, pharma, insurance etc. There is a ton of data and everything has to be handled efficiently to ensure things don't go out of hand!

Blockchain can do wonders here!

By creating a decentralized architecture which is secure and also immutable, blockchain can handle every piece of information precisely. Patient data for example can be made universally available and the info can be validated by the patient himself, by providing him access and control.

Patient medical records can be made accessible not only to the patient and the doctor, but also to research organizations, insurers and anybody seeking the required information. And the fact that the patient himself can validate the entire access is a vital point.

Also, Blockchain will play a huge role in reduction of cost and the time-cycle of transactions and medical claims. Improved administration process, fast efficient payments, reduction in medical claim fraud and multiple immutable authentication can further stamp Blockchain's importance.

Blockchain can create an architecture that allows rule based transactions possible with no communication gaps. All the approvals and the information edited, deleted and corrected will be documented. Yes, this system has a few challenges of its own with respect to need for a decentralized consensus.

This is where, Drupal CMS comes into the picture. Now if this entire healthcare network was on Drupal, each department of the hospital had its own website handled by Drupal individually. For example, Drupal 1 could deal with patient data across the main website. And Drupal 2 could take care of medical claims and other insurances. While Drupal 3 could handle career and other campaigns.

My point here is, to use Blockchain and synchronise users and the user data so that it is available throughout the entire infrastructure.

Imagine having a patient to enter all the information on the main website for the first time to sign in, and then forcing the same patient all over again when he visits the other website for his medical claims. Definitely not an option for a seamless experience.

Ofcourse, with Drupal, a centralized database can be maintained to avoid such repeated interactions! However, multiple user functionality, vulnerability to errors and the need for logic to bypass the mature Drupal system are quite a headache.

With Blockchain and its peer-to-peer distributed ledger, the healthcare infrastructure looks something like this. (No middle-man ofcourse)

decentralized

This architecture ensures that an update on one of the Drupal websites, gets synchronized on all the other ones. This decentralized architecture has a set of its own advantages and challenges.

While it completely avoids the "single point of failure", thus keeping the entire system from loosing data, the work required to integrate data into the system is not an easy task. However, when worked on it for a better integration, Blockchain and Drupal together can do wonders.

May 28 2018
May 28
  • By : Ganesh
  • Date :28-05-2018

Businesses and enterprise organisations today are falling into a trap. A trap built around the ROI of their business. Return on Investment is a term in its own right, capable of flipping over businessmen and marketers who have worked decades to understand how the market functions. In the form of an age-old formula, it is still one of the key reliable ways to measure the effectiveness of business strategies and campaigns.

However, organizations these days are hell bent on believing that the ROI for online businesses is either black or white. That is, it is either postive or negative. Now here is the twist; does positive ROI mean you are getting the bang for your buck? What businesses fail to notice is that, a positive return does not always gurantee for what you are really after, a best possible return.

So how do businesses go on to get a measurable ROI and how to achieve it? Here is where Drupal as an enterprise CMS platform plays a key role in driving organizations towards successful campaigns with a better ROI. But what sets Drupal websites apart? What out-of-the-box features of Drupal CMS have an impact on businesses? Let us analyze.

Content Marketing

Marketing is like telling the world that you are a rockstar. Content marketing is showing the world that you are one - Robert Rose, CEO, Content Marketing Institute

Content marketing is more than a buzzword now. The growing demographic diversity and the adoption of more personalized technologies is likely to put any organization into a convergence of changes that challenge the always-been-present, familiar tactics that businesses use to communicate with customers. With the buyers demanding more interactive and relevant content, content marketing is the right choice to fill this gap and create content and distribute, to have an impact on the customers by engaging different market segments. In today's world, if a company does not utilize content marketing, it is certainly missing some vital revenue.

When it comes to content marketing, Drupal is ahead of the curve as it ensures that a content marketing strategy need not pitch a hard-sell but deliver the right content to the right audience, effectively. With its effective modules, themes and an array of tools that makes content creation, customization and publishing an easy task, Drupal is a dream of every content marketer. Some out of the box features, tools or modules that enable Drupal to perform in a seamless manner are :

  • Field Group
  • Path Auto
  • BigPipe
  • Mail System
  • CKeditor

Performance

Sustaining in a world where every business wants to go online is not an easy task. Add to that the ever increasing demands of the customers, a slight mistake can cause businesses to tumble down the ladder. One such key factor that determines the success of an online business, is its website performance. Website visitors these days are more demanding and less patient to start of with. This is inevitable due to the fact that there are hundreds of options available and a business that lacks technology and a flexible architecture to stay competitive, could prove to be an expensive mistake.

Drupal as a content management system could very well prove to be the solution for a better performing website. Drupal development ensures secure, scalable. modular and a fast efficiently performing website that could be the spear head of a company's success. Drupal with its customization capabilities, is a key resource to help businesses align with their goals resulting in a better ROI for online business.

Track, Study & Analyze

Although it is highly impossible to account for the future scenario, it is always advisable to find ways to atleast take a glimpse at the road and see where you can improve or be careful in order to meet online business goals. This is an important factor for online businesses where risking on the money, time and effort invested can sometimes just go down the drain. But why is it so important to trcak and measure? To establish a base number and then try to improve upon the same. Now its not as easy it sounds. With multiple factors affecting the growth and the success rate, managing various aspects requires a strong hand.

Drupal with its effective techniques to track the performances, enables online businesses to structure their campaign in a better manner and not waste time iin creating strategies and other plans that do not serve the business purpose. Use of certain tracking metrics like the visits, boune-rates, source of the traffic and landing pages allows marketing executives to evaluate the behaviour of their traffic and strategise accordingly.

Digital Personalisation

In spite of the fact that personalisation is considered to be one of the best practices for online businesses, almost a third of enterprise organisations consider it to be of a lower priority. Personalisation basically follows the understanding and behaviour of the cutsomers in order to fulfill their needs. That means knowing where they are, what they do, what they prefer, which includes purchase and behavioural data. Also, it might be concentrated on knowing how they have received a single piece of content. Personalisation provides that additional step, if done correctly, to target specific market and succeed with a better ROI.

Drupal's ability to integrate with digital tools & better the personalisation experience, helps enterprise organisations to deliver relevant content to potential customers. The customized content allows businesses to prove their value and convey the message, thus keeping the customers engaged.

MultiMedia Content

One of the top content driven social platforms, Facebook, is pushing hard towards curtaing multimedia content. It is quite simple these days. Would you prefer spending 10 minutes on reading a blog post or 3-5 minutes watching a video on the same subject? Or perhaps you prefer a visually appealing infographic. Irrespective of what your answers are to these questions, everyone have their own preferences. Some like texts, some people respond to photos, while some prefer videos. As a company fighting for people's attention, multimedia content is a great way to attract potential customers.

With a well-equipped stack of media management modules and tools that make tasks involving media asset management a lot easier, Drupal adds a whole new dimension to how multi-media content is handled on your website. Some of the hand-picked Drupal tools for a better content management are:

  • Media Module
  • Media Entity
  • Scald
  • Asset Module

With a high degree of customization, scalability, better adoption, integration and more, Drupal CMS with its unique capabilities is the perfect choice for enterprises to achieve a better ROI. With its adavnced features that do a great job in attracting and retaining the customers, Drupal platform is quite reliable for businesses across all verticals. Enterprise organizations looking to drive a successful strategy for a higher ROI can depend entirely on Drupal to help them stay ahead of the curve. The best way to do this is to work with a top drupal development company which can understand your online business needs and structure the strategies in accordance to the same.

May 18 2018
May 18
  • By : Ganesh
  • Date :18-05-2018

There is always a benefit in studying and examining some of the decisions that media companies made in the past that portrayed their success or the way they came crashing down the market. For instance, I recently came across this stint by Time Inc where they were leveraging Vignette; a custom CMS created by one of the first media companies on the web, CNET. However by 2011, Time Inc ended up with several complexities with Time Warner division leading to complete spin off from the entity. Time Inc then decided to move more than 20 of their well known publishing brands to Drupal.

The reason I'm talking about this is, the high demand for creating a seamless digital experience across numerous devices and channels has challenged the classic approach of the media industry. The changing technology landscape and the business models have forced the companies to think out-of-the-box to drive customer interaction and avoid competitive differentiation to catch up with them.

In this blog, let us discuss why media companies are shifting over to the open source content management systems like Drupal CMS, when there are literally hundreds of CMS solutions that they have developed on their own. What drives them to adopt Drupal technology and approach drupal development companies to create a better experience? Why are the media & publishing industry opt for Drupal? How will Drupal development affect them? Are there any key benefits?

Content Distribution & Management

An interesting fact that presents itself when we talk about media industry is the need to manage a large number of similar websites that are differentiated by the local media. For example, suppose a particular media company owns several radio stations in multiple cities, then a generic global content is of less importance at such stations when compared to the localized content. This is when companies should break their head on how can they use centralized content sharing to fit their plan.

This is where Drupal CMS plays its part as a highly content driven CMS capable of diverse content publishing, dynamic maintenance and support the various phases of content development and management.

Managing Digital Assets

Media websites are known for the compelling use of photos and videos as a major part of their content, and they face a stiff challenge in forming a strategy for how to deal with this content in the best possible way.

weather.com

As an example, weather.com is the most trafficked Drupal site, serving over a 100 million people every month. They serve content which is unique to each region and each user. Imagine the diversity in their content and the technology required to handle. These digital assets are what runs a media organization and they cannot afford to go easy on their data tracking and handling. Drupal's latest version is the prime example of how good it is as a CMS in managing digital data and ensures that they are not misused.

Rocketing Costs

One factor that has affected the media and publishing industry in the recent times is the rising costs. Most of the enterprise CMS are costly and are not the first bet for the media industry. This means that the open source CMS like Drupal is a better option available to overcome the shortfalls of the other enterprise CMS. Drupal CMS is nothing less than the enterprise ones as it plays a great role in managing the online content with its built-in modules.

Responsive Design & Work flow

A feature that enables Drupal to have an edge over the other CMS is its Responsive Design. With the ability to publish content on any device, resize images without hassle and take care of device orientations automatically, Drupal enables flawless publishing across several devices. This plays an important role in effecting a proper workflow that enables the media organizations to handle content publishing across numerous platforms.

Built-in modules and tools facilitate publishing, un-publishing, archiving and managing the content with a centralized dashboard that analyze analytics and other data to offer a key personalized experience.

The media industry is expected to grow exceedingly well in the next couple of years, especially due to their adoption of technology, and the decreasing paper stocks. Also, the increase in production cost has led media companies to shift to a digital approach. With the incorporation, business needs have changed where broadcast based media consumption is no longer a preferred approach. The consumers need customization and this model is achievable only with a technology that supports this new business model. As a leading Drupal development company , we have been creating Drupal websites to businesses of all verticals, including those from the media and publishing industry.

May 10 2018
May 10
  • By : Ganesh
  • Date :10-05-2018

Today's world is a close reality to something I dreamt of as a child. A world run by devices, the technology they use and their potential to change the future. New interfaces and devices have brought in sweeping changes to transform the web as we know it. With Artificial Intelligence, IOT and more have started to establish and make an impact in the digital world. This impact has changed the way how we perceive a future with seamless, feature rich websites.

However, while the newly web-enabled devices continue to dominate, we have evolved the way we develop for the web. Though the content remains the same, delivering this content differs from one to another based on requirements and complexities. With such requirements, it is tough to stick with the old solutions. This is the reason why in Drupal it was agreed upon that: it was high time to implement front-end frameworks for a better performance. This gave rise to "headless Drupal," an architecture where developers build the front-end on their own without using Drupal.

But how do you pick the right framework? Let us discuss in detail.

Angular JS

The most preferred front-end framework on the list, Angular JS is a developer's favourite when it comes to interfacing with Drupal. It lets them create feature-rich dynamic web applications and allow Drupal to work more efficiently, resulting in a dynamic, secure and a gripping Drupal website. Backed by Google itself, this open source framework allows you to do handle your user's browser without having to fetch data from your server.

Things Developers Love about Angular

  • Extremely light weight and extensible with a wide scope of features.
  • An interactive frame-work, a result of it great functionality like the two-way binding which allows user actions to immediately trigger application objects.
  • Developers love HTML and the fact that AngularJS uses plain HTML templates that can be easily re-used, modified or extended, allows them to build interactive feature-rich web applications.
  • With a client-side nature, AngularJS does a great job in handling cyber attacks as any data looking to breach the security cannot get anywhere near the server.
  • Immense community support which provides answers, tutorials and used cases, with well-developed documentation.

Drupal & AngularJS

With the user expectations growing with each passing day, decoupled Drupal or headless Drupal as it is commonly known, is a norm these days in the digital world. The idea is to take advantage of Drupal's flexibility and powerful back-end capabilities while using a front-end framework to handle the browser end. What better option than the interactive AngularJS to do the talking to the browser while Drupal takes care of the feature filled back-end.

Also, AngularJS does a great job in offloading Drupal from some of its logic and helping Drupal function effectively at the back-end. By moving display logic to the client-side and streamlining the back-end will result in a site which is better and faster.

Vue JS

Created by former Google employee Evan You, this incredibly adoptable JS has quickly gained recognition among developers. A javascript library for building modern web interface, it provides data-reactive components with a simple and flexible API.

Things Developers Love about Vue

  • With a shallow learning curve and a component model, Vue stands on the shoulders of giants to provide benefits of reactive data binding and composable view components with a simple API.
  • A combination of React's best - Virtual DOM and Angular's best - two-way binding, allows VueJS to perform efficiently and improve the performance of the websites.
  • Real-time monitoring of the progress in development with a built-in state management is an added advantage.
  • VueJS follows a component oriented development style with modern tooling and supporting libraries. With a simple-to-use syntax, people who are using it for the first time find it easy to adopt.
  • VueJS is one of the top trending JS frameworks on Github.
  • It is highly supported by an awesome community and adoption within the PHP community which does a great job of maintaining good documentation.

Drupal & Vue JS

Vue allows developers to request and store Drupal content as data objects using the official Vue-Resource plugin.

In combination with Vue, Drupal can exhibit its magic at the back-end while the compelling features of the JS handle the client side. The component system in Vue is one of its most powerful feature that allows large-scale application building which comprises small and self-contained reusable components.

ReactJS

ReactJS is more of a library than a framework, used to build user interfaces that work on a concept of reusable components and aim to solve the issues created by the slowness of the DOM by replacing it with the virtual DOM structure. An open-source project maintained by Facebook, ReactJS is the go-to option for some of the biggest corporations for a fast and seamless client-side user experience.

Things Developers Love about React

  • By nature, ReactJS is very much readable and easy to understand thus making it easier to understand how components render from their source files.
  • ReactJS does a great job in combining HTML and JavaScript into JSX, which is a great asset for developers as the complexity between HTML and JS is eliminated.
  • With Virtual DOM, React can easily process large amounts of data in an efficient manner by monitoring the lightweight virtual DOMs.
  • Rendered extremely fast, ReactJS is a great option to build speedy public facing apps and sites that are smooth and offer a best in class UI experience.
  • A ton of proper documentation, invaluable tools, add-ons and more which are available to developers, courtesy of constant contribution by Facebook towards the development of React.
  • It is highly supported by an awesome community and adoption within the PHP community which does a great job of maintaining good documentation.

Drupal & ReactJS

A hybrid approach to use React for dealing with the UX complexities while relying on Drupal for handling the content can be an added advantage which easily allows consistent mapping of Drupal and React components

With Drupal, one of the major weaknesses that hinder its performance is the way it consumes and displays the structure of content to the end user. This goes out of hand when the user interactions are complex and even the combination of Twig with JQuery is not good enough to match the complexities. However, integration with a modern library such as React provides all the necessary modern mechanisms that do a great job in building seamless, rich user experiences.

End-users are now accustomed to better performing websites and they don't expect anything less than a speedy, interactive website with a rich user-experience. To overcome Drupal's limitation in rendering the client-side, decoupled Drupal was preferred. With the "headless Drupal" approach, the best of Drupal can be experienced without any interruption. These three frameworks are not the only ones available for integration. However, when it comes to the performance of a Drupal website, these three are the most preferred by drupal development companies. Analyze them, match your requirements and then choose the suitable framework to build your business.

Apr 25 2018
Apr 25
  • By : Ganesh
  • Date :25-04-2018

Big brands, high traffic websites and immense customisations are a part of one of the best CMS in the market - Drupal. Catering to diverse requirements and versatilities with ease makes it stand apart from the others. Known for its rich set of features , Drupal CMS is a platform that constantly wants to improve itself by introducing better functionalities in the latest versions for an improved experience. The latest one - Drupal 8.5.0 comes packed with some interesting features and upgrades. This blog talks about these exciting features, updates for developers and more.

The BigPipe Module

Introduced as an experimental module in Drupal 8.1, the Big Pipe module became a part of the Drupal core in its next version, as a stable module. This module which provided an implementation of Facebook's BigPipe Strategy, is one of the first examples of Drupal's approach to shorter release cycles.

In Drupal 8.5.0, this has been made a part of the standard installation profile i.e it is available by default.

BigPipe Module

Stable Modules

There are a couple of other amazing modules which are stable in the latest update.

  • Settings Tray Module: A part of an initiative which allows changing the most common configuration from the Drupal front-end. Which means that it allows content moderation tasks to be taken care of without having to leave the front-end of the website.
  • Content Moderation Module: Defines the different content workflow states, allowing only website editors with required permissions to publish. The module allows you to define the state in which a particular content is placed. It can be a draft, published, unpublished or needs review. Also, you can define the user permissions that are required to move the content between these states.

Experimental Layout Builder

Drupal 8.5.0 sees the introduction of a new experimental layout builder module. Tearing through the myths of Drupal being a complex CMS, this layout builder is a perfect example of how things can get simpler when you use Drupal CMS. The module allows you to edit the layout on the actual page itself rather than having to do it with a separate form, thus simplifying the entire Drupal website design process. Also, there is an added feature that allows you to have a different layout on a per-page/item basis.

Media Module

Having worked over the efforts done on contributed Media Entity Module in Drupal 8.4, The Media API added into the core had its own set of user experience issues. Due to this,the module was hidden from the user interface. Thus there was no way a user could enable or disable the module. In Drupal 8.5, these issues have been taken care of and these modules are now an integral part of the system, ensuring that anybody with the access to module management page can now easily enable or disable the media modules.

Media Module

PHP 7.2

The first version of Drupal to fully support PHP's latest version, Drupal is keeping up with the latest advancements and the array of advantages it holds. With new features and improved performance over 7.1, PHP 7.2 is now being recommended to use with Drupal 8. Also, since Symphony 3.2 does not receive security coverage anymore, Drupal 8.5.0 uses Symphony Components 3.4.5.

Drupal Migrations

A major milestone for Drupal, considering the number of contributors who have worked for over 4 years on closing issues related to the migrate system architecture, it has been rendered stable with the latest release. Additionally, upgrading monolingual sites is now an easy task with Drupal Migrate and Drupal Migrate UI modules becoming stable. Also, incremental migrations i.e working on the website while the content is still being added, is also supported in Drupal's latest version.

Media Module

Drupal for sure is improvising at an exceptional rate and it is reflected by some of the biggest websites online. There is a reason why drupal development companies and the other organizations love it - It is a feature rich CMS that reflects your ideas. Not only does Drupal do a great job to make your business thrive, it enables you to stay ahead of the curve from your competition and find success.

Apr 19 2018
Apr 19
  • By : Ganesh
  • Date :19-04-2018

One of the biggest challenge to medicine is the incorporation of technology in our practices - Samuel Wilson

I recently stumbled upon an article which stated some facts on technology and its impact on one of the biggest sectors in the world - Healthcare. I was taken by surprise to know that a survey which engaged patients of all varieties, stated that two thirds of them had not been in a discussion with the doctors about their own treatment, more than 35% did not have a clear picture about the goals of their treatment, and 20% received a conflicting information from different professionals.

This article was a little old and I'm sure the numbers must have improved a bit over a couple of years. However, the ultimate challenge of achieving an electronic health care system capable of representing and sharing the required information with the patients and within their family has been tackled for quite a while now.

The regulatory environment and the complex requirements faced by the hospitals, medical device companies, and healthcare service providers reflects the dire need of a complete technology makeover. A successful campaign requires systems to manage huge and complex medical information, a focused business intelligence to stay ahead in the competitive market and an IT infrastructure to meet the ever constant customer demands.

Above all, the industry needs something which is much more powerful and intelligent than your average CMS.

Of course there is no "the one and only right CMS" for an industry like healthcare where the options are completely dependent on certain variables based on the requirements. But the open-source Drupal CMS is often one of the top contenders, with Drupal development companies having built some of the top notch healthcare websites.

Drupal for Healthcare Websites

A robust platform with numerous modules for customization, and designed to accommodate innumerable changes, Drupal with its out of the box functionality is one of the most preferred CMS in the healthcare industry in recent times.

The Backbone

There is not much to be happy about the Healthcare IT sector, as the need to opt for a complete technology makeover looks bleak with the decreasing budgets and the increasing requirements. In dire need of user-friendly, human-centric healthcare websites or applications for the patients and the clinical team, Drupal CMS seems to be the best CMS for healthcare organization out there in the market.

Its flexibility allows healthcare web applications to exploit APIs to create fully integrated platforms to improve data flow between multiple systems. This allows you to build new healthcare websites, applications and solutions using the Drupal architecture as the backbone.

Data Accessibility

Data accessibility is one of the biggest concerns in the healthcare industry. With hundreds of patient records, their health history and other important details being accessed by multiple teams, there is a high risk of security, chances of data being misplaced or even exchanged in certain cases. A common flaw in every healthcare system, this affects the workflow directly thus reducing the efficiency.

However, Drupal improves data liquidity and thereby decreases redundant workflows to make data more accessible to the necessary teams in a quicker fashion. This helps them make decisions faster (especially in a critical situation) and also gives them more time and ability to interact with the patients to provide better care.

Caught Up? Not Anymore

As an organization, your requirements are bound to change with time and using a single vendor or a specific web partner can sometimes be a hindrance as this requires migrating to a new platform. And this is a common scenario in the healthcare industry. Fortunately Drupal makes things a lot easier for healthcare systemsor organizations looking too upgrade.

Drupal ensures that if there is a need to switch vendors, migration is not required as there are numerous qualified vendors who support Drupal and prevent you from getting "caught up" with a single vendor.

A Robust Lot

Drupal's robust API integrations can be a huge advantage to the healthcare industry who can benefit by extending your current Health IT platforms without having to completely tear down the pre-existing system and replacing it. This approach not only helps you improve the user-end experience (for the patients and the clinical team) but also saves you from spending some big bucks and reduces IT disruption.

Options Galore

An open framework that offers limitless ability to extend and customize, Drupal CMS is the perfect platform for all types of healthcare websites.

  • With the enterprise level healthcare systems having a global reach, multi-language websites is more of a necessity to drive more traffic. Drupal boasts of an extensive multilingual feature right out of the box with built in translations in the admin interface.
  • Responsive design, with built in themes that follow a mobile-first approach.
  • Easier content management with limited access allotted to users with secific roles to maintain content adherence.
  • Better Integration with third party applications and a wide variety of databases.
  • Built-in SEO tools to guide healthcare websites to the top of Google page results.

With a unique ability to provide a fully integrated, responsive, seamless, intuitive and a cost-effective solution capable of adapting to the constant change in the healthcare industry, Drupal has been a key resource to achieve enhanced experiences while bringing better healthcare for the patients.

While the enterprise Drupal CMS has been a great success and is the first choice for organizations in government sectors, education, and media, it is the robust API capabilities and the extensibility that will help the platform make headlines in the Healthcare system. As a content management system for healthcare, Drupal creates an unforgettable customer experience by leveraging a unified platform for content, community and commerce. As a Drupal development company, we don't see the exponential growth of Drupal CMS in the healthcare sector slowing down anytime soon.

Apr 02 2018
Apr 02
  • By : Prince
  • Date :02-04-2018

Symphony is an open source PHP based web application framework. Symphony uses a set of reusable PHP components to build web applications from scratch. Symphony follows MVC architecture. A kernel is the heart of symphony (Its just a class) and symphony extends this class to in its built applications. Drupal 8 uses some of the symphony core components to extend in terms of quality, scalability, performance, and maintenance.

Core Symphony Components in Drupal 8

1.Http Foundation

We all know that all web application communications happens using HTTP.

Drupal SEO Checklist
web communication

In Drupal 8, when a request is sent from the Web client to the server, it is taken to the front controller (index.php), which in turn sends a request to the handler function. The handler function fetches the results and does the required modifications and responds back to the front controller. From the front controller, the response content is sent to the browser and the request is terminated.

Drupal SEO Checklist
code

HTTP foundation mainly deals with two trivial objects:

  • a)Request
  • b)Response

A request gathers request from $_GET, $_POST, $_SERVER and the response object helps in getting page content & other messages. In Drupal 8, the main support here is to create RESTful API's using the request.

2.Routing

Routing is a controller that processes the above-mentioned HTTP request. In Drupal 7, this was handled by hook_menu functions and in the current version (Drupal 8) it is handled in module.routing.yml file.

example.content:
     path: '/path' 
     defaults: 
      _controller: '_ExampleController::exampleContent' 

In the above example, a route is created with the path (/path) and is mapped to an ExampleController Object and its exampleContent method.

Drupal SEO Checklist
routing

3.Event dispatcher

This concept actually means communicating with all the dependent objects before taking an action.

For example, Let us consider an action node deletion (node_delete). On node deletion action, the event dispatcher needs to check whether any comments are included for the node. If yes, then the node has to communicate with the comment system before performing the action.

EventDispatcher:adding listners

In the above example, the comments are the actual listeners and they register themselves to event dispatcher as listeners. After the comment system has accepted deleting all the comments, the node has to perform delete action.

Event Dispatcher: Event

The above action of letting the listeners know that node is going to be deleted is known as dispatching events.

5.HTTPKernal

HTTP Kernel is the core of Drupal 8 and is extended from HTTPKernelInterface. Drupal kernel is the first object created in Drupal 8. It creates the service container, registers all service providers to the kernel, Handles a request to convert it to a response.

4.Dependency Injection

Symphony uses a service container that efficiently manages the services throughout the applications. This is known as Dependency injection.

In Drupal 8 everything is considered as an object. If you want this object to be available through the applications, then we need to register this as a service in service.yml file. The service container is another object that allows us to create and get services that we already been registered for.

$container ->get('service.name');

Helper components in Drupal 8

1.Serializer

It is the process of transforming objects into specific formats. The formats can be JSON, XML etc. This process of translating data structures can be easily stored and formatted. It is heavily used in Drupal 8 REST API's.

2.Validator

Used for validation of form values based on some rules. It creates constraints for form fields of various field types. For example, validation of a form email field requires validation of its constraints email format.

3.YAML

YAML is the markup language commonly used for storing all configuration. YAML in Drupal 8 is present throughout the system (module.info.yml, services.yml, routing.yml) and views configurations export.

4.Drupal console

Drupal 8 has its own console and can be installed using composer. It is mainly used for debugging and creating skeleton codes for easy implementations.

Some of the common Drupal console commands are:

  • generate:form
  • generate:module
  • generate:controller
  • debug:container

5.Twig Template

Twig in Drupal 8 is a replacement for PHP template engine and is a part of the symphony2 framework. Twig template comes with a wider PHP approach and is most logically suited for Drupal 8 theming.

The Symphony framework consists of various components, some of which have been discussed in this guide. While some of these are vital to the system, the others are just the helper components. With Drupal 8 being more flexible than ever, the open source platform has strengthened its ties with symphony components which play a very important role in determining the direction of Drupal 8 development.

Mar 28 2018
Mar 28
  • By : Ganesh
  • Date : 28-03-2018

Recently, I was looking for a module in Drupal and something just crossed my mind. In the Drupal world, when you are looking out or considering for solutions, the first thing you might hear is, "there is a module for that!". While there are close to just 40 core modules in Drupal, it is the additional contributed modules built by the Drupal community that extends the platform's functionality. And with Drupal 8 (the latest version of Drupal), there is a completely different architecture and modernized approach towards CMS , with a shift towards object orientation to improve the overall efficiency and software quality.

Why do you have to build a module?

A custom module is essentially built to extend the core functionality of Drupal; which by itself comes with built-in set of core modules. However, the true nature of Drupal mainly comes from hundreds and thousands of custom modules developed by the dedicated community.

Regardless of how your experience has been with the previous versions of Drupal, module development in Drupal 8 has its own set of challenges. To give you a fair idea, there are some differences between Drupal 7 and Drupal 8, the key ones being that Drupal 8 requires the latest version of the php5 to run and it uses Symphony, a php framework that relies on Object Oriented Programming. Also, there are changes in the way a module is built and there are certain best practices to keep up with the community standards. Let us talk a bit more about this, and some of these practices for Drupal 8 module development.

File Structure

One of the major things to be aware of, in Drupal 8 module development is the file structure which is quite different from the one in Drupal 7. In Drupal 8, the custom modules built are stored in the /modules directory, unlike in Drupal 7 where this directory was reserved for the core modules. The core modules of Drupal 8 now go into the /core directory.

Next up, to let Drupal know that your custom module exists, you need to create a .info.yml file which provides the meta data. This process is similar to the one used for Drupal 7.

name - This key is to provide a name for your custom module.

type - This key defines the type of the extension (module/theme/profile).

description - This key provides the detailed description about the custom module (displayed on the module list page).

package - This key specifies the package in which the module should be included.

version - Specifies the version of the module.

If your file is something like 'blogexmple_module.info.yml', the syntax will be as follows.

name - Blogexmple Module

type - module

description - A simple demo module

package - Custom

version - 1.0

core - 8.x

Use of Configuration before code

Having to rewrite the code every time you change it is not something which you would want to do. Instead of hard coding a class into a theme, set the values in the configuration and apply it with the code. This ensures easy and faster ways to code and also results in high quality modules. With reusable codes being the norm in writing quality software, configurations in the code ensure advanced functionality and and "easy to modify" features.

Use What Drupal Offers

Once you have built your module, you should know that Drupal comes with various built-in admin functionalities to store and display module data and settings. The module settings page can be defined with hook menu . This hook enables modules to register paths in order to define how URL requests are handled. With the drupal_get_form page callback usage, all you have to do in the callback function is define and return the settings that are to be stored.

Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth

Having worked on large scale Drupal sites for a long time, Drupal developers would have learn that hundreds of modules can work their magic together to produce an effective large-scale project. But when working on enterprise Drupal websites, it is important to note that avoiding a single poor module has greater effects than avoiding 30 well built Drupal modules (in an attempt to use lesser modules). This too many modules advice leads programmers to favor programming their own modules over reusing modules. The higher the number of custom modules you write for a project, the more work it takes to maintain and modify your Drupal site later. Instead, consider publishing your modules on Github. This allows you to avoid usage of a large collection of custom modules and instead encourage you to create reusable code that has the required configuration.

Environment & Coding Standards

Development environment is an important influence as it ensures that a Drupal project runs without any hassle. Drupal development companies ensure that the entire team works in an exactly same development environment for an efficient work-flow.

While working in such an environment, one of the biggest issues to handle is to make sure that the code is clean and maintainable. Drupal developers need to make sure that their code is readable and makes sense to everyone they are working with. And this doesn't apply only to the team members or to anyone from your organization, but also to the larger Drupal community itself. With community involvement being an essential part of Drupal development and a key aspect in distributed teams working together efficiently, following the coding standards helps in achieving a project's goals and objectives.

Being an open source platform, in a short span of time, Drupal has made tremendous impact on businesses. Many top organizations like PayPal, Tesla and NASA have leveraged the power of Drupal with their modular framework. Backed by a strong community which is constantly improving the platform and extending its core functionalities with new and exciting modules, Drupal has gained a competitive edge. As an experienced Drupal development company or a Drupal developer, you are bound to face some bumps when you get your hands on building those custom modules, and following the above discussed best practices will help you steady the ship.

Mar 19 2018
Mar 19
  • By : Ganesh
  • Date :19-03-2018

In the long run, the world will evolve in computing from a mobile-first to an AI-first approach. - Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google Inc.

While it is quite easy to dream about a "machine first" future, we still know only the tip of the iceberg. Not long ago, people used to have a good laugh about chatbots for their lack of reasoning. After all, many people had no idea what a chatbot was, and little did they know about how Eliza (the first Chatbot) or Parry (the chatbot which simulated a patient with schizophrenia) worked. To them, it was all about a lady at the bottom of a page, giving out dumb responses for their questions.

Over the years, the boom in chatbot and machine learning applications has led to businesses crafting their online presence in the form of websites and using artificial intelligence for a better customer experience. This is not surprising, given the fact that in recent years, chat or messaging has taken over social media to be the "go-to" option for users who want to contact a business.

Technological advancements have provided a new approach to real-time, personalized customer experience by implementing deep learning algorithms, particularly by feeding large data into the bots. However, content marketers over the years have been working to make content behave more like a chatbot. Every improvement in the form of automation, personalization and customization is concentrated towards providing an engaging, tailored-to-specific-needs content for a user.

While many marketers still have a different opinion of bot development being something outside the norms of traditional CMS, businesses have realized the transformative value of chatbots and have started treating them like another channel. A channel to allow continuous flow of content by integrating them with the CMS.

One such CMS that allows seamless integration is Drupal. Its ability to be used as a decoupled CMS makes it the best choice to serve the content of a chatbot's response.

Drupal 8's chatbot API facilitates this implementation of chatbot and surfaces content without having to write thousands of lines of code for every single AI you use.

Understanding Chatbots

Chatbots are no longer the old clunky machines that they once were. The high-end technology has improved the way they work and has allowed them to provide excellent service by solving customer issues, book flights, and even order pizzas. A report by Gartner studied the developments in chatbot usage among businesses and according to the report, 20% of the business content could be machine generated by the end of 2018.

With seamless user experience as a predetermined goal, businesses use chatbots to interact quickly with their audience and make it feel personal and real-time. Thus, the intent of the user is an important factor that they focus on. It defines the range of possible responses that a chatbot can come up with for what the user is looking for.

For example, if the user is looking for an information on movies, he might type:

How do I book a flight to Delhi?

By mapping the exact phrases to specific intents, the AI is able to determine what the user is looking for.

For example, the intent is : How do I fix my Television?

In both of the above cases, mapping can be done using entities such as,

  • How do I book a @means of transport to @place in the former's case, with the entities being the various modes of transports and places fed to the bot
  • How do I @task my @appliance in the latter's case, with the entities being different tasks and list of appliances.

Chatbot API - What does it do?

Drupal as a "headless CMS" should allow you to surface content through the various available AI services such as Google Home, Amazon Echo or other services. Before the chatbot API, each intent required a custom code on each of the chatbots to be used.

Drupal bot
Drupal bot

With Chatbot API, it provides a common layer such that you only need to write your custom code for each of your intent once. However, the Chatbot API by itself does not take care of anything and should be installed only when another module asks for it. These specific modules handle requests and responses on the bot.

Chatbot API
Chatbot API

Technology evolves quickly. Businesses and their customers are unique and the transactions are customized such that chatbots are already personalized based on their function. A Drupal CMS-based bot will transfer your content Directly to mobile apps and other channels and its flexible models will allow you to accommodate your targeting and content reuse cases.Drupal development companies around the world start with the structure, plan intents in advance and build a bot, train it and build content with the intents in mind. The bots are here to stay and its time you feed them with content.

Mar 01 2018
Mar 01
  • By : Ganesh
  • Date :01-03-2018

Do you know how much enterprise companies spend on their website annually? What makes their website great? I mean there is obviously the high traffic, better bounce rates and over the top numbers, but is that all?

A recent study by Gartner estimated that large companies around the world spend close to $130 Billion just on their website. That is double the amount spent by some companies for their entire digital marketing campaigns. What strikes me though - is all this money, billions of dollars, well-spent? Or is it just going down the drain?

I've always thought of working on an enterprise website development project as an entirely different experience than just building a website. When you handle enterprise website development, you are building an experience, a seamless environment which requires expertise, strategy and a certain level of understanding. What sets the enterprise website apart from the ones termed as "normal" is the CMS used and the feature-rich experience it provides.

Over the years, combining tools and strategies, ECM has handled the wide range of enterprise business requirements across all verticals. With the introduction of Drupal, the Enterprise Content Management System which is different from the web CMS has seen certain developments. With the integration of Drupal, the system helps in better storage and sharing of the data with the user in the most efficient way.

With organizations struggling to bring their public facing website and applications to life, what drives the market today is the complexity of technologies. While choosing the right technology is a tough choice, more and more organizations are leveraging Drupal for enterprise website development.

So what makes Drupal special? Why is it your best choice?

User Management with Drupal

On logical grounds, the main function of a CMS is to provide better means for various users to create, edit and manage content on the website. This requires a perfect organization to ensure that the tasks are performed correctly. In Drupal, providing a basic user management function is an easy task. Based on the requirement, the admin can grant a user with one or more roles. This flexible nature of Drupal allows admins to shape the CMS to their enterprise business goals.

New Custom Report
User Management

New Custom Report
User Roles

Content Management with Drupal

While businesses rely on generic content types such as blogs, news, and articles, enterprise websites make use of custom fields for such content or to create their own custom content. A CCK (Content Construction Kit) which addresses the need of enterprise businesses to create their own content is a go-to option in such cases. Drupal has its own CCK module which integrates with Drupal's core user-management to tinker with the access provided to various content-types and content.

New Custom Report
Content Management

In addition to that, Drupal's flexibility also allows users to tag content or assign pre-determined tags, driven by the nested categorization of web content.

Admin Interface

Do you remember the old days of Drupal? I mean the days with Drupal 4 and 5? Do you remember the first time you logged in and ended up fumbling around the UI, wondering what to do? It is no secret that the Drupal admin UI was not so great back then. However, over the years, Drupal has made great strides to improve its admin interface to turn it into a responsive, out of the box, WYSIWYG back-end panel.

New Custom Report
Admin Interface

By combining all the tools on the Drupal admin panel to create a Drupal theme experience, it brings to the table an advantage over other CMS by improving the site user work-flow of your enterprise website, expanding device support and making the entire system more approachable to the site users, thus bringing them closer to your enterprise business.

Making Codes Easy with Drupal

With high coding standards and a notable community of high-end developers performing well within the documented guidelines, Drupal allows better and easy code customization for your enterprise website.

As Drupal is not strictly an object-oriented software, it allows developers to add their own functionalities and create modules via a set of "hooks" which are available through Drupal API. Thus developers are provided with a variety of such hooks on which their codes and modifications to the Drupal core functionalities can be worked on. With a wide variety of customizations and features, Drupal's hook system provides a robust way to work with the core functionalities which leads to better accomplishment of your enterprise business goals.

Keeping Pace with Innovations

Powering some of the most complex and high traffic driving sites like Grammy, NASA, NBC Olympics, Government and education portals, the journey of Drupal so far has been glorious. To keep up with the growing technology, the community-driven CMS constantly updates its platform to empower enterprise websites with feature-rich releases. Drupal 8 is its latest addition and it comes with some amazing out-of-the-box features like better streamlining of the workflows to drive values, great digital experience, easy content publishing within the organization to make enterprise website development a simple, straightforward, trouble-free experience.

Improved Technology Stack

Drupal for long has been a "monolithic" CMS, working both as a front-end and back-end support. However, the decoupled architecture is rising in popularity in the technologically advanced world. The changing landscape has resulted in some major developments in the Drupal world with the likes of multi-channel publishing and the shift of websites to a more interactive web application.

With decoupled Drupal, developers have the freedom to work with the front-end development and back-end development separately and still work together. Keeping in mind the easy way of enterprise website development, decoupled Drupal addresses the most common concerns like structured data, content syndication and providing a rich application ecosystem such as native mobile and IoT.

By now you would have known that Drupal has unparalleled experience in providing the best UI/UX, better engagement, integration and an overall seamless experience on an enterprise website. Over the years, Drupal has evolved into a complete framework that delivers the needs and overcomes the challenges of enterprise websites. With top-notch features and future initiatives, Drupal is the CMS of the future for enterprise website development.

Feb 01 2018
Feb 01
  • By :Ganesh
  • Date : 01-02-2018

By now, you would have stumbled across thousands of blogs to discover that Drupal is the best Content Management System. With an effective long term perspective, its amazing collection of modules, its flexibility and customization options and not to forget, the loyal community working towards the betterment of the open source platform, Drupal tops the chart CMS by miles.

This robust, flexible and dependable CMS platform is also well known for being an SEO friendly content management system with its latest version being the best by far.

But for a Drupal website, is SEO necessary??

Definitely YES! SEO can be one of the most influential factors for the success of an organization or a business. When people from around the globe search for your product or services, you want to appear as high as possible on the search engine ranking, thus bringing in more traffic to your website. Ideally, SEO is about making your website easy for both your visitors and the search engine crawlers to understand. Thus your SEO strategy begins long before your Drupal website is built.

Lay your Foundation

With Drupal 8, most of the required SEO best practices are already embedded into the core of the platform and with a little knowledge of SEO and some must-have configurations, anybody can possibly bring up their website to drive more traffic. But before you jump right into the tools and other configurations on Drupal 8, sit back and think about the basics which you need to get right for your website's success.

With your website goals in sight and your visitors' interests in mind, sit down and form a proper pre-SEO strategy to begin with. From brand identity to keyword strategy, content marketing plan and visitor engagement strategies to build better relationships with your target audience, consider every single factor.

Your SEO Tools

The best part about Drupal 8 is that it is "SEO ready" right out of the box. To begin with, let us talk about some important modules that help enhance your SEO efforts on your Drupal website.

Drupal SEO Checklist

This is an important module which does not directly affect your Drupal SEO and improve the SERP but will provide critical information on the changes to be made on the site. This module checks your entire Drupal website for proper search engine optimization and provides a detailed report on what needs to be done to improve the performance.

Drupal SEO Checklist
Drupal SEO Checklist

It breaks the tasks down and keeps track of how the tasks have been taken care of, what has already been done and what needs to be attended to. This data provides a report that can be used for further monitoring.

Pathauto

One of the most important and useful modules for Drupal SEO, it plays a major role in SEO-friendly URLs on your website. The usual "example.com/node/1" can be replaced with more SEO specific URLs such as "example.com/page/keyword". Based on the category of your website page or based on the page title, with Pathauto you can build URLs which are SEO friendly, as well as easy for the visitors on your site to understand, which allows you to have a huge advantage with search engines.

Pathauto
Pathauto

Google Analytics

In our recent post, we discussed how you can add Google Analytics module to your Drupal website and also create custom reports for better performance of your website. Though this module does not have any direct effect on your Drupal SEO or does not improve your SERP, it plays a major role in providing the necessary information to your Drupal website's SEO success. By tracking your visitors, their behavior and interests within your site, you can change your strategies to drive more traffic and increase conversions.

Google Analytics
Google Analytics

Global Redirect

Google certainly does not like spammy duplicate content on a web page. Such content can have a negative impact on your SEO efforts and as a result, can harm your rankings on the search engine. On Drupal, while you are happy creating clean URLs with the alias system, you should note that there is a small problem arising. With the creation of new URLs, the default URL is still there and the search engines do not see it as a good sign.

Global Redirect
Global Redirect

The Global redirect module helps in rectifying this problem by verifying the existence of an alias for a URL and redirecting it to the same. The module also plays a role in checking the URL implementation and permission or the access required to the nodes and URLs.

SEO Compliance Checker

A module which is of great help to SEO beginners and webmasters, SEO Compliance Checker performs a complete check when a node is created or modified on your Drupal site. The execution includes checking if the titles and meta tags are optimized, there are no alt tags missing, keywords usage and density and other important factors for better SEO.

SEO Compliance Checker
SEO Compliance Checker

While the core module - seo_checker does not perform any of these checks, it is the submodules that come along (basic_seo_rules.module and keyword_rules.module) which execute these checks for the implementation of some basic SEO rules. The core module on the other hand, gathers the required information about the checks to be performed and applies them to collect the final results.

In addition to these modules, there are certain others such as the Page Title module which allows the page title to be set, the Meta tag module which equips you with complete control of meta tags on your Drupal website, and the XML Sitemap module to create a search engine readable, dynamic sitemap.

Some Additional Tips

Just to let you know, in the time you took to read the blog until this point,

  • More than a million Google searches were made.
  • Close to 20,000 Facebook posts were posted.
  • More than a 1000 blogs were posted on the internet.

I don't have to say much to let you know that the internet is noisier than ever and it doesn't seem like it is going to stop anytime soon. SEO at its beginning stages was all about cramming your website with keywords and let the crawlers do their magic. But over time, SEO has blossomed with Google introducing some amazing algorithms and updates to curb the black hat SEO practices.

Right now, for a successful SEO campaign, you need to study your visitors, their behavior and interests on your website and curate the content accordingly to stay ahead of the curve. You don't want to be in the midst of a content gap which can create problems for your website's conversions. With this study, you have a real opportunity in hand to develop fresh content for your Drupal website and optimize it for the searches on the search engine.

With Drupal, using the right SEO modules can take your website to the top of search engine rankings to set you up for success. But not everybody knows how the Google algorithms work and when the team is going to make the next change that could affect your Drupal website. So stick to your basics, avoid duplicate content, keyword stuffing, use human-friendly URLs and create your website in a way that your visitors find it quite helpful. Design your Drupal strategy carefully and always keep in mind to use the best Drupal SEO modules.

Jan 17 2018
Jan 17
  • By : Ganesh
  • Date :17-01-2018

Once you have a well-built Drupal site up and running, ask any website administrator and everyone wants to know more about the visitors to their site, their behaviour and how the website is performing. This information is a solid indicator of the popularity of the website among the people and the search engines as well.

When we talk about this data or analytics as the marketers call it, there is one tool which stands tall and wears a crown - Google Analytics. With detailed information on the number of visitors, including where they came from and how much time are they spending on the site, Google analytics reports provides real-time updates. In Drupal, the Drupal Google Analytics module used by almost 400,000 sites, is among the top 20 most popular modules. With its integration, the module allows the use and customization of numerous features to change things up from the usual pattern.

The first thing you need to do is add your Drupal website into your Google Analytics (assuming you already have a Google Analytics account). Login to your Google Analytics account and navigate to the "Admin" panel to add a new account. After filling in the required details click on the "Get Tracking ID" button to receive the ID and the script to be embedded into your Drupal website.

Google Analytics New Account
Google Analytics New Account

Once done with adding the account, login to your Drupal website and go to the Drupal Google Analytics Module page to install and enable the same. Know the version of your website and select the same version of the module. Now get the "Tracking ID" from Google Analytics and paste it in your Drupal site. To do that, go back to your Drupal site, navigate to Configuration-> Google Analytics. Paste the ID in the field of "Web Property ID". The Drupal Google Analytics setup is complete.

Google Analytics Tracking ID
Google Analytics Tracking ID

While the real power of Drupal Google Analytics lies in the data it provides, it can be sometimes be quite overwhelming. So much data at one place and the application developers keep on adding on more and more analytics where sometimes all we need is a simple report or a more specific one. After months of scrutinizing data, I had enough of it and I finally worked up the nerve to switch over to custom reports. Oh Boy I was in for some great features and lot more!

Why Go Custom?

Because I'm in love with it! Simply put, why bother or scratch your head over the standard GA reports and scrutinize for the information you require, when you can create reports that contain just those exact information?

While "what" custom reports should you create is a big question in mind, you should know that these reports are, well, "CUSTOM" and are specific to business needs and requirements.

Before we jump right into the reports, let us go over the two main concepts to keep in mind while creating a Google analytics custom report.

  • Dimensions: Characteristic of visitors on your site. For example: Source, Country, Device etc
  • Metrics: A qualitative measurement on visitor interaction on your site. For example: Page views, Bounce Rate, Unique Purchases etc

Building Your Report

To begin with, log into your GA account and navigate to customization. Click the "New Custom Report" to start building the report you require.

New Custom Report
New Custom Report

The first thing you will do is to name your custom report, which is pretty straightforward using the "Title" field.

Custom Report - Title
Custom Report - Title

Next up, you have the report tab which allows you to create more than one tabs of data in a single report which allows you to breakdown your report into smaller chunks. Once you have decided on the number of tabs to use, you need to select your report type. There are three options to pick from, Explorer, Flat and Overlay. Explorer reports are similar in layout to the older version of Analytics with a trend chart and some data tables. On the other hand, "Flat Table" is a basic table report that allows you to analyze two dimensions side-by-side. "Map Overlay" can be used for precise location based data or stats.

The Metric groups and dimension drill down allows you to select what data you want in your report and how you want this data to be further broken down. Google analytics allows a maximum of 25 metrics to be included in a flat table report and the metrics selected here will the appear as data columns on the final custom report. The metrics can be anything from visits, average time per visit & bounce rates to something more specific like conversions to goal completions.

Metrics & Dimensions
Metrics & Dimensions

The dimension drill down in the form of individual rows in the final report allows you to organize your metrics and further break down your report data.

When you get to "Filters" this allows you to limit your final report and let Google know which data set you want to include. For example if you create a report with the country dimension, you can add a filter to show up data from certain countries only. All you have to do is use "Include" with "Exact Match" of the country you desire.

Filters
Filters

Now that you have your Google Analytics report for your Drupal site, it is time to review your "masterpiece" and start analyzing the data.

From basic tracking to complex behaviour, Drupal Google Analytics module provides a one-stop solution by using the best of Drupal, and enables website administrators to zero in on insights that can drive better and smarter business decisions. With the integration of Drupal Google Analytics module and the custom reports, you will still be pulling up important insights on revenue, conversions etc but just won't be spending hours on report after report.

Dec 14 2017
Dec 14

As I sit down to write this piece, I can only think of Coco Chanel’s quote, which will give you a gist of this article. “The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive.” I’m not trying to patronize anybody, but I think Drupal is the best content management system available today. And I can back this statement up with some concrete assertions.

If your boss has assigned you the arduous task of choosing a good CMS that can meet all your enterprise level business needs, it might be hard to convince them into Drupal. Mid to enterprise level organizations normally believe that quality comes with a huge price tag. But that is not always true and absolutely invalid when Drupal comes into the picture. If you are the boss / decision-maker yourself, you have arrived at the right place to help you decide which CMS is more productive and effective for your organization.

We are going to compare some proprietary CMS’s and Drupal against some of the major features necessary in a good content management system. I’m choosing proprietary content management systems like Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), Oracle WebCenter and SiteCore to be compared with an open- source content management system - Drupal.

Ease of use and Customizability

Choosing a CMS just because it is popular isn’t a great idea. You will need to find a CMS platform that is able to conform to your business model and grow with it. It should be tailored to support the business needs of your organization and also easy to use.

AEM – Is a Web Content Management System that lets you build and manage multiple websites with ease. For content authors and web administrators, it is very helpful as the interface is similar to MS Word. Installation and setup tends to get a bit tedious and finding a developer to help you out with it gets difficult and expensive. AEM is based on Java and hence any customizations will need some experienced developers.

Oracle WebCenter Sites – Lets you easily create and manage targeted and interactive online experiences while optimizing customer engagement. With very less drag-and-drop capabilities, the admin user interface does not provide much options for configurations and seems very outdated. Customization possibilities are immense if you have skilled engineers with a background of application server, ADF and of course Java and the web.

SiteCore – Is a .NET based Web Content Management System with which you can store, manage, analyze and update your website content in a single platform. The user interface for content authors and admins is very easy to use and lets you drag and drop various reusable elements onto a page including JS widgets, images, text and videos. It seems very customizable too which is great for businesses with unique requirements.

Drupal – Drupal is an open-source content management framework that lets you create and manage powerful websites . It has great features to use out-of-the-box itself or can be easily customized with thousands of freely available modules to suit every business requirement. The learning curve is a bit steep but Drupal developers are very easy to find too. There are a plethora of free themes to choose from that are easily customizable.

Features and Integrations

Your ideal CMS should provide you with everything your business needs out-of-the-box but that’s wishing for a little too much. So, you should look for a CMS that can provide you with maximum features where you don’t need much third party integrations to do your job. Or a CMS that can easily integrate with external modules and integrations.

AEM – AEM has some exciting features like a drag-and-drop UI for content authoring, a well arranged visual site-map, layout manager, calendar views for projects and tasks, re-usable content via Experience fragments, Touch UI, template editor, publication management, activity map integration, side-by-side page preview, assets search functionality, exclusive check- in check-out, user-profile integration, online revision clean-up, Mobile content services, etc. For extensive customizations, AEM allows for easy integrations with Adobe Marketing Cloud’s components like Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target (continuous assessment of content to be more relevant for more conversions), Adobe Scene7 (media management, web publishing and enhanced web experiences made easy), Adobe Dynamic Tag management (an intuitive tool for marketers), Adobe Search & Promote (to control and optimize search results) and Adobe Campaign (easily manage email delivery content). In addition to this you can also integrate AEM with third-parties like Amazon web services, Salesforce, Silverpop engage, Youtube, Facebook, ExactTarget, etc.

Oracle WebCenter Sites – With features like Document management (Document preview, version control, image editing, watermarking, video editing, document collaboration, etc.), records management, file sharing, searching abilities (by metadata and keyword), workflow management, create-customize-extract forms, advanced security features (audit trails, role-based access, 259- bit encryptions, etc.) Oracle WebCenter Sites also allows for integrations with Wordpress, Outlook, Sharepoint, MS Office, CRM, ERP, Social media, Calendar Apps, etc. However, integration with other components is not very simple and needs skilled developers for the same.

SiteCore – Some of SiteCore’s features are made for sales and marketing executives, like Advanced editorial experiences, multilingual websites, personalization, AB testing, highly configurable security features, search-engine optimization, analytics, print experience manager, web forms for marketers, marketing automation, social media marketing tools, etc.

Sitecore’s Connectors ensure that your website integrates with third-party solutions easily and fast. Like SiteCore commerce connect, SalesForce, MS Dynamics 365, MS Dynamics CRM, Adobe In- Design, Google +, Visual Studio, FaceBook, Twitter, Brightcove and many more.

Drupal – A powerful set of out-of-the-box features and access to countless freely available add-on modules, makes Drupal the most preferred CMS. It comes with out of-the-box features like intuitive content authoring, rich text editor, easy approval routing process, storage and management of assets, search functionality, granular security features, thousands of templates to choose from, mobile-first approach, search engine optimization functionality, flexible taxonomies, multilingual, user role management, dashboards & reports, API integrations and much more. Some add-on modules that are almost absolutely necessary for most Drupal websites are CTools (set of APIs that assist other modules), Views (organizes Drupal content), Token (creates re-usable patters across your website), PathAuto (helps generate SEO keyword rich URLs), Webform (used for accepting any kind of forms), CKEditor (provides a WYSIWYG editor), etc.

Drupal also seamlessly integrates with almost any third-party solution available like CivicCRM, Salesforce, Marketo, Sharepoint, Alfresco, Magento, Ubercart, Payment gateways, Disqus, Wepay, HER/EMR systems, Google analytics and apps, LDAP, Opigno, Mailchimp, Wordpress, Joomla, Surveymonkey and the list can just go on. Being an open-source content management framework having over a lakh of active contributors, there really isn’t a feature or integration that Drupal does not already have. For extremely unique and specific business functionalities, of course, you can easily hire a Drupal developer.

Pricing and Support

Robert Genn, a renowned Canadian artist once quoted "A high price may be part of the mystique in selling difficult art". You should be able to get true value for the price you pay for a CMS. Being expensive doesn't make it fit for "enterprises".

AEM – According to Gartner Inc., AEM is one of the more expensive CMSs in the market, almost twice the price of its closest competitor. The total implementation cost comes close to $2m including licensing. There is a lack of experts who can implement and support AEM for your website while the Adobe support team pushes you into buying more service contracts or products to be able to help you further.

Oracle WebCenter Sites – The power and flexibility of Oracle WebCenter Sites does not come cheap. According to Oracle, the licensing costs is currently $100,000 per processor. Additionally, the first year of Oracle support is about $20,000. Having an excellent support with experienced staff and 24/7 support is great but covers only the core product. Any customizations or extensions will not be covered by support and you will need to hire not-so-easily-available developers.

SiteCore – SiteCore’s licensing fees starts at $40,000 with $8000 fee for every additional year. Implementing costs starts at $65,000 while support and other fees cost about $10,000 per year. SiteCore users have had issues with technical support for the CMS lately.

Drupal – The best and the most notable feature of Drupal is that it is Free! There are absolutely no setup costs or licensing fees and is free to download and use. Being an open- source content management system, you have full access to documentation and support forums that is provided by a community of volunteers. Most of the contributed modules are free too! Of course there are development costs if you need customizations for your business requirements and hosting charges. Drupal’s network of dedicated and helpful contributors are continuously working on issues and improvements that can help users immensely. Drupal developers are not difficult to find and hire either if you need customized support capabilities

Popularity with customers

Yes, popularity does not always guarantee quality but it is enough proof that there is a heavy demand for the product and it is selling very well. The below figures are based on a latest report by BuiltWith as of December 2017.

AEM – AEM has powered over 6,397 websites.

Oracle WebCenter Sites – About 1,030 websites currently use Oracle WebCenter Sites.

SiteCore – 11,719 websites are powered by SiteCore CMS.

Drupal – Drupal hands down wins in the popularity category by powering 647,479 websites till date.

Dec 01 2017
Dec 01
  • By : Shefali
  • Date :1-12-2017

To go headless or not isn’t really something you would want to come close to considering in a real world scenario. In the digital world, however, it is a tricky decision to make. The expectations of end users are soaring higher and higher with each passing day. Big guns like Twitter, Facebook, Gmail etc. have been spoiling them rotten by providing some impressive application-like user experiences. And we have no choice but to at least get close to offering a swanky UX.

There is no doubt that Drupal on its own can deliver a rich user experience to the end user but when it comes down to instantaneous responses for a request, it does fall short. In a decoupled Drupal architecture, instead of the Drupal’s theme layer, a client-side framework like AngularJS, React or Backbone.JS is used. So a user request does not have to be processed by the server all the time, which can improve the speed and UX of your Drupal website.

Categorizing Decoupled Drupal

In a traditional Drupal CMS architecture, the browser invokes a request that is processed by PHP logic which then renders the HTML and sends it back to the browser. Of course, the developer can embed Javascript for some client-side improvements but this can result in a situation where different client-side frameworks are being used for different modules. Thus making it an extremely complex system.

If you are looking to preserve your Drupal Theme layer and yet be able to provide immediate responses to the browser, the Progressive Decoupling approach is your best move. Here you can have your cake and eat it too! The initial application state is rendered by Drupal which can be then manipulated by client-side coding. Modules can be written in PHP or Javascript while you can avail the powerful performance benefits of Drupal.

And then there’s the Full decoupling – where Drupal’s presentation layer is completely replaced with a client-side framework. This allows an uninterrupted workflow as the client-side framework also acts as a server-side pre-renderer. Drupal CMS is purely used as a content repository that takes care of all the back-stage jazz. When you completely ignore Drupal’s theme functionality you are also letting go of some effective performance benefits that Drupal provides. Also a lot of rebuilding would need to be done to fully decouple the administrative interface and front-end of a Drupal website. Using Javascript on the server-side also complicates the infrastructure requirements.

Is it a good idea?

So traditionally, Drupal is meant to do both – content management and rendering the front-end for the whole website. A lot of pressure, don’t you think? Drupal experts believe that Drupal’s strengths lies in the power and flexibility of its back-end and that it needs to be service oriented first instead of HTML oriented. Decoupling Drupal means letting some other system manage the front-end while Drupal takes care of the back-end system. Why is it a good idea to decouple Drupal, you ask?

  • Detaching the front-end from the back-end content management system, will allow for more flexibility and efficiency of the Drupal content model. Just like how delegating work decreases your workload and increases productivity.
  • Front-end developers can have full control over the presentation, UI design and UX of the website. The combination of a great client-side framework and a seasoned front-end developer can get you a website with a rich, faster, application-like user-experience, and seamless interactivity.
  • Both the front-end and back-end developers can work independently which can lead to efficient and speedy delivery of a project.
  • If you ever want to redesign your website, you won’t have to re-implement your Drupal CMS. Likewise, revamping your back-end system can be accomplished without having to alter your front- end.


Although decoupling can help you achieve your goals of an uninterrupted and application-like user- experience, it might not be a good fit for everyone. Here’s why –

  • Websites like News sites or Blogs, which don’t really need much user interactivity, will not benefit from decoupling their Drupal website.
  • When you fully decouple your Drupal website, you are letting go of some of the top (and free) functionalities that come with the Drupal theme layer like the block placements, layout and display management, content previews, UI localization, security features like cross-site scripting (XSS), etc. Some of them cannot be replicated by a client-side framework.
  • If budget is an issue you need to keep in mind about the price you will have to shell out for experienced front-end developers. Also the cost for rebuilding a missing (otherwise freely available) Drupal feature from scratch.

End-users are now used to highly interactive websites that are able to pop out results in a jiffy. Because Drupal emphasizes on server-side rendering rather than client-side rendering, the decoupled architecture was conceived. Decoupling a Drupal website has its advantages and disadvantages and is not meant for every kind of a website. Founder of Drupal, Dries Buytaert believes that progressive decoupling is a better approach as this way we can get the best of both worlds – a client-side framework for uninterrupted workflow without compromising on the Drupal’s content management capabilities. Choose experienced and certified Drupal developers to help make your decision easier.

Oct 30 2017
Oct 30
  • By : Prince
  • Date :10-04-2018

As all know, Drupal 8 is API driven first and keeps on adding in new API's which can be altered, extended for different decoupled Applications. When we talk about of decoupled Drupal, developers are allowed to use any technology frontend to bring in better User experiences. The actual UI experience is met when we present contents which fulfill the needs and requirements of the user.

Drupal 8 Views

Drupal 8 views are now in the core and are among the greatest features available with Drupal to handle any type of dynamic UI designs to bring in better user experiences. Using RESTful views, we can embed views content to external applications.

In this guide, you will learn how to get the view content in JSON or XML format via Rest API.

Drupal 8 Views

  • 1. Go to admin/modules and enable the required modules available in the core (REST and Serialization).
  • 2. Next, For testing purposes, you can create dummy content using the existing content types. (Articles or Basic page)
  • 3. Now, create a view using the available content. We don't need to select a page or block while creating views.
  • 4. After you have created a view with the required fields, we need to select REST export display from the Add options right of Master display in the views.
  • 5. Specify a path for REST export which will be used to return formatted contents of the created view display.
  • 6. You will also find an option to select the required format (say JSON, XML etc.) that will be allowed in the responses.

That's it, you have the Request URL to return either entities or fields from views. When you try accessing the URL directly on the browser, you will have view exported with the format you have selected or JSON by default. Also, you can test the formatted data using POSTMAN services available with Google Chrome.

Hope, the above steps will help you built REST API using Drupal views. Get in touch with our Drupal developers if you face any queries working with API's. We will be glad to help.

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Oct 30 2017
Oct 30
  • By :Shefali
  • Date :11-04-2017

Being one of the fastest growing e-Commerce solutions around the world today, Drupal Commerce is now an international solution. The Commerce guys describe Drupal Commerce as a tool that brings together the three C’s – Content, Community and Commerce and makes sure that your e-Commerce software can build and engage your audience while continuing to drive sales. You can get the best of both worlds – enterprise level Content management system and a well-supported e-Commerce platform. Drupal Commerce gives the marketer the power to launch campaigns, manage them, change content, change blocks, modify the page, etc. – all this without having to write code or get tech help.

The good just got better. Yes, Drupal Commerce is now out with their new and enhanced version of itself – Drupal 2.x! This content-driven open-source e-Commerce platform makes online retailing easier and effective. Built on Drupal, Drupal Commerce has a number of modules that are flexible and extensible to be able to tailor-fit your e-Commerce architecture. Even SEO is handled really well largely due to the fact that it is content-driven – which means you can sell your stuff and have a lot of content about your products, both in the same website!

What’s New?

Tons of improvements have been made in Drupal 2.x with regard to product workflows, UX and architecture. There’s also more functionality and features out of the box which makes it a lot easier to start a new commerce project.

The cool new installer makes it simple for any user to download and install Drupal commerce 2.x. You will be able to build all the components, put them together, generate some fancy composer news, etc.

Some terminologies have changed to make it more user-friendly, like instead of Nodes, they have two entity types – Product and Product variations. Payment methods are now called Payment gateways.

Features like Promotions and Coupons which were slightly buggy in version 1.x are now fixed – very usable and solid.

In Commerce 1.x, the product architecture wasn’t very user-friendly. Adding products are much more structured now since the product variations handle the different attributes and variations of each product.

Order states

Order states are well defined now. For example, in Commerce 1.x, all checkout statuses were grouped into one ‘checkout’ state. Which was very vague since there are many possible states under a ‘checkout’ status like Checkout Review, Checkout Payment, Checkout Complete, etc. Now the order workflow is split into multiple workflows – order, checkout, payment and fulfillment. Difference order types can now use different workflows.

Payments

Payments are now rock solid and much improved. Firstly, the time taken to implement payment gateways has drastically reduced (cut down by one third) while he functionality has increased. It now integrates with over 30 payment gateways!

Tokenization

Tokenization is used for everything now. Tokens are basically references to credit cards that are given by the payment gateway once the card details are passed on to them. That way, you will not be storing any card information on your server and there is nothing to get compromised. This is great for PCI compliance. Modern gateways like Stripe and Braintree have a Javascript layer that grabs the card number from the user’s browser and delivers the token via Javascript. So, you don’t have to store the card information in your server even for a fraction of a second.

Multi-currencies

Multi-currency is now supported as Commerce 2.x now uses Google’s library to handle any currency in the world. You need to know how to format the numbers of different currencies based on what symbol it uses, decimal points – if any, commas, separators, language of the currency, etc.

Shipments

A lot of things have changed for the better with Drupal Commerce 2.x, but the best and most significant milestone achievement has to be the Shipments API. In 1.x, when they said ‘Shipments’, they meant you could get shipping rates. Period. In order to actually ship the item, you would need to integrate with another system.

But now with Commerce 2.x, you can actually ship a product! And get shipping rates too. An order fulfillment process involves all the steps right from the placement of the order till the shipment of an order. And now with the Shipping API, an order can be fully fulfilled. Calculating duties, putting things on boxes, handling returns, printing labels with barcodes (which need to work for your delivery service like UPS or Fedex), handling box sizes, etc.

With Drupal 8, everything is now a plugin interface. You can customize it the way you want to. You can also replace any of the shipping process steps with third party providers. For example, you could use Amazon for your fulfillment process or your deliver service providers to take care of your boxing part.

Drupal Commerce is an extremely flexible and customizable e-Commerce framework that you can further build upon to suit your unique business needs. Drupal Commerce 1.x, however, lacked some vital components like order fulfillment, secure payments and the very important - shipping. Some modules that were a little buggy and not-so-easy-to use, are now solid and very user-friendly. As a Drupal development company, Specbee provides you with the expertise to build and support your e-Commerce website powdered by Drupal Commerce and Drupal CMS.

Jun 30 2017
Jun 30
  • By :Shefali
  • Date :30-06-2017

A seasoned web developer would call this a match made in heaven. Drupal and AngularJS together can create rich and dynamic web experiences that might want you to reconsider your web development strategy altogether.

We have already spoken about how Drupal has proven to be one of the best CMS frameworks out there. But what is AngularJS really and how does it make Drupal more amazing? Read on.

The Super-heroic AngularJS

To put it simply, AngularJS is a Javascript framework backed up by our very own glorious Google that can let you do really cool things on your user’s browser without having to fetch data from your server. HTML lets you create static pages and is not designed for dynamic views. Javascript was created to make those static pages more interactive. Here’s some more good-to-know info about AngularJS -

  • AngularJS is an extremely lightweight and concise framework that is profoundly extensible and lets you do some seriously fascinating things with your website.
  • Since it is a front-end framework, it does not have to reach out to your server to perform tasks that would otherwise require you to do so.
  • Web developers and designers love HTML for its simplicity, clarity and intuitivism in its code structure. AngularJS makes use of HTML to define user interfaces, hence letting you build interactive web applications that are highly functional and hard to break.
  • Its client-side nature keeps those cyber-attacks at bay as any injected data cannot go close to your server.
  • AngularJS implements the MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework which allows for faster development process, multiple views, asynchronous technique, SEO friendly development and many more valuable features.
  • Unit testing is a breeze with AngularJS as it comes setup with it making it fast and easy for developers to test their code.
  • With a mind-blowing functionality like two-way data binding, user actions can immediately trigger application objects and vice-versa, thereby proving to be an extremely interactive framework.

Drupal Meets AngularJS

When an impressive front-end framework meets a super-powerful backend content management framework, there ought to be fireworks! Drupal is a flexible and scalable enterprise-class CMS which can be used to develop powerful web applications that can be designed for small to large scale businesses. Being an open-source CMS, it is highly customizable and can be tailored to fit any business requirements. You can only imagine the extensibility and customizability the combination of the two open- source frameworks, Drupal and AngularJS, can provide. Two is better than one, they say. When put together, let’s look at the goodness Drupal and AngularJS can provide.

Going the Headless way

A lot has been going around about Headless Drupal. So what is this weird sounding term anyway? With headless Drupal, the browser does not directly connect to Drupal. Instead of seeing Drupal’s head (pun intended), which is the presentation layer/ theme, the user will see pages that have been created by front-end frameworks such as AngularJS. The idea here is to use Drupal’s flexible and powerful back-end capabilities to the fullest while letting a more interactive front-end framework do the talking to the browser. It is believed that client-side front-end frameworks like AngularJS are the future of the web.

Drupal-AngularJS-Connection
The Drupal – AngularJS Connection

Power Packed Performance

Drupal on its own can perform effectively even when dumped with heaps of functionality. However, when you offload some of the business logic to the client-side AngularJS, you are remarkably unburdening your Drupal backend. Using AngularJS for theming or presentation and Drupal as the backend data source can substantially boost the performance of your Drupal website. When you move display logic to the client-side and streamline your backend, you end up with a super speedy site.

Reduced Coding for developers

Creating a basic working Drupal website does not take a lot of coding or development work. AngularJS can make these basic Drupal websites more interactive, rich and dynamic without a lot of complex coding. AngularJS uses directives, HTML to define user interfaces, plain objects for data models, etc. which sums up to writing much lesser code. Since it uses HTML to define user interface codes, it makes it takes lesser efforts by the developers to build interactive pages when compared to writing complete Javascript codes.

Isolation of logic

AngularJS implements the MVC framework which lets you separate business, controller and model logic in your web application. Isolating application logic from user interface will result in a cleaner, clearer and non-redundant code structure. Should your most crucial developer leave you mid-way, with this architecture, it won’t be hard for a new one to catch up. This also helps remove a lot of backend logic from Drupal, thereby making it more light-weight and efficient.

Security – Raise the bar

With Drupal you can be assured of your website’s security if you have followed the security protocols diligently. In the huge Drupal community, it is hard to have a security flaw go un-noticed and un-patched thereafter. AngularJS adds that extra layer of security to Drupal websites. Since the browser communicates with AngularJS, there’s no direct server-side interaction. This makes it difficult for hackers to inject malicious code into databases.

Drupal provides with some amazing set of APIs and modules to setup and modularise a CMS but it can be tricky to build a highly interactive frontend on Drupal. Using AngularJS as the frontend framework lets you create rich and dynamic web application and allows Drupal to work more efficiently at the backend. The result is a future-proof and compelling Drupal website that looks and feels great. Specbee is a Drupal development company where you can find the technological expertise you have been looking for.

May 04 2017
May 04
  • By :Shefali
  • Date :4-05-2017

So you have tirelessly worked hard, your Drupal developers coded for weeks together on your Drupal website and now the most important day has arrived – the launch day! Time to cheer and rejoice, for all your hard work has finally paid off. But wait! Have you done everything right to ensure your Drupal website does not run into any unforeseen issues once you launch the site? It is always best to compile a checklist of things to do a few days before the launch to make sure you have everything in place and that you’re website is not under any kind of risk. Don’t have a checklist yet? Put your mind at ease coz compiled below is a list of prelaunch checklist for your Drupal site.

Are the File Permissions set right?

To secure your Drupal website, the first step you have to take is to set the file permissions right. Make sure that your web server is not given permissions to edit or write the files that it executes. Automated tools to set and verify permissions like File Permissions Module and Security Review Module respectively, can also be used. The PHP Filter Module under /admin/modules needs to be disabled.

Security Updates?

Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 automatically sends security updates for modules that are enabled. Else, security releases need to be checked and updates need to be run if needed.

Secure your admin’s account name

Your admin’s default account that they have been using for Drupal website development since installation is extremely vulnerable to attacks as it isn’t really hard to guess the username for the hacker. So the root account name should be changed (before launch at least) and a strong password must be used. You can use the AES module to tighten up your security. Also when granting user permissions, ensure minimal permissions are given to anonymous users and all permissions granted to them should also be given to authenticated users.

Don’t let your users see those Error reports!

Because it can get very annoying. Error reporting in should be turned off such that it write the errors onto a log but does not display it to users. It should be ensure that 404 errors are handled well. Using Drupal modules like Search 404 or 404 Navigation helps in displaying a more helpful content like search results based on the URL the user has been searching for.

Search Engine Optimizing for your Drupal site

Using the PathAuto Module is extremely important for Drupal web development as it will generate friendly URL’s instead of a URL that will look like this www.specbee.com/node/3843. It is also recommended to use the Global Redirect Module along with PathAuto as it checks the current URL for an alias and then does a 301 redirect to it if it is not being used. Because if you have two URL’s (with alias name and without alias name) that represent the same content, it can be very harmful for your SEO ranking.

Check on the Modules

Unused Drupal modules end up taking up space and makes your website slow. Ensure only those modules that are being used are enabled. Drupal modules that are not used for a while and would no longer need it, needs to be uninstalled. Also, it is recommended to disable the Devel module and similar modules during launch.

Is your Drupal site optimized for performance?

There are many things your developer can do to optimize the performance of your Drupal website, like

  • Caching –configuring caching will boost the performance of your website. Caching for some modules like Views are turned off by default – so make sure they are turned on.
  • CSS and Javascript – a typical Drupal website will have plenty of Javascript and CSS files which will increase the number of HTTP calls for each page. However, one can compress all these relevant files by enabling this feature in the performance section.

CRON jobs?

These time-triggered actions can help in checking for updates, re-indexing the search mechanism, retrieving feeds, notifying other sites of updates and perform routine maintenance tasks. It is also recommended to configure CRON for security and performance reasons.

Although this list might not cover all bases for every Drupal website launch, here’s hoping this piece of information is of some help to at least some of the Drupal site owners. Specbee is a Drupal Development Company and we have a highly experienced team of Acquia certified Drupal developers to help you with any of your Drupal requirements.

Apr 18 2017
Apr 18
  • By :Shefali
  • Date :18-04-2017

“Out of sight is out of mind” – is something I heard a lot from my mother during my childhood when I’d suddenly find an old outfit that I’d hardly worn, and now, too small for comfort. All I’m trying to say is if your website does not show up in the first few pages of the search results, it is definitely out of our minds, lying in some corner of the World (Wide Web). SEO isn’t something that you fix-it-and-forget-it. To keep up with the rat-race, a SEO specialist should constantly ensure that your website pops up and stays in the first few pages of the search results, always!

It has become extremely important to get noticed when people are looking for things on search engines as that’s where you will get your potential customers. Thankfully, Drupal has some amazing tools that can help you optimize your Drupal website for search engines. And now, Drupal 8 has some out-of-the-box SEO features will enable your website get noticed even faster. Here’s how Drupal 8 just made your life easier:

By making your Drupal website load faster

Your Drupal 8 website will now load really quickly for front-end users as it uses several caching techniques that can cache all entities of a web-page (cache tags). Using a technique called BigPipe, it first renders the cached parts of the page and then the un-cached parts or dynamic parts that need personalization. Also, Javascript is not loaded by default for anonymous users and JS assets are loaded from the bottom, thus improving the page load time.

They’re Responsive – off-the rack!

When responsiveness comes out-of-the-box, it’s a lot easier to configure and set up a Drupal website that can harmonize with any device irrespective of size. Drupal 8 understands that this is the era of smartphones and is here to stay. A responsive design for your Drupal website will attract more users and thereby boost your SEO ranking.

Follows the Content as a Service Model

Content is no longer destined for a single browser. It should be able to flow freely to apps, mobile sites, social networking sites, etc. Drupal 8 provides this capability that allows you to control your digital content over various platforms in a single place.

Also offers some incredible SEO modules!

SEO Checklist

This Drupal 8 module provides you with a list of best practices and modules for a proper SEO. If you have already installed those SEO modules, it will tick them off your list and can also enable, configure and set permissions for them.

PathAuto

By default, Drupal gives its URLs id’s instead of a clean readable URL. The PathAuto Drupal module automatically creates a readable URL based on your content without having to create a path alias. Having a clean and readable path with rich keywords can help improve your SEO.

Redirect

The Redirect Module allows you to redirect your invalid URLs to new ones. Having your users land up on old invalid URLs can immensely affect your SEO rankings.

MetaTag

This Drupal module lets you add meta information like keywords, titles, meta descriptions etc. for every page of your Drupal website. This will help in giving information about your web page to the search engine.

A few extra pointers

  • Use keywords that are relevant to your content and that have high ranking. Using tools like MOZ tool, Google keyword planners etc. can help.
  • Always have relevant and good quality content that is a 100% original on your website.
  • Titles and Descriptions are a must-have for good SEO.
  • Add Alt texts to your images because search engines cannot read your image but will capture its text and description.
  • Your websites headers play a very important role in boosting your ranking. Use relevant keywords for each oh your headers and titles.

Using the right Search engine optimization techniques can massively widen your website’s exposure to the world. Drupal 8 provides you with many features that make it easier to be more searchable. Specbee is a Drupal development company and we can help in taking your Drupal website’s SEO to the next level.

Feb 28 2017
Feb 28
  • By :Shefali
  • Date :28-02-2017

You have to agree that nobody migrates to another place if they find no advantages in doing so. Migrating is always a tedious and complex task but that is nothing compared to the benefits it offers. When you migrate your website from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, you will have a website that performs better, has a more user-friendly UI and UX, better support, improvised security and many more amazing features.

Here are a few reasons why you should upgrade to Drupal 8 CMS:

  • You get most of the functionalities out-of-the-box which means you don’t need to install and use additional contributed modules to take care of some major important tasks.
  • Responsiveness is also out-of-the-box – So you don’t have to worry about how your website will look like on different devices.
  • Content authors will love it as Drupal 8 provides a more organized, clean and user-friendly interface to manage content.
  • A lot of documentation is available to help developers in having a better and a more knowledgeable experience.
  • Drupal 8 theming is powered with ‘Twig’, which is a PHP-based template engine. It is less complex than PHP template and also provides a more secure theming layer.
  • ...and there are a lot more.

So, how complex is it?

Well, that depends on the complexity of your website. The more stuff you have on your website, the more problems you are likely to run into. By “stuff”, I mean modules – both Custom modules and Contributed modules, content types, vocabularies, etc. Many modules from Drupal 7 have been replaced by new modules in Drupal 8 and some inactive modules that have no support or are obsolete, are going to be unavailable. For such modules, you might need to do some manual upgrading.

Methods of migration

Drupal 8 not only makes website building more powerful and easy, it also makes migration simple and quick. With Drupal 8 core, comes three modules that can help you migrate from Drupal 6 or 7 to Drupal 8 easily. You will first need to create a fresh new website on Drupal 8 and enable the core migration modules. Using the browser user-interface you can now start the migration process. That’s it! Once done, you can review migration messages and make changes as required. You might notice some errors messages at this stage. Let’s say, if you have some modules that also need to be migrated to Drupal 8, unless you enable and configure them in your Drupal 8 site, it will not get migrated and you may run into ‘Missing path’ errors. If you have a large database and a highly complex Drupal website to be migrated, using some contributed modules that use Drush commands are recommended. Let us look at some migration modules:

Core Drupal 8 Modules:

Migrate – This module provides the framework for content migration to Drupal 8.
Migrate Drupal – This module provides classes and functions to migrate content and configuration to Drupal 8.
Migrate Drupal UI – This module provides a user-interface and tools that are needed to perform an upgrade to Drupal 8.

Contributed Drupal Modules:

Migrate Upgrade – Provides Drush support for migrating or upgrading to Drupal 8.
Migrate Tools – Provides tools to manage migrations, like listing migrations and statuses, performing imports, performing rollbacks, stopping an operation, etc.
Migrate UI – Provides a user interface for editing and configuring migrations to Drupal 8.
Drupal Module Upgrader – Provides Drush scripts for converting module code from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8.

After Drupal 9 hits the town, you will have about 3 more months of Drupal 7 support. Which means you actually don’t need to worry about migrating to Drupal 8 as yet but when Drupal 8 is offering such cool and powerful feature upgrades, isn’t it a wise decision to make the move now? At Specbee, we provide exceptional Drupal development services that can help you migrate with ease.

Jan 27 2017
Jan 27
  • By :Shefali
  • Date : 27-01-2017

I like doing things at my own pace but when it comes to website performance, I need it to be super-speedy. Speed thrills and low speed definitely kills. Now that you’ve just set-up your Drupal website and it looks great, why bother about your website’s performance, you ask? A speedy performing website will improve your SEO ranking, engage your customers better, help you increase conversion rate, thereby boosting your sales and revenues.

With Drupal, you can build extremely powerful and well-performing web applications. Below are a few tips for you to optimize the performance of your Drupal website.

Caching

To extract the best performance out of your Drupal website you need to configure caching. You can easily cache your website with Drupal’s various in-built caching options. The simplest approach is Page Caching which you will have to enable in the Performance section. You can cache blocks and pages and can also set your cache expiration time here. Caching can be done on individual Drupal modules like Views and Panels. For better performing cache, you can choose from some external modules that integrate seamlessly into your website like:

  • Memcache: With Memcache installed you can reduce your database load as it can cache your database objects in RAM. So your database queries will return faster results as it doesn’t always have to go right till your database.
  • Boost: If your traffic is mostly anonymous and if you’re using shared hosting, this module provides a significant boost to your site’s performance. It provides static page caching for your Drupal website.
  • Varnish: This can provide a very high performance to your website if your site is largely static. It sits in between a user and your web server. It stores your page’s data in a cache and whenever a page is requested, it looks into its cache and provides the user with a cached version of your page.

CDN (Content Delivery Network)

CDNs are a network of edge servers that are placed worldwide which can basically contain cached versions of your images, videos, JS and CSS files (and sometimes even entire pages). Since the travel time to get to this data is less, your page loads much faster and the load on your web server is reduced thus improving scalability.

Disable un-used Blocks and Modules

If you have any modules or blocks that are not being used, it is recommended to disable them as they can simply make your Drupal website heavier and use up resources unnecessarily.

Optimize your themes

By manually removing blankspaces, comments, indentation and all unnecessary codes from the theme files (.tpl) , your Drupal website can have faster load times. In the Performance page you can also turn on JS and CSS aggregation for better front-end performance.

Optimize your Images

A good looking website will contain a lot of good looking images but they come with a price and makes your website heavy and thus sluggish to load. You can directly compress your images in Drupal by setting the compression ratio on your Jpeg files. By clicking on ‘Configuration’ -> ‘Image Toolkit’, you can set the % of compression. Additionally there are other modules you can use to optimize your images.

A few bonus tips:

  • Practice best coding standards when writing your code and eliminate any un-used code.
  • Go with the best and fastest hosting provider available for Drupal websites.
  • Use client-side validations.
  • Keep a check on your database load times and optimize it using the DB maintenance module.

A well-performing and optimized Drupal website can directly affect your business thereby escalating your sales and revenue by better customer engagement and increased traffic. At Specbee, we offer exceptional Drupal Development Services and can help you in building a highly optimized and super-speedy Drupal website.

About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web