Nov 27 2018
Nov 27

The internet is continuously evolving and new web technologies emerge on a regular basis. Users expect more personalized experiences, greater connectivity among devices and interactive elements to guide their navigation on the web. In order to keep up-to-date, big organizations started looking into alternatives for the common practice of running websites on proprietary software which can prove to be costly to maintain in an ever-evolving market. Open source software has come a long way during the past years, and became more and more popular among big companies, governmental websites and NGOs thanks to the versatility and quality they are able to provide. Currently open source serves as the main substitute for proprietary licensed sites. Before we dive into talking about why Drupal is the CMS of choice for organizational websites, let's take a look at some of the technical terms used throughout the article:

Technical Terms

  • Open Source Software - a program or software in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design.
  • Content Management System (CMS) - a software that facilitates creating, editing, organizing, and publishing content for a website.
  • Content Management Framework (CMF) - a system that facilitates the use of reusable components or customized software for managing web content
  • Proprietary Software - software that is the intellectual property of the developer(s), the source code for which is closed and usually owned by the organization

Why Drupal?

Drupal can be described as both a content management system and content management framework as it strives to have the strengths of both. It is a free to use software and is distributed under the GNU general public license which guarantees end-users the freedom to run, study and modify the software to meet their needs. Over 2.3% of the all sites choose Drupal as the trusted CMS to run their website on. Drupal’s popularity rises among the top sites that generate high traffic and work with sensitive data. According to BuiltWith CMS Usage Distribution ranking, 6.57% of the top 100k websites and 9.69% of the top 10k websites currently use Drupal.

While there are multiple open source software organizations can opt for, each of them with their own strengths and benefits, top organizations, enterprises and businesses often prefer Drupal and there is a good reasoning for that.

Flexibility and Scalability

One of the main things that has to be taken into consideration when building a professional website is the flexibility and scalability of the software the website runs on. Drupal is one of the most flexible and scalable CMS for building essentially any kind of website. It flourishes in how flexible it is due to its modular approach in site building. Whether you are considering building a news, government, higher education, enterprise or NGO website, it’s all a matter of creatively combining the right modules and custom code to build a truly unique experience for the visitors. On the Drupal website there are tens of thousands of modules which continuously receive support from the community developers in order to meet the latest digital trends. It is also possible to integrate Drupal with external services and other applications in a business’ infrastructure. Highly customized websites that require scalability and work with large amount of information are going to find Drupal perfectly capable of handling the workflow. It was built specifically for creating complex pages and handling high user traffic. Famous for its power, Drupal is able to contain thousands of users and web pages without sacrificing site performance or loading time of the pages.

IT Cost Reduction

Websites who run a proprietary licensed website are locked in with the vendor and depend on developers to implement new features, manage website content, maintain it and take care of security issues that might arise. Also, if at some point the company decides to migrate the site to a different platform, it will require a lot of time and big financial investments in the IT department. Depending on how big a website is, its longevity usually lasts between 2 and 5 years until it needs to be completely rebuilt in order to stay up-to-date with latest trends in web development. By using Drupal, companies can dramatically reduce licensing costs and general spending on the total cost of ownership for their website. Furthermore, by using a Drupal visual page editor such as Glazed Builder, it is easy to train the staff members to manage and edit website content on a daily basis, eliminating the need to go through developers every time new content needs to be published or edited.

Excellent security

Drupal’s ability to prevent security vulnerabilities is one of the crucial advantages of the CMS, and one of the prime reasons websites who work with sensitive data opt for Drupal instead of other available CMS. Drupal meets Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) security standards and addresses the critical security risks, including the Top 10 identified by OWASP. Drupal also has a dedicated security team who provides advice to project maintainers, educate the Drupal community on security topics, identify vulnerabilities and make improvements related to security in core and contributed projects. Furthermore, the community and developers also treat security at the highest level, establishing a good issue tracking system and a large install base - therefore security vulnerabilities are detected and fixed quickly.

Easy Content Authoring and Management

Drupal provides intuitive tools for creating content, managing workflow and easy publishing for everyone engaged in supporting online content: site administrators, business decision makers, marketers, content managers, technical architects and IT professionals. Site administrators are able to give permission to other staff members to perform administrative tasks. For example, on a newspaper website you can give editors, writers and publishers access to the tools that each of them specifically requires. Website maintainers have access to monitor all changes and revisions made, which works perfectly for organizations that have multiple editors and need to keep track of previously made changes to the site content. Right out of the box, Glazed Builder also provides a role editor where you can provide just the right authoring and marketing tools to just the right people. 

One of the Biggest Dedicated Communities

Drupal community is its biggest and most valuable asset. There is a common saying among Drupal enthusiasts which goes “Come for the Code, Stay for the Community!” - and it resembles the culture that lays behind Drupal. Being one of the biggest open source online communities, more than 1 million passionate developers, designers, trainers, strategists, coordinators, editors and sponsors work together towards achieving one goal: making the web a better place for everyone. That includes improving the software and keeping it up-to-date to meet the latest demands of online technologies and maintain the high-end service that Drupal provides, provide support, write documentation, and last but not least help organize and participate in amazing Drupal events that shape the future of the CMS!

Nov 16 2018
Nov 16

Take content authoring one step further with the new User Profiles feature. Site administrators can now limit what users with specific Drupal roles get to see in the Glazed Builder Interface. Profiles give you total control over who has access to specific Glazed Builder elements, Drupal blocks, views display and CKEditor buttons. We made profiles into configuration entities, therefore they are also exportable in both Drupal 8 and Drupal 7 - this could be achieved by using the feature module. 
To set up a new Glazed Builder Profile go to Configuration>Content Authoring on your Drupal administration panel and select Glazed Builder.  By clicking "+Add Glazed Builder Profile" button  we are now able to configure a new User Profile based on: Roles, Glazed elements, Drupal blocks, Views, CKEditor buttons (inline & modal editing).

Help Center: New Documentation

Nov 08 2018
Nov 08

The real cost of creating and maintaining a new website can be hard to estimate even for the best among Drupal professionals. By using the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) methodology, organizations can ensure that both direct and indirect expenses of operating a website are considered and calculated rather than just emphasize on the initial spending. In this article we are going to take a look at what are the Drupal costs of owning a website versus using a proprietary software.

There are some key considerations to decide on before diving into building a website:

  1. Open Source vs. Proprietary License
  2. Creating and Managing Web Content
  3. Re-designing and Updating Content
  4. Future Upgrades and Longevity
  5. Long Term Savings

Custom Code - a necessity of the past?

Owning the custom code for your website has its own pros and cons, and in some cases it can still prove to be the most feasible choice depending on your website's needs. If you asked web developers a few years ago whether you should opt for a custom framework or open source CMS when building your website, they would tell you that open source CMS limit website's capabilities and features while with custom coding it's possible to adapt to any needs and necessary requirements. This has been changing at a fast pace since open source software started rapidly evolving and covering more and more ground in the industry. For example Drupal's exponential growth and limitless space for scalability has become rather impressive and hard to ignore for big organizations. Currently, Drupal serves as a direct competitor to the concept of custom code: people being able to integrate, twist and change the CMS to get the precise results they expect for their website. With the introduction of Drupal 8, new APIs have been integrated in the CMS which allow for supporting a decoupled Drupal site through Restful Web Services API, enhance user experience by faster page rendering and better caching protocols, as well as Drupal translation API which adjusts the language on your website depending on where the viewers lives - things that would have only been possible through custom code in the past. Not to say that building a custom code is unpractical, but in most cases the benefits that Drupal brings out-scales the custom framework, eventually saving organizations time, money and help them prevent future complications that might arise due to the custom.

1. Open Source vs. Proprietary License

Choosing a content management system (CMS) for a website is one of the fundamental decisions that has to be made before moving on to making other decisions. When talking about CMS, there are 2 directions a company can take: using an open source CMS such as Drupal or proprietary licensed software. If an organization opts for a Proprietary License, they have to regularly invest in the IT department that will take care to implement new website features, updates and support. Open Source CMS are continuously evolving and the bugs are discovered and fixed quicker due to a dedicated community of developers working to improve the CMS. Companies have the freedom to run it on numerous websites resulting in significantly reduced costs and can adapt the software to meet their business requirements. Besides, to further increase the functionality and convenience of the CMS, organizations can opt for using custom modules that enable Drag and Drop content management. For example our Glazed Builder module is currently one of the most powerful Drupal editors and is seamlessly integrated with both Drupal 8 and 7. Compared to the costs of proprietary license, Drupal costs are practically minimal, the CMS is more versatile (you're not stuck to a single software & its attributes) and it gives the organizations the power and freedom to build any kind of website.

2. Creating and Managing Web Content

Creating and managing content on your website on a regular basis is part of the daily routine for many stakeholders in large websites. Every open source CMS provides the necessary tools and flexibility to create new pages or edit already existing ones. In most cases this will still require assistance from a developer who will be responsible for handling it, but it doesn't necessarily have to. Thanks to the development of content editors and page builders such as Glazed Builder, managing and creating content is something anyone can do without relying on IT. They eliminate the need to go through the IT Department every time a change needs to be made on the website. This also drastically reduces IT costs and saves precious time, both could be re-invested in other company assets to deliver more value to consumers. On the other hand, managing content on proprietary website can prove to be quite a challenge, therefore there will always be a need for dedicated developers who are familiar with the software to systematically add and edit pages. 

3. Re-designing and Updating Content

The web environment is continuously evolving and changing at a fast pace. Along with it grows the customer expectations towards customers' online experiences and the value a website can deliver for them. In order to keep up and stay ahead of the competition, businesses need to periodically refresh their website's overall look and stay ahead by implementing new features that storm the web on a regular basis. It is also important to systematically update content in order to keep the information relevant, up-to-date and interesting for the visitor. When building a website, it is necessary to compare the long-term costs and available tools needed for re-designing the website and updating content. Open source software shines when it comes to empowering organizations in this aspect, Drupal having the reputation of the most flexible CMS makes it easy and convenient for organizations to create a new look for the website. Moreover, organizations can implement already made themes that suit their business model or create custom, unique themes by using page builders. Sooperthemes Glazed Builder gives you the control over every visual element on the website and makes it easy to modify them anytime in order to update and maintain content on main pages, product pages, landing pages, etc. 

4. Future Upgrades and Longevity

A website can last between 2-5 years before it needs a fresh re-design or to be completely rebuilt. The incentives that motivate businesses to upgrade their digital assets can include: security reasons, dated website, meeting Google SEO requirements or the necessity to keep up-to-date with the new technologies that emerge every year. Building organizational websites on a platform that grants the ability to be expanded and twisted to meet the latest trends in web technologies will prove to be a lifesaver when the time comes to upgrade the website. It will also eliminate the possibility to have to start building the website from scratch just because the proprietary foundation it was built on from the beginning does not allow for scalability. Drupal is known to be at the top of the industry when it comes to upgrades and space for future scalability. Drupal handles high-traffic websites with ease, maintaining minimum load times even at the highest peaks.

5. Drupal Costs & Long Term Savings

Analyzing the total cost of ownership of your website before starting to build it will save your organization a lot of money and time in the long run. These retained resources could be re-invested in other company facets that will add value for both the business and the end consumer. The costs of maintaining the website on a daily basis could be significantly reduced by using an open source software like Drupal. A good example is the Georgia Technology (GTA) case. When GTA decided to migrate 65 websites to Drupal, it resulted in 65% decrease on platform operational costs and costs associated with support decreased by 75% respectively. In the long term, the costs of operating a website on a Porprietary Licensed Software exceeds the Drupal costs by far. Unless there are very specific requirements for operating your website that could only be achieved with a Proprietary Software, Drupal will play a big part in minimizing the Total Cost of Ownership for an organizational website.

Oct 22 2018
Oct 22

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers united by one goal: unite people and take action to create a lasting, meaningful change. It is a non-political and non-sectarian organization open to anyone, regardless of their race, color, creed, religion, gender, or political reference. Rotary consists of 34,000+ member clubs worldwide, as well as 1.2 million individuals, known as Rotarians, who all work towards solving important global problems, such as: fighting disease, growing local economies, promoting peace, providing clean water, saving mothers & children and support education. 
The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

  • The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service.
  • High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society.
  • The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life.
  • The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

Rotary chose Drupal as the primary CMS for their website due to its flexibility and extensibility. The wide variety of modules and distributions assist Rotary with the best web technology solutions for providing, managing and distributing content.

7. Global Impact | Charity.org

Oct 10 2018
Oct 10

The Main Menu on your website is the first thing that catches visitor’s attention. Besides, it’s one of the most important elements that will assist the user in an effortless and intuitive navigation. In this article we are going to talk about how to design a Drupal Drop-down Menu with Glazed Theme.

Before diving into customizing our Main Menu, learn How to Create Drop-down menus with Drupal 8 and Glazed Theme.

To start customizing our menu design we need to go to the Glazed Theme Settings page. Amongst a dozen of options that are directly responsible for every element of your website design and how the end-user sees it, we are going to find the Header & Main Menu - the place that will change how our menu looks like.

Header & Main Menu

When navigating to the Header & Main Menu, first thing that will come to our attention is the “Top Header Options”.
Clicking it will open an entire new world of possibilities. Here We can choose 1 of the 7 layouts that come pre-installed with Glazed Builder. A layout for every taste! Depending on what you want to choose for your website, you can pick between having your logo on the left and menu on the right, which is the default layout that you are already familiar with (spoiler: the one on this website), having everything beautifully aligned in the center, place the menu on the left, or several others.

Header style is probably one of the most important settings here and will determine the overall look and feel for your website (will it be more minimalistic or will it have a more “heavy” look to it?). We are able to choose between 3 general types of header styles: Normal, Overlay or Pull-down Navbar.

You can see examples of each header style and header layouts on the Glazed Theme Live Demo Page.

Each one of these options look great when implemented, but they are going to need some further refinements to look exactly how you imagined. This brings us to our next element: Height. Choosing the height value will determine how tall or short our main menu will be. Once we got our perfect Height settings we will move on to deciding whether or not we would like our Menu to have a fixed position. A fixed header stays at the top of the browser window when a user scrolls.

Behavior of the Drupal Drop-Down Menu

If we decide that we want our menu to stick to the top of the browser when people scroll, then another option will pop-out asking us if we would also like a sticky header – which basically means that the menu will appear only after the user scrolls past a certain point on your page, only then will it stick to the top of his or her window. This will be determined by the scroll offset, height & background opacity values that you decide on.
Congrats! You’re past all the technical aspects of your gorgeous Menu bar. (Well not really but for now we are moving on to the fun part - choosing the colors)

Customize Navigation Colors

Here is the place where it all comes together. You can choose colors from your website’s color scheme (Custom one you made or Glazed Default) or add individual values to each settings’ custom color. In this menu we can choose the colors for every aspect of the navigation menu: text color, drop-down background, menu hover text, etc.

After we are happy with the result we can move on to adding the final touches to our menu design.

Side Header & Mobile Menu Options

In this area you can choose the layout look on mobile devices and your side header (if you choose to opt for one in the beginning). You can determine elements such as content alignment (left/center/right) and menu bar width.

The Main Menu Link is for determining the font style and hover style of our Main Menu (both website & mobile versions).
Last but not least, by going to Mobile Header menu we will determine the mobile breakpoint and the height of our menu in order to make it even more mobile-friendly.

We have designed a brand new Main Menu for our website which will be enjoyed by the visitors and help them easily navigate to the information they are looking for!

We also created some Main Menu designs along with you so you don’t get bored doing it all by yourself. We’ll leave each settings value below. If you like any of them feel free to recreate or use them as an inspiration for your future eye-catching Main Menu.

DESIGN 1

Oct 03 2018
Oct 03

Sooperthemes Glazed Builder is a Drupal drag & drop page builder made to revolutionize the way professionals build websites with Drupal. Glazed Builder is fully integrated with both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 and gives the marketing staff, content teams and site builders the tools to do a faster, more efficient job! And guess what? You can build a fully functional website with Glazed  Builder without ever having to touch a line of code!
The builder provides 36 fully customizable elements to help you make and share beautiful and appealing content on your website without breaking a sweat. In today's blog article we are going to cover five Glazed Builder Elements and show you how to use and personalize them:

1. Countdown Timer

The first Glazed Builder Element we are going to talk about is the Countdown Timer. Using this module is a great way to create a sense of urgency about your campaign and persuade the customer to act soon if they don't want to miss a limited time offer or that amazing upcoming event your team worked so hard to put together. 

Currently there are six countdown timer styles to choose from, with the options to count to a specific day, hour, minute and second. It is also possible to set Date and Time limitations for a specific Date only, Date and Time, Time only (repeat every day) and Resetting Counter (with an interval up to 24 hours).

How to Use the Countdown Timer element

In order to create a new Countdown Timer, we are going to choose "Add Elements" by clicking the "+" icon. 

Sep 26 2018
Sep 26

If you are at least a little bit familiar with Drupal, then you most likely heard about Drupalize.

Drupalize is one of the most active players when it comes to updating their tutorials in order to keep the content up-to-date with the new features that come to Drupal 8. The material provided by them starts all the way from the Basics and Site Building, and moves on to covering more advanced topics such as Management and Strategy.

With the largest collection of Drupal premium learning videos, Drupalize has thousands of tutorials you can choose from. If you are interested in: Learning to Build Drupal Websites, Working with Drupal Themes, Becoming a Drupal Developer, Learning Drupal 8 or in an Introduction to the Drupal CMS - then Drupalized is the right choice for you!

Not sure whether or not it’s worth the investment? Check out their YouTube Playlists made in association with Lullabot, which cover topics such as: Drupal 8 User Guide, Configuration System, or How to Install Drupal for Local Development and see if the content provided by them meets your expectations.
In order to recognize contributors' hard work, Drupalize.me offers a Free Membership to the drupal.org Project Maintainers and those listed in the Drupal 8 MAINTAINERS.txt file.

Sep 18 2018
Sep 18

We're excited to mark the first minor update for our Drupal 8 products since the initial D8 release! There are no new features in this update but we're incrementing the middle digit in our version numbers for Glazed Theme and Glazed Builder because of a change we made in how Bootstrap Panels are handled. This change may require manually re-saving of pages that use the panels Glazed Builder element. More info about that in the Changelog

Thanks to changes in how panels are handled we now support an option to select all the Bootstrap-native panel styles in our Glazed Builder panel element. Besides the panels update both the Glazed Theme and Glazed Builder releases contain various small fixes.

Managing Sooperthemes' Growth 

Besides crushing bugs we've been working on other areas of our products and services during the hot summer that we've had in the Netherlands. Since the release of our Drupal 8 products we've seen a growth in subscription sign-ups and also in sales questions and support tickets. To handle the extra workload we're now onboarding a full-time customer success manager as well as a full time content/marketing manager. Check out our brand new Sooperthemes instagram account for the behind-the-scenes. 

Sneak Peek: Glazed Builder User Profiles

This feature has been requested for so long I'm really excited that it's finally happening. We're working on adding an interface similar to the WYSIWYG Drupal module. This interface let's you create profiles that limit the elements, buttons, and settings a user sees in the Glazed Builder interface. Check out the sneak preview here:

Apr 26 2018
Apr 26

The Idea That Will Revolutionize Your Drupal 8 & 7 Experience

Today I'm proud to announce the release of all our products on Drupal 8! We reinvented the Drupal authoring and site building experience again for Drupal 8 with a Glazed Builder module that was built from the ground up to fit Drupal 8's archictecture and design principles. It has taken us a full year to upgrade all our products, including our page builder, Glazed framework theme, portfolio module, GridStack module, 15 demo themes and 15 installation profiles, and our Glazed Drupal distribution which will soon also have a D8 release on drupal.org.

Built From The Ground Up For Drupal 8

Glazed Builder is different from Wix, Squarespace, or any other drag and drop builder: it's made for Drupal and deeply integrated with Drupal APIs. Glazed Builder acts as a Drupal field formatter and you can have multiple instances per page, for your footer, main content, and blocks. It automatically understands Drupal's revisioning system, language systems, and permissions. This makes it the most advanced visual page builder in the world from a website architecture perspective.

Our framework theme Glazed was also rebuilt using twig templates and the new Drupal 8 theme system.

Build, Write, And Edit Visually 

The experience of writing in Glazed Builder is easy like nothing else. You just click anywhere in a piece of content and start typing. Without any menus or network latency, our frontend application is the fast and distraction-free solution that Drupal content editors and marketers deserve! And thanks to the tight integration with Drupal's media systems you can upload and re-use media in Glazed Builder. It even provides easy settings to resize your images and add SEO fields like alt text and title text.

SooperThemes Is Super Fast!

Need to edit an article or update the social links in your website's footer? Whatever the task it's just a single click away when using Glazed Builder. Because our page builder is a headless frontend application for Drupal it doesn't need to call the server for most tasks. Adding text, or marketing elements can happen instantly because there is no network delay. Even tasks that rely on Drupal like saving the page or loading a view happens very fast thanks to the expert programming by Drupal developers with at least 8 years of experience.

Drag, Drop, Clone, Style

Our software is easy and intuitive to use because we designed it based on established best practices in user experience design. We stand on the shoulders of decades of research in computer interaction design and translated core concepts like dragging, typing, cloning, to a tool that seamlessly integrates with your Drupal website. Since we released the first beta version of Glazed Builder 3 years ago we made hundreds of improvements and have gone through many design changes based on feedback from our customers.

Save Time With Templates

We have also made incredible progress in developing template features to improve workflow and productivity. You can save any element or collection of elements in the builder as a user template and it will instantly be accessible in every Glazed Builder instance on your website. We also creating page templates that you can use as a starting point on empty pages.

Access A Complete Selection Of Marketing Tools

For marketing staff Glazed Builder means liberation! No more need to hustle developers to code a landing page. Our builder provides anything from responsive layouts to countdown timers, sliders, and thousands of icons including the brand new Font Awesome 5 Pro set. Instead of posting a screenshot of marketing content here, I invite you to browse around sooperthemes.com and take a look at our product pages. Each page is built with Glazed Builder, even the blog post you're reading right now is build with Glazed Builder. We believe in eating our own dog food and as you might have guessed sooperthemes.com is themed with Glazed Theme as well.

Enough about us..

Apr 24 2018
Apr 24

A well designed menu is a menu that works great on all devices and gets your users where they need to go with minimal effort. We'll first get into the basics of creating and placing menu links in Drupal 8 and then cover the topic of dropdown menus. 

Managing Menu Links In Drupal 8

Menus are part of the structure of your Drupal website and you manage them by clicking Structure and then Menus. Here you find a listing of menus installed on your website. The most important item in the list is the Main Navigation. There may be other menus in your website, but there is one menu that is more important than all others because it links to your most important pages and is placed at the top of your page. 

At the far right in the Menus administration page click the "edit links" item in the Main Navigation row. This will take you to an overview of the links in your main menu. If you just installed the Drupal 8 default installation profile this menu will only contain the Home link. If you installed one of the Glazed Theme demos the main menu will contain a number of links already

Adding New Menu Links In Drupal 8

Once you are at the Main Navigation administration form (Structure > Menus > Main Navigation/edit menu) you see an overview of the links that are already in your main menu. Here you can add, edit, and delete links. You can also change the order of links by dragging the move icon at the left hand side of the table.

To add a new link click the "+ Add link" button at the top of the table. For the menu link title fill in the link text that you want to appear in your main menu. In the link field you can add an internal path, or an external URL. With the weight option in the end of the form you can tell Drupal to place new menu items to the front or the back of the menu. For example you can add a weight of 10 to you Contact link because you typically want that link to appear in the end of the menu.

The other optionsnot important now and they'll be covered in the next section when we talke about dropdown menus. 

Creating A Dropdown Menu

Dropdown menus are a popular solution when you want site visitors to be able to reach a large number of pages in a single click. One such situation is in the main demo website of our Glazed Theme and Glazed Builder products. We know people want to explore the elements and features that are offered to we organize close to a 100 menu items all in the main navigation.

There are generally 2 different paths to get a dropdown menu in your Drupal website: From your theme or from a module. If you use our Glazed Theme you have a dropdown menu system built into the theme. If you use a theme that doesn't support dropdown menus (like Drupal's default theme) and you don't want to code it yourself, you can rely on a module like SuperFish.

Dropdown Menus Included In Glazed Theme

The menu system in Glazed theme is one of the biggest selling points of the theme because it's a beautiful, user-friendly menu that works perfectly with Drupal's native menu administration. With the flick of a switch you can have a horizontal menu or a vertical menu. It supports multi-level menus by automatically creating a megamenu for large devices and collapsing into a beautiful vertical menu on small devices. The menu's design is customizable in the Glazed Theme Settings system.

To create a dropdown menu on your Glazed Theme website, or when using any theme that has support for dropdown menus built in we're only have to edit our Main Navigation menu links to have parent and child links. By parent links we mean the menu links that are in show navigation bar and the child links are the links that are contained in a dropdown box that appears only when we hover a parent link. One little quirck in Drupal is that you have to remember to enable the Expanded checkbox on every parent link for your dropdowns to work. Check out the video above to see how we build the menu structure.

Dropdown Menus With The SuperFish Drupal 8 Module

If your theme doesn't support dropdown menus natively you can add the SuperFish module to your Drupal website. You might also use this module if it has some features or design elements that you prefer over the system built into your theme. 

The SuperFish module also relies on the menus created in Drupal's native menu administration pages, and you'll also be creating a menu structure with parent and child links. Check out the video above to see how the structure is made.

Once you have the menu structure set up you can download the SuperFish module and follow the instructions on their project page to install it. Next you will go to the blocks administration page to remove the Main Navigation block to then replace it with the SuperFish Main Navigation block. This is a new block the is generated by the SuperFish module. Once you place this block you can view your homepage and the dropdown menu should be working. As was the case in our demo that we did in our video above you may have to do some theming to style the menu.

Apr 22 2018
Apr 22

Conclusion: Drupal 8 Is A Heavier System With More Extensive Caching That Can Make It Faster Than Drupal 7 In Real-Life Situations

At the start of its life Drupal 8.0 got a lot of criticism for being slow. Now in 2018, Drupal 8.5 has seen a significant number of performance improvements and while it's still slower than Drupal 7 at the core, it's faster in complex situations that are more relevant to real-life Drupal websites.

Drupal 8 is faster where it matters, and more scalable! It's also important to add that both test installations did not have any special settings enabling caching of content, views, blocks, etc. Drupal 8 has a much more advanced and more granular caching system that lets you finetune and optimize your experience for logged in users on a grander scale than was every possible with Drupal 7. Notably there is the BigPipe module that gives you lightning fast loadtimes for your primary content and it can then separately lazy-load less important content, like the footer, menus, and sidebar blocks.

For sure this test brings good news to SooperThemes customers, who will enjoy a faster experience our of the box with our Glazed demo installation profiles. As a side note: importing demo content is also twice as fast in our Drupal 8 installation profiles versus Drupal 7.

Apr 20 2018
Apr 20

This tutorial is for people who are new to Drupal 8. We'll be showing how to add content to Drupal 8 and how to change or add new content types. Content types are very flexible in Drupal 8 and that's what makes Drupal more powerful than WordPress and other systems for many use cases. 

Drupal 8's Content Overview Page

Just like all Drupal's previous versions this administration page is the central hub where all your content appears in one place. You get there by clicking the Content link in the toolbar. This takes you to an overview of all the pages in your Drupal website. From here you can edit and delete pages using the action links to the far right side of the table. Additionally you can operate on multiple pages at a time using the controls below the Action label.

The content administration page is not just for pages, using the primary tabs you can navigate to administration pages for files and comments. This can be extended by additional moduels that provide custom content entitities using Drupal 8's Entity API. For example on sooperthemes.com we also manage domain licenses and digital downloads on separate tabs, because these are custom entity types.

Adding Content In Drupal 8

Once you're at the content administration page it's easy to see how to add content. You start by clicking the blue button that reads "+ Add content". You'll now see a listing of content types that are available at your Drupal installation and you have to tell Drupal which type of content you would like to create. After choosing a content type you'll be taken to the content form where you get to fill in all the form fields that make up your content type. You'll learn more about these fields in the next section where we discuss adding fields to content types and adding new content types.

Adding Content Types In Drupal 8

The ability to create new content types and choose from a large selection of different field types is what makes Drupal the system of choice for many organisations that manage a lot of content. Companies of all sizes including Tesla, Disney, United Nations, and Qualcomm use Drupal because it's the best solution for managing a large amount of content on the internet.

To manage content types in Drupal 8 click Structure in the toolbar and then click Content Types.  Now you're looking at a listing of content types installed on your website. If you just installed a new Drupal 8 website with the default profile you will see the Article and Basic Page items.  If you installed one of our theme demo profiles or the free Glazed CMS installation profile you'll have a bunch more options. Check out our YouTube video above for a quick tour. 

Once you're at content types overview click the "+Add content type" button to create a new page type. The minimum you can do here is give your content type a name, for example "Special Page, or Forum Topic". There's a number of other options for your consideration when creating a content type:

Creating A Jobs Content Type

Let's create an example content type for the new Careers section of our website. We'll need to post job vacancies, so let's call our new content type Jobs. To create a new content type go to Structure > Content Types and click the "+ Add content type".

Here we fill in the name of our content type and disable the options for author information and menu structure. After all we don't want all our job postings to clutter our menu system, you would use the views module to create an overview of available jobs.

Next click the "Save and manage fields" button. Now we're in the content type configuration page and this is where we add the fields that we need on our job vacancies. To see exactly how this works check out the video above!

Adding Visual Drag And Drop To Your Content Type

Finally we'll show you how to get even more control over the design of your content with Glazed Builder our visual drag and drop builder for Drupal 8 and 7. You can use Glazed Builder on any long-text field in Drupal on any type of entity. To enable Glazed Builder on your content type go to Structure > Content Type > Your Content Type > Manage Display. Here you can select one or more of your text fields (For example the body field) and switch the Format option from Default to Glazed Builder. Take a peak at the end of our youtube video to see the end result!

Apr 19 2018
Apr 19

I got word of concerns about the recent CKEditor 4 vulnerability that is responsible for a moderately critical vulnerability in Drupal 8. Rest assured that most Drupal 7 sites are not in danger. While both the Glazed Builder module and the Glazed installation profiles include their own copy of CKEditor 4, this vulnerability exists in an optional image plugin for CKEditor 4 "image2" that is not included in the default package of CKEditor 4 that our products carry. 

The only Drupal 7 websites that are affected by this vulnerability are sites that use a custom build of CKEditor that explicitly includes the image2 plugin.

Drupal 8 does include this additional plugin, which is why Drupal 8 users should update to 8.5.2 immediately. For Drupal 7 users the commotion has actually sparked some positive deveopment: the Drupal 7 WYSIWYG module has pushed a release that supports the latest CKEditor 4.9.2. This means I can update all SooperThemes products to CKEditor 4.9.2 and this brings us a number of bug fixes and improvements to inline editing. This update will be available tuesday.

The latest CKEditor reportedly also dropped it's reliance on the eval() function which means we can start using better Content Security Policy headers that include the unsafe-eval directive on Drupal 7 sites.

edit: I also noticed that the CKEDitor update fixes an annoying problem with cell selection. It's unfortunate that Drupal 8 core patched an older version of CKE rather than update to 4.9.2 because now the D8 core editor is still unable to select multiple cells in the same table column.

SooperThemes Drupal 8.x-1.0 Release Planned Tuesday

After 13 months of intensive development, testing, and preparation of our product infrastructure we're finally launching our Drupal 8 page builder module and themes tuesday! In the past few weeks I've been learning a ton by talking to customers about what they like and dislike about Sooperthemes and especially the drag and drop builder. If you have any feedback or ideas for future development of SooperThemes.com and our products just leave a comment here or use the contact form!

Update The Wording Of How Our Pricing Works: Pay Once To Use For Life. Optionally Renew Yearly For Support & Updates.

I've also updated the pricing information to reflect the fact that you can pay once to download all our products and use them forever. This is how SooperThemes subscriptions have always worked. This was apparently not clear from the information and marketing communication on the website. You pay once and only renew if you wish to receive continued support and product updates. This subscription based payment concept is really what has made SooperThemes a success over the past 3 years and the increased stability in revenue is what gave me the confidence to continue investing all my energy and money in developing the Glazed Builder module and our next generation themes for both Drupal 7 and 8. I also think it's fair to users of the product that they pay a small yearly contribution to continue getting support and product updates because the products are continuously in flux. Subscribers may stop the subscription at any time and continue using the products without support services.

Apr 18 2018
Apr 18

This tutorial is aimed at people who just need a contact form or some other kind of user input form. We'll cover deciding between the core contact module and the popular webform module. We won't cover using the Drupal API to program complex forms that integrate with external applications.

Drupal 8 Core Contact Module

Whereas the Drupal 7 core contact module was not very useful due to a total lack of flexibility, the Drupal 8 version is much nicer. It's nicer because you can add fields to it. You're no longer limited to just the name, email, subject and message fields that were baked into the Drupal 7 version. 

Not only does the new contact form allow for custom text fields, it even supports file uploads, entity references, date fields, and other Field API fields.This simple yet powerful form builder module is not limited to just contact forms; you can use it to create questionnaires, gather user feedback, etc.  

Better Together: Contact Module + Contact Storage Module

One major inconvenience of the Contact module is that is doesn't store any messages that are sent. Your only option is to send the message via email and afterwards there is no copy of the message in your Drupal site. The contact storage module will store your messages as entities. It lets you administer the messages and provides integration with the views module. Since the messages are stored as Drupal entities you also gain interoperability with other modules in the Drupal ecosystem. This will allow you to do even more, for example exporting messages as CSV, searching messages, and pushing messages to your CRM.

Webform Module

Drupal's popular webform module is a massive framework that offers a ton of extra options that the contact module doesn't have. You should choose the webform module if these extra features are useful to you and you're prepared to learn the ropes around a more complex user interface. The webform module can be intimidating at first because there are so many elements and settings... but once you're familiar with the interface you can configure and design very powerful forms fairly easily. 

To see what the webform module offers it's really better for me to show than tell. Check out the youtube video above where I show you the interface of the webform module.

Contact Module vs Webform Module

Personally I choose the webform module for anything that is more complicated than just the standard contact form with a subject and message field. The contact module is powerful and extendable, but the webform module gives you everything you need in one place. It's a purpose-built single-purpose application within Drupal and once you get familiar with it it's really very powerful. 

It also lets met build multi-column form layouts, a feature that I use often.

A feature-base comparison of Contact and Module based on features that I think are important:

Placing Drupal 8 Forms With Our Visual Page Builder

We believe interoperability with the Drupal ecosystem is important for Glazed Builder. This is why we don't include a proprietary form builder in Glazed Builder and instead encourage you to create forms with Drupal's webform module. Currently Glazed Builder let's you place blocks created with the webform module anywhere in your drag and drop page. The contact module doesn't provide blocks that we can drag and drop natively, but you can install the contact_block module to fix that.

Apr 17 2018
Apr 17

Block Administration And Placement In Drupal 8

Same as in Drupal 7, Drupal 8 blocks are placed in regions from the blocks administration page, which is located at Structure > Block layout. A notable improvement in Drupal 8 is that you can now place the same block in different regions. For example: previously it was impossible to put a block in the sidebar on the blog section of your website and at the top of the masthead in another section of your website.

When placing a block in Drupal 8 you're offered block visibility settings that are familiar to people who have experience with Drupal 7. You limit visibility based on content type, paths, and user roles. Third party modules can extend this in Drupal 8, in the video below you see that the Webform module lets you place blocks whenever specific webfoms are showing. 

Custom Content Blocks In Drupal 8

To those familiar with Drupal 7: Drupal 8 lets you make new blocks and enter custom text or HTML. Except it's better. In the old system custom blocks were neutered content, without support for revisions, permissions, or custom block types.

In Drupal 8 blocks are proper first class citizens and support revisioning and custom block types. Basically Drupal 8 does with blocks what we did with the BEAN module in our Drupal 7 theme installation profiles. That's one less contrib module you'll need in Drupal 8! In our Drupal themes' demo installation profiles we offer "Basic Blocks" and "Drag and drop blocks" The latter option will let you design blocks with our front-end visual page builder.

Placing Blocks With Our Visual Page Builder Glazed Builder 

Glazed Builder lets you place any Drupal block with our visual drag and drop module. The only blocks that will be missing from the blocks tab are views blocks. This is because we treat all views displays equally and put them under the Views tab. Here you will find every single views display, including Master displays. Moreover we allow you to override some useful views parameters, like pager settings, pager offset, exposed filters, and contextual filters. This is very powerful and you can use Glazed Builder to make news portal layouts, magazine layouts, and even personalized user dashboards.

Creating A Footer Block In Drupal 8

I made a little video showing the complete process of creating a footer block in Drupal 8, you probably already found it at the top of this page. We start by adding a simple Copyright notice block using Drupal's native CKEditor. Then we show how you can build a 3 column footer easily with our frontend visual page builder. With Glazed Builder you can add any Drupal blocks and views in the footer, as well as all the standard drag and drop elements, and the extendable suite of HTML snippets in the Glazed Builder sidebar. If you add a drag and drop block to any region in your theme, you can view, edit, and save the block on any page where the blocks shows. It's very convenient and easy to get used to. Glazed Builder handles multiple blocks per page, automatically saves new revisions, and is also language aware.
Apr 16 2018
Apr 16

Media management is one of the areas where Drupal was lagging compared to competing systems, like WordPress. In Drupal 8 Media management has improved greatly! With the Entity Browser you can create highly customized user experiences to manage your creative assets. In the early times of Drupal 8 it was difficult to set up the Entity Browser but in the meanwhile turn-key solutions have become available that do the tedious configuration work for you. 

Entity Browser Meet File Entity Browser

If you're using SooperThemes Drupal themes you have the option to use our demo content installation profiles. This is a real time-saver because the demo profiles do not only contain demo content; they come with a complete configuration of all the Drupal features you need. We chose to include the File Entity Browser in Glazed CMS for it's beautiful masonry grid and extended features. This module configures and extends the Entity Browser modules with media library views, mass upload with drag and drop support, and a useful image-preview feature that lets you check the quality your assets while browsing the library.

view on sooperthemes.com if you can't see the video

The preview tool even has an option to preview images in all your image styles, allowing you to decide the right compression/quality trade-off for your creatives!

Media Management In Glazed Builder 8.x

In Drupal 7 our Glazed Builder Drupal page builder module integrates with the Media module. The Media module integrates seamlessly with Glazed Builder, offering all creative assets in Glazed Builder that you have uploaded elsewhere in your Drupal site. Of course any images you upload in the Glazed Builder interface are also available in the media library elsewhere in your Drupal site. 

We achieved the same feat in Drupal 8. Getting there was not easy: the Media module in Drupal 7 offered an API to integrate media library in your frontend application but there is no such API in Entity Browser

Of course we don't let that stop us from building exactly what we want, and we achieved the same seamless integration with Entity Browser that we have with the Media module. 

SooperThemes Open Source Contributions For Entity Browser

In order to get the media management experience up to our standards we made some improvements to the experience and functionality. We contributed several patches to Entity Browser and File Entity Browser.

Supporting field cardinality in File Entity Browser and visual cues for media selection limits

Out of the box Entity Browser does not limit the number of files you can select based on field cardinality. On a single-image field you can select more than one image. Our patch doesn't just limit the number of files you can select based on the field settings but also adds a layer of visual cues that let the user know when he cannot select more images. The patch is unfortunately not committed at the time of writing this blog because there is uncertainty about whether this functionlity beling in Entity Browser core or in the File Entity Browser add-on module.

Check out this video to see how the patched version of File Entity Browser handles fields with unlimited, multi-value, and single-value cardinality:

Apr 02 2018
Apr 02

Our latest update for Drupal 8 and 7 fixes a bug with Chrome browser's latest release and the 3rd level "dropdown" menus in mobile navigation and side-header navigation. If your websites does not use 3rd level dropdown menus these updates are probably not important for you. We also use the opportunity to get our Drupal 8 products up to date with Drupal 8.5 and we made sure everything is tested to work with the recent highly critical security updates.

Drupal 8 RC3

Fixing an issue with Font Awesome 5 Pro icons and some other minor issues, our RC3 release is ready to quickly transition into a stable release. We're now focused on updating our product pages, documentation, and other sooperthemes.com infrastructure to make sure downloading, using, and updating our Drupal 8 projects will be a smooth experience. We expect to be ready for the official Drupal 8 launch of all our products in about 2 weeks, but this release candidate is a perfectly fine starting point if you're already looking to start a Drupal 8 project with Glazed Theme, Glazed Builder, or our SooperThemes Portfolio module.

Glazed 7.x-2.6.9 and Glazed Builder 7.x-1.1.8

We release patch updates for Drupal 7 Glazed Theme and Glazed Builder, making minor improvements to both products and of course we've done extensive testing to make sure everything works after the recent Drupal core security updates that touched some very "core" parts of Drupal. See the Glazed CHANGELOG and Glazed Builder CHANGELOG for an overview of changes. No changes related to the security update were made.

SooperThemes Updates Coming Soon

The Drupal 8 stable release has been a long time coming, and now the product is ready. We're just holding off the official launch until our website and documentation are also brought up to date to support Drupal 8. If you're interested in our progress just keep an eye on the website. Sooperthemes.com will be undergoing changes in both content and design. For a sneak preview check out our "work in progress" Glazed Builder product page, which now features tons more information than before. You'll also find that I'm experimenting with a video format that I'd like to use for both documentation and marketing communications.

When we are finally completely stable with all our Drupal 8 products we will develop new product features and Glazed Theme demo designs. All product updates will be available to both Drupal 7 and 8 product versions. The specifics of development we'll be focussing on will be determined in the near future by asking you guys what you want and need.

Open Source Contributions Scheduled After Stable Drupal 8 Release

I regret that while working so hard on our Drupal 8 product updates for premium products, our open source projects have been neglected. This was an inevitable result of our Drupal 8 work overrunning budget and timelines by huge margins. I'm looking forward to start investing again in the free version of Glazed Theme we host on drupal.org, and of course publish a stable Drupal 8 version of the free theme and Glazed CMS distribution on drupal.org. We'll make sure Drupal 8 gets the free theme it deserves, with more flexibility and customizability than any other free Drupal theme. 

Feb 21 2018
Feb 21

Drupal 8 SooperThemes: After nearly a year of work we're almost there!

It has taken us twice as long as we originally estimated. Drupal 8 itself has had its delays so maybe there is no surprise that updating our complex Drupal 7 theming and drag & drop platform with 15 unique theme designs and 1000+ demo content items is delayed. We now have a feature-complete stable version or Release Candidate for all our products ready for you to test! Besides that, we just moved to a new server that has all the infrastructure upgrades in place for our Drupal 8 launch.

Migrating 15 Demos With 1000+ Content Items

The past 6 weeks have been spent mostly on migrating all demo content and designs to the Drupal 8 framework. This work mostly consisted of copying, manually testing, and re-exporting pages, images, menu links, configuration etc. The glorious result of this painstaking work can be seen here: https://demo.sooperthemes.com/

Can I start using this on production?

Not just yet, we recommend to hold off for the stable release before taking this puppy to production! However, the RC1 will be easy to upgrade to the upcoming stable release so I suggest you can start building your Drupal 8 project using our theme or builder, report any issues on our support forum, and launch it when we launch our stable release.

Having spent the last year just coding away at the Drupal 8 product line I now have to quickly put on my documentation and marketing hat and start churning out content and documentation updates for the website. We will spend the coming 2-3 weeks to update our website and then immediately put out a stable release for all products.

What's Next?

Of course we won't get bored after completing this monumental update. To SooperThemes the D8 release is a major milestone that brings us to the next chapter in the life cycle of our business. After the Drupal 8 release we will start paying a lot more attention to documentation, customer support, and marketing. We're excited to now have a product that exceeds everyone's expectations both in capability and now compatibility. We're going to keep developing our products, and also work on making ourselves more known inside and outside the Drupal community. 

Get Testing!

If you're already on board with Sooperthemes.com you now have access to all Drupal 8 downloads in the Downloads page. If you want to help testing, or if you just want to get started with your Drupal 8 project head on over!

Open Source Contributions

Now that we have our core business covered with our Drupal 8 products, we're going to continue making live easier for the Drupal community at large with our awesome free theme and module contributions. We want to make the free version of our theme the best Drupal 8 and 7 theme on Drupal.org. Of course our premium theme will retain some features that will remain exclusive to our patrons but even if we slice the feature count in half we probably still have the most loaded, flexible theme on drupal.org. Since our free Glazed theme is also the default theme for our Glazed CMS Drupal distribution, we also intend on having the best looking distribution our on Drupal.org. Stay tuned for updates! 

Dec 16 2017
Dec 16

Drupal 8 Products Now Feature-Complete with New Media Library

A few months ago we released our first Alpha release on Drupal 8. Now we have full support for image re-usability thanks to the Entity Browser module and are ready to release our first beta! The beta hits feature-parity with the Drupal 7 products so you can start upgrading your websites if you're willing to be an early adopter. Download the beta here to test our Drupal themes and Drupal Drag and Drop builder:

The result of our work with Entity Browser is a slick interface to search and select images. It's really a step up from Drupal 7's Media Browser. Entity Browser is becoming the standard for media management in Drupal 8 and we've made some contributions and customizations to get the interface up to our design standards. Here's a little demo video:

Shooting For Early January Release Of All Drupal 8 Themes And Modules

It's going to be a hell of  a lot of work to get all 15 demos running on our Drupal 8 framework. The demos use different (probably some untested) features and additional contrib modules on top of what the main demo uses. This means there's not just the work of migrating and testing hundreds of content items but also different interactions between Glazed Builder and several modules. We're aiming for an early January release but can't make a hard guarantee. However, since the beta releases will be backwards compatible you can already start building our Drupal 8 projects if you're with being a beta tester and you don't need the demos that are yet to be ported. 

Refinements and Minor Bug Fixes: Patch Release On D7 Products

We've been cleaning out out some minor bugs for Glazed Theme and Glazed Builder, trying to get the bug counter to zero before we release on Drupal 8. You can check the release notes for a full report but here's the management summary:

Glazed theme:

  • Added support for Navbar module (backport from D8 navbar)
  • Fixed issue with page titles hidden between page title background image
  • Fixed issue with secondary header region expanding when sticky footer option is enabled
  • Fixed issue of body scrolling while swiping mobile menu backdrop
  • Updated all colors to reflect 2018 Glazed branding

Glazed Builder

  • Fixed layout bug for websites using non-bootstrap theme with Glazed Builder
  • Updated design of image selection widget
  • Fixed issue with color picker
  • Added category selection to icons widget
  • Made icon search much faster (dropped jQuery ui from widget)
  • Fixed bug with Carousel element prev/next pager in Bottom-Left position
  • Updated all colors to reflect 2018 Glazed branding

Something else was released this month that we're very excited about.. after many years of using Font Awesome 4 we now finally have Font Awesome 5 Pro! Because SooperThemes is a backer of this million dollar Kickstarter project we can now provide you with the Pro version of this enormous icon kit. Font Awesome 4 is not going anywhere, and will continue to exist along with Font Awesome 5 solid, light, and regular stroke icons.

On top of that we also added the 900-icon Google Material Design icon kit! We thought it would be a nice contrasting option compared to the more round lines of Font Awesome. Material Icons are more tightly drawn and perhaps more suited if you're going for a stark, hard-edged look.

We're super excited for everyone who's been waiting and emailing us about our Drupal 8 products, we're now confident you can start your Glazed project if your project's release is scheduled for january/february! If you're just curious you can spin up our Drupal 7 admin demo here: http://trysooperthemes.com/. To try our Drupal 8 beta release you'll have to sign up. Subscriptions start at just $78 USD and are guaranteed by our 20 day refund period.

Happy holidays! If you've got sales questions about our Drupal 8 products feel free to email us or drop a comment here. For feedback from testing the beta please use the feedback thread in our support forum.

Nov 22 2017
Nov 22

Our very first official Drupal 8 product release is our SooperThemes Drupal Portfolio Module! While working on a full release of all our themes and modules we saw an oppurtunity to re-invent our portfolio solution and wrote a new module from scratch, ensuring compatibility and ease of maintenance across Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 ecosystems. We're telling you that our new portfolio module is better, faster, sexier, and easier to use than any portfolio module you're used before, on Drupal or elsewhere.

Creating Professional Portfolio Views Has Never Been Easier

You only have mere seconds to impress people with your website. SooperThemes Portfolio offers 65 design settings and unlimited control over animation, color, and content to help you get it right the first time.

Leverage query building, ordering, and contextualization that made Views and Drupal big. Whether you're displaying nodes, files, or custom entities SooperThemes Portfolio will handle it.

65 Settings, 14 Caption Designs, Advanced Motion Design... And Still Easy To Use

As you've come to expect of SooperThemes' products customisability is something we pay attention to. Without being overbearing we provide settings that allow you to match your portfolio, showcase, or e-commerce grid to you site's branding and content. We implemented color pickers that support transparency, example caption designs, and individual motion design options for loading the image grid, filtering, and hovering items. 

Get the details on our portfolio module landing page:
Portfolio Drupal Module


Upgrading Your Drupal 7 Site From Glazed Portfolio/MD Portfolio

First of all, if Glazed Portfolio is working fine for you, you don't have to upgrade. While the new module provides more features and easier customisability this doesn't mean it's worth your time to configure new views with SooperThemes Portfolio  if you're going to end up with the same design that was already working fine for you.

However, if your portfolio views are up for a make-over, or if some of the little bugs and limitations in the old module are bothering you this is the time to upgrade! Since both modules are based on the same grid system the views settings will be familiar. 

Upgrading is very simple:

1. Install new module

2. Create new view or edit example view. Customize to your liking

3. Reference the new view in your menu links and drag and drop pages

4. Uninstall glazed portfolio/MD Portfolio

Where are Drupal 8 Glazed Builder and Glazed Theme at?

Releasing SooperThemes Portfolio is just one of the stepping stones on the way to a full Drupal 8 release for our flagship products. The only 2 remaining stepping stones are finalization of our Entity Browser/Media integration in Glazed Builder and the migration of our theme demos to the Drupal 8 ecosystem. The release itself will take some work in terms of updating our provisioning software and content/documentation on sooperthemes.com. Expect new updates in December!

Nov 16 2017
Nov 16

We're super excited for you to have 4 smoking hot new designs as well as some awesome improvements to our Drupal 7 products! Our updates are available for download immediately!

4 Hot New Theme Designs

With our Drupal 8 development nearing completion we're making sure all our designs are looking their best and are ready for prime-time. SooperThemes is all about empowering users with top notch design and we produced 4 smoking hot new demos for Photography, (Drupal) Agency, App, and Marketing Agency websites.

Gradient Design Tool For Stunning Section Backgrounds

Design stunning, layered backgrounds for your sections without photoshop! All the beautiful multi-colored sections in our new App demo were made with Glazed Builder. Our gradient tool supports color transparency which means you can create stunning gradients and then blend them with patterns or photography to create mesmerizing designs. If it's your job to create engaging landing pages your job is now easier with Glazed Builder. 

We Listened: New Button To Add Sections Anywhere In Your Page

When landing pages get very long dragging new sections from the top of the page can become tedious. You complained and we listened! A popular request was to make the main Glazed Builder controls float and follow along with you when scrolling down the page. However, this solution can cause conflicts with other controls, and can become confusing when using nested Glazed Container. Instead we designed a new solution that is both clear and effective:  

Save Precious Time With Single Click Inline Editing

Glazed Builder is all about getting things done fast and with ease. Previously inline editing required 1 click to initialize the editor and a second click to place the cursor where you want to start typing. From now on the first click is not needed any more and you can click and type directly, saving you precious milliseconds and providing a more intuitive editing experience! 

Using External Images in Glazed Builder

Thanks to the fully featured media library integration managing images in Glazed Builder was already a great experience. However, we have now exposed the image url on all image widgets in Glazed Builder so that you can directly reference external images, without needing to import them to your media library. 

Vertical Centering Option On Sections

Sections already had a full width option and a full height option. We added a vertical centering option. Vertical centering was already possible using padding but since full height sections with centered text are now a popular design pattern we decided to add this option that makes a good companion to the already existing settings for full width and 100% height.

CMS Portfolio Module Revamped And New Module To Be Announced Tomorrow

For the production of our Photography demo we launched many new capabilities in our portfolio modules. The Glazed CMS Portfolio module previous offered just 2 displaying images: stacked images and thumbnails that link to a lightbox. We needed this component to be more flexible so that we can customize image display for different use cases. The result is a fusion between field formatters, views, and our portfolio images field. You can now use views to format the image field in portfolio pages. Furthermore, you can select any field formatter and view on a per-node basis as well. Our photography demo has a complete dropdown menu showcasing different variations (It's the Gallery Pages dropdown).

On top of that, we have dropped the MD Portfolio module from our products and wrote a new module from scratch for both Drupal 7 and 8. This new module is called SooperThemes Portfolio and will be the topic of another blog post tomorrow! If you're looking to update your website and it uses our portfolio modules it's recommended to wait for tomorrow's blog post.

As always, see our changelogs in the documentation section for a more complete list of changes and feel welcome to give us feedback in the comments! For bug reports please use our support forum.

Aug 12 2017
Aug 12

Today we announce updates to our Drupal 7 Glazed Theme and Builder, an update alpha2 release for Drupal 8 (Testing only) and announce the Unsplash Media module.

Media Unsplash: Free Photos Without Leaving Your Website

This week we're adding a new module to our Glazed CMS Distribution that will be especially exciting to all designers, publishers, marketers, and lovers of photography. Rather than searching Google for free photos, you can browse the Unsplash collection of over 200.00 free photos right in your Drupal 7 Media popup. To the uninitiated: Unsplash is a carefully curated collection of professional photography that has been shaking up the stock photography market in the past few years. All photos are provided totally free with a do whatever you want license. This module provides a simple search interface right in your Media popup, see how simple it works in the video:

This module was built by Vallic based on our initiative/idea, collaboration and co-sponsoring. It was an especially smooth collaboration because Vallic has previously ported the media_pixabay module and allthough the Unsplash API was slightly more complicated, the scaffolding of that module could be re-used.

Integration with the Drupal 7 Media module means that the Unsplash library is also available when configuring theme settings, building pages with our Drupal Drag and Drop Builder, and in any other form that leverages the Media browser.

Drupal 8 Alpha2 Test Release

Just 10 days after our first test release for Drupal 8 we are bringing you alpha2! If you are a customer and curious (or excited) about Drupal 8 please join us in the alpha2 testing and feedback thread! The more testing we can do now, the faster we can release the beta and stable version when Drupal 8.4 comes out. Join in and test our latest and greatest today!

Changes in alpha2:

  • Demo Content Import now works if you select and import any language in the installer! The content will be naturalized to match your selected language. This means you can edit demo content and translate it as if it was initially created in your webite's primary language.
  • Fixed missing titles on views and blocks in Glazed Builder
  • Updated branding & Design
  • Minor performance improvements

Link (subscribers only): Drupal 8 Alpha2 Download & Feedback

Glazed Theme 7.x-2.6.5 Release

Today's updates for Glazed theme include a number of minor bug fixes as well as improvements to the admin interface for themers. Several performance improvements were also realized. We added minification to more of the custom Glazed javascript files, we updated some 3rd party libraries (animate.css), and dropped the modernizr dependency for our animated mobile menu. See Changelog for more details.

The branding and design of some elements are slightly changed to reflect the changes we are making for the Drupal 8 release. There's even a single SVG icon that made it into this release, it's from Font Awesome 5 (beta). Expect more where that came from!

Glazed Builder 7.x-1.1.4 Release

This minor release for Glazed Builder includes small bug fixes, some editor-experience enhancements. Modernizations in code and design that reflect the work we are doing for the Drupal 8 release are also included. See Changelog for details.

Important NoteS If You're Updating A Complete Installation Profile

We open sourced our GridStack Drupal module! Now our profiles includes sooperthemes_gridstack. This is a rebrand of the glazed_gridstack module that you might have in your website. If you're updating your installation profile you should check if you use any GridStack view on your site. If you do, you can choose to either disable the sooperthemes_gridstack module, or rebuild (or export/import) them using the SooperThemes GridStack module and then disable and uninstall the glazed_gridstack module. This goes both for customers using our premium theme and for people on the free Glazed CMS Distribution.

Join SooperThemes Or Upgrade To Unlimited today!

We're super excited about our Drupal products and we think you will be too! If you're on the fence about getting a subscription, or waiting for the Drupal 8 products, wait no longer! Join now and get 10% discount if you join our newsletter. Once you've tried Glazed Theme and our Glazed Drag And Drop Builder you''ll never build Drupal sites the old way again. Joining is risk free, no questions asked refund policy if you change your mind within 20 days after purchase.

Aug 02 2017
Aug 02

Have you been waiting for this update? Yes it's that time, I can finally show you the Drupal 8 products we've been working on! In the last 4 months we were 100% focused on upgrading all products to Drupal 8. I tagged today's updates as alpha releasea but the products have come a long way and are practically on par with their matured Drupal 7 counterparts.

Considering the size and scope of this enormous update, we are excited to get people involved in testing the products and to begin testing as soon as possible. To facilitate this I put a link and feedback thread in the support forum, it's only visible to registered users: Glazed Drupal 8 Alpha1 Download & Feedback thread.

For people who are not yet subscribers of our Drupal themes shop, now is the time to get in and get early access to our awesome Drupal 8 product line. Join here to start downloading Drupal 8 themes!

Sneak Preview

Drupal 8 Related Questions

Will Drupal 8 products cost existing subscribers more money? (No)

At SooperThemes all our subscriptions, including the entry level subscription give you access to all themes and modules. No exception. Drupal 8 products are immediately available to all subscribers regardless of subscription level or sign-up date.

When can we expect a stable release of all products?

We will integrate drupal 8.4 Media fields across all our products so that we don't miss out on critical media-reusability features. This means we are bound by the Drupal 8.4 release schedule with our Drupal 8 products and installation profile. Drupal 8.4 is supposed to have a beta release on September 14th, a release candidate on September 20th and a stable release on October 4th. We will try to provide backwards-compatible beta releases as soon as Drupal 8.4 has a beta release. Before then we recommend you only use our Drupal 8 products for testing, unless you are prepared to migrate or manually fix file fields on your content.

What can we test today?

The alpha release contains the full Main Demo with all features and demo content. It includes upgraded versions of Glazed Builder, Glazed Theme, SooperThemes GridStack and contrib modules. The Glazed Portfolio module built on top of the MD Portfolio module has been phased out. We built an all-new SooperThemes Portfolio module from the ground up. This module has surpassed feature parity with the Glazed Portfolio module and now provides even more features and design options.

Jun 13 2017
Jun 13

Drupal 8 adoption has been very slow, and many people have been putting it off. Some even gave up on Drupal because of D8's (perceived) complexity, focussing their career or hobby on easier CMS software. The past 3 months I've been fully engaged in embracing Drupal 8 and moving my premium Drupal themes along with the supporting ecosystem of modules, installation profiles, and infrastructure to Drupal 8! Going forward we will develop and maintain our products on both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8. 

It's been an interesting but also difficult journey and I'm writing to tell other Drupal professionals (and hobbyists) about my experience. I divided this long read into several chapters so you can skip to whichever topics you care about most. If this topic is important to you, please do comment and share your thoughts and experience!

Theming: Easier and Better But Completely New

Drupal 8 uses a new templating system for theming called Twig. While skeptical at first about having to learn a new language, I've grown to like Twig a lot... but to be very frank I would have been totally OK with keeping PHPTemplate in Drupal 8. It's what I've been using for 10 years and it's what I know. My Drupal 7 theme is full of preprocessing, custom features, and integrations with certain modules, and it's all coded in PHP. The transition to Twig means there is a huge amount of work for me to not just convert templates but also re-architect all the logic and features in the theme. I'll say that Twig works great and has a bright future but I'll also say that I can empathize with all the Drupal themers who are unhappy about having to learn a whole new way of working.

Theme Settings

If you develop base themes or premium themes like I do I have some good news as well: Theme Settings are largely implemented the same way. For me this means that many hundreds of lines of FAPI code for the 200+ theme settings in my flagship Glazed Theme can be copied and pasted into the Drupal 8 codebase and 80% of the form generating code just works. Of course the code that reads the theme settings still has to be ported from PHPTemplate, preprocessing and custom PHP to use Twig and Drupal 8's APIs. 

Logic Inside Twig Templates

The most confusing thing when starting out with Twig was that all logic for printing classes happens right inside the Twig template. For years I've been telling people to use preprocess functions for any logic, whether it be if/else or some code to retrieve a field value. In Twig any logic related to printing template code (that includes classes and other attributes) goes right into the twig template. I'm not yet entirely happy about have a lot of logic in my template files. Then again I can also imagine that to the unitiated the Drupal 7 architecture with classes being added in preprocess, or process functions that can be in multiple locations could be even more confusing.

To show you what I mean here is an excerpt of my html.html.twig template:

{%
  set html_classes = [
    theme.settings.sticky_footer and not theme.settings.boxed_layout ? 'html--glazed-sticky-footer',
  ]
%}
{%
  set body_classes = [
    'html',
    logged_in ? 'user-logged-in',
    not root_path ? 'path-frontpage' : 'path-' ~ root_path|clean_class,
    node_type ? 'page-node-type-' ~ node_type|clean_class,
    db_offline ? 'db-offline',
    theme.settings.navbar_position ? 'navbar-is-' ~ theme.settings.navbar_position,
    theme.has_glyphicons ? 'has-glyphicons',
    theme.settings.header_position ? 'body--glazed-header-side' : 'body--glazed-header-top',
    not theme.settings.header_position and not theme.settings.header_style == 'overlay' ? 'body--glazed-header-not-overlay',
    not theme.settings.header_position and not theme.settings.header_style == 'overlay' ? 'body--glazed-header-' ~ theme.settings.header_style,
    not theme.settings.header_position and not theme.settings.header_top_sticky and theme.settings.header_top_fixed ? 'body--glazed-header-fixed',
  ]
%}
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html {{ html_attributes.addClass(html_classes) }}>
  <head>
    <head-placeholder token="{{ placeholder_token|raw }}">
    <title>{{ head_title|safe_join(' | ') }}</title>
    <css-placeholder token="{{ placeholder_token|raw }}">
    <js-placeholder token="{{ placeholder_token|raw }}">
  </head>
  <body{{ attributes.addClass(body_classes) }}>{{>

Some templates, like my menu--main.html.twig template that is responsible for rendering dropdown menus contain more advanced logic, including a powerful Twig tool called a  macro. The ratio of markup to logic is so low in this template that it kind of seems to defeat the purpose of having a templating system. Then again, if I look at the equivalent of PHP code I've had to write in its D7 counterpart it's equally cumbersome.  

Despite my reservations about twig, looking back at the work I've done so far in porting my theme to Drupal 8 (it's about 75% done) I'm creating a more maintainable, better product. And that's what Drupal 8 is all about. There's some pain in migrating all your work but in return you get what I believe is a more solid and maintainable theme.

Site Building: Pretty much the same

For a CMS that was basically built differently from the ground up, the authoring and site building experience is surprisingly similar to Drupal 7. You're still going through the same steps and forms to create content types, taxonomies, views, nodes etc. This is because the idea of Drupal as a flexible and powerful CMS has remained the same. For Drupal 7 users who didn't do much coding before, not much will change when upgrading to Drupal 8. Without investing at all in learning new things you can hit the ground running and install a nice Drupal 8 theme or distribution and it's business as usual.

Module Development: Definitely harder

Building Drupal 8 modules is not rocket science. It's just that there is a lot to learn before you're fluent at it. New APIs, more complicated object oriented architecture, services and plugins. The learning curve is steeper and higher than ever. However, if you start small, read the docs, and copy code from the examples module it's doable. The learning process very much reminds me of my first experience building my very first Drupal (5.x) module.

This is why I decided that building our most complex Drupal 8 modules should be handled by experienced Drupal 8 experts and not me. While I started upgrading some tiny modules as well as our theme I contracted Ivan (Chi on d.o.) and Jay Friendly (Jaypan on d.o.) to build the SooperThemes Portfolio and Glazed Drag and Drop Builder modules... completely written from the ground up for Drupal 8's architecture. Without their help there's no way I would have upgraded these modules myself without first spending at least 2 months learning Object Oriented Programming and the inner workings of Drupal 8. If anyone is looking to consult about Drupal 8 upgrade work I can highly recommend both Ivan and Jay. Jay is currently writing a book on Drupal 8 development that is targeted at Drupal 7 veterans as well as completely new users.

Development has been in full swing for the past 2-3 months and it has been the most intense and sometimes stressful time in my years building SooperThemes products. All of our products are now almost finished but still being tested and refined. It has been a great learning experience but also a great lesson in technical debt and the reality of Drupal 8's complex architecture. For me personally with my background in theming, design, and marketing I feel intimidated by the complexity introduced by Drupal 8. Conversely I feel that my customers will have more easy to use, solid, reliable and performant website thanks to Drupal 8. Luckily for many of my customers the whole point of my products is that you can build and customize everything without coding, using our Drag and Drop tools and extensive theme settings. 

Plugins, Services, Controllers, and Schema Metadata

That is a list of some of the software architecture concepts I've had to get acquinted with in the short time of 2 months. I can't say that I've learned these concepts just yet. In Drupal 7 understanding the hook system and Forms API could really get you a long way building even very large Drupal websites. In Drupal 8 not so much.

Before I started feeling like I'm on a learning curve, I ran into a wall. Drupal 8 really demands you delve deeper into software architecture than before. It's hard but the beauty of the new system is that as you're learning Drupal you're also learning Symphony and proper Object Oriented Programming design patterns. Those who can make the neccesary investment of time and energy will come out of it with skills that are valuable beyond the Drupal ecosystem.

Installation Profiles: Similar But Better

Installation profiles are a critically important part of our business at SooperThemes. We don't just sell themes, we develop, support, and maintain all the Drupal code that brings our designs to life. For our customers this means they can download a turn-key installation profile that contains their selection of designs, features, and demo content.

For us this means we maintain a ton of configuration, demo content, and modules, and wrap it all into installation profiles. We even provide an interface to generate customized installation profiles and install them on your hosting fully automatically. My experience so far with Drupal 8 installation profiles has been great. 

Demo Content

A notable improvement is the great support for demo content in Drupal 8 with help of the Default Content module. In Drupal 7 the go-to module was UUID Features. Over the past years I've spent many hours fixing bugs, implementing file support, and patching up poor support for referenced entities and menu links in Drupal 7's UUID Features code. 

The Drupal 8 Default Content module is still in alpha and if you're doing a lot of default content work you still might need to hit the issue queue and download (or contribute) a little patch but this module already feels more stable than the UUID Features suite. D8 and Default Content also import content faster, allowing even the lowest of low-end hosting to install our bulkier demo installation profiles.

Configuration 

I've read that Features is still a thing in Drupal 8 but I've not yet found the need to try it out. Whereas previously we used Features to package all our CMS components into modules this is now done with Drupal core's configuration system. It's working well so far. Automatic exporting of configuration and dependencies into modules is done using drush, and we can now split optional and required configuration which is also great for components that include lots of views that add value but are not indispensable. I did experience some quirks with optional configuration not being installed during the profile's installation process even while dependencies were certainly met.  

Media: Work In Progress

It took many years for the Media module to have a stable (2.x) release in Drupal 7. Drupal 7 Media works great and  it handles drop-in file uploads, multi-file uploads and various media gallery browsing features excellently. In Drupal 8 great work is being done to bring Media features into core. I'm a big fan of the initiative but I'm also concerned about how to provide provide future proof media featurs in my installation profile right now. 

Drupal 8 Entity Browser

At the moment of writing this, the successor of the Media module is Entity Browser. The module File Entity Browser (it builds on top of Entity Browser module) will give you a media library popup browser similar to the D7 media module's browser. Installing this module requires 5 modules (dropzonejs, embed, entity_browser, entity_embed, and file_browser) and 3 external libraries: dropzone, imagesloaded, and masonry. Part of the Drupal 8 media initiative is to include features similar to what the File Browser module provides in core, but in a cleaner architecture with fewer dependencies.

A module similar to File Entity Browser is Media Entity Browser and the major difference is that it uses the more flexible Media entity as opposed to the file entity. What exactly this means and how all this will be upgraded to the new Drupal 8.4 core features, I'm not sure. Therefore I decided to launch my distribution and products without image re-usability on Drupal 8.3. To protect my customers against potentially needing complex upgrade processes I'll hold off on advanced Media management until Drupal 8.4 comes out. It's planned to come out late this summer and I'm looking forward to it. 

Improvements In Documentation

This is not really a Drupal 8 improvement as much as it is a Drupal.org improvement. The quality of documentation available to day is so much better than on the day Drupal 7 came out. The new documentation page design immediately gives more credibility to the content and the content is carefully curated and better written. Even though this is not really a feature of Drupal 8 it certainly is a great benefit to those starting to learn Drupal 8 today. 

I also want to give a shout out to Drupalize.me, who are giving away free subscriptions for their premium training videos to people who have contributed on Drupal.org. Terms and details.

My Prediction: Drupal 8.4 Will Bring Up The Numbers

I see Media features as the #1 core advantage of WordPress over Drupal. Other major weaknesses of Drupal are a leaner offering of themes and niche-specific tools like portfolio plugins, drag and drop building options, and other fancy add-ons. But those can be fixed by contrib projects and through premium themes. Media is a challenge that took too long to get right in Drupal 7. It was only several months ago the Drupal 7 Media module had it's first truly stable Drupal 7 release. Thanks to this development, we can now expect to see more niche-specific add-ons for the Media module as there is a stable API to build on top on. Next week I will blog about the release of such an add-on module that SooperThemes has co-sponsored and co-developed. 

If the Drupal 8 Media Initiative is executed according to plan Drupal 8.4 will bring features to that will appeal strongly to the masses of Drupal site builders who are unable or unwilling to create custom configurations for Entity Browser. Drupal 8's more rapid emergence of a stable Media API can awaken growth of Media contrib modules that make the lives of content creators and site builder easier.

SooperThemes Drupal 8: Upgrade Status

To those who are waiting: Please be patient as we're finishing up and fine-tuning. I meant to release a public beta of some products this week but I decided it's better to focus on finishing the components that are currently <90% done. I'll re-evaluate the possibility of public beta testing  next week, and the week thereafter.

SooperThemes Products Drupal  8 Upgrade Progress  %_of_total** Glazed Theme 75% Complete 25% Glazed Drag and Drop Builder 95% Complete 25% Sooperthemes Portfolio (replacement of D7 glazed_portfolio) 90% Complete (only missing hover effect designs) 15% SooperThemes GridStack 95% Complete  5% Glazed Helper 75% Complete (only missing Page Design tools) 7.5% Glazed Drupal CMS Distribution (drupal.org/project/cms) 95% Complete (finetuning, future-proofing) 10% Demo Content and Installation Profiles 0/15 Completed (pending completion of above) 5% Product infrastructure* 50% Complete 7.5%

* demo sites, trysooperthemes.com, automatic installation profile testing and provisioning, support forum, etc. The kind of stuff you don't think about before starting a big Drupal 8 upgrade project.

** Estimated proportion to the total amount of work of all items in the table

Mar 27 2017
Mar 27

Today I'm excited to announce a new Glazed Builder and Theme release... Imagine having a meeting with your client tomorrow. You've promised your client the ability to update landing pages without needing any help. The client imagines he'll just be changing images and simple text blocks. Then you show him the Glazed Builder Sidebar and it's filled with your custom designed icon boxes, testimonial block, and even custom branded sliders. All accessible and editable without needing even basic HTML skills.

Custom HTML Drag and Drop Elements in the Glazed Builder Sidebar! 

Adding elements to the sidebar is now extremely easy, you don't need to have a custom module or even any PHP code. You just drop a folder with your custom elements in your theme or subtheme folder and your custom elements will magically appear as editable drag and drop elements. You just to add a class or two to indicate editable portions of your HTML elements and that's it. Of course, you can find all the details and an example zip file in the sidebar elements documentation

Various Fixes

We made various improvements to the Glazed Builder and Theme user experience, details of which you can read in the Glazed Builder Changelog and Glazed Theme changelog. We're ironing out as many little issues as possible while working on the Drupal 8 theme releases!

Need any help with sidebar elements? Just create a ticket in the support forum and we'll try to help you out and simultaneously improve our product to match any expectations you have that we did not think of.

Mar 22 2017
Mar 22

Between the rush of product updates we're putting out lately, a moment of reflection...

Like many other Drupal shops and theme/product developers I've been taking it easy with major investment in D8. But times are changing. Now we are seeing a time where Google searches including Drupal 8 are more numerous than searches containing Drupal 7. This is by no means a guarantee that D8 is a clear winner but to me it is a sign of progress and it inspires enough confidence to push ahead with our Drupal 8 product upgrades. SooperThemes is on schedule to release our Drupal themes and modules on Drupal 8 soon and I'm sure it will be great for us and our customers.

2017 will be an interesting year for Drupal, a year in which Drupal 8 will really show whether it can be as popular as it's younger brother. The lines in the chart might be crossing but Drupal 8 has some way to go before it is as popular as 7. Understanding that Drupal 8 is more geared towards developers one might say it never will, but I think that it's important for the open web that Drupal will stay competitive in the low end market. Start-ups like Tesla and SpaceX have demonstrated how Drupal can grow along with your business all the way towards IPO and beyond.

Is your business ready for Drupal 8?

Personally I think I will need a month or 2 before I can say I'm totally comfortable with shifting focus of development to Drupal 8. Most of my existing customers are on Drupal 7 and my Drupal 7 expertise and products will not be irrelevant any time soon. One thing that is holding me back is uncertainty about media library features in Drupal 8, I hope the D8media team will be successful with their awesome work that puts this critical feature set in core.

If you are a Drupal developer, themer, or business owner, how do you feel about Drupal 8? Are you getting more business for Drupal 8 than Drupal 7? How is your experience with training yourself or your staff to work with Drupal 8 and it's more object oriented code? 

Let me know in the comments if you have anything to share about what Drupal 8 means to you!

Mar 01 2017
Mar 01

It's the details that make the difference between a good product and a great product. The past 6 weeks were spent on refining the design patterns that constitute the Glazed branding and products. The result is a product that feels tight and inspires confidence. Just 2 years young, Glazed Builder is the new kid on the block but the progress since 1.0 has never slowed down. With the seeminlgy everlasting lack of quality Drupal themes for Drupal 7 and especially 8 I think that with Glazed Theme and Glazed Builder we have the platform that is needed to really fuse Drupal's powerful backend with beautiful designs in a maintainable, responsible way. In the future we'll be working hard on realizing this ambition, and publishing new designs for different niches.

Glazed Builder is different from consumer tools like Wix and Squarespace because it doesn't put limitations on where you place elements. Our grid system is based on bootstrap and our tools allow you to use Bootstrap elements like you would if you were custom coding. You're coding without having to write or see the code. The consequence was that sometimes nested rows, tabs, accordeons etc. had so many controls that they could overlap. 

This problem is was not easily solved, that is probably why you find very few drag and drop builders without some restrictions to where you place your elements. With this week's release the problem is no longer a problem. We're introducing a new algorithm for controls positioning. Thanks to advancements in browser APIs it's now feasible to do hit detection efficiently. This means we create space for icons when necessary, but we leave the layout intact where we can. This doesn't just solve the overlapping controls problem but also creates a much closer WYSIWYG experience.  

Performance Improvements for Theme and Builder

With Mobile performance more important than ever it's our responsibility to be vigilant about performance and take action when we see opportunity for improvement. One such improvement is our menu system. Our unique mobile menu provides an unparalleled navigation experience, and uses a bit of JavaScript to manage this. This caused a menu flickering on long page because the menu initiation happened close to the bottom of the page. This code was moved to the beginning of the page to speed up the menu render.

Other improvements have been made by replacing jQuery with browser native APIs, partly using the new knowledge that was gained from creating our unique controls positioning algorithm. 

Material Design box shadows are now available in the style tab using a simple slider. The slider represents the "surface level" metaphor used in Material Design's documentation and it renders elegant and simple shadows that are taken directly from Google's recommendations about drop shadows in Material Design.. 

Ready for Drupal 8

We're currently developing the Drupal 8 version of the Glazed installation profile and we are starting to upgrade our theme and modules.​ We previsouly aimed to release our Drupal 8 beta alongside the Drupal 8.3 release, but now that the D8media initiative has postponed their work to be released in Drupal 8.4 we are relaxing this deadline.

We're taking our time to make the right decisions about our installation profile, our theme, our drag and drop builder, and all the thousands of lines of code that make up our themes and demo websites. Expect to see Drupal 8 beta products somewhere after the 8.3 release of Drupal core and before the 8.4 release.

For more details about this week's updates:

Jan 16 2017
Jan 16

2017 is going to be an incredible year for SooperThemes and for you! We kick off with the first official major version update for our drag and drop builder! Today we introduce you to Glazed Builder 1.1.0. We have rebranded Glazed Builder to Glazed Builder and developed some major new features, including entity revisions, full support for filtered contextual views and RGBA color sliders!

This is a monumental update. Glazed Builder is currently not only the greatest and fastest drag and drop builder for Drupal but also a very competitive product in the wider site building landscape. Going forward we'll not only develop more features and designs but we'll also start developing even more complete and complex turn-key Glazed demos. In addition this release marks the start of our Drupal 8 upgrade sprint. Yes, you heard that right, with the D8Media initiative aiming to add much needed Media improvements in Drupal 8.3 we feel like now is the right time. 

The Admin demo is free, no card required!

Redesigned for 2017

Glazed Builder has a fresh look that is designed for fast intuitive site-building. The speed of an interface isn't just about fast code, it's very much about fast design too. The new controls are all-white and while animation is used on the drop shadows the actual controls appear and respond immediately.

The colors and branding are matched to the Glazed brand, to emphasize the uniform experience you get when you combine our Glazed Theme with the builder. That said, Glazed Builder is still an independent module that can work with any Drupal theme! 

Views with Contextual Filters

Perfect if you're making a magazine website or more serious blog or commerce website! Now you can design taxonomy term or e-commerce pages with dynamic views displays. It is now fully supported to load views in drag and drop pages, override their filters and pagers in Glazed Builder, and let these views take default arguments based on url parts.

This feature is not just awesome for magazine websites but also for government websites, intranets, communities... Basically anyone who builds websites with large amounts of structured content will love this update.

Better Equal Heights Rows And Vertical Centering, RGBA Color

Having an alpha slider on every color setting in Glazed Builder allows more creative freedom for designers and makes it easier for site builders to implement designs that use translucent elements. We also improved equal heights rows by replacing the old jQuery trick with faster, reliable Flexbox CSS. In addition we enriched the column element with a Vertical Centering option. This let's you add vertical centering to columns independently of sibling columns. 

Saving Revisions

Some updates are invisible: Glazed Builder now automatically detects entity types that support revisions and will create new revisions when saving to fields on these entities. It doesn't matter if your field is on a node, bean block or custom entity. It doesn't even matter if you have have 10 Glazed Builder instances in one page, saving to multiple entities in the backend. It all just works and with revisions you'll easily undo those regrettable changes that seemed right in the spur of the moment.

Goole AMP

Google AMP is seeing more and more adoption and we integrated Glazed Builder with the Drupal AMP module. AMP is very restrictive so it won't allow fancy elements like circle charts and image comparison widgets but it should work fine with non-interactive markup generated by Glazed Builder. We welcome feedback from AMP experts on how to further extend AMP support!

Glazed Theme 2.6.0

While this releases focuses on the Glazed Builder update, Glazed Theme also received new features and consequently a major version bump to 2.6.0. Less spectaculary but still very useful: A Import/Export interface was added to the Glazed Theme Settings interface. All those settings that collectively make up your sites' unique design can now easily be copy-pasted between environments, or into a new subtheme .info file.

Drupal 8 Themes and Builder

As a subscription Drupal theme shop, we really focus on building long-term relationships with our customers and that's why we carefully chose important moments that affect the products we make and maintain. Choosing the right moment to make the D8 move was hard, because Drupal 7 is just so good that it was hard for Drupal 8 to take the crown. 

From my perspective, this moment is the release of Drupal 8.3 with contrib in great shape, improved media handling, and hopefully a media browser in core! The moment that it no longer makes sense for anyone to start a Drupal 7 website is approaching and we're going to make sure all our products are running smoothly on Drupal 8 by that time.

For more details about this update:

Nov 11 2016
Nov 11

First of all, sorry for the late blog. This blog refers to the drupal themes updates on November 1st. I'm currently travelling China and while I rushed to get the release out before my departure, the blog had to wait a little longer.

TL;DR

Glazed Logistics Design And Reaching Product-Market Fit

With the release of the Logistics design we addded a unique and beautiful theme to our collection while at the same time the core products only needed minor adjustments. This is an indication that the products have achieved a state of stability and product-market fit. SooperThemes now pivots to focus more on creating new designs and features based on the current core products. Of course this doesn't mean we don't add new features at all, there will always be a need for change in a turbulent environment like Drupal frontend development. 

Creating Great Design For The Drupal Community

In the past year we have laid the neccessary ground work that is needed to provide the Drupal community with much desired high quality designs. The site building workflow with Glazed theme and Glazed Builder is incredibly fast, efficient and produces precisely designed responsive Drupal websites. This doesn't just improve productivity of our customers and our customers' content creators but also our own productivity. At this point we completely design our Glazed demos using just the theme and drag and drop builder, no photoshop or coding. This big gain in productivity really allows us to focus more on art direction, photography and design. For our logistics demo we created a set of unique 3D isometric line icons, and we curated a collection of beautiful stock photography to really create the right atmosphere for our niche design. We can afford to produce such detailed niche designs thanks to the productivity gains we made with Glazed theme and Glazed Builder. Our goal of closing the gap with the top tier multi-purpose WordPress themes is now appearing on the horizon.  

Glazed Magazine Component and Drupal 8

This stability also means we will start planning our Drupal 8 upgrade and migration paths. The next couple of months we will focus on ramping up the design release cycle and on adding a new magazine component to our Glazed CMS distribution. We want to avoid spending months on Drupal 8 migration while the Drupal 7 product offering is only at an 80% market fit. We are aiming to offer more than just great theme settings and drag and drop functionality: expect a multitude of niche designs with fully features demo content in a turn-key installation profile. We strive to become Drupal's first "Mega Theme".

Value As A Service

As a subscription Drupal shop, we really focus on building long-term relationships with our customers and with the Drupal community at large. We make decisions based on what we think provides the most value to the most people. An important part of making those decisions in listening to the community. If you can spare a minute, please write a comment on the blog and describe what you would value the most in a Drupal theme. One feature I'm think about adding to the distribution is ready-made translation configuration as an optional component in the Glazed CMS distribution, let me know in the comments if that is something you would value.

Oct 18 2016
Oct 18

Years ago there was Drupalmodules.com. It had instant search, module reviews and an always up to date feed with the newest Drupal modules. It was wonderful. I was subscribed to their RSS feed with the latest modules because I felt like I was ahead of the curve for knowing all the latest contrib additions for Drupal, I learned about a lot of useful little (and big) modules that way.

Now Drupalmodules.com is no more, there is just a ghost of a website. Ironically one of it's latest news articles headlines "Where did we go for 5 days". That was almost 5 years ago. In the meanwhile the Drupal Reddit community has grown to 6000 subscribers. I frequently visit /r/Drupal, it's a great resource for industry news. It is however not a replacement for Drupalmodules.com.

Presenting /r/Drupal_modules and /r/Drupal_Themes

That's why I created /r/Drupal_modules and /r/Drupal_Themes. I was playing with the idea for a while already, and then on /r/Drupal I saw I was not the only one looking for a feed with new Drupal modules. I went ahead and developed a python script to scrape newly added modules and themes from drupal.org and post them to  /r/Drupal_modules and /r/Drupal_Themes. Oh and there is also /r/Drupal_Distributions, almost forgot about that. Interestingly, I now see that very recently there is more new projects in the Distributions feed then in the themes feed.

The idea is that these subreddits are used only to list Drupal projects. I set this up about a month ago to just see if the system works OK so far it looks good. Now I want to invite everyone to use the comments for module/theme reviews, use upvotes and downvotes to rate your favorite projects, and last but not least: submit links to new projects that are not on drupal.org. As we don't currently have a central respository of Drupal modules that are hosted on github and elsewhere, we can make it happen on reddit.

And a last note: I didn't scrape all existing projects on drupal.org. I think a lot of d.o. projects are not maintained anymore, possibly made obsolete by newer modules, and there are just too many to scrape without having to worry about performance and politeness. Feel free to submit any modules you think are useful to have in the subreddit listings. 

Oct 11 2016
Oct 11

Before jumping into the release details I wanted to repond to the recent Drupal Planet blog posts about the fact that Drupal 8 has so few themes. In my opinion the short answer is: Drupal 8 adoption is very slow.

The slightly longer answer is that Drupal also faces more competition in the lower end of the market, where themes are most often used. WordPress' growth has been great and is now stagnating, but online site builders like Wix, Weebly, and squarespace are growing and their products are maturing. Another factor that I think relates to Drupal 8's slow adoption especially in the lower end of the market is that Drupal 8 will rely more on distributions due to increased complexity of assembling a fully featured site. As someone who manage a Drupal distribution full time I can tell you it's not as easy as it should be.

Glazed 2.5.3 Release

Today we release what is just the start of a new class of Drupal themes. Over the past year our Glazed theme and Glazed Builder combo has stabilized and proven it's capabilities. With our latest Landscaping Theme Demo we are showing that our framework theme is capable of so much more than your average Multipurpose WordPress theme or Bootstrap template. With refined design options and microinteractions we are pushing our Glazed framework theme forward to make way for a future full of beautiful, effective Drupal theme designs. New header options were added, our main menu system got some improvements.. 

TL;DR

  • Added pull-down header design
  • Improved overlay menu style
  • Support for transparent and full-width menus
  • New minimalistic form theming
  • New design for portfolio pages
  • Image Compare 
  • Lightbox Gallery for portfolio pages
  • Next / Previous node pager
  • CHANGELOG Glazed Theme
  • CHANGELOG Glazed Builder

Glazed Landscaping Theme

As you can see on our roadmap SooperThemes is currently focussing on designing a large collection of Business niche themes based on our Glazed framework Drupal theme and Carbide Drag and Drop Builder. Our most recent addition is Landscaping and Gardening theme. We are not in the business of designing generic niche themes, we aim to release the best niche themes. We developed additional features for this theme including a unique new header and main menu design, an image comparison widget and a lightbox gallery option for portfolio pages. 

Check out the Landscaping & Gardening live demo to view our latest niche theme!

New Header Options

While designing new niche theme I quickly realised that our generic bootstrap navbar layout was the most important bottleneck preventing us from producing truly great niche business website designs. The Glazed Settings for the header were refactored, optimized and extended with new style options and 11 new color options. These options are now also made available in our Glazed Content Design field collection so that you can customize headers for specific landing pages and match your creative content. 

You can now view all these header in our live demo under the new Headers Dropdown menu!

Image Compare, Lightbox and Portfolio Page Design

For a landscaping business it's important to showcase your best work to potential customers. The portfolio content type was extended with additional layout options. New features include a Next / Previous node pager at the bottom, an advanced lightbox gallery system for viewing portfolio images and last but not least: an image comparison widget. The comparison widget really makes your case studies stand out, providing an effective and fun way to demonstrate the awesome service your business provided to your customer.

The comparison widget is touchscreen compatible and responsive. 

New Form  Design & Theming

The default Bootstrap 3 forms already started looking dated. We replaced it with a minimalistic new design. Forms now blend in perfectly with any design. Form elements are sublty colored only when interacted with. The selectbox now features are custom themed dropdown icon that is themed using the default font that you configured in Glazed Settings. The selectbox also sports are a subtle microinteraction animation when hovered.

The Landscaping contact form uses the webform bootstrap 3 layout module.

Looking Ahead

In the future look forward to more Drupal Niche Business themes, as well as our move into Magazine themes. WordPress magazine themes have seen a surge in sales on themeforest recently and I think there is oppurtunity for Drupal to shine in this growing market. After all, Drupal is naturally best at managing large amounts  of structured content and magazines are just that. Combine that with the capability of our drag and drop builder to easily generate attractive creative content and there you have a basis for best-in-class magazine themes. If you are interested in joining our little theme shop you can join now for just $48.

Aug 30 2016
Aug 30

Just over a year ago I started with something small. I combined some existing technologies to create a drag and drop builder/theme. A combination of jQuery UI, CKEditor, Bootstrap 3 and Drupal. The result was far from perfect but interesting enough to get a bunch of people excited and involved in helping me find out how to improve the product.

Glazed Construction Design, Product Updates

Today's blog celebrates the new Construction design that is available today to all SooperThemes members. We've been working towards this release for nearly a year and the reason it took so long is that the core of the Glazed framework theme and drag and drop builder needed to be 100% up to the job. The reliability, sophistication and flexibility of our framework theme and drag and drop builder are lightyears ahead of the minimum viable product we released 14 months ago. To our customers who joined us in the beginning and are now renewing for the second year: Thank you so much! 

Our construction theme (click to view demo) is not the prettiest design I've ever created but that's not really the point. The point is that it looks like a construction theme all the way. It doesn't look like a generic theme that was customized to look a little bit more "heavy industry". Our Glazed framework theme allows you to completely design every aspect of your Drupal site from typography, to colors, grid design and navigation. Combine this with our drag and drop builder and everything you need in a business website can be designed and developed in the browser. From a blank canvas all the way down to the pages, views and forms everything in this demo was created in the browser, without writing a single line of code. 

No templates were edited, no CSS was written, not even a single hand coded HTML tag was needed to build this unique 40 page Glazed demo.

For more details about todays products updates check out the Glazed Changelog and Glazed Builder Changelog.

Why WordPress Is Taking Turf From Drupal 

It's simple economics. You can buy a WordPress theme for $59,- USD and a few days of customization and content editing later and your client is impressed and your project is comfortably on schedule and on budget. WordPress themes have become a major source of innovation in recent years, offering drag and drop builders, and niche-specific features for magazine websites, directory websites and all sorts of small business websites.

Themes are becoming more sophisticated and crawling into Drupal territories like for example education, magazines and community websites.

10 years ago I moved away from WordPress and Mambo because I simply felt Drupal was better, and I still feel that way. While these WordPress themes are loaded with features, they lack Drupal's modularity, coding standards and interoperability. I sincerely believe Drupal can be a better platform for all these themes. After all, Drupal has built in support for content types, relations, versioning, configuration management, and superior user management and access control.

Starting from today I will focus on offering as many niche designs for small businesses, large businesses, NGOs, governments, educators and online magazines. I hope that you will join sooperthemes.com and help us with our mission to show the world that Drupal is capable of doing what WordPress does and more. 

Our mission as SooperThemes is to promote Drupal as the #1 platform to author content on the web and at the same time to remain the #1 provider of designs and design tools for Drupal. See our roadmap for more details. The way to make Drupal the number one choice again is through the same economics that made WordPress so big, so our initial focus is to disrupt the market with a 90% decrease in costs of building and running a Drupal website.

Enjoying The Ride 

The past year has been a big adventure but also a lot of grinding, bug fixing, technical debt problems and all the things that new products face when they enter the market. However it has mostly been fun and exciting to develop these new technologies for the Drupal community and the reception of our updates is really motivating and powering our new developments.

Allthough pioneering in the area of next gen (drag and drop) Drupal themes meant facing a steep learning curve it can be said that Drupal is actually easier to build on in the long term. Our Drag and Drop builder is very similar to a frontend framewor that uses the CMS as an API. This is somthing that needs hooks and AJAX capabilities. Something that Drupal provides out of the box.

If you are reading this as a prospective customer: please join Sooperthemes and enjoy the ride with us. To our existing customers: keep your eyes open for exciting new features and designs. 

Jul 15 2016
Jul 15

New Typography Controls, New Layout Capabilities, Drupal Block Design, and much more!

Today after about a month of coffee-infused delays I'm happy to announce Glazed 2.5.0. and Glazed Builder 1.0.11. Our framework theme has just become massively more powerful, with design tools that help you create any design imagineable without the hassle of writing and testing code. While on the surface our Glazed Builder module received a smaller update, it had a massive architectural update under the hood.

The free version of glazed on drupal.org will soon get a 2.5.0 release as well with reduced but still awesome features!

TL;DR

Professional Typography

With 2.5.0 you get an all new Typography design tool. With pixel-perfect precision you can set the font size and line-height everywhere in your website. The Advanced Type Controls give you fine-grained control over the exact size of every level in your typographic scale. There is also an option to set your headings in uppercase, and a setting to set the letter-spacing in your headings (this is often needed with uppercase headings).

In 90% of all cases you don't even need to touch the advanced typography settings. As you can see in the animation below, there is a Typographic Scale Factor that calculates all other font sizes using the body font size as base. This slider acts as a master slider for all the advanced settings and generates a perfectly balanced typographic scale. You can still fine-tune individual type sizes bu in 90% of all cases this probably isn't even necessary, because designers typically use typographic scales as a design tool.

Style all the Blocks!

A completely new feature is our Glazed Settings Block Design Tool. This tool gives you fine-grained control over the look of Drupal blocks across your website. This gives Glazed the capability to reach one more place that was previously unreachable without custom theming. While providing dozens of settings to have extensive creative control over block design we again implemented a shortcut that will save you most of the trouble of exploring new settings. The Block Design settings come with a dropdown that holds 10 presets. Each preset represents a collection of settings that produce a popular block style.

Live Preview

Any changes you make ot the block settings is immediately reflected in the 2 demo blocks next to the settings. Live previewing makes it much more intuitive so design with Glazed settings and it's a feature we plan to push further in both our theme and drag and drop builder.

Massive New Layout Capabilities

A feature often requested was the capability to make any region full-width. This gives more creative freedom over the look of your header, navigation, footer and other regions. Now it's possible to use Carbide Drag and drop builder to craft big footer blocks that have several layers with full width background. An example of this is the new footer in the Glazed 2.5.0 main demo: 

Beyond full width regions you can now also specify which content types should be in full width containers. Previously only the drag and drop content type in our Glazed distribution was capable of having full width sections. Now you can select any content type. This allows you to easily create custom drag and drop content types that have 100% of our page builder's capability, without needing any custom theming.

Boxed Layouts, They're Back

If you feel boxed layout sounds like something from 10 years ago you're right. But now boxed layouts are back as cool new design tool to better accomodate the increasingly popular 27-30" screens with massive screen resolutions. The image below is a boxed layout example where I simply set the box width to 1920px and the content width to 1600px. This gives an extra visual layer of structure when viewed on big screens and gives the website a massive, spacious look while having more of a together feeling than a traditional full-width, wide-set layout.

The code that makes this work is 100% mobile friendly, it will still look great on mobile. Like the rest of our Glazed theme, it's 100% flexible responsive, so it looks pixel perfect on every screen size.

New Menu Effects

Additional options have been added to Glazed menu settings to give you more options in deploying creative, interactive hover effects using a border. Put the border on top, or at the bottom, or anywhere in between. You can animate the border from left to right, from middle out, etc. A completely configurable border effect has been added to the option of menu hover styles. This gives your website just that little bit of extra branding and it works especially great if your site's design already makes uses of big dividers or hairline separators. 

Dividers as design tool

Another, more subtle improvement in both Glazed and Glazed Builder is more control over the look of divider elements, or <hr> tags if you know your HTML. Using dividers, short and thick or long hairlines as design tool is an increasingly popular effect. Use designers to fit a sophisticated look and feel, or use them to direct the viewers' eye to the important areas in your page.

You can first set the default divider element styling in Glazed theme settings. You can then add dividers in blocks using Glazed Block Design settings, and you can add divider elements anywhere in your content using Glazed Builder.

The divider element styling you configure in the Typography Design section in Glazed Setting applies globally to your website. However, you have full contextual control over your in-content divders as well as over the divider style in Drupal blocks.

Glazed Builder Improvements

On the surface you won't see a lot of changes in our drag and drop page builder module, but under the hood thousands upon thousands of lines of code are updated and moved around. Major code refactoring was needed to prepare our drag and drop builder for easier development in the future. With our newly re-architectured code we are now more than ready to handle new requirements for magazine sites, large enterprise level implementations and simply adding new elements to keep up with demands and opportunities in the ever-changing world of front-end design.

What's In it for Me?

To be very honest, this release contains a lot of new features, fixes and refactoring that I wanted. But the good news is, our new development has paved the way for all the things that you will be very excited about:

  • New, better Glazed designs and demos
  • More capabilities for your customer websites, with less code
  • Faster iterations for feature and bugfix updates
  • Magazine themes (yes, now they are really coming soon)
  • Easier bugfixing thanks to changes under the hood

Our focus will now be on documentation, creating new designs and catching up on improvements to support service. If you have any feedback, ideas, features requests, awesome websites that you'd like to see as a Glazed demo, just drop a comment!

May 23 2016
May 23

Introducing Zero-Touch Drupal Product Provisioning

2 years ago I started working on a Drupal CMS distribution that makes it less painful to launch a fully configured Drupal website. Today we're proudly launching what I think is the best CMS installation experience you've ever seen. Pantheon and Acquia cloud might be great tools for people like me who work with Drupal on a daily basis but there is a huge community of people who need something more simple. Our goal was for users to install a fully configured and themed Drupal website, with fully configured CMS components and demo content without requiring any user interaction. In less than 5 minutes.

Our Deployment tool currently does the following on auto-pilot:

  1. Runs tests to see if the receiving server ready for installation
  2. Generates custom build of our CMS installation profile with only the CMS components you need
  3. Uploads the files straight from sooperthemes.com to your server
  4. Uses Drush to go through the entire installation on your server
  5. Installs demo content

Looking For Drupal Hosting Partners

From a wider perspective, I see this kind of service as an answer for the Open Web to the more streamlined experiences provided by companies like Wix and SquareSpace. They are the walled garden alternatives for small businesses. In that light I want to integrate with as many great Drupal hosting providers as possible. The first Hosting partner I integrated is A2hosting, because they provide SSH and Drush automatically to all users. I'm looking for other hosting providers who offer this, if you know of or are such a company please let me know in the comments!

Our service launched in beta but theoritically this should work fine on an Drupal/Drush capable server. It doesn't matter if you run Apache with MySLQ or nginx with PostgreSQL, our software has only the following server requirements:

  • Drupal capable stack
  • Drush
  • Rsync
  • SSH with password authentication

Looking For Testers

This means you can try it out right now on your VPS development server, all you need to provide is an empty web directory and database. If you're trying this and can't get it to work on your Drupal/Drush capable server please let me know in the comments. We did a lot of testing but the variety of server configurations is so vast that I'm sure we can improve our software's compatibility. Just to be clear, you don't need to be a subscriber or even registered on sooperthemes.com to use this. As a guest user you cannot choose the premium themes in the form but you can install any configuration of our CMS distribution with the Glazed Free theme.

It has been an adventure developing this new deployment tool. If you are excited too please test it and let me know what you think!

In Other News: SooperThemes Rebranding. Glazed 2.4.10 and Carbide Builder 1.0.10 Released

This week I've also updated the SooperThemes logo. For the past year the sooperthemes.com website has reflected what our new product was: Completely new and finding out where it wants to go. Now the logo more reflects the values of simplicity, open source and friendliness. These are the values I want to embed in our products. The logo is much simpler than the old one. The openings in the O are for open source. And the last detail is the Happy e's. This little touch of Dutch Design is a tilted back lower case e, it was invented by Heineken and reminds of a laughing head.

Today you can also download the latest patch-level release of Glazed theme and Carbide Builder. These releases contain no new features, only bug fixes. See the Glazed CHANGELOG and Carbide CHANGELOG. We've also updated the YouTube background feature and put a usage example in the bottom of the Sections and Backgrounds demo page. Enjoy!

May 02 2016
May 02

Glazed Drupal CMS 1.0

After over 100 git commits over 4 weeks, including weekends and late nights I can present to you Glazed 2.4.8. This release includes not only an update to the premium Drupal theme and the drag and drop builder: the Glazed Drupal CMS distribution on drupal.org finally reached the 1.0 milestone! The backend distribution started as an experiment 2 years ago. I tried to find the perfect bundle of features to jump-start development of Drupal CMS websites.After nearly 100 beta releases I finally settled on the formula for features and flexibility that is now in the Glazed Drupal CMS 1.0 release. To make the distribution truly useful, it of course had to have a beautiful theme, and the distro now includes a free slimmed down version of our best-selling Glazed framework theme: Glazed Free.

Glazed Drupal CMS 1.0 Features

  • Fully Loaded WYSIWYG Editor
  • Built In Media Library
  • Glazed Free Theme included
  • Multilevel Responsive Main Menu
  • Blog Content & Views
  • Portfolio Content & Views
  • Event Content & Views
  • Event Registration
  • News Content & Views
  • Bootstrap 3 integrated
  • SEO Optimized
  • Demo Content Included

Glazed Drupal CMS on Drupal.org

Glazed 2.4.8 Comes with a ton of improvements, bug fixes and shiny new demo pages!

Glazed 2.4.8 Release Highlights

Search all the things!

Full screen search is a really exciting new UI feature in Glazed. Search is becoming a key factor in navigation on increasingly large and dynamic websites. Thanks to our full screen search design you can provide a unified search experience no mobile and desktop. The search feature is based on Drupal's core search, with just a theming and behavioral overlay by Glazed. This means you can use all your favorite search modules and plugins along with our full screen UI.

We added this search enhancement with the goal of powering larger, more dynamic sites. If you have any ideas to further improve our search be sure to hit the comments! (One thing I'm looking at is using the Fast Autocomplete fac module).

View Full Screen Search demo

Stunning Animations At Your Fingertips

It has never been easier to create stunning animations. We added a new demo page to to showcases our newly added floating animation. This page is also great for learning how you can use animations and apply in your own projects. If you are interested in our improved animation features check out the animation page. If you want to try the animation engine, to spin up a private demo at trysooperthemes.com.

My goal at SooperThemes is to strike a balance between features, performance, and usability. I actually cut the animate.css library in half, because it had some many animations that are just ridiculous and have no place in a professional product. I then added the custom floating animation for our new Apple style demo page and the whole animation library clocks in at just 4kb. It only loads on pages with animations, because we care about performance.

View Animation Demo Page

Enjoy easy animations for callouts, meaningful content enhancement or simply to impress your client or improve website visitor engagement. Or just for fun, but don't overdo it.

GridStack Views: Stack Your Featured Content

We've been working on features that will be used for our future Magazine designs for Glazed. This is one of them. Using the GridStack JS library and our easy to use Views integration, you can create dynamic "stacks" of your most important content. The views plugin gives you total control over layout, gap size, colors, all inside the Views module. You can use it for homepage headers, footers, or even for a full-page gridstack with all your content!

This is one of those little features that make your content more fun to interact with, and more personalized.

Creating custom stacks:

View GridStack Module Page

 

Carousels For All Content

There are 2 kinds of sliders in our Carbide Builder drag and drop tool. This first is a Bootstrap based simple image slider. Then There is the Carousel Element, which is like a swiss army knife of sliders. It will do regular sliders, fading sliders, carousels, and more. It will slide anything you throw at it, including videos, images, and HTML content with layouts.

The Carousel element gives you the awesome power of the Owl Carousel library at your fingertips. Here is an example slider that I created by copying the Position Elements container demo contet in 2 slides:

View Carousel Demo Page

View Positioned Layers Demo Page

  

Improving Drupal Views Integration

The most exciting improvements in 2.4.8 to me are all in the Views integration. We tested and improved exposed filter integration. The awesome power of views' exposed filters and sorting is that unlike with contextual filters you get a human-friendly form that allows you to personalize the view. When exposing a category filter, you get a nice hierarchical selectbox to choose a category. When you want to expose  something more massive like a node:author field you can use an autocomplete field.

The power of views integration will become more obvious when we start release magazine designs for Glazed. Keep an eye on the blog/newsletter!

New Pages in the Glazed 2.4.8 Main Demo

All new and updated demo pages:

For a complete list of changes check out the Glazed and Carbide Builder changelogs:

CHANGELOG Glazed Theme
CHANGELOG Carbide Builder

Improving Drupal's Distribution Experience

Since Distribtuions were announced as a feature for Drupal I thought it was a great idea, and now SooperThemes is working on making distributions even better. I think we are the first distribution to have a custom build option but that is just the beginning. We are currently testing Auto-Deploy & Install tools that we've been working on for 4 months. (Think fully automatic deployment and installation on your server or even shared hosting).

Bonus GIF

Here's a GIF image of our completely re-architected multi-level responsive main menu:

Have a great day!

Feb 25 2016
Feb 25

The latest new feature on our premium Glazed theme is a MultiLevel menu solution that creates smart megamenus based on simple nested lists. This means you can create a menu structure in your Drupal main-menu and the theme will generate the best layout based on your structure. No extra modules required.100% mobile friendly.

This feature marks version 2.4.4 of Glazed theme and it's the most exciting release to date. With 2.4.4 a lot of ideas for Glazed 2.4 have come to fruition, including moving the drag and drop builder out of the theme and releasing it as a standalone premium Drupal module. Now would be a great time for you to join our premium Drupal themes club or upgrade to our Unlimited Subscription!

Drupal Themes

Some experts call megamenus an outdated design pattern and I think they are partly right. If you create massive mini-sites inside your dropdowns you will not create a good experience on a small phone. The simple fact is that 5 screens-full of menu will confuse anyone who is looking for the contact page, which is typically the last link in the menu. However, mega menus can still be useful, especially on large-scale websites that provide a lot of structured content. Some of the most prominent Drupal-powered brands are using mega menus, for example Acquia.com, Whitehouse.gov, and Economist.com. While these menus work fine on a large screen, the experience on a phone is less than ideal.

Bootstrap 3 MultiLevel Menus

Bootstrap 3 does not support multilevel menus by default. However, with some simple CSS you can make your nested menu lists visible and with some jQuery you can divide your dropown in columns. I designed the desktop version of the menu to show all nested menus in a dropdown at the same time:

Drupal Themes

This effect is achieved by using some jQuery to create the columns and some CSS to show the dropdown menus.

Smart Layouts

The menu system is smart in the sense that it makes decisions about the layout based on the kind of menu structure you create in the backend. If a dropdown contains more than 7 list items, it will split the menu into even columns. If a dropdown contains 3 levels, it automatically uses the structure to create columns. If a menu contains 3 or more columns, it will automatically become a megamenu (spanning the width of the website). Here is a GIF that demonstrates all these cases in the Glazed main demo website:

Drupal Themes

Delightful Mobile Experience

Creating a near-native mobile experience based on a multilevel menu structure was a big challenge. Even in 2016, there does not seem to be a widely supported jQuery or Bootstrap extension that provides that native feel. Finally I found this gem in the codrops blog: http://tympanus.net/Blueprints/MultiLevelMenu/. Thanks to the hard work of the codrops team we now have a solution that provides meaningful animation and clear, immersive navigation to your Drupal website. The result is a mobile solution that is both elegant and clear:

Drupal Themes

It took some work to integrate it into the theme, especiall considering that the Glazed header and menu theme settings demand that the menu works in different page layouts and with varying content and menu structures. In the situation where a user chooses the top header by default, the theme will dynamically respond to changes of the browser window dimensions. This could be from a user dragging the edge of the browser, or from a user switching between portrait and landscape mode on his mobile device. When this happens Glazed theme will reflow the page and put the menu in the correct position and attach the correct behaviors. This ensures the menu is always working and always in the correct mode for the current viewport size.

Replacing TB Mega Menu

This new menu design replaces the TB MegaMenu module in all our Drupal themes. To be honest it was always a pain working with this module. even after I converted it to work with Bootstrap 3 the maintainers keep including Bootstrap 2 in the module. Even in the Drupal 8 version. Moreover the module's menu structure is not exportable, has bugs with translation, breadcrumbs, menu active trails, caching and more. Since the Glazed theme menu system works purely based on Drupal's core menu system all these problems are gone and our customers enjoy installation profiles with complete megamenu structure.

Are you interested in learning how the menu works? You can try a backend demo of our Glazed premium Drupal theme on trysooperthemes.com and see how easy it is to edit the menu. Our brand new menu system already has a documentation page too. If you are in the market for Drupal themes or our Drag and Drop site builder: you can have it all by joining the community on sooperthemes.com for just $48!

Jan 05 2016
Jan 05

Later this week I will write a full blog post, with an overview of new features, new options and entirely new capabilities in the SooperThemes product line. For now: just a sneak preview. During the last 2 month fo 2015 we made a huge effort to produce the biggest update ever for our premium Drupal themes. As with any big software adventure, we had a quick and productive start, then some setbacks on difficult components, and then some setbacks on small details that turned out to be –not so small–

Over the coming 2 weeks we will publish more content, covering the new capabilities in detail and with illustration. For now just a sneak preview and a list of changes that I will scrape from the commit log. Happy 2016 from sooperthemes!

Our free open source variant also got a huge upgrade and a new free version of the premium theme.

Introducing Carbide Builder 1.0

The success of glazed theme was as much in its design components as in the integration with our partner's drag and drop builder: Azexo Composer. Unfortunately this project is not maintained anymore and the owner is now fully focussed on developing wordpress themes. This forced us to continue its development internally. The result is Carbide Builder: A page builder that looks like it's predeccessor but is different mostly in that it's not buggy and has been streamlined and refactored for greater usability and performance.

Inline editing, Views integration and fixing bugs

One component that we knew was going to be tough is inline editing. It took Drupal core some years to get this right. We planned to integrate it in our drag and drop builder in a 3 week code sprint. CKEditor Inline is basically pretty straightforward to integrate but you need to look out for edge cases. Our text elements are editable in the standard modal window, on the node edit page, and now also in the inline editor. There is content coming in from multiple angles. Besides being editable, our text elements are also clonable, draggable, templatable, and deletable. We also use CKEditor in some ways it's not intended to be used: for managing single text strings rather than complete web pages. Carbide Builder fields can easily have over a dozen inline editors and these need to be managed so that their contents and behavior play nice with all other features of the drag and drop editor. This was a tough but finally the result is worth the trouble.

We also spent time on advancing our views integration. Most importantly we now support setting contextual filters on views displays right in the drag and drop interface. This means you can build complex magazine homepage, portals and dashboard pages simply by dragging and dropping the same views displays and setting the contextual filter. Right in the frontend!

While exploring and expanding the codebase of the drag and drop builder, we also fixed numerous bugs. Certain components were unfinished or simply not working at all. In our 1.0 release all components are tested to work, without exception.

You can now try an admin demo!

Go to Trysooperthemes.com

Changes

As an appetizer for richer coverage of our new product line, here is a list of changes that I'm scraping from 300 git commits:

  • Cleaning and refactoring code
  • Coding standards
  • Fix blockquote
  • Fixed image height rendering
  • Restoring web tab for media browser
  • Add support for empty elements in Carbide Builder drag and drop snippets
  • Added onBeforeUnload message if unsaved content
  • Added views integration Contextual Filters
  • Added views integration Exposed Filters
  • Added views integration Exposed Sorting
  • Added Carbide Builder branding
  • Removed Impress.js presentation element
  • Removed JParallax
  • update 3rd party libraries
  • Removed site export/management related code
  • Updated and simplified animation engine
  • Fixed youtube background
  • Support responsive layout in video element
  • Disabled form component, can be added back if it's more reliable and useful
  • Refactor loader JS system for managing JS init and Just-In-time configuration code
  • Split views and blocks in tabs
  • Added views tag filter
  • Removed linkit
  • Fixed backward compatibility with azexo composer
  • Add Glazed Theme color palette to Iris color picker default palette
  • Add inline editing
  • Tweak tune and debug inline editing
  • Added new button styles
  • Added color overlay utility classes
  • New form styling
  • Social links element
  • Refactored icons element(s)
  • Refactored asset management for sidebar elements (now Carbide Snippets)
  • Refactoring row element and controls
  • Initiating row element with 1/2 + 1/2 layout
  • Refactor parent/child integrated control buttons
  • update jumbotron styling
  • Fixed major clusterfuck with lots of components by simply updating from jQuery 1.9 to 1.10
  • Add build scripts for trysooperthemes.com
  • Add hook_enable code for backwards compatibility
  • Improve help texts
  • ...
  • Lots and lots of UX improvements
  • Lots of bug fixes
Nov 23 2015
Nov 23

You want to grow your Drupal business an important part of this is going to be how you engage with your employees so they stay interested in what you do. As a manager of your business, your employees are just as important as the clients as you may need these employees as some point to keep your customers happy.

You may not have the current skills to keep employees engaged with your business and clients. This is where good management skills come into play. When you have happy clients, you get more referrals and repeat business. It’s in your best interest to ensure that all employees are engaged with the business and that this attitude is translating to how they interact with clients and customers. This article Looks at ways you can keep employees engaged with your business. You may have overlooked some of these and some you may not have even considered before.

Why Keep Employees Engaged?

As your Drupal business grows, you need to have employees that are engaged. You can tell if you have an engaged employee because they are enthusiastic for the company and work that they do for you. They believe in the objectives and goals that the company has set forth and are actively working towards those goals.

When you have employees that have the above characteristics they will make the decisions that are in the best interest of your company and the clients you work for. You need a team and not just a bunch of individuals that so their own thing. When you have engaged employees it makes it easier for you to sleep at night because you’ll know that everyone is on the same page and working as a team should towards the goals the company has.

Secret to Engaged Employees

If you run a Drupal business, things are hectic all the time as you have plenty to do. You may have deadlines and some of the team member may not carry their weight in the way you would like. As a small business, even small problems can feel like monumental ones. You may blame employees on factors that are external, but it really comes down to your management skills. You can improve this to become a better manager so employees are more engaged.

Some stats from the Harvard Business Review that will let you know why good management is important:

  • In a study of 27 million employees and many organizations over 20 years its estimated that 70% of the variance of employee engagement is caused by management.
  • In 2012 30% of employees said they are engaged at their work

The studies said that only one in ten have the qualities of a good manager which are:

  • An ability to motivate the employees
  • Assertiveness to get employees to complete a task or reach a deadline
  • Good managers have accountability
  • They can build transparent and open relationships
  • They focus on productivity and not office politics

These skills can all be practiced which will make you a better manager so your Drupal business is more successful.

Nine Creative Ways for Employee Engagement

You need to put your skills to use to engage employees. Here are some ways to put them to use in your Drupal business.

1. It’s “We” not ‘I”

You need a team and not individuals so the word “I” should be replaced with “we.” To grow your business you need a team effort so get everyone on the same page. A solo freelancer can think of themselves as ‘” I,” but if you want your business to grow and have your employees all work together, you need a team!

2. Open Communication

You want to have open communication. You have to be able to communicate things to your client as well as your employees. If you have honest communication, then employees will feel more comfortable communicating with you too. Encourage employees to discuss their opinions and thoughts even if they are the wrong ones or you don’t agree with them.

Try to have an open office environment free of cubicles if possible. You may have a corroborative space in the office area. If you do a lot of work online with your team use Hangouts, HipChat or Slack. Keep your employees up-to-date about what is going on with the business so they feel engaged. Let them know about the goals you have and how their work is going to help. The employee will feel like they are accomplishing something and will work harder toward the goal. Employees want to have a purpose with your company so communicate with them and get them excited about the job.

3. Consistent Management

You need to let employees know what is expected of them. If you’re not clear, then things are not going to get done in the way you want them to. You don’t want to have employees that are unsure about what to do. If employees don’t know what to do, they won’t be as committed to the work and may even make costly mistakes. Try to keep expectation consistent and communicate when changes are being made so employees know what to do. Your team will be committed if they know what your expectations of them are.

4. You Lead by Example

If you make exceptions for yourself, employees may too and the business will suffer as a result. You have to be the one that sets the standard for the business so others will follow your lead.  For example, don’t talk poorly about a client even if you feel like it, as the employees may do this as well. You want employees to follow the vision of the company so be the leader they look up to for direction.

5. Employee Opinions Matter

You want employees to feel like they are part of a larger vision. When an employee discusses something with you or shares an idea, it should be looked at and investigated. This keeps the employee engaged as they feel like a contributor to the business. Employees want to have an effective voice in the company and feel like they are a larger part of it.

6. Reward those with a “Think for Yourself Mentality”

You want to delegate tasks to the right people when it’s needed. You also need to encourage employees to think and act on their won to get things done. Don’t discourage employees from taking a calculated risk or using imitative if this is in the best interests of the company or a client you’re working with. You want employees that have an entrepreneurial mindset and will think outside of the box as they think about the business. Give your employees opportunity and when they do well, reward them for their actions.

7. Professional and Personal Growth Should Be Encouraged

Employees will be engaged in the business if they feel like you’re engaged with their lives. You can accomplish this by helping them with professional and personal growth. Maybe the employee needs a bit of time off of work for a project or just needs a vacation. If you help employees as much as you can, then they will bring their “A” game to work and give you better results.

8. Respect for Personal Time

There are many people who dedicate their time and energy for Drupal. People will work hard for you, but they need personal time as well. You want employees to give 100% at work, but they need to have an opportunity to give 100% to other things that are important to them. This will include, leisure, family as well as vacation time. You want employees to be fresh and ready to work so they need time to themselves. We all can’t work 100% of the time. An employee that has balance between personal life and work life will be more engaged and will give their best when they are at work.

9. If You Critique Others, you Have to Accept it Too

You want to have open communication, but you have to be open to critique of your management skills. You want engaged employees to be able to offer their opinions. You may find that some employees may have suggestions that can help you be an even better manager. Constructive critique can’t hurt you and it will only help you manage better than before. This will help not only you, but the entire team perform at their best and work towards those important goals you have for the business.

Summary

Keeping employees engaged in the business can be difficult, but you can get it done. Your Drupal business will benefit a great deal if you’re working on your management skills and becoming the leader you need to be to move the business forward to reach your goals.

You may not be a great manager now, but you can learn to become a great one. By working on your management skills and ensuring your employees are engaged in the business, you’ll grow your Drupal business like never before. It really comes down to how you treat your workers and the respect that each member of the team has towards each other. When you all work on the same page, good things will happen.

Nov 17 2015
Nov 17

As webmaster or owner of a Drupal website, it’s common practice to look out for new customers. It is also crucial to understand how prospective customers behave when they come to visit your website, and this is possible with the help of Google Analytics. Unfortunately Drupal site owners often fail to see the importance of their websites being properly crawled or indexed by Google. Now, Google has made things easier for businesses with Google Search Console (formerly webmaster tools) by directly communicating with website owners in order to help them get important information.

Google Search Console may not come with the trendiest user interface, but there’s more raw data in there than colorful charts and graphs. Using the system will help you improve your Drupal site's ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) if you take some time to learn how it works.

Let us now try to understand how GSC can help grow your business.

Why Use Google Search Console (GSC)?

Google Search Console is free if you have a Google account. It automatically opens a two-way communication channel between your website and Google. Search Console can help you monitor, maintain, and improve your website presence in Google’s search results. More specifically, once you log into Google Search Console, you will be able to see what search queries are tied to your business and where you could improve your website ranking. You will also be able to manage your website sitemaps, indexing of links, besides determining what Googlebot should be crawling and indexing content from your website.

How to Set Up GSC?

Setting up Google Search Console for your website is simple and easy. If you already have an account, look for it under Search Console. You just have to follow 3 simple steps:

  1. Click on the red color “Add A Property” button
  2. Enter your website URL
  3. Select the verification method and then click “Verify”

That’s all you need to get started. Please note, you won’t immediately see data for analysis. Wait for a couple of days for data to start populating your search console. Meanwhile, you’ll still be able to make use of some Console features, which are mentioned below.

How to Optimize Your Business Website With GSC?

As the owner of a business that operates via a website, you must ensure it is properly indexed and placed in good position in search engines. However, please note that any attempts to cheat Google Search ranking by artificially boosting your website rankings will result in a penalty from which it is extremely difficult or sometimes even impossible to recover. However, this fear of penalty should not deter you from taking the best action to promote your website. Believe me when I say this; contrary to popular perception, SEO is not dead, but very much alive. Google actually wants webmasters to ensure that your website is optimized not just for Desktop version, but also for mobile platform. So, don’t think Google is ready with a hammer to punish you for doing what it stands for – promoting relevant business and making them visible. You can do this by using its GSC.

Once you sign into GSC, you will see a lot of data and a lot more functionality to sort out. Now, here comes the important issue you must identify. How often would you be reviewing these data, and which section should be your focus area to make your website most visible to search engines?

Depending on how big your website is and how frequently you publish fresh content, once or thrice a week or month should be enough. So, you need to understand most of the features of Google Search Console, but at the same time, know where you should be devoting your time and energy:

  • Understanding Structured Data
  • Understanding HTML Improvements
  • Understanding Search Analytics
  • Understanding Index Status
  • Understanding Keywords
  • Understanding Crawl Errors
  • Understanding Fetch as Google
  • Understanding Robots.txt tester and
  • Understanding Website Sitemap

Let us now look closer at each of these areas in details:

Understanding Structured Data

Google collects these data, and they are unique information specific to your business. It could be information like a specific recipe, ratings, or reviews. Or, it may have info about a film, a product, or an event. For a local business, it could be info about location and contact numbers.

Structured data, in simple terms, is a standard method of annotating specific details that are relevant for search engines to understand what that info really means or represents. So, if your website has enhanced info that could be typically displayed in the SERPs, it is a good practice to keep track of any structured data errors. Ignoring them can have a negative impact on how your website is displayed to people looking for your service. For example, if your website theme or design is not up to a standard, GSC has a feature called, “Data Highlighter.” This tool allows you to highlight your data and then apply specific and relevant tags. Once the data on your webpage is appropriately tagged, search engines will automatically tag similar pages whenever you publish fresh content.

Understanding HTML Improvements

Whenever Googlebot crawled your website, it will keep record of any HTML changes that may be required to improve UX. It could also record overall performance. So, specific improvements you may want to focus on in this section are:

  • Duplicate meta descriptions;
  • Long / short meta descriptions;
  • Issues with title tags, and
  • Non-indexable content

Understanding Search Analytics

Search Analytics is right under ‘Search Traffic’ tab. It provides insights on how well your website performed for specific queries. Please note that just because your site may be displaying data for a particular query does not mean that a potential traffic generated by that query is 100% correct and relevant. You have to give some thought as to which of the queries are most relevant to your business and then work on your content accordingly. Google strongly recommends you start the work by sorting out specific queries based on clicks and not based on page impressions. This method will give you a much more accurate picture of which queries made for your website are actually bringing traffic to your website. You can start work on this by checking these four boxes shown below:

  1. Clicks:  How many times a visitor clicked through your site from a particular query
  2. Impressions: This is the total number of page impressions on your website
  3. CTR: This is the ‘click through rate’ or percentage of times a user clicked through to your website
  4. Position: It’s the average position of your website on a search engine when presented to visitors

Now, in order to sort out data by clicks, you’ve got to click on the appropriate header:

For this screenshot I filtered for queries containing the word "bootstrap". You can use this keyword filter to look at specific areas of search interest.

I avoided using the country filter because this website is international. Now, if your business is country specific, you should always use the appropriate country filter.

Now having these data, your first job is to quickly analyze and take a call on what is needed to improve your position and the CTR of the query. If you do this right, your website will attract more qualified clicks, which will give you returns on your investments.

If you click the actual query on the page and then select each of the pages, you will notice which are ranking high for a particular query. After that, examine individual pages for on-page SEO (on your site, not in GSC). You can also do a quick Google search and compare how pages from your competitors fare. You will be able to see why they are doing better and how to compete with them in a healthy manner.

You can work on relevant queries or pages to gain insights into how each one can be improved.

Understanding Index Status

This is located right under Google Index. Index Status gives you information on the total number of web pages that Google crawled and indexed over a period of time. There may not be much info here, but this simple chart shows some info about the nature and quality of your web links.

Now, if you are publishing fresh content regularly, you will see an upward trend in the chart. On the other hand, if you see a drop in indexed pages, you should be concerned. This could mean that Google has detected a malware on your website. On the other hand, if you are publishing content or more pages than Google is indexing, is could be something wrong with your internal linking structure. So, you have to do some fine-tuning. You are also provided with an advanced tab that, when clicked, will show you blocked pages along with the ones that have been removed from Google.

Understanding Content Keywords

As Google crawls your website, it automatically takes note of specific keywords. The significance of every keyword depends on how many times Google found that keyword on your website. This report will give you a clear idea of how the search engine interpreted your content. What does Googlebot think of your website? The actual subject matter (niche of your business) should be reflected in the report.

Finally, if you found some keywords that look out of place or are totally inappropriate to your business, it is an indication that your website has been hacked by some scammers. For example, if some keywords related to “Viagra” start appearing on the Content Keywords list, it is an indication your website has become a victim of pharma hack.

Understanding Crawl Errors

You should also check out your website link crawl error report from time to time to find indexing issues and fix the ones that are listed. A 404 error page might not invite penalty from Google, but it helps to clean up dead links. Your visitors will appreciate it a lot.

Understanding Fetch as Google

‘Fetch as Google’ is a manual version of Googlebot. You can use this feature any time after a fresh important content update or if you feel the need to check an existing page. This feature provides the most accurate answer on how Google Search bots will “see” your website link and render a specific page. It is a great tool to ensure that your web pages and all your content on a page are accessible by Google. 

After entering your website URL in the bar, click either the “Fetch” or the “Fetch and Render” options for Google to start crawling your web page. After a short wait, it will return a result that indicates the Googlebot type and status. The status could indicate complete, partial, redirected, or another specific error. Now if you click on the result, you’ll have access to all the additional info that shows what was being fetched, along with the time taken to download them. The rendering tab should present a comparison chart of how Google sees your website versus how your visitor sees it. Any resources that could not be reachable will also be displayed. Some of them may be your website image, code or, its stylesheet.

Understanding Robots.txt Tester

The robots.txt gives instructions to robots on how to crawl your website. Its work is to mainly send requests to search engines on what to crawl and what to ignore. So, to make your website indexed accurately by search engines, use robots.txt Tester to know whether Googlebot is able to crawl a particular web link or whether some links you don’t want to be crawled are blocked.

Understanding Sitemaps

Google says that having a Sitemap is not compulsory for websites to be indexed, but having it is still a good practice.Google recommends that you submit your sitemap through GSC, especially if your website is new or has few external links. It is also good when your site does not have proper internal linking structure.

Adding a website sitemap is simple. After creating a sitemap by using the Drupal module XML Sitemap just copy and paste the sitemap URL into GSC and then click “Test Sitemap.” After a few seconds, you will see the results, and if there are no errors, submit it. To do this, go back to the main dashboard and click on “Add/Test Sitemap.” After that, enter the sitemap URL and click “Submit Sitemap.”

You should try to check your sitemaps on a regular basis for possible errors. A monthly checkup would be just fine.

Using a sitemap is optional and not everyone agrees on the importance of sitemaps for small websites. At SooperThemes.com we don't have a sitemap installed because the public-facing site is simple in structure. Google should have no problem figuring out how to crawl our blog and other pages.

Conclusion

I must admit that I’m not able to cover all the Google Search Console features, but the ones that are mentioned here are enough to give a kick start to your business. Unless you decide to go bigger or expand your business, the features mentioned here should be just fine for your Drupal website.

It is strongly suggested that you should enable the email notifications feature. This will allow Google to send you notices about critical issues that require your attention. From my own experience, I often get notice about ‘malware’ on my site via the email. It gives me ample time to resolve the problem before the issue affects my search rankings.

Another important issue you should bear in mind, if you have a website with lots of great content, Google loves them, and it will crawl and index the links. Google Search Console looks may not be that great, but the data that you get from various features is worth thousands of dollars.

Are you using Google Search Console? If yes, share how it has helped you in making your website visible to search engines.

Nov 02 2015
Nov 02

When you have a website or a blog, your credibility is important.  If your site is new this can be hard to achieve because you’re not a well-known company like Microsoft or Apple is and you need credibility in the marketplace. You need to have trust with people online to get customers and business.

Why Credibility Matters

Online there’s simply far too many websites and blogs going after the same audience you are. All of these sites compete for business and you need to establish a solid reputation online so people come back to you time and time again. The main thing is that this is hard for new companies to achieve: you have to work hard at establishing your credibility online. People are cautious online because there’s a lot of scams and shady websites that they don’t trust. People are less likely to buy from a website they have never heard of before and that may include your site.

Having credibility is very important to your website or blog. Here’s 20 ways that you can establish credibility with your audience.

1. Have a Professional Website Design

One of the first thing you can do is have a website that looks professional. There are far too many sites that look sloppy and this causes your visitors to click away quickly. It’s estimated that 75-94% of people will make judgements based upon the first glance at a site. You need a site that’s professionally designed and looks good to the users as this will keep them there for a longer period and increase your trust.

2. Avoid a Broken Site

You need a Drupal site that is functional. You can’t have broken links or missing images as this isn’t professional. You need to test the functionality so everything fires on all cylinders. Make sure the site loads quickly and people can find what they need right away.  Broken pages and images were shown to be a one of the most powerful factors that damage your credibility!

3. Make it snappy

Having a slow site is bad but having a site that performs average is not where you want to be at as well. Many Drupal websites struggle to manage 3 second pageloads. You can set your site apart by leveraging Varnish and the Advanced Aggregation module to create sub-second pageload times. Group together your css, group your javascript files and make them load asynchronously where possible.

If your site has an international audience it’s even more difficult to get those sub-second pageloads across the world. Your DNS response time and server latency will be slow for connections that cross oceans. Fortunately there are now affordable Content Delivery Network services that speed your site from many servers distributed globally. Cloudflare even offers a free basic package and they also happen to be one of the fastest DNS in the world. Consider outsourcing your caching to a CDN provider and you won’t have to manage a Varnish or nginx cache anymore while getting worldwide top performance.

4. Have Your Portfolio Displayed Prominently

People want to know that you’re the best business for them so show them that you are. You want to show people your portfolio of completed work so they can make their own judgements. By showing your previous work, you’ll establish trust. The portfolio should be easy to find with one click and contain numerous samples of your work for people to look at.

5. Use Product Reviews to Your Advantage

If you can get reviews of your products this will help you a great deal. People tend to trust products which have a lot of reviews. You can see this in action when you visit Amazon which has a lot of product review.  This works on the physiological level as people will buy based upon product reviews quite often as they tend to see a product with lots of reviews as something they want to buy. Try to get reviews of your products from your buyers as this will establish trust and credibility with your site and what you have to offer buyers. Negative reviews aren’t as bad as they seem as they add to the credibility and make the reviews and entire site more authentic.

6. Have Customer Testimonials

For a service-based business it can be difficult to get product reviews so use testimonials instead. This allows a buyer to see what type of job you’re doing for your customers. Try to have these on the homepage or a sidebar where they can be easily accessed by browsers to your blog or website. For greater impact the testimonial needs to be real. Some common tips for testimonial effectiveness are as follows:

  • Have a quote from a real user
  • Have the persons name and a quote
  • Have an image, quote and the business or person’s name
  • Have a video testimonial (best)

If you can get a person that’s respected in your industry to do a testimonial as this will create even more credibility for your website or blog.

7. Have a List of Clients You Have Worked With

You can enhance your credibility if you have a list of clients you have worked with. This can be a huge advantage if the client is a well-known company.  This works because established brands don’t do business with just anyone and if they happen to work with you, this boosts your credibility. They see you as being in the top bracket of websites since you have worked with the big boys. Bloggers can use a “as featured on” section to get results.

People tend to want to do business with companies that work with a lot of clients. This shows that the company is well established and respected. It also shows that big trust factor with the buyer. If you’re already established use “social proof” to let people know the number of clients you have served.  On a blog you could even list this on the homepage to let people know how many you have helped or sold products to.

8. Simple language

People don’t trust language they don’t understand. Complicated language can make your communication unclear, or seem unauthentic. If you write like you talk to your friends, people will feel closer to you and more willing to accept your message.

It’s also important you proofread your content and don’t miss any broken grammar or incorrect spelling. Overcomplicated language is bad but incorrect spelling makes you even less credible. It’s bad business when you make these mistakes on your blog but unforgiveable on your homepage or product pages.

9. Have an About Page

A business is run by real people so have an about page where you showcase personal experience, philosophies, and skills. You want to be open with your visitors and a good about page can help with this. You can highlight the people in your business on this page if you like. Mention who you are, what you do, how the company began, where you want the company to go and so on. Make it personal as it will resonate with readers and they will be more inclined to purchase from you if they know who you are.

10. Show yourselves and your office

An about page can be good, but bio pages for each of the team members can also help to establish your credibility with visitors. This can help to establish trust and you can highlight the experience as well as credentials of the team members here.

You also want to use real team members here. Don’t use stick images or try to make the team seem larger than it actually is. People will pick up on this and think negatively about your business.

A photos of your office helps to show there are people working full time on your products or service. This inspires trust and makes you more credible or valuable than competitors who could be unavailable most of the time while they’re on their full-time job.

11. Consider Your Prices Carefully

You don’t want to use prices that are too cheap. If it’s too good to be true, then it is! If a product on your site is deeply discounted, this can be a red flag for a buyer. People want sales, but if the price is far below what they expect, they will ask questions. You want to seem legitimate and prices that are far too low and backfire for you.

Your prices need to be reasonable. If you’re able to supply low prices because you have an advantage in the marketplace this is fine, but you have to think carefully about your prices too; sometimes a higher price can set you apart from the rest and communicate superior value. People can be skeptical so make the prices reasonable from the eyes of the buyer. Be honest when you set prices and make sure they work for your website.

12. Have Guarantees for the Customer

People will spend if you have a guarantee for them. If they are unsatisfied, they want to know they can get their money back from you. If you have a guarantee this will boost your credibility with users a great deal. You’ll establish trust with users as you are taking on the risk, not the customer.

A money back guarantee is a good idea because you want to reassure people that want to buy from you. You show confidence in your products when you do this and thus help to alleviate customer concerns about buying from you. This can help a lot when you’re selling “digital products” as it makes the transaction risk-free for the buyer.

Ensure you have refund policies as well as warranties on the goods to establish credibility with your user base.

13. Have a Physical Address

You should display your brick and mortar address on your website as it shows that you’re accountable and this makes the visitor feel comfortable. If someone buys from you and the product doesn’t work they want to be able to contact you in as many ways as possible, not just by email or telephone number. If you have a physical address this reduces the concerns the buyer will have in dealing with you. There are a lot of scams online and people will only deal with you if they have various ways to contact you and a physical address helps with this.

14. Customer Support

You want the ability to talk with your customers directly through customer support. This will put you ahead of the competition that doesn’t offer this right away. This shows that:

  • You can showcase your expertise one-on-one with clients
  • It shows that the people behind the business are real
  • You help reduce customer concerns quickly

Try to have personal interaction with clients as this enhances credibility. The order of effectiveness is:

  • Phone support – This offers quick response time and offers good personal interaction. Just by having a phone number present on the site will reduce the concerns of the website visitor, even if they never call at all.
  • Live Chat – This is less personal, but offers a quick response time which customers appreciate.
  • Email Support – You need this if you don’t offer the other forms of support which are more effective. You need to check this inbox on a regular basis and respond quickly.

15. Have a Blog

To showcase your expertise and insights into your industry a blog can help. This allows you to showcase your content on a regular basis. A blog will help you establish your credibility. Here’s how you can establish credibility with your blog content:

  • Create content that solves the common problems your clients have. This shows you understand the niche you’re in.
  • Create content that asks for nothing from the client. It’s not a sales pitch it’s just valuable information they can use.
  • The content should link to other credible sources such as blogs in your industry or reputable research organisations, which further enhances your own credibility
  • Have the content backed up with real world data. You should use real statistics here. You don’t want to mislead clients with information that isn’t true or isn’t based on facts.
  • Make sure the content looks great and is free of errors.

16. Make Sure the Blog is Updated

You want to create content on a regular basis. A dead blog will drive users away quickly. If people see the blog isn’t updated they will assume the business isn’t running or that you just don’t care and you’ll lose customers and credibility quickly this way.

You have to be ready to commit to a blog so be ready to manage it. The schedule of posts should be something that you can manage. Try for weekly or daily posts if possible or at the very least a monthly post. Make sure the content you provide is valuable to users. If older content no longer works you can hide it or delete that content.

17. Have Case Studies

A case study can boost your credibility by a lot. These are effective because they show results that people can relate to. The person featured in the case study should be someone the potential buyer can relate to. These are like super-charged testimonials. A spot on the site for customer spotlights can work wonders.

Have a Lot of Product Information

Before customers spend money, they need to know as much as possible about your products. If you leaven anything to doubt, can go elsewhere for their product. Make sure the buyer has all the information that they need to know about your products. You should have good product descriptions.

The main features, purpose, and use of the product should be described. Product specification can help too, especially with complex products like electronics. Product descriptions boost your credibility in the following ways:

  • They show that you understand your products
  • It shows you care about your business and your buyers
  • It informs the buyer as much as possible about what you’re offering them

If you’re the manufacturer of the product, then the product information is very important to the potential buyer. If you’re a service provider then you have to explain to a potential buyer what they are getting, what you do, how you do projects, and what results you got in the past.

18. Symbols that Establish Trust

People want to feel safe when they shop online. So you need to convince them of this fact when they shop with you. A good idea is to have a SSL certificate, as you need this for security. The SSL certificate encrypts the confidential details of the customer such as credit card information and offers a secure connection for buyers. An encrypted connection has HTTPS and the lock icon. This can help users make a buying decision because they know their information is safe when they buy something from you.

Security seals from trusted companies will also help establish trust with buyers such as McAfee or Norton. This ensures users that their data is protected when they buy from you. Also do a Google search for the certificate vendor before buying SSL. Some vendors, like Symantec, have been in the news recently and could loose their status as trusted SSL authority. This means your website could loose the lock icon, and generate browser warnings for your visitors.

19. Have Multiple Payment Methods

You want to have more than one payment option. Many people use PayPal, for example, but not everyone can access PayPal. You need to offer more than just PayPal on your website. Furthermore, PayPal is often associated with smaller businesses and hobby sellers because of the ease of setup. If you want to be seen as a professional entity, you can’t offer just PayPal.

You need the ability to process credit cards too and payment merchants like Stripe make this easy. You can offer PayPal, but have other methods that allow people to pay you. By having more payment options, you’ll increase sales.

20. Be Authentic

You have to be authentic with your website. Many strategies like testimonials, customer numbers, and awards can be faked. You don’t want to mislead your customers as people will pick up on this fact. Be authentic and provide real numbers. If you don’t have the numbers just be as open as possible about what you offer the customer.

In whatever you do, make sure you’re authentic as this will boost credibility with clients and bring new customers to your business.

Conclusion

A buyer has to be able to trust you or they aren’t going to buy from you. Put the strategies listed above to good use with any Drupal site that you build. If you do this, you’ll build your credibility. You also want to ensure that you don’t do too much to enhance your credibility. You can overdo it, which will look weird too. You want to use these strategies in a subtle way.

Credibility will help to boost your conversion and bring you the sales that you’re looking for online. Being more credible can impact your site tremendously if you’ve never thought much about it before.

Sources

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