Jun 13 2019
Jun 13

Just when you think Drupal couldn’t get any dumber, it goes and adds some great new features….. And TOTALLY redeems itself!


via GIPHY

Released back in November of 2015, Drupal 8 has been slowly but steadily upping its game.

In case you’ve been lost in a jungle for the past couple of years, or maybe you just don’t keep up with that kind of thing, we’ve got you covered.

Here are just some of the things Drupal 8 and soon to be Drupal 9 have us jumping around like crazy apes about.

BigPipe

BigPipe is a technique that was invented by Facebook back in 2009 when they made the site twice as fast, which is an amazing feat in itself. 

How it works, is it first breaks pages up into multiple “sections”, which are then loaded in parallel so your users don’t have to wait for the page to be completely loaded before they can start interacting with it.

Page speed is extremely important, considering 47% of people expect your site to load in less than 2 seconds and 40% will abandon it entirely if it takes longer than 3 seconds.

Not only that, but Google has indicated site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages.

If you care about SEO, you should care about the speed of your pages.

Page SpeedSource: Google Developers

The BigPipe module was included in Drupal 8 core since 8.1 and became stable in 8.3.

Just having BigPipe enabled makes your pages faster with zero configuration needed. We can thank Drupal 8’s improved render pipeline & render API for that.

Yay Drupal 8!

Layout Builder

Drupal’s Layout Builder is probably what we are most excited about. 

For far too long, Drupal has been very restricting when it comes to building pages out and putting the content that you want, where you want it.

Think about if Display Suite and Panels had a baby gorilla. That’s Drupal’s new Layout Builder.

Layout Builder was introduced in Drupal 8.5.0 as an experimental core module, but as of Drupal 8.70, it is now stable and production ready!

It offers a powerful visual design tool and is meant for the following three use cases, according to Drupal.org:

Layouts for templated content. The creation of "layout templates" that will be used to layout all instances of a specific content type (e.g. blog posts, product pages).

Customizations to templated layouts. The ability to override these layout templates on a case-by-case basis (e.g. the ability to override the layout of a standardized product page)

Custom pages. The creation of custom, one-off landing pages not tied to a content type or structured content (e.g. a single "About us" page).

The Layout Builder gives developers/site builders the ability to drag and drop site-wide blocks and content fields into regions within a given layout.

layout builderSource: Drupal.org

With custom and unique landing pages being so important nowadays, this is finally the flexibility and freedom we need!

Media

Media management has always been an afterthought in Drupal. 

Today we consume more videos and pictures than ever, with the likes of Youtube, Instagram and Facebook.

According to Cisco, they predict that video will make up 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2019. That's like.... Today!!

Thanks to the Media in Drupal 8 Initiative, an experimental core media module was introduced in Drupal 8.4. Then in 8.5, it was moved to stable and has gotten even better in Drupal 8.6, with the addition of oEmbed, additional media type support, and a media library.

Media timelineSource: Webwash

Let’s break down all three of these for you.

Additional Media Type Support
Support for local audio, video, images and generic files, along with being able to embed remote YouTube and Vimeo videos.

oEmbed Support
Needed to handle the new remote video media type mentioned above.

Media Library
The most exciting of the three and pretty much speaks for itself as a library of all your media. Can use a grid view, which shows a thumbnail, title, and bulk edit checkbox, or a table view, if you prefer that sort of thing.

All-in-all, media management is still not where it needs to be, but all these additions to core are a massive jump in the right direction.

There is no reason to wait until Drupal 9

If you’re currently on Drupal 6 or 7 and aren’t totally pumped after reading this, you should be.

Finally, Drupal has given us the speed, flexibility, and freedom we need to improve workflow, save time and succeed online. 

What’s even better is that Drupal 9 will essentially be just like another minor core update in Drupal 8. It will be seamless unlike ever before. 

There is just no reason to wait. Make the update today and enjoy all these great features.

Let’s start a conversation about it.

Drupal Development Experts

Jun 10 2019
Jun 10

Why?

Because instead of building a radically new version of Drupal in a separate codebase, Drupal 9 is being built in Drupal 8.

You might be thinking… “Huh?!”

Well, what this means is that the upgrade experience will be as smooth as a monkeys bottom.

Drupal 9 will essentially be just like another minor core update in Drupal 8. 

What is a minor core update? Quite simply, it’s the middle number in the version of Drupal you are running.

Core updates come out roughly every 6 months and keeping your site up-to-date with these is critical in making sure it’s well maintained.

Drupal Patch MeaningPhoto credit: From Acquia webinar

Drupal 9 release date

So when is Drupal 9 expected to be released?

From the information we have so far, it's scheduled for the second quarter of 2020.

So why was this date chosen in the first place?

Simple. A little thing called Symfony 3.

Drupal 8’s biggest dependency is Symfony 3, which has an end-of-life date of November 2021.

This means that after November 2021, developers will not resolve any security bugs in Symfony 3, and Drupal will be in the same situation.

Drupal 9 will be using Symfony 4 or 5 and won’t have to worry about this issue.

Drupal 9 release datePhoto credit: From Acquia webinar

What does this mean for Drupal 6 or 7 sites?

Well, it means you’re missing out on a helluva lot of great new features, you have potential security risks and are flat our hindering yourself from being able to deliver amazing user experiences that will help your business grow.

If you’re on Drupal 6, support ended as far back as February 2016 and you’ve got serious unmitigated security risks.

You’re on Drupal 7, support ends in 2021 and we all know how fast time goes.

If you haven’t started planning or budgeting for this, its time to start now.

The migration from either 6 or 7 to 8/9 is going to be painful and cost-intensive but it will be the last great migration Drupal will need to incur.

Does this resonate with you? Let's chat!
 

Clutch 5 Star Review

Nov 08 2017
Nov 08

Are you almost finished setting up your Drupal website? At a glance, everything might look ready to go.

But, before you hit "publish," you need to make sure you haven't made any mistakes.

A writer proofreads before they post an article. Similarly, a developer should double check their work.

The last thing you want is to go live with your site and have something go wrong. Finding problems before you launch can save some headaches and embarrassment.

We've compiled a pre-launch, Drupal checklist. When it's complete, you'll rest easy knowing that your website is ready to go.

Security

Security is the first on this Drupal checklist because it's so important. Of course you want to rest easy knowing that your site is secure when it launches. You also want your users to have peace of mind knowing that their information is safe.

Double checking your site's security will ensure that there's nothing you've missed that could make you vulnerable to hackers.

File Permissions

Check that you've correctly configured that security permissions on your file permissions. The settings.php file should be secure to protect the information of the database connections.

Admin Account

When you're developing your Drupal page, you use an admin account. Don't forget to secure this account before you launch. If hackers got a hold of this account, the results would be devastating.

Hopefully, when you first started building your site, you renamed your admin account. A name that would be difficult to guess. Obviously, the password to this account should be hard to guess as well.

For added security, you can install the AES module.

Another security measure is to disable PHP error reporting. To do this, go to Site Configuration, then Error Reporting. Set the option to send errors to the log, which will keep them from displaying.

Once you feel comfortable that you're running a tight, safe ship, take care of your 404 errors.

404 Errors

Make sure that missing pages are taken care of. Drupal takes care of that automatically with a 404 error page where there is no block configured.

You can also try the modules Search 404 or 404 Block. The module tries to guess what a user is looking for by searching terms from the original URL.

This is a simple task that makes a difference. The next section gives you a lot more to do.

Modules

There are all sorts of different modules that you'll be using based on your site's needs. These are just some basic things to check that will apply to many sites. Still, assess whether all of these Drupal checklist items are relevant to you.

Disable and Uninstall

Disable any modules you know you don't need. Removing unnecessary modules will help with your website's startup time.

One module to consider uninstalling is the Boost module. This module is generally unnecessary and can interfere with Varnish caching.

You can also disable the server-side statistics module. Instead, use Google Analytics for your site stats. It's much more effective.

The Devels module is also something that could be removed as it's not needed in production. The Database logging core module is also one you could consider replacing with the Syslog core module. It can store logs much faster.

Install

There are some great SEO modules that will boost traffic to your site after you launch.

Some modules that are widely considered must-have SEO modules include XML Sitemap, Metatag, Pathauto, and Redirect.

After you've gotten rid of what you don't need and added the modules you do, move on to the next checklist item.

Drupal Development Experts

Server Configuration

If applicable to your site, you'll want to check upload sizes. This is to allow users to upload large MP3 and MP4 files from your site. To do this, enable your server to upload to a certain size.

Another step many developers forget it to double check email recipients. Make sure that all forms and modules are sending to the correct email addresses.

Now that you've checked those off, move on to making sure your content is ready to go.

Content

In this part of the Drupal checklist, you'll make sure all your content is displaying correctly.

RSS Feed

In Drupal, your RSS Feed is generated automatically. All new content published will automatically go to the front page of your feed.

If you'd like more control over your RSS feed you can use the Views RSS module. That way if you don't want something included in the feed, you can deny access to rss.xml.

Lorem Ipsum

One step people often forget before launching, is to run their site through a lorem ipsum scanner. You might think you've changed all the dummy text. But, if you have lots of pages to comb through, you might have missed some.

Unpublished Content

Ensure unpublished content won't suddenly publish when you're site goes live.

Check the filters on your views. Make sure that customized SQL includes a test of the status column.

If your content is all set, move on to the next category of the Drupal checklist, your site's performance.

Performance

When you launch your site you want to know that it's running at peak performance.

Cacheing

It's imperative that you check that your site's cache is fully configured. Caching will optimize your site's performance speed a great deal.

Views modules should be checked to see if they've done any pages or blocks. They have their cache switched off by default. Check that they are configured.

CSS and Javascript

When you've finished your development process you can compress your CSS and Javascript files.

Is Your Drupal Checklist Complete?

Then it's time to go live! If you've followed each step, you can be confident that your site is ready to be seen by the world.

Are you working on creating a Drupal website?

Tell us about it in the comments!

If you've come across any challenges, we can help. Between everyone on our team, we have over 100,000 hours of experience with Drupal. Contact us and tell us about your project.

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

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