Feb 11 2020
Feb 11

Florida Drupalcamp 2020 is the event that celebrates open-source software and brings together a worldwide community of Drupal users, developers, marketers and content specialists to a spot. The brightest of minds share their expertise, level up their skills, and make new friends in the community every year. 

This year, OpenSense Labs is a Silver Sponsor for Florida Drupalcamp 2020! To be held from 21-23 February 2020, the event will provide for a platform where developers, designers, and marketers gather to explore the most ambitious and cutting edge case studies.

Catch us here!

If you're going to be around during the camp, do not miss out on these sessions: 

Session 1: Centralised content distribution and syndication demystified. Why and how?

Saturday, February 22 | 2:15 pm - 3:00 pm

session 1

A central content repository allows the content editors to edit content directly from the backend of one site. Using the publisher site, organizations can publish, reuse, and syndicate content across a variety of subscriber sites and publishing channels.

The session will stress the importance of having a centralized reporting to boost the editorial teams’ productivity & article publication pace.

At the end of the session the attendees would be able to take away the following:

  • Centralized Content Distribution Architecture.
  • Real-time content syndication by setting up publisher and subscriber sites.
  • Configuring content schema between publisher and subscriber sites.
  • Minimizing Failures during data transmission.
  • Choosing the right infrastructure for content distribution.

Session 2: Architecting a Highly Scalable, Voice-Enabled and Platform Agnostic Federated Search 

Sunday, February 23 | 9:30 am - 10:15 am

session 2

Vidhatanand will be sharing how we have built an enterprise search over the traditional by tinkering with robust Apache Solr and Drupal 8, leveraging portability using Java Script and with a diverse range of CMSs, thereby increasing efficiency by 40%.  

He will walk you through the complex architecture of federated search and challenges amidst architecting a microservice. You will be equipped with the know-how of:

  • Enhancing website search experience retaining a blend of useful and accurate results.
  • Expanding inter-site searchability decreasing the bounce rate and latency.
  • Increasing data discovery and interoperability of information by cross-functional support to a plethora of platforms. 

See you there!

Taking this great opportunity to be a part of Florida DrupalCamp 2020 we can’t wait to connect with you about the amazing things our team has to offer. Come stop by and say hello to get your hands on some cool Drupal swag!

When: 21-23rd February 2020 

Where: Florida Technical College, 12900 Challenger Parkway, Orlando, Florida 32826

Jan 31 2020
Jan 31

Access and security are collateral concerns born out of the world of the internet. When a website is under development, a major chunk of time and effort goes into making it secure from all sorts of malicious activities. Taking the threats and data breaching affairs into account, every platform has a protocol to follow. For the security and usability purpose, every website has certain permissions granted to view, edit, or delete the content on the site. For example, open source CMS like Drupal provisions various modules that let you configure the user access. 

a man sitting in front of multiple screens

What is user access?

Every website has a tech team working on the development of the site while they assign certain roles in the process to each individual. Similarly, user access is the possession of a particular role on the website that allows the user with specific permissions. The user access is determined by the site owners who assign the roles to the users with a login Id and password

In this blog, we will be talking about the user access permissions in Drupal 8 and understand how it works with the available modules. 

Permissions management in Drupal 8

With a lot of different functions and features, the permissions in Drupal 8 work in a little different way. From viewing published content to changing the state of functions and features, permission control access in Drupal is assigned as a role. There are 3 default roles as follows:

  • Anonymous: Visitors who are not logged into your site.
  • Authenticated: User with an account who’s login is authenticated with a minimum set of permissions that are given to all logged-in users. 
  • Administrator: Users who can do everything on the site and change the functionalities.

Limitations of permissions management in Drupal 8

These default roles are quite limited in themselves. They do not define the access in detail and require modules to further strengthen the access control. Following are the limitations:

  • The roles you create yourself or the authenticated user role do not receive the permissions given to anonymous users.
  • There’s no granular control at various level.
  • In case of a lot of custom modules where the contributed modules introduce important functionality, the piece of code requires more hold of access levels which isn’t available.

Thus, we need user access modules that will grant broader access control and permissions.  

Top Drupal 8 user access modules

Here is a list of the most popular user access modules for Drupal 8 depending on the functionality you want for your website:

#1 Node View Permissions

Apart from allowing the combining of other user access modules, the Node View Permission module adds two types of permissions to all content type, namely, "View own content" and "View any content".

#2 Menu Admin per Menu

As the name suggests, the Menu Admin per Menu module permits and restricts access to only Administer menus and menu items to add, modify or delete menu items. It gives access to certain sections of the menu without giving access to the full admin panel.

#3 Block Content Permissions

You can gain the control access to administer block content types (custom block types), administer block content (custom block library) that lets you create, update, or delete specific types of block content with this module. However, the Block Content Permissions module doesn’t remove the block permissions from "Custom block library - Blocks" views page

#4 Protected Pages

Every website has multiple pages with different types of content and not every information can be shared with every user with a role. Thus, the Protected pages module allows the admin to protect certain web pages with a protection password. Further, you can also ser session expiry time, bypass permission and global password settings to strengthen the security feature. 

#5 Permissions by Term

Based on the taxonomy terms, you can restrict the access to specific content on the website. The permissions are applied to the user roles and work well for nodes, views, menus, etc. The Permissions by Term module also aids in linking the taxonomy terms with specific accounts. 

#6 Vocabulary Permissions Per Role

Within the taxonomy access, you can set up permits only for content editors to work with a particular taxonomy vocabulary without hampering the “administer taxonomy” permissions. The Vocabulary Permissions Per Role module gives you control over the number of users with permissions and access. 

#7 Override Node Options

You can now set permissions for each field on the node form within the Authoring information and Publishing options fieldsets. The Override Node Options module can also let your make certain fieldsets collapsible.

#8 Block Region Permissions

Control access to block management within each region of your website’s theme with the Block Region Permissions module. The module grants access to see the following:

  • Region's header, message, and blocks on block layout page
  • Region in region selector fields on block layout page
  • Region in region selector field on configure and place block pages
  • Can update or delete blocks placed in region

#9 Workflow

A contributed module, Workflow allows you to create workflow states for various node types. Further, it allows transitions between states like updating from “Draft” to “Published” and similar per role. It enables you to set up the Workflow to alter states from form, page, comment, a special block, and a special workflow tab.

#10 Content Access

As per the role and author, the content access module lets you manage the permissions for content types. You can specify custom view, edit and delete permissions for each content type or enable the content access settings. Thus, it allows customization of access for each content node. 

Conclusion

These modules are more than a boon for your Drupal website. They impart the highest of security walls for the users and helps your website remain safe from third-party users. The modules are designed to make sure that the user roles and permissions are not misused by the users and they optimize the development process for the team. 

To know more about the power of Drupal, drop us a line at [email protected]

Jan 28 2020
Jan 28

Almost all sites have some terrible content that needs to be migrated. As a lot has changed since the 90s, HTML is a thing of the past. Now, we require more than just a static site to win the online world. 

A huge portion of the content has been vested in the power of the internet. Studies show how a major chunk of revenue in terms of traffic is gained via sites and the quality of content on the sites. While we were focusing on the workings of the site, the game is in the court of ‘How well you present the content’ now. Addressing these changes, migrating your static site to a CMS is the best option. 

Often viewed as a complex and time-consuming task, migration is the real devil. However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Once executed, migration woes reap greater business benefits.   

Let’s understand how. 

two women amid discussion against office background

Static Content

When a site uses HTML, CSS and a little bit of JavaScript/jQuery for development, it becomes a static site in technical terms. The content on static sites remain the same across pages and seems more like a database than being of representative value to an organization. It does not take into account factors like the inputs of the visitors or user experience.

Dynamic Content

As the name suggests, a dynamic site is more complex yet user-friendly. It has elements like product pages, descriptions and more that helps in fetching the valuable feedback from the users. It has more elements to interact with and gives a visually better experience to the viewers. 

Difficulties with static content

Often we are suggested of using static content for smaller projects and depending on the requirements, it makes sense too. However, there are a few complications that can arise with it:

  • The initial workings of an HTML were not meant to manage complex arrangements of files. It was only for small budget websites with limited content. 
  • Making edits to the project like adding a new item to a navigation bar requires shuffling between too many HTML files. 
  • Similarly, if you want to make any change to the static content, you need to go through an entire process of the HTML files. 

Things to consider while moving the static site to a CMS 

In order to make sure that the transition to dynamic content is manageable, mobile-responsive, and accessible, consider these pointers beforehand: 

  • The amount of content (pages, images, posts, JavaScript files) you want to migrate 
  • If you want to retain the existing domain name 
  • The current URL structure 
  • Compatibility of modules of CMS with external services 

With these are in check, the next part is taking care of the requirements of migration: 

  • Evaluate the current website 
  • Import the structure, content and design from the static site 
  • Set up the CMS environment 
  • Back up of both the HTML and CMS 
  • Deal with broken links and other migration issues 

Why Migrate?

The subsequent important question to answer is - why at all should you take the pain of migrating your static site? 

Here’s why: 

  • You can easily manage the ever-growing content with a CMS and do away with the HTML pages. 
  • The two elements - Content and presentation - get separated and thus can be dealt with individually. 
  • The SEO gets sorted with a CMS as it addresses Meta Tags, URL Patterns and Sitemap.
  • The site owners and editors have full control over the display and architecture and do not remain dependent on developers 
  • The workflow of the content becomes better 
  • Uniformity for the entire site can be maintained 
  • Open Source CMSs like Drupal are more scalable for your business

Why switch to a CMS? 

Even if we are convinced that we should migrate, why CMS is a wise choice for it? Here’s why:

Your website, your terms 

Elements like uploading an image or content on a web page is a task with static sites built on HTML. Having a CMS like Drupal allows you to update and edit the content of your website without requiring a web developer. It will empower you to build a dynamic site with a better user experience that you can customise easily. 

HTML not required

Drupal as a CMS comes with a WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get). Thus, using a CMS to create blog posts, content on a new web page or make changes in the placement becomes super fun and easy.  

Easy redesigning of the website

The workings of the CMS separates the design from the content. In case you want to change the look and feel of the site, the old design can be replaced without hampering the content. 

User-friendly 

Even for the end-user, a site on CMS is much organized. It generates more traffic, thus more revenue from the audience. As a user-friendly platform, it gives easy access to the users for customizing the site. 

Drupal Migration Tools that can help

  • Core migrate API: Provides a framework for migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 only.
  • Migrate Plus and Migrate Tool: Provides an option to migrate content from CSV, JSON, Excel and XML Files.
  • Migrate File: Movement of media resources to Drupal.

Conclusion

With these issues in mind, moving to a CMS seems to be a wise option. If you are planning to build a site majorly based on content or design, choose a CMS to have a hassle-free site and enjoy the editor experience for yourself. Open source CMS like Drupal gives you the freedom to design your own content without the hindrances from the development team. 

Still, confused? Reach out to our experts at [email protected] and know more about the CMS services.  

Dec 13 2019
Dec 13

A number of significant improvements have been introduced with Drupal 8.8. The update was released in December 2019 and significantly deprecated a lot of elements in the process of preparing the codebase for Drupal 9. The release has mostly focused on improving the management and contribution that will aid the impending update.

Let’s take a tour of updates introduced in Drupal 8.8.0

a woman typing on a laptop keyboard

#1 Media embedding in Drupal 8.8!

Like a final nail in the coffin, we have received the much-awaited media embedding update in this release. With the WYSIWYG integration, Drupal 8.8 completed the decade long wait for the site builders.  

The poorly handled media embedding is now easier for the content creators who wish to develop and integrate media embedding. 

#2 Claro is now a contributed project

The responsive theme, Claro is the new Drupal admin theme with an improved look and enjoyable perspective. As a new administration theme, it will bring a fresh design perspective to Drupal. Here’s a before and after screenshot for comparison. 

Clearly, the clean, concise, and enhanced look adds to the web accessibility factor, too. In Dries Buytaert’s feedback, the Claro theme has never looked this better or more accessible. 

#3 Composer in Drupal core initiative

With multiple composer plugins and templates launched in this release, Drupal development will become more in line with the PHP standards. The PHP dependency management tool will have Drupal/core-composer-scaffold, Drupal/core-vendor-hardening, and Drupal/legacy-project as the new components that will support an easy transition path for sites. 

#4 JSON:API module to be prompt and fast

The Drupal 8.8 update empowered and resolved these issues:

  • The include paths are now resolved for every resource in a resource collection. 
  • The resource normalization is no more leveraged or shared
  • And the resourceTypeRepository computes ResourceType value objects on every request

These changes prompted a growing ecosystem of contributed modules and thus, the JSON:API can create faster working and communication by eliminating the need for an ad-hoc code. Additionally, this update opened gates for an API-first future for Drupal websites with improved capabilities. 

#5 The Content Moderation and Workspaces modules are now compatible to be used together! 

This is an update for the two core modules for content workflows: Content Moderation (D8.3) and Workspaces (D8.6)

Earlier the two modules used to create a clash in the latest revision and showed only the latest workspace-specific revision. Now, the workspace can be published to Live now without entities requiring to reach a publishable moderation state for entities in draft (non-default/unpublished) moderation states in a workspace. They both can work in sync and create custom workflows too with interesting capabilities.

#6 End of life for jQuery UI from the Drupal core

In the process of switching to JavaScript solutions only phase, the Drupal core is doing away with jQuery UI which allowed developers to add experience components to their code. This collection of widgets is being deprecated for now and will be permanently removed in the upcoming Drupal 9. For modules and themes dependent on it will have to find a replacement contributed to the project. 

#7 Configuration Management improvements

If your settings are still on $config_directories, you need to make a move. Either to $settings or another storage option. This change began with Drupal Configuration Initiative 2.0 implemented in the release of Drupal 8.6. 

Now, the Drupal 8.8 configuration management will see new improvements starting with relief for developers who had to rely on contrib solutions such as Config Split for separating the development configuration.

#8 Path aliases have been converted to revisionable entities

A new path_alias revisionable content entity type will now provide custom URL aliases in Drupal 8.8. Its hook is deprecated and it recommends code changes for the new system that will be launched with Drupal 9. 

#9 Help topics are now searchable with Experimental Module

As a new Experimental module, plugin-based help topics can now be added, along with a few new help topics. Developers can provision helpful instructions in Twig files, the topics can be categorized according to complexity and tasks, and you can add help topics from the browser.

Outcome 

These updates are surely a huge shift from the existing Drupal 8 version. More than being a way of advancing, it is a wake-up call for many who are still on Drupal 7. 

The next Drupal 8.9 release will give closure to Drupal 8 updates and give way to Drupal 9. It will not make Drupal 8 insignificant but will surely affect the current workings. We are super excited to welcome the all-new Drupal 9!

Drop us a line at [email protected] to know more about Drupal 9 and our plans. 

 

Nov 22 2019
Nov 22

Drupal 8 is on the edge of transformation and it’s just a couple of months before Drupal 9 will take over. However, the version update will not eliminate the workings of Drupal 8 and instead deprecate gradually. 

This brings a lot of new attention to the software and many look forward to being a part of the Drupal Community. In case you are one of them, then these are some advice for novices in the world of Drupal by our very own experts at OpenSense Labs. 

a man checking boxes on a list with a pen


#1 Git and Version System in Drupal Projects

As a seeking Drupal developer, Git is your starting point. You got to commit and train yourself with git in order to brush your Drupal skills. You have to understand how branches and tags help you in finding the correct module/theme you have to use on your website. 

#2 PHP Language

The programming language, PHP, is a basic one to acquire before getting into Drupal. However, with Drupal 8 being built on Symfony, a developer should be familiar with the PHP frameworks, too. The existing Drupal core and modules help you implement changes without needing to code. 

#3 Drupal Security Guard

Security is one of the strongest suits of Drupal. However, in order to maintain it, you require the highest level of expertise that tirelessly keeps up with the threats. You should be able to contribute to the maintenance of the Drupal site along with the updates that help in keeping the website secure. 

#4 Package Managers

Making work easier for developers, package managers are useful in the installation of external libraries and frameworks. Composer is one of the package managers that can be installed for tools like Drush. 

#5 Command Line interfaces (CLIs)

Knowing how to manage CLIs helps in administering repetitive tasks. With Drush, Drupal’s own CLI tool, your implementation becomes better and efficient. Another important CLI tool is Drupal Console. 

#6 Twig Templating Engine

Since Drupal 8 moved to the Symfony framework, Twig became a necessity for development. The knowledge of templating with Twig engine will give you an edge over others. 

#7 Drupal Modules Bank

One of the primary points of Drupal is the abundance of modules. For each and every website needs, there are multiple modules that can assist you. With different versions and maintenance requirements, the knowledge of modules becomes an asset. As a Drupal developer, you should be aware of all aspects of how the modules can be optimized and the website can be enhanced in the best way possible. There are 2,816 number of themes and 44,291 active modules on drupal.org for you to try your hands on.  

#8 Theming Ninja

An interesting concept in itself, Drupal theming is a vital part of the web development process. You should be well aware of its working. Given the customization clients seek these days, theming is your go-to friend to tailor the needs. 

#9 Debugging Pro

Debugging is a skill to master for Drupal developers. With a lot of breaking and fixing requirements that do come your way during the process, knowing how to debug helps in avoiding the friction within the team and also with the client. 

#10 Core Functioning Fun

For a developer to enter the open source space, the core functionality of the CMS should be a strong case. As Drupal has a different CMS functioning, the flow is an important thing that you should be comfortable with. 

#11 Contribution Cases

Not a skill, but it is advisable for the budding drupal developers of today. Drupal community is a fantastic place to learn and grow your expertise. You also get to meet other developers in the industry and gives an opportunity to directly gain exposure from the experts across the globe. 

#12 A Style Guide Expert

After theming and modules, the style guide is the next thing to pick up. To achieve an excellent user experience and comfort, the design has to take the center seat in web development. But as a Drupal developer, you have to build the style guide and pattern libraries which has a basic typography and color palette. Keep in mind, there are a lot of minute details that define how your style guide will come out to be. 

#13 Utilize Configuration System

A configuration system aligns the development process in a seamless fashion. The workflow adopted by the developer via the conf system helps other team members to update and test configuration locally. However, the key is to make the entire team understand it and have them participating in the process. 

#14 Core and Non-core Stuff

Once you still Drupal, there are two folders titled ‘modules’ and ‘themes’. One might get confused that they can put the contributed modules and themes in them. However, do not make that mistake. There are separate folders of the same name in the ‘sites’ folder. The former folders are the core Drupal installation which needs timely updating. Do not mix the core and non-core folders o code that can pose to be an issue later.

#15 Maintenance Mode 

You should keep your site hidden in case you are planning to put it into maintenance mode and it’s still developing. However, do not log out of the site or you will not be able to access it either. 

And that’s a wrap of advice from our end. Now it’s your turn to deep dive into the world of Drupal and try it first hand. Witness it, enrich it and share your experience with us at [email protected]

Also, connect with us on our social media channels: FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter for more such insights. 

Nov 08 2019
Nov 08

From gated content to event enrollments, social logins and easy registration are the go-to for many sites now. The website captures data and permissions from your social accounts and gives you access to the content. There are modules primarily dedicated to integrate social accounts and run the process. 

Drupal offers many modules for seamless integration of social logins for your website. 

Let’s skim through the list and their features! 

a man scanning the phone for login

Check out this list of modules for social login in Drupal 8 and choose the one that suits you best:

OneAll Social Login

Offering 35+ social networks to login from, the OneAll Social Login is a significant module that can benefit you. It is fully compliant with European (GDPR) and U.S. data protection laws. The module monitors changes constantly and automatically updates APIs for a smooth run of the logins. The simplified process helps increase the registration rate, too.

Social Auth

A commonly used module, Social Auth is part of the Social API. It possesses its own content entity and stores all data in the database. With this Drupal 8 module, visitors can register on the website via 30 social networks including Slack, Reddit, Uber, and more.   

Auth0 Single Sign On

It provides a login form powered by Auth0. With implementing authentification for platforms like GitHub and Twitter, Auth0 Single Sign On is another top module in the list. 

Social Auth Google

Primarily for Google account, the Social Auth Google module can help you register and log in with any social site. It performs the authentication on your behalf and gives seamless access.  

Hybrid Auth Social Login

With the aid of the HybridAuth library, this module integrates Drupal and allows the login and registrations for the visitors on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live, Instagram, AOL, and much more. The HybridAuth Social Login doesn’t depend on external services or load any external CSS or JS files for the authentification process. 

However, it relies on a third-party open source PHP library, HybridAuth, developed and supported on GitHub. 

uLogin (advanced version)

A selective range of forms is available in this module for the social logins to be integrated with your Drupal site. Written in compliance with Drupal coding standards, uLogin has several widgets with default settings that are configurable through UI. The module gives you options to remove username and password fields from the user profile edit form.

Varbase Social Single Sign-On

Varbase module is built using Social API and adds single sign-on using your social networking services. It is supported by the Drupal 8 version and even if installed with the Minimal or Standard profile.

Social Auth Facebook

It is a direct module for Facebook and allows users to register/login to the Drupal site via a Facebook account. The scope of the website’s request is wider and based on the authentication with Facebook services. The module also compares the user id or email address facilitated by Facebook. It automatically accepts the login if it is a returning user to the site.

Social Auth Twitter 

Similar to the above two, this is also exclusive to Twitter. It allows the user to register and login to your Drupal site and is based on Social Auth and Social API. 

The Social Auth Twitter module lets you compare the user id or email address once Twitter brings you back to the site.

Social Auth LinkedIn 

This module allows websites to request any scopes and users to register/login to your Drupal site with the LinkedIn account. The Social Auth LinkedIn module lets you compare the user id or email address once LinkedIn brings you back to the site. The ‘LinkedIn’ button lets you initiate the login in the social auth block.

Conclusion

These modules will definitely support the login process of your website and placidly run the integration. With each module having its own significance one can only decide for themselves which suits them the best.

We at OpenSense Labs have a pioneering experience in site building with Drupal 8 and its modules. For the best of services contact us at [email protected]

Also, connect with us on our social media channels: FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter for more such insights. 

Oct 16 2019
Oct 16

Events like BADCamp and alike are staples for our team at OpenSense Labs. We thrive on the onsets of such camps and Drupal community affairs. Last week, our team attended the BADCamp 2019 from 2-5 October in Berkeley, California.   

Engrossed in the activities from the planning and organizing of the camp to sponsoring and speaking at the sessions, we were thrilled to be a part of such an astounding camp.

BADCamp photo

 
This year, the 4-days long event organized in Berkeley had a great lineup of sessions and training events for us to make the most of it. 

As a Contrib sponsor, we had a dedicated booth at the sponsor area. The team had a great time connecting with fellow Drupalers, budding developers and community members who share a common mission and philosophy. Our cool t-shirts and Drupal stickers were a hit among the community! As a Drupal agency, helping and strengthening the community with people across the globe is the best thing about Drupal for us. 

With more engaging conversations and making new friends, it gives us immense pleasure to say that BADCamp 2019 was a success. Let’s hear it from the team now! 

Vidhatanand V

CEO, OpenSense Labs
Vid at BADcamp 2019


Over the course of four amazing days, BADCamp 2019 was an exceptional Drupal event for us to be a part of in Berkeley! From connecting with the community across the globe to having the best of social gatherings, we had a great time. I would like to say thanks to everyone who came to my session on Federated Search. Apart from being an opportunity to share my experience, it also helped me grow and learn from the discussions that followed. It was a great experience presenting a session on the federated search and absolutely loved how it turned into an engrossing discussion. It’s always a good feeling sharing knowledge, after all its a drupal community.

With a lot of professional experiences that we take home, we now look forward to another spectacular year of friendly faces, engaging conversations, and activities in 2020.

Thank you, BADCamp! 

Devanshu Arora

Business Head, OpenSense Labs
Dev at BADCamp 2019


Being one of the largest Drupal events in the West, BADCamp is one of my favorite events. As a second time exhibitor and third-time attendee, we were excited to reunite with the community in Berkeley this year. It was incredibly well organized and full of experiences.

Having a dedicated table at the sponsor area, Vid and I were able to hold fun discussions with the fellow community members and made new friends, too. Anne Stefanyk’s session on How to Work Remotely had great takeaways. Platform.sh as usual, hosted a fantastic social.

It was so great to be back in the Bay Area and I cannot wait to see what more can unfold in 2020!

Until next time!

 

Thank you BADCamp for a remarkable experience! And thanks to everyone who attended BADCamp and stopped by our booth to say hi. It was our pleasure to be a sponsor and we are glad we could help and contribute.  

You can access our session on Federated Search here.

Next Up

We are heading to the Netherlands for DrupalCon next week! With more exciting sessions on Content Marketing and Theming of Drupal 8, our team is all set to contribute as a silver sponsor at DrupalCon Amsterdam 2019. 

Oct 04 2019
Oct 04

The Drupal community is one of the largest open source communities in the world. Each year, we meet at Drupal Camps, meet-ups, and other events organized around the world. 

But the biggest event, DrupalCon, happens twice every year. It is a platform where developers, designers, and marketers come together to explore the most ambitious and cutting edge case studies. It offers prospective users, a glimpse into “the art of the possible” when you choose Drupal. It is a collaborative event where anyone can learn to use Drupal to make the Internet a better place. 

This year, OpenSense Labs is a silver sponsor of DrupalCon Europe 2019 to be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
 

Join us for the Sessions
Session 1 details on content marketing


What you will learn?

  • How to divide the right content strategy for your agency 
  • Which form of content works best?
  • How do you measure the success of your content strategy
  • Creating the right lean team for helping you achieve the content goals?
  • Which channel should you use, to market your content?

Session 2 on Drupal 8 theming

Theming Drupal 8 is a challenging job and not many are aware of how to smartly theme the e-commerce sites. Here are some major components which we will focus on in this session:

  • Product pages
  • Product-level field variables 
  • product variation level variables 
  • Checkout flows 
  • Creating flow as per requirement 
  • Customizing checkout progress 

Be in touch!

We can’t wait to talk to you about the amazing offers our team has for you. Ask us about our Agency++ programs to scale higher and discover more about higher-ed and e-learning systems. We have loads to unveil at DrupalCon Amsterdam!
So, swing by our booth and our team would love to meet and connect with you.

You can register now to be a part of the event.

Jun 14 2019
Jun 14

A lot of buzz around “Decoupled Drupal” is taking place and it has quickly become ubiquitous in the industry. Drupal has won hearts by embracing the newest of technology and presenting the best of possibilities. The full separation of the structure from the content has aided the content management systems with appropriate means to accelerate the pace of innovation. 

In this blog, we will address some loaded questions of what, why and when of Decoupled Drupal for you. 

A headless robot

Decoupled Drupal Is For You

Rendering a separate framework for front-end and back-end content management experience, Decoupled Drupal provides for a content presentation that is completely devoid of the content management. It is also known as ‘Headless Drupal’, where the head refers to the front-end rendering or the presentation of the content and the ‘body’ attributes to the backend storage. 

Addressing the 3 Ws: Why, What, When 

In this section, we will take one head at a time and examine the core functionalities of Decoupled (Headless) Drupal. 

Why Decoupled?

Being a flexible framework for developing websites, web/native apps and similar digital products, Decoupled Drupal allows for designers and front-end developers to build without limitations. As an organisation you can leverage a decoupled approach for progressive web apps, and native apps. Decoupled Drupal has created a noise in the community with its divide and conquer development strategy.

What’s your Intention?

Your intentions always determine the outcome, i.e., how your product will be built with the Decoupled Drupal. For the developers working on it, here are a few scenarios and their outcomes: 

  • In case of standalone websites/applications, decoupled Drupal might not be a wise choice. 
  • For multiple web applications and websites, decoupled Drupal can be leveraged in two different ways. 
  • When building non-web native apps, you can employ decoupled Drupal to attain a content repository without its own public-facing front end.
flow chartSource: Dri.es

Once the intentions are clear, the next step is to see if it can be executed given a proper apparatus. Here are a few questions that should influence your decision to choose decoupled Drupal: 

  • Is it right for your project and your team?
  • Do you have a strong grasp on your data needs?
  • Evaluate if your current hosting provider can support this architecture
  • Are you prepared to handle the complexity of serving content to multiple clients?
  • Do the URL alias values have a unique identifier that makes API requests easy?
  • Can your metadata logic power meta tags, JSON-LD, analytics to be generated with standardised rules?
  • Where are menus created, ordered, and managed? 
  • Do you have an architecture that supports combining multiple redirect rules into a single redirect?

When to Decouple

By now we have established enough facts that Decoupled Drupal is a package full of advantages. It’s time to delve deeper and seek the accuracy of circumstances in which it can be put into effect: 

Decoupled Drupal allows for designers and front-end developers to build without limitations

Resources 

Progressively decoupling the Drupal requires a separate development of the backend and front-end and thus, separate resources are a mandate. Two individually capable teams that can collaborate and support makes for a successful decoupled Drupal. 

Multiple Channels

 The faculty of publishing content and data across platforms and products can affect the way you become headless.

Applicable Content

 Decouple is a great fit if you already have an interactive data. Visualisations, animations, and complex user flows pushes for frameworks like Ember, React, Vue JS or Angular.

Drupal Interface

Sometimes, a rich interface and built-in features can hinder the work. Even Drupal’s flexible content model to store content requires a different interface for adding and managing that content in some cases. 

When Not to Decouple

Inversely, it is equally important to know what situations might not be healthy for a decoupled Drupal to thrive. Gauge these possibilities to rule out situations/project:

  • Drupal has the advantage to leverage a huge pile of free modules from the open source community. But with the decoupled Drupal, the ability to easily “turn-on” the front-end functionality goes out of the window. The separate content management system eliminates this likelihood of managing your website front-end directly. 
  • Drupal’s front-end proficiency should align with your front-end requirement. Absence of a systematic match can land your decoupled dream in doubts.  

Conclusion

There’s no confusion about the abilities of Decoupled Drupal. It’s your business requirements that should fit in like a puzzle with the headless architecture. With necessary technical leadership skills and expertise in this web infrastructure, you can sail your decoupling aspirations to the other end. 

We’d love to hear your feedback on our social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

And do not forget to share more ideas at [email protected]

May 31 2019
May 31

With Drupal 9 on the verge of release in June 2020, the Drupal community has about 18 months to map out a transition plan. The latest versions of Drupal in recent times saw a major breakthrough from the past versions. As the philosophy of development has changed, Drupal 9 is said to be built in Drupal 8 and the migration will be super easy this time.

Released in 2011, Dries announced the end-of-life (EOL) for Drupal 7 to be due in November 2021 after serving for more than 8 years. However, many people are still on Drupal 7 given the compatibility issues in the two versions which caused major disruption and migration became a task for developers. However, the new philosophy makes it easier to plan and anticipate any unforeseen obstacles that you may encounter. Are you prepared for it?

Planning for Drupal 9?

Launching with the objective to modernise the dependencies such as Twigs and Symfony and to remove support of deprecated APIs, Drupal 9 is making its way into the Drupal community soon.

Every new information being released about the update and new features is gearing us up for the big leap. The first and foremost action to be taken in consideration is to plan and upgrade no later than the summer of 2019. Experts believe, as long as your modules are updated with minor releases like Drupal 8.7 and the upcoming Drupal 8.9 in December 2019, there won’t be much to worry during the main release of Drupal 9. Being upto date with Drupal 8 is a crucial step for adaptability and easier usability in the future.  

Dries Buytaert wrote recently in a blog:

‘’Instead of working on Drupal 9 in a separate codebase, we are building Drupal 9 in Drupal 8. This means that we are adding new functionality as backwards-compatible code and experimental features. Once the code becomes stable, we deprecate any old functionality.’’
Timeline of Drupal versions

What’s New in Drupal 9?

With a lot of buzz around the new features to be delivered, let’s understand few important reasons for the strategic release of Drupal 9:

  • The innovative model of Drupal 8 had new releases every six months which led to adding of new features and enabling improved ways of problem solving. However, Drupal 9 will deprecate the codes which are needed for backward compatibility. In the process, it will provide an opportunity to remove the codes and anything else that is no longer needed.
  • As of now, Drupal needs to adhere to the vendor support life cycles and integrates with common PHP projects like Twig and Symfony. But the third-party dependencies will reduce with Drupal 9 and we’ll have supported versions of software for a long time such as Twig 2 and Symfony 4/5.

Why upgrade Drupal 8 when Drupal 9 is coming?

Drupal 9 is not being built on a new core and its functionalities will not look alien to Drupal 8 users. Instead, they will be added to D8 as backward-compatible code. Only with time and familiarity, as the new features will hold a stable position and mark their success, the older counterparts will be deprecated. As a result, D9 will be stripped of all deprecated code and only the complete collection of stable features will be termed as Drupal 9.

For example, in Drupal 8.0.0, the Drupal::l($text, $url) was deprecated. Instead of using \Drupal::l(), you can use Link::fromTextAndUrl($text, $url). The \Drupal::l() function was marked for removal as part of some clean-up work.

What does it Mean…

With no new paradigms of development and yet being a big leap, how will Drupal 9 change the workings?

For Core Contributors:

Your tasks will get limited in Drupal 9 even before the release. Making the quality robust and release more predictable, new features will remove deprecated functionality and lead to Drupal's dependencies to a minimum.    

For contributed module authors

Similarly, authors can also start working on the compatibility issues before the release as their Drupal 8 know-how will still remains relevant in Drupal 9 with no dramatic changes in the core.

For Drupal site owners

The release of Drupal 9 will make the upgradation much easier for site owners. It will be the same as Drupal 8, only with its deprecated codes removed. According to the experts, keeping your modules and themes stay up-to-date with the latest Drupal 8 APIs will do and a 12- to 18-month upgrade period will be sufficient.

What happens to module, profile and theme maintainers?

Though existing Drupal 8 sites have a year and a half to upgrade to Drupal 9, the technology in Drupal 9 would be already battle-tested in Drupal 8. The set of tasks for module and theme maintainers involve getting updated with the new and better APIs. It would be a mandate to check if your code is compatible with Drupal 9 as it may hold invalid when sites migrate. However, do not wait till the release of Drupal 8.8 which is expected at the end of 2019. As six months will be a limited time to upgrade to Drupal 9 for complex codes, it’s advisable to start assessing now.

How to Prepare for Drupal 9

The big catch in this whole drill of migration is to make sure that you no longer use the deprecated codes. Following are few ways suggested by Acquia:

  • Be updated with Drupal 8 features and modules
  • Create a report for deprecation using Drupal Check.
  • Check for your active modules which might be deprecated at api.drupal.org
  • Address a consolidated list of errors that can occur and need upgradation to Drupal 9 by generating a ‘’readiness assessment’’.
  • Use the latest versions of dependencies in line with Drupal 9.
Drupal 9 loading

Wrapping it up

As Drupal 9 will emerge as a phoenix from the ashes of Drupal 8, Buytaert sums it up best, “The big deal about Drupal 9 is that…it should not be a big deal.”

Excited? Have questions about how Drupal 9 will impact your site? Want to chalk out a plan for upgradation? We are here to help. Drop a line to our experts at [email protected].

May 14 2019
May 14

Long awaited and much needed in the pipeline, the Layout Builder was finally launched in May 2019. With an ambition to create a content tool that can provide more power and flexibility than comparable systems, the Drupal community had been working on a super progressive visual tool for more than a year. Earlier, the digital marketers had restricted templates to work with and were not satisfied with clunky design experiences. However, in the recent launch of Drupal 8.7.0, Dries Buytaert stated that the new layout builder will be able to manipulate different types of content and unleash unique and trend setting features. The feature of layouts for templated and customised content is crucial for websites with large amounts of content. 

For websites with heavy content, the Layout Builder has enhanced Drupal’s ability to handle “structured content” now. 

A man climbing a ladder in the sky


Originally introduced as an experimental module in Drupal 8.5, the primary focus of the layout builder was to develop a drag and drop WYSIWYG tool. Relying on a third-party software was getting painstaking for many and Drupal became one of the first CMS to take this risk. This layout builder offers full compatibility with revisions, workflows, and in-context previews. It is a single, powerful and visual design tool that creates layout templates that can speed up the development process for the site builders. The accessible, mobile-friendly page building tool allows content authors to easily customise individual pages with unique layouts too.

With 123 individuals and 68 organisations contributing, the Drupal 8.7 comes with this promising layout builder.

Advantages of Layout Builder

The shifting focus in the website development has lead to Layout Builder emerging as the most exciting CMS visual design tool. Let’s explore its reasons: 

  • You can create layout templates for a specific content type, such as blog posts, products pages, landing pages, etc. 
  • Layout builder empowers to customise the template layouts and override them on a case-by-case basis. 
  • It enables you to create custom landing pages that are not tied to a content type or structured content. 
  • The tool passes Drupal’s accessibility gate(Level AA conformance with WCAG and ATAG) with a stable state for production. 
  • The updated version in Drupal 8.7 allows streamlining mass-production while supporting unique creation.
  • The drag-and-drop management of your content blocks is now possible with the new layout builder 
  • Additionally, it supports keyboard controls and toggling the content preview on and off to give the content editor complete control of their experience while building their layouts.

With 123 individuals and 68 organisations contributing, the Drupal 8.7 comes with this promising layout builder. Moreover, 40 above individual contributors volunteered for the success of this release. 

Improved Layout Builder in Drupal 8.7

Translation Support

As the layout builder has improved features for translation, there are two approaches that can be taken here:

  • Synchronised approach translation: For multilingual sites that have the same layout, all the content and fields are automated. In other words, any text entered with layout builder is translated automatically for you. 
  • Independent approach translation: On the other hand, if you want different layouts for two different languages or take a localisation approach to the site, you can have independent and individual translations for them too.

Usability 

From Drupal 8.6 to Drupal 8.7, the usability has drastically improved:

  • You can now narrow down the list of block available and add several tweaks to it. 
  • Contextual links are used to add shortcuts. The Drupal community is re-evaluating the usage as it is essential from the UI point of view. 
  • Except for minor alterations, the layout builder now gives real-time updates based on changes made in sidebar.

Accessibility 

The usability is always inter-connected with accessibility. If it isn’t accessible, it is not usable for obvious reasons. The revamped version has features like:  

  • Improved usage of Drupal announce and ARIA attributes.
  • Now you can easily access the keyboard to action commands like save, discard, or revert from anywhere on the page. 
  • The tabledrag can get confusing for many. You can create a tabledrag-based UI to make all changes at once in the layout builder with Drupal 8.7. 

New Media Library

A new, stylish and with a handy user interface, Drupal 8.7 introduces us with numerous improvements in the Media Library:

  • The highlighted design and accessibility of the user interface makes way for inline media creation in the library itself. 
  • The process of searching the media items in the library, from bulk uploading them to the selection of media items and embedding them into the content is also a smooth run with the new version.
  • The Media module also allows reuse of images, documents, efficiently managed drag-and-drop function and provides a more flexible grid and table views. 
  • The media module in sync and stable with this media library and will further improve with the upcoming Drupal 8.8 release.
Screenshot of how to add new media in Layout Builder

Revisions in Custom menu links & Taxonomy

The following revisions in the 8.7.0 release aim to enhance the overall performance of the Layout Builder:

  • It allows the Custom menu links and taxonomy terms to fully participate in the editorial workflows. 
  • They have been revised for improved integration and core support for the Workspaces module with a new Update API for help in conversion of further entity types. 
  • The schema of any content entity type can now be converted between non-revisionable or non-translatable and revisionable or translatable. 

Automatic Entity 

Among many additions, there has been few subtractions as well: 

  • The support for automatic entity updates was removed due to data integrity issues and its conflicts. 
  • The drush entity:updates (drush entup) command stands nullified and the entity changes will now be performed using standard update procedures.

Internet Explorer 9 and 10

The workaround that still existed in D8.5 and D8.6 also gets removed as the *.7.0 release says goodbye to Internet Explorer 9 and 10. The workaround used to allow the inclusion of 32+ stylesheets. 

Check out Buytaert’s demo video showing the Layout Builder in action with Drupal 8.7.0.  

[embedded content]

On the way to Drupal 9

The major release of Drupal 9 planned for June 2020 will open new doors for the layout builder. It will update dependencies primarily on Symfony as the optional support for Symfony 4 is expected to complete by 8.8 version. Further, a better feedback on the compatibility can be obtained as we testing Drupal with updated third-party dependencies in this version. Drupal 8.7.0 also includes an optional support for Twig 2 (for sites that can patch their Composer configuration). 

Conclusion

New improvements in terms of keyboard navigation accessibility, precise permissions, layout overrides, and column width selection has given a stable outlook to the Layout Builder and it is ready to work on live sites. The process of constructing pages “brick by brick” with a combination of elements, configuration of blocks, and drag-and-dropping feature is an easy and enjoyable one. 

Check out the new Drupal 8.7.0 version and share your views with us in the comments! We’d also like to hear from you at [email protected].

 

Mar 03 2019
Mar 03

Consistency is a key element in two things, success and web development and both go hand in hand when working on developing a website, either from scratch or revamping an existing one. What aids this consistency is the ability to recognise a pattern that is often repeated in the process and then followed for achieving a common result.

Raindrops on a patterned fence


Ensuring a consistent and easy to maintain website is one of the biggest headaches faced by large organisations. This is the exact gap where the suggestion of creating a pattern library as the solution can come into the picture.

But what are pattern libraries? And how can they be put to use? Let’s find out! 

Pattern libraries aid in using easy elements and styles in a project in order to document the visual language of a site, promote consistency, provide user control and reduce cognitive load.

What is a Pattern Library?

The primary attraction of a pattern library is that the time taking process of building new features and pages is reduced to a minimum

The importance of Pattern libraries gained attention in the tech space when developers started understanding the benefits of having readymade components for projects. In this era of wanting quick and easy fixes, the primary attraction of a pattern library is that the time taking process of building new features and pages is reduced to a minimum. Thus, the main purpose is to help create consistent websites that are easy to maintain and become a solid part of the design and development process. A pattern library works in a way that it documents all ‘patterns’ (also known as modules) to defines what they look like and how they behave and code.

Style Guides, Pattern Libraries, Design Systems

Style guides, pattern libraries and design systems may hold similar implication for designers and developers, but they exist as individual entities. Also, style guides and pattern libraries( also known as component libraries) may co-exist together to form complete and coherent design systems for a product. Let’s explore the difference between them in detail. 

Typically encompassing a company’s branding guidelines, including components like logo usage, designated color palettes, and editorial tone, a Style Guide is a collection of pre-designed elements to be followed to ensure consistency and a cohesive experience at the end. It is often wrapped as a whole by the company as a deliverable to work with vendors in partnerships. They can directly influence the look and feel of a Pattern Library with the basic difference being that Style Guides can have a standing without data, while Pattern Libraries do rely on some data to function.

On the other side, a Pattern Library often confine static UI elements, being a storage for your components  like articles, headers, galleries, dropdown menu, accordion, and even common web page layouts, like grids. Though style guides do not always worry about context and relationships with data, UI elements and their application in the overall user experience depend largely on context and the interplay with content. Thus, Pattern Libraries focus on interface design, and would not include rules that apply globally to print or other mediums.

This brings us to the Design system joining the dots between a style guide and a pattern library to define the principles relating to the way in which components should exert together. It defines how a layout should work being a form of product documentation which contains everything that helps with delivering the outcome.
 
Often influenced by a style guide, a pattern library usually includes HTML snippets or living documentation for website components which are well-documented and responsive. For instance, pattern libraries can include –

  • Buttons
  • Images
  • Hero 
  • Elements
  • Sliders
  • Galleries
  • Navigation
  • Articles

Why do you need a pattern library?

We have reached an understanding that pattern libraries escalate productivity, but how and in what ways it makes it possible on the ground level? Following are the three-fold benefits of pattern libraries:

Consistency

Development of big sites happens over a prolonged period by a group of developers working on it and requires to be revised regularly. This leads to a fragmented user interface unless everything is in place to ensure consistency.

From Navigation shifts position to form elements, everything has a different format and approach. A pattern library offers a straightforward way to duplicate existing design and functionality on any page of the site for a steady user interface in a fixed frame.

Reusability

If multiple web teams work on multiple sites of different departments in a company, they might end up reinventing the same styles at a considerable cost.

In such cases, a central pattern library can be formulated for reuse functionality and design. A pattern for a particular requirement in the area of responsibility can then be shared with the whole group and also be available for future projects.

This makes a new site or subsection becomes a mere matter of combining these patterns, in much the same way you build something out of Lego bricks.

Easy Maintenance

Having a consistent pattern library that everybody pools from makes the maintenance work easier as seeing all of the pieces in one place makes the task effortless. 

Having coded elements in the same way from the very beginning makes it much elementary for a developer to work on somebody else’s code. Also, for a new developer, work efficiency can speed up by looking at the existing pattern library in use and build the site based primarily on it.

Who is it For?

End User:

From the user’s perspective, websites and products that are familiar and consistent provide a smooth experience along with reducing cognitive load on the user.

Development Team:

For teams to focus on the bigger picture without worrying about pushing pixels, pattern libraries help ship products faster to ensure greater efficiency in internal processes and allowing engineers to re-use existing codes.

Organization:

Providing longevity to big sites which are developed by different people over a prolonged period and revised regularly, Pattern Libraries proves to increase the productivity of the organisation at large.

One of the more popular Pattern Libraries, a static site generator called Pattern Lab, is based on Brad Frost’s Atomic Design concept. There are many others to choose from, but this blog will focus on Pattern Lab being a dynamic prototyping and organization tool.

Pattern Lab is available for download on GitHub and can be used as part of your existing or new projects.

Pattern Lab + Drupal 8 = Emulsify

Logo of Pattern Lab and Drupal = ‘Emulsify’ on a blue background


Emulsify is a component-driven prototyping tool that uses atomic design principle and modern frontend practice to develop a living style guide. It can be easily implemented into any CMS to render twig files as it adopts the methodology where the smallest components are atoms, which are assembled into molecules, organisms, templates, and finally pages.

With the shift for templating in Drupal 8 to Twig, a whole new range of tools are now available for theming.

Emulsify authorises you to assemble and manage components in a way that enhance your workflow by integrating Pattern Lab. The Emulsify based project works with custom template names that are specific to the project, developers, and clients. This segregates category-wise patterns(modules) and increases the proficiency of the process.

Emulsify authorises you to assemble and manage components in a way that enhance your workflow by integrating Pattern Lab

When the templates are all set for production, Emulsify connects them to Drupal in a non-complex way as a Twig function (include, extends, or embed) and connects the Drupal templates to the component files.

Emulsify swears by a "living style guide" approach where the style guide components are the same ones in use on the live site. One doesn’t have to worry about the components becoming obsolete or looking unusual than the style guide.

Also, the components constructed with Emulsify are used on any project, with or without Drupal. In simpler terms, it can be used with any CMS that renders content with Twig, including WordPress. This provides an opportunity to work with any frontend expert in a development team as they will be only working with familiar technologies. However, if your project doesn't use Twig, Emulsify can still be used by designers and front-end developers to build a style guide and then be carried forward by backend developers.

In Conclusion

Though building a pattern library demands a lot of work, but once set, it eases the process for all future projects. You can always take baby steps and start small, with just a lightweight overview of the main patterns and modules, without any detailed documentation. Later, you can always progressively refactor and upgrade the pattern library over time by adding features according to the team need.

Aiming for a full-proof pattern library that solves all problems at once might take a year-long project’s time without immediate, tangible benefits to extract from. 

We at OpenSense Labs provide best of Drupal services in enhancing your development in respect to industry standards. Mail us at [email protected] to connect and know more.

Feb 28 2019
Feb 28

Change is the only constant. That’s the lesson we need to adopt when it comes to embracing Drupal 8 and migrating from Drupal 7. Since the launch of Drupal 8 in 2015, many new challenges have emerged among developers and one of them includes forking Drupal.

Three forks and their shadows falling on a green background


Quoting Dries' opinion on embracing change:

“The reason Drupal has been successful is because we always made big, forward-looking changes. It’s a cliché, but change has always been the only constant in Drupal. The result is that Drupal has stayed relevant, unlike nearly every other Open Source CMS over the years. The biggest risk for our project is that we don't embrace change.”

What is Backdrop CMS?

Backdrop CMS logo with the word ‘backdrop’ written on left and black and white coloured square on right

Backdrop is a Content Management System (CMS) which can be put to use when designing a wide variety of websites from a single administrator's personal blog site to an intricate, multi-role business e-commerce site. It is the perfect fit for comprehensive non-profit, educational, corporate, or government websites.

Being a tool for structuring websites, the core Backdrop CMS package aims to include many useful features, but only those that are necessary for the majority of sites using it. Backdrop can be extended with the addition of modules, themes, and layouts which are easy in nature.

In a way, it allows non-technical users to manage a wide variety of content. It is feature-compatible with Drupal 8 (containing things like Configuration Management Initiative(CMI), WYSIWYG & Views in core), but is built on APIs more similar to those found in Drupal 7.

Evolution of Backdrop CMS

Backdrop CMS started its existence as an offshoot of Drupal. Although Backdrop originates from a common codebase with Drupal, its philosophy and organisation are distinct. Backdrop follows a policy of concentrated releases that account feedback from the community. 

Essentially, for the small to medium sized businesses, non-profits, educational institutions, or any other organisations, who are in need of a comprehensive website on a budget, Backdrop CMS is easy to build and extend. 

Advantages of Backdrop CMS

Both, Backdrop and Drupal projects have different end goals, but emerging from the same original code base, there are areas in which collaboration can benefit both projects. 

  • Along with easier updates, Backdrop is backwards compatible. Backdrop attempts to keep API change to a minimum in order for contributed code to be maintained easily, and for existing sites to be updated affordably.
  • Being simple in its structure, backdrop lets you write code for the majority. It aims to be easy to learn and build upon, even for those with a minimal amount of technical knowledge. Direct implementations are chosen over abstraction, and how things work can be immediately clear and easily documentable.
  • The focus is to include features for the majority. Backdrop core only includes features and tools that benefit the majority of sites that are running it. Also, Backdrop aims to include opinions from individuals who attend trainings, meetups, and camps as well as real-world engagements with consumers.
  • Backdrop can be extended. Backdrop aims to provide a powerful core that can be readily extended through custom or publicly available contributed modules. These additional modules provide desired features that are not incorporated in core due to their complexity or use cases that are too specific.
  • Rendering great performance, Backdrop has low system requirements. Backdrop runs on affordable hosting with very basic requirements. This means not chasing popular trends in technology, but instead adopting common, proven, and learnable systems.
  • Backdrop lets you plan and schedule releases. Each release contains a planned set of features, and is released on time. If a feature is not ready in time for a specific release, the feature gets postponed, but the release is delivered on time. 
  • It gives the freedom to remain free and open source. All codes included with Backdrop are under an Open Source license that allows anyone to use it for free, regardless of their beliefs or intentions.

Why fork Drupal?

There are lots of reasons why Drupal was forked to create Backdrop. These are the most notable ones:

Technical Gap

Though many features in Drupal 8 are identical to those in Drupal 7, the code underneath has little to share resemblance with the Drupal of yesteryear. Developers value maintaining the code that has a proven success rate rather than drifting from the track record of the success.

Coding Principles

The Backdrop community may vary from the Drupal community on some issues that they regard higher, and vice versa. As the principles diverge, so does the code. This justifies the existence of Backdrop.

Niche Audience

Backdrop CMS is dedicatedly targeted at small to medium-sized businesses, non-profits, and education. It best serves the kinds of organisations that need complex functionality, but on a budget.

Graphical representation with blue and green coloured regions to show Drupal evolution from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 and emergence of Backdrop after Drupal 8Source: Quora

Case Studies

The NorCal Hunter Jumper Association is a not-for-profit recreational sports organization that was looking for a better viewing website experience for the membership, mainly on tablets and mobile devices. The new site also needed to be easy for the board and administrators to update and manage. Further, they planned to move board membership nominations, voting, general surveys, and other forms onto the website in the future, including forms that may need credit card processing. Thus, Backdrop was chosen as the medium to integrate all these requirements and following were the results:

  • A finer viewing experience for the members on tablets and mobile devices.
  • Easier updates and management for the board and administrators.
  • Flexible in adding features as the needs of the organization grows.
  • Easy to integrate with other web services.
  • Affordable maintenance and long-term development costs.
A picture of a woman sitting on a horse in the middle of a group of people with tabs on the top of the homepage of NorCal Hunter’s website


BGP Site Solutions is a group of business sites showcasing web publishing experience.

Founded in 2003, BGP Site Solutions has managed nearly 100 web properties with vast experience in performance-based online marketing (Cost per Lead, Cost per Acquisition, Cost per Click), white-hat organic search engine optimization, and web publishing in the marketing verticals of post-secondary education, home services, insurance (auto/health), wine, diet/weight loss/health, financial services, dating, and eldercare/senior services. 

On the other hand, formed in 2011, Authority Media is a leading publisher of career training web properties. The AM goal was to be the most authoritative source of information in each post-secondary education category in which they operate.  

These sites were formerly separate WordPress sites and were hacked multiple times. Thus, security of the website was the need of the hour. 

Since these are both fairly small sites, combining them into a single codebase site offered savings in terms of hosting and maintenance costs. And the multi-site feature offered by Backdrop CMS seemed like the perfect fit.

Two types of services described in two columns below the three hands picking the red coloured screw fittings on the BGP Site Solutions’ website’s homepage


Final Thoughts

Drupal 8 is a huge departure from anything the Drupal community has released in the past and it’s a move towards the enterprise.

Backdrop is not about users but about developers facing challenges in adapting and investing their time to further improve the Drupal platform. That’s where Backdrop aims to fill the gap left and attempting to maintain connectivity and cohesiveness with the larger Drupal community.

Thus, both Drupal 8 and Backdrop are trying to address the problem, in fundamentally different ways.

Still confused? OpenSense Labs provides steadfast solutions and services to empower digital innovation for all enterprises.
Ping us at [email protected] and let us know how we can help you achieve your digital goals.

About Drupal Sun

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

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

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web