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Dec 17 2020
Dec 17

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Recently, Drupal has been on an update rampage. The introduction of the oh-so-beautiful Drupal 9 core has spurred a chain reaction of upgrades across the Drupal platform. Just this week, we’re getting a new default theme (which is hyper-minimalist and easy-on-the-eyes), a 20% reduction in install times, and automated lazy load for images. But let’s talk about the juiciest UI/UX update that came with Drupal 9 — the standardization of Drupal’s Layout Builder.

If you’ve built a pre-Drupal-9 website over the past few years, you probably dabbled with Panels/Panelizer, WYSIWYG templates, or even custom coding to set up your UX/UI. And that works. We did it for years. But you can throw that worn-out Panelizer module in the trash. The times, they are a-changing. Drupal’s new Layout Builder module combines the core functionality of Panelizer with an out-of-the-box WYSIWYG engine.

First hinted at in 2017, Drupal Layout Builder officially left the onerous Drupal testing pipeline last year as part of Drupal’s 8.7 updates. Despite circulating for a year now, the chaos of 2020 has overshadowed this potent and flexible tool. So, let’s talk about it. Here’s what you need to know about Drupal’s Layout Builder.

What is Layout Builder?

Layout Builder is a WYSIWYG page editing engine that lets you manipulate back-end features via an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface. It’s difficult to overstate just how valuable Layout Builder is when it comes to time-savings. You can create templates in minutes, immediately preview and create content changes, and tweak page-by-page UI/UX features to create more cohesive and on-the-fly websites and landing pages.

At its core, Layout Builder is a block-based layout builder. You can create layouts for either a single page or all content of a specific type. In addition, you can jump in and create rapid-fire landing pages based on your existing design theme. There are three “layers” that Layout Builder operates on to help you build out holistic websites.

  1. Layout templates: You can create a layout template for all content of a specific type. For example, you can make a layout template for your blog posts or a layout template for every product page. This template will be shared across all pages, so you don’t have to go in and rebuild for each content type.
  2. Customized layout templates: You can also go in and make granular changes to a specific layout template. So, if you want a certain product page to be different than the layout template, you can make granular changes to just that page.
  3. Landing pages: Finally, you can create one-off pages that aren’t tied to structured content — like landing pages.

Important: Founder of Drupal — Dries Buytaert — dropped a blog post with some use cases for each of these layers.

To be clear, Layout Builder isn’t a WYSIWYG template. It uses your existing template. Instead, it allows non-developers (and lazy-feeling developers) to quickly make per-page changes to the website without diving into code. But these aren’t just simple changes. You can create a layout template for every page type (e.g., creating a specific layout for all the shoes you sell), and you can also dive into each of these layout pages to make custom changes. So, it really lets you get granular with your editing without forcing you to completely retool and redesign pages for each type of content. This gives Layout Builder a massive advantage over WordPress’s Gutenberg — which requires you to go in and re-lay elements for every page individually.

Here’s the kicker: you get a live-preview of all changes without bouncing between the layout and the front-end. Every block and field you place and every change you make to taxonomies or content is visible the second you make the change. The entire process takes place on the front-end, and changes are instantly visible. Remember, Layout Builder is part of Drupal’s Core, so you don’t need to implement new entity types of dig into third-party elements. It’s an out-of-the-box experience.

Advantages of Layout Builder

Last year, we got a gorgeous, picture-perfect demo of how Layout Builder would work. It’s beautiful, fast, and packs a punch that other leading layout builders are indeed missing. So, to help unpack the value of Layout Builder, let’s look at some of the advantages of Layout Builder:

Customization

Beyond Layout Builder’s incredibly powerful and customizable block-based design engine, it offers customization in usage. Let’s say you want to create an amazing landing page. You can start with a blank page that’s untied to structured content, drop in some hero images, a few pieces of text, some content, and a video. Suddenly, you have a custom landing page (complete with modules, blocks, and taxonomy) that exists in a separate ecosystem from your website.

Simultaneously, you can create a template for every blog post, then dive into a specific blog post and make on-time changes to just that page while still being tied to your structured content. Remember, you can make these changes nearly instantly, without touching code. And you’ll see a live preview of every change immediately without switching between interfaces.

Accessibility

Drupal is committed to accessibility. The second principle of Drupal’s Values & Principles page reads, “build software everyone can use,” and this rings true. Layout Builder meets Drupal’s accessibility gate standards (i.e., conforms to WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 2.0, text color has sufficient contrast, JavaScript is keyboard-usable, etc.)

Ease-of-use

Like many WYSIWYG editors, Drupal Layout Builder is all about “blocks.” But these aren’t your run-of-the-mill blocks. There are inline blocks, field blocks, global blocks, and system blocks. Each of these has its own use case, and you can combine these block types to create stellar pages in minutes. For example, global blocks are used to create templates, and inline blocks are used to create page-specific changes that don’t impact the layout. The combination of these block types makes Layout Builder a hassle-free experience.

Additionally, there are plenty of ease-of-use features built into the core. Layout Builder works with the keyboard, has plenty of usability features that tie to Drupal’s value statements, and allows nit-picky setups for customized workflows.

Creating a Drupal Website is Easier Than Ever

With Layout Builder, users can generate valuable content and pages without needing to patch together various WYSIWYG tools or Panel/Panelizer. At Mobomo, we’re incredibly excited for our clients to dive into Drupal Layout Builder and make actionable and memorable changes to their templates based on their in-the-moment needs and experiences.

But Layout Builder isn’t a replacement for a well-designed and well-developed website. We can help you build your next world-class website. Once we’re done, Layout Builder gives you the freedom to make substantial changes without the headaches, back-and-forth, or unnecessary touchpoints. Are you ready to create a customer-centric, experience-driven digital space? Contact us.

Oct 07 2020
Oct 07

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Here’s a dirty secret: most businesses are unsatisfied with their website. Research shows that 34% of website owners are unsatisfied with the amount of business their website generates for them. Loudhouse data suggests that 62% of business owners believe a more effective website would increase their sales. And millions of business websites deal with slow load times, inconsistent customer experiences, and problematic UI/UX issues.

There’s a reason that 36% of small businesses STILL don’t have a website. Creating an amazing, design-driven, customer-centric website is challenging. So, what do you do when your website isn’t making the cut? You look towards the source — your Content Management System (CMS). Every year, thousands of private and public entities migrate their website to a new CMS.

But, unfortunately, thousands more don’t. Migration is scary. It’s easier to stay with your current CMS and focus on redesigns or new templates. Here’s the problem: new coats of paint don’t fix broken engines. If you’re thinking about migrating from WordPress or Joomla to Drupal, you’ve probably heard rumors and myths regarding migrations.

Let’s clear those up. Here are 4 myths about migration that need to be squashed.

Myth #1: I’m Going to Lose All My Content/Data

This is, by far, the most common excuse against migrating. You’re worried all of that precious content and data are going to fall off the ship if you switch ports. And, you’re right to worry. It could… if you don’t migrate correctly. But it’s not inevitable. You can prevent data and content loss. In fact, if you lose data or content, we would consider that a failed migration. In other words, successful migrations keep data and content intact by definition.

Here are some handy-dandy steps you can take to ensure that your precious data doesn’t go overboard during your migration:

  • Crawl your site before migration and use the crawl data to check for URL issues. If you check each URL, you should be able to see any missing content (and fix it!)
  • Keep your existing site stable until you’ve fully migrated.
  • When you migrate, check for duplicate content; plenty of site owners run into the opposite of losing content.

Myth #2: I Have to Invest in a Redesign

You’re migrating; you might as well invest in a redesign, right? Sure! You could. But it’s tricky. When you do a redesign and a migration, you’re no longer just matching URL-to-URL and content-to-content, you’re simultaneously rebuilding your website. Don’t get us wrong; there are advantages. It’s a great time to redesign from an SEO perspective (you’re already going to take a small hit during the migration; more on this in the next section), but it also requires significantly more planning, budget, and time.

If you want to do a redesign-migration, we heavily recommend that you touch base with your design company. You want to work through the kinks and create a best-in-class action plan to tackle any issues that may (or may not) pop up. The entire migration will be structured around the redesign, so it’s important to carefully weigh your options.

Myth #3: Goodbye SEO!

From an SEO perspective, migration sounds like a nightmare. You’ve worked diligently to build up your SEO. What happens when you frolic to a new location? Let’s get this out of the way: your SEO will take a temporary hit. But, it shouldn’t last long. In fact, there’s a good chance you’re moving to another platform because it’s better at handling SEO. For example, Drupal has built-in SEO capabilities (e.g., title-based URL nodes, customizable meta tags, etc.) WordPress does not. Obviously, you can get SEO plugins for WordPress that help you build SEO functionalities, but most of those plugins are also available for Drupal — so Drupal gives you a net gain.

Here’s a secret: migration can help your page rank. After the first awkward week (Google has to recrawl your website, recognize that it’s you, and give you back your ranking), migration can help you build a more powerful SEO framework.

Want to migrate without dumping your SEO overboard? Here are some tips:

  • Update your internal links
  • Benchmark your Google Analytics profile and compare it with your analytics post-migration to look for gaps
  • Keep any old domains and redirect your website
  • Check for broken or duplicate content that could tank your SEO
  • Manage your sitemaps
  • Update any PPC campaigns and ad creatives

Myth #4: You Just Have to “Lift-and-Shift”

There are plenty of myths surrounding the difficulty of migration. But there are also a few myths making migration out to be super easy. And, without a doubt, the most prevalent “easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy” migration myth is the ever-coveted “lift-and-shift.” There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for migrating websites. Sometimes, it can be as easy as lifting content off of one website and putting it onto another website. But that’s seldom the case.

Generally, you need to set up test servers, check to see if website elements function correctly on the new platform, test out and utilize new CMS features, and a variety of other tasks before you can simply drop content from one place to another. In other words, lift-and-shift may work when you’re migrating a cloud environment, but it often doesn’t work with CMS migration.

Remember, just because everything worked perfectly in one environment doesn’t mean it will in another one. You may have to fix some website elements and carefully construct your new website ecosystem. At the same time, you’ll probably be playing around with the new features available to you on Drupal — so the “lift-and-shift” is usually more of a “lift-and-test-and-shift.”

Do You Need Help With Your Drupal Migration?

At Mobomo, we help private and public entities migrate to Drupal environments using proven migration strategies and best-in-class support. So, whether you’re looking to establish your website in a more secure, SEO-friendly environment or you’re looking to do a redesign-and-migrate, we can help you migrate pain-free. Are you ready to move to a brighter future?

Contact us. We’ve got your back.

Oct 05 2020
Oct 05

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2020 has been a year full of unexpected surprises and challenges. In March, the coronavirus had reached the United States and had begun spreading quickly causing federal and state governments to take action to ensure public safety, including the development and passing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). As the pandemic spread, many more eyes turned to the government to watch how they were navigating this new unmarked territory. 

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) created PandemicOversight.gov to display the details of the $2.6 trillion coronavirus relief spending provided by the CARES Act. The website allows the public interactive tools for understanding who received coronavirus funding, how much they’ve received, and how the funds are being spent. The website also provides tools for the public to report fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement of coronavirus relief funding, as well as helpful information to protect yourself against fraudulent activity. 

Mobomo was brought in to perform the redesign and development of the website, which had initially launched as pandemic.oversight.gov earlier this year. The Mobomo team was able to do a complete overhaul of the legacy platform and re-launch the system in just over five weeks’ time with the new website having been officially launched to the public on September 10th. Since the launch, the website has received thousands of visitors interested in learning more about who, where, and how coronavirus relief funding is being spent. 

“Transparency in government is critical in these uncertain times and the mission of the PRAC strives to provide that public service. I’m very proud of what our team has developed and hope the website helps people see how relief funding is being distributed.” – Brian Lacey, CEO.

Not Your Average Government Website

The Mobomo team redesigned PandemicOversight.gov with the goal of incorporating modern theming and a clean design that many of your traditional government information sites lack, but did so while incorporating 18F and US Web Design Standards best practices.  Mobomo’s User Experience team worked with the PRAC to develop mobile-first, responsive design templates that mesh the innovative branding and theming with the high-fidelity interactive visualizations that are key to communicating coronavirus funding activity. 

Let’s Get Technical

The legacy pandemic.oversight.gov was developed in Drupal 8 and hosted in Amazon Web Services (AWS). For the redesign and re-launch of the site, the Mobomo team decided to rebuild the content management system leveraging the latest version of Drupal 9 and deployed the solution within the Microsoft Azure Websites platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment. Mobomo developed a number of custom feature integrations with visualization partners Domo and Woolpert, enhanced search indexing for browsing various oversight reports and investigations, and optimized process for users to communicate instances of fraud, waste, and abuse through secure channels. 

In order to meet the tight five-week window for design, development, and deploying the new website – the Mobomo team leveraged containerization and Lando for streamlining local development and hooking into the continuous integration, continuous development (CI/CD) pipeline. Mobomo also worked with the Smartronix Azure Cloud team to architect a zero-downtime deployment procedure to allow seamless promotion of new code the public environment. 

“This is a great team on both sides of the table. For such an expedited delivery schedule, it is critical for all the contract partners and government stakeholders to stay Agile and collaborate effectively to succeed.” – Austin White, VP of Federal Services.

For more information on Mobomo’s work with the Federal Government click here.

About the PRAC

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) was established by the CARES Act as part of the committee of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE). The PRAC has developed a Strategic Plan for the next five years that details how PRAC will serve the public by promoting transparency of funds and by preventing and detecting fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement of said funds. The committee will work closely with the Federal Inspectors General to support all affected by the pandemic. 

Our Partners
Pandemic Response and Accountability Committee (PRAC)
Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE)
Smartronix
Domo
Woolpert
Grant Thornton

Aug 04 2020
Aug 04

argument-open-sourceargument-open-source Like many developers, some of our first websites were built on the backbones of WordPress. It’s the hyper-popular king of content management systems. It has name recognition, an overflowing user base, and plenty of third-party integrations that help cut your development time. But, over the years, we’ve migrated almost exclusively to Drupal. So why did we switch? What is it about Drupal that leaves developers drooling? And why would anyone pick Drupal — which has around 1.3 million users — over WordPress —which has over 400 million users? Today, we’re going to compare David to Goliath. Why is Drupal, the third most active CMS behind WordPress and Joomla, a good choice for businesses looking to build a refreshing, impactful, and feature-rich website?

UNDERSTANDING THE CORE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DRUPAL AND WORDPRESS

By far, the most significant difference between WordPress and Drupal is the overall development need. WordPress is simple. There are hundreds of thousands of third-party plugins that you can leverage to build an entire website with virtually no coding or developing knowledge. And, that’s the single biggest reason that WordPress is so massive. Anyone can build a WordPress site. It’s easy. Drupal requires development. If you want to build a Drupal website, you’re going to have to hire some developers. So, naturally, Drupal has fewer overall users. But, it’s essential to make that distinction. Drupal is built for businesses, public entities, and enterprises. WordPress is built for your everyday website. It’s important to keep this main difference in mind. It’s this difference that resonates throughout these core pillars. And, it’s this core difference that creates pros and cons for each platform.

DRUPAL VS. WORDPRESS: SECURITY, FLEXIBILITY, AND SCALABILITY

We consider security, flexibility, and scalability to be the three primary pillars of a CMS. An amazing designer can make a fantastic template or theme regardless of the CMS. And ease-of-use is relative to your plugins/modules, familiarity with the platform, and overall development capabilities. So those are both highly subjective. Security, flexibility, and scalability aren’t subjective; they are what they are.

SECURITY

WordPress has a security problem. Alone, WordPress accounts for 90% of all hacked websites that use a CMS. There’s a tradeoff that comes with leveraging third-party plugins to build websites. You increase your threat landscape. WPScan Vulnerability Database shows 21,675 vulnerabilities in WordPress’s core and with third-party plugins. This security vulnerability issue has been an ongoing headache for WordPress from the start. If we do a play-by-play, year-over-year of WordPress’s history, we see an ongoing and consistent security issue:

  • 2013: 70% of the top 40,000 most popular WordPress websites were vulnerable to hackers
  • 2014: SoakSoak compromises +100,000 websites, a massive DDOS attack hits 160,000 websites, and All In One SEO Pack puts +19 million sites at risk.
  • 2015: A core vulnerability puts millions of websites at risk, Akismet opens millions of websites to hackers, and YoastSEO puts over 14 million websites in hackers’ crosshairs.
  • 2016: At this point, millions of hacks are happening every week across plugins. Check out this WordFence weekly update during this period.
  • 2017: The hacks continue. The average small business website using WordPress is attacked 44 times a day at this point, and WordPress websites are 2x more likely to be hacked than other CMS.

The list goes on. Year-over-year, more vulnerabilities happen across WordPress. And this is an important point. WordPress has subpar security by design. It’s the tradeoff they made to build an ecosystem that doesn’t require development. We aren’t saying that the core of WordPress is inherently security-stripped. It’s not. But, given the scale, scope, and third-party-fanatic nature of the platform, it’s weak on security by nature. Drupal, on the other hand, is the opposite. Websites require development time, each website is customized to the user, and building a website takes time and patience. The tradeoff is better security. Drupal has built-in enterprise-scale security, and you don’t rely on a hotchpotch of third-party applications to build your website’s functionality. There’s a reason that NASA, the White House, and other government entities use (or used) Drupal. It has better security. We want to take a second to make the distinction. WordPress has a secure core. We would argue that Drupal has a more secure core. But the difference isn’t massive. WordPress’s security vulnerabilities are a product of its reliance on third-party applications to make a functional website.

FLEXIBILITY

WordPress is more flexible than Drupal to some users. And Drupal is more flexible than WordPress to some users. That may sound complicated. But it comes down to your development capabilities. Drupal has more features than WordPress. Its core is filled with rich taxonomies, content blocks, and unique blocks than WordPress. But, if you aren’t experienced, you probably won’t find and/or use many of these functionalities. On the surface, WordPress has more accessible features. At the core, Drupal is the single most feature-rich CMS on the planet. So, for businesses (especially public entities and larger enterprises), Drupal has a more robust architecture to tackle large-scale projects that have hyper-specific needs. For small businesses and personal website owners, WordPress is easier to use and requires far less development experience to tap into its functionalities, features, and flexibility.

SCALABILITY

Drupal has better scalability. This one isn’t a competition. Again, this comes down to the dev-heavy nature of the platform. To scale WordPress websites, you add more plugins. To scale Drupal websites, you develop more. There’s a key practical difference here. Drupal modules, taxonomies, and content blocks all exist in the same ecosystem. Each WordPress plugin is its own micro-ecosystem. So, with WordPress, most users are stringing together a ton of third-party ecosystems in an attempt to create one overarching website. Also, Drupal is built for enterprise-scale projects. So there’s backend support and a large landscape of community support around large-scale projects. WordPress is a catch-all CMS that has a little of everything. If WordPress is a Swiss army knife, Drupal is a custom, hand-forged bread knife — explicitly designed to help you scale, slice, and butter larger projects.

ARE YOU READY TO DEVELOP YOUR PERFECT DRUPAL WEBSITE?

At Mobomo, we specialize in Drupal development projects. Our agile-based team of top-level design, development, and support talent can help you launch and scale your website to fit your unique needs. From NASA to Great Minds, we help private and public entities build dreams and execute visions.

Contact us to learn more.

Jul 30 2020
Jul 30

argument-open-sourceargument-open-source Over 500,000 businesses leverage Drupal to launch their websites and projects. From NASA to Tesla, public and private institutions regularly rely on Drupal to launch large-scale websites capable of handling their development and visual needs. But, starting a Drupal project doesn’t guarantee success. In fact, 14% of all IT projects outright fail, 43% exceed their initial budgets, and 31% fail to meet their original goals! In other words, if you want to create a successful Drupal project, you need to prepare. Don’t worry! We’ve got your back. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when starting a Drupal-based project.

1. GATHER REQUIREMENTS FROM STAKEHOLDERS EARLY AND OFTEN

According to PMI, 39% of projects fail due to inadequate requirements. Believe it or not, requirement gathering is the single most important stage of project development. In fact, it’s the first step Drupal itself takes when pushing out new projects (see this scope document for their technical document project). Gathering requirements may sound easy, but it can be a time-consuming process. We recommend using SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic, Time-based) to map out your specific needs. If possible, involve the end-user during this stage. Don’t assume you know what users want; ask them directly. Internally, requirements gathering should rally nearly every stakeholder with hefty amounts of cross-collaboration between departments. You want to lean heavily on data, establish your benchmarks and KPIs early, and try to involve everyone regularly. The single biggest project mistake is acting like requirements are set-in-stone. If you just follow the initial requirements to a “T,” you may push out a poor project. You want to regularly ask questions, communicate issues, and rely on guidance from stakeholders and subject matter experts (SMEs) to guide your project to completion.

2. PLAN YOUR SDLC/WORKFLOW PIPELINE

We all have different development strategies. You may leverage freelancers, a best-in-class agency, or internal devs to execute your Drupal projects. Typically, we see a combination of two of the above. Either way, you have to set some software development lifecycle and workflow standards. This gets complex. On the surface, you should think about coding standards, code flow, databases, and repositories, and all of the other development needs that should be in sync across devs. But there’s also the deeper, more holistic components to consider. Are you going to use agile? Do you have a DevOps strategy? Are you SCRUM-based? Do you practice design and dev sprints? At Mobomo, we use an agile-hybrid development cycle to fail early, iterate regularly, and deploy rapidly. But that’s how we do things. You need to figure out how you want to execute your project. We’ve seen successful Drupal projects using virtually every workflow system out there. The way you work matters, sure. But getting everyone aligned under a specific way of working is more important. You can use the “old-school” waterfall methodology and still push out great projects. However, to do that, you need everyone on the same page.

3. USE SHIFT-LEFT TESTING FOR BUG AND VULNERABILITY DETECTION

Drupal is a secure platform. Of the four most popular content management systems, Drupal is the least hacked. But that doesn’t mean it’s impenetrable. You want to shift-left test (i.e., automate testing early and often in the development cycle). Drupal 8+ has PHPUnit built-in — taking the place of SimpleTest. You can use this to quickly test out code. You can perform unit tests, kernel tests, and functional tests with and without JavaScript. You can also use Nightwatch.js to run tests. Of course, you may opt for third-party automation solutions (e.g., RUM, synthetic user monitoring, etc.) The important thing is that you test continuously. There are three primary reasons that shift-left testing needs to be part of your development arsenal.

  • It helps prevent vulnerabilities. The average cost of a data breach is over $3 million. And it takes around 300 days to identify and contain website breaches.
  • It bolsters the user experience. A 100-millisecond delay in page load speed drops conversions by 7%. Meanwhile, 75% of users judge your credibility by your website’s design and performance, and 39% of users will stop engaging with your website if your images take too long to load. In other words, simple glitches can result in massive issues.
  • It reduces development headaches. Nothing is worse than developing out completely new features only to discover an error that takes you back to step 1.

4. GET HYPER-FAMILIAR WITH DRUPAL’S API

If you want to build amazing Drupal projects, you need to familiarize yourself with the Drupal REST API. This may sound like obvious advice. But understanding how Drupal’s built-in features, architecture, and coding flow can help you minimize mistakes and maximize your time-to-launch. The last thing you want to do is code redundantly when Drupal may automate some of that coding on its end. For more information on Drupal’s API and taxonomy, see Drupal API. We know! If you’re using Drupal, you probably have a decent idea of what its API looks like. But make sure that you understand all of its core features to avoid headaches and redundancies.

5. SET STANDARDS

Every development project needs standards. There are a million ways to build a website or app. But you can’t use all of those million ways together. You don’t want half of your team using Drupal’s built-in content builder and the other half using Gutenberg. Everyone should be on the same page. This goes for blocks, taxonomy, and every other coding need and task you’re going to accomplish. You need coding standards, software standards, and process standards to align your team to a specific framework. You can develop standards incrementally, but they should be shared consistently across teams. Ideally, you’ll build a standard for everything. From communication to development, testing, launching, and patching, you should have set-in-stone processes. In the past, this was less of an issue. But, with every developer rushing to agile, sprint-driven methodologies, it can be easy to lose sight of standards in favor of speed. Don’t let that happen. Agile doesn’t mean “willy-nilly” coding and development for the fastest possible launch. It still has to be systematic. Standards allow you to execute faster and smarter across your development pipeline.

NEED SOME HELP?

At Mobomo, we build best-in-class Drupal projects for brands across the globe. From NASA to UGS, we’ve helped private, and public entities launch safe, secure, and exciting Drupal solutions. Are you looking for a partner with fresh strategies and best-of-breed agile-driven development practices?

Contact us. Let’s build your dream project — together.

Jul 28 2020
Jul 28

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DRUPAL MIGRATION PREPARATION AUDIT

All good things must come to an end. Drupal 7 will soon meet its end. Does your organization have your migration plan to Drupal 9 in order? Here’s what you need to know to keep your Drupal site running and supported. Talk to Our Drupal Migration Experts Now!

OUR APPROUCH TO DRUPAL MIGRATION.

  • Analyze 
  • Inventory
  • Migration
  • Revision
  • SEO

OVERVIEW

Staying up to date with Drupal versions is vital to maintaining performance to your site:

  • Future-proofing
  • Avoiding the end-of-life cut-off
  • Performance
  • Security

GOALS

  1. Catalog existing community contributed modules necessary to the project
  • Do these modules have a corresponding Drupal 8 version?
  • If the answer to the above question is no, is there an alternative?
  • Is there an opportunity to optimize or upgrade the site’s usage of contributed modules?
  1. Catalog existing custom built modules
  • Do these modules rely on community contributed modules that may not have a migration path to Drupal 8?
  • Do these modules contain deprecated function calls?
  • Are there any newer community contributed modules that may replace the functionality of the custom modules?
  1. Review existing content models.
  • How complex is the content currently—field, taxonomy, media?
  • What specific integrations need to be researched so content will have feature parity?
  1. Catalog and examine 3rd party integrations.
  • Is there any kind of e-commerce involved?
  • Do these 3rd party integrations have any Drupal 8 community modules?
  1. Catalog User roles and permissions
  • Do user accounts use any type of SSO?
  • Is there an opportunity to update permissions and clean up roles?

PRE-AUDIT REQUIREMENTS

  • Access to the codebase
  • Access to the database
  • Access to a live environment (optional)
  • Access to integrations in order to evaluate level of effort

DELIVERABLES

Module Report The module report should contain an outline of the existing Drupal 7 modules with the corresponding path to Drupal 8, whether that’s an upgraded version of the existing module or a similar module. This report should also contain a sheet outlining any deprecated function usage for the custom modules that will need to be ported to Drupal 8.

Content Model Report The Content Model report should contain an overview of the existing site’s content types, users, roles, permissions and taxonomic vocabularies with each field given special consideration. Recommendations should be made in the report to improve the model when migrating to Drupal 8.

Integration Report The integration report contains a catalog of the third party integrations currently in use and marks those with an existing contributed module from the community and those that will require custom work to integrate with the Drupal 8 system.

Our Insights on Drupal Our latest thoughts, musings and successes.

Contact us. We’ll help you expand your reach.

Jul 10 2020
Jul 10

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When you first sit down to create your Drupal website, you have plenty of decisions to make. What are your first blog posts going to be? What kinds of marketing materials do you need to help your website convert? What is your SEO strategy to boost your SERP position? These are all important, and we highly recommend that you consider each point before you launch your first website.

But those are details. The most significant decision you’re going to make is what theme you’ll use. Think of your theme as the building block of your website. It’s how users are going to perceive your site, interpret your content, and engage with your products or services. You want a beautiful, interactive, intuitive, and easy-to-browse website that pushes customers to think, engage, and consume your rich creatives.

Here’s the problem: there are thousands of Drupal themes. When you first look through the avalanche of bright colors, minimal panes, and unique content configurations, it can be dizzying. How do you pick a theme with that certain something that sets you apart? 

Here are some criteria to help you sift through the tsunami of designs on the market.

How Important is Your Drupal Theme, Really?

At some point, you need to pull the trigger. But how soon should you go with your gut instinct? After all, is picking the “perfect” theme really that important? In today’s hyper-redundant theme ecosystem, it’s easy to think that website design is a secondary factor in your website build process. Many websites today have eerily similar themes, and you may be looking to copy-paste that minimalist, white-space-heavy style that your competitors probably use.

Don’t make the mistake of minimizing the importance of the theme. Your competitors may use cookie-cutter themes, but you shouldn’t. Here’s why:

  • 38% of people will flat out refuse to engage with a website if its looks aren’t appealing to them.
  • 88% of people won’t return to your website ever again after a single bad experience.
  • 75% of customers make a judgment call on your brand’s credibility based on your website design.
  • Given 15 minutes to read content, people would rather view something beautifully designed than something plain-looking.
  • 94% of negative feedback regarding your website will be design related.

In other words, your customers are going to judge the efficacy of your brand based on your website’s design. Remember the phrase, “first impressions are everything.” Well, 94% of first impressions are based on design—you want something stunning. Obviously, design is still a highly personal experience. Some people like quirky and weird, some like minimal and smooth, and others like aggressive and animation heavy. It depends on your end user and who you are as a brand.

So how do you go about picking the right one? After all, there’s a lot at stake. Your theme is going to be the first thing customers see when they click on your website. Here are the three core components of website themes you should consider before you make your choice.

1. Your Brand’s Identity

We all know that branding is a big deal. 89% of marketers say that branding is their top goal, and branding is the first thing that 89% of investors look at when deciding whether or not to open their wallets. So, when it comes to your design, brand should be front-of-mind. Who is your company? What does it stand for? And, most all, what does it look like?

Your Drupal theme is a powerful branding tool. Every single component of your website is an opportunity for branding. We could get overly complicated diving into website branding, but we’ll stick with the simple stuff. Let’s talk about color. Seems simple enough, right? Check this out:

  • Color alone improves brand recognition by 80%.
  • 93% of people focus on your brand’s color when buying products.
  • When people make subconscious decisions about your product, 90% of that decision is related to color.

Ok! So color is obviously important. But what about all the other “stuff” on your website? Does the position of content boxes, navigation menu, and blog posts really matter? You bet! Consistent brand representation across content boosts bottom-line profits by 33% on average. And 80% of people think content is what drives them to really engage and build loyalty with brands.

In a nutshell, think about branding when you look at themes. 90% of users expect you to have consistent branding across all channels. If you can’t find a theme that screams, “you,” that’s ok! If you can’t find one, build one.

2. Performance

The theme you choose will have a direct impact on your website’s performance. Unnecessary components, visual clutter, and poor frontend coding can all increase load times and disrupt website accessibility. Obviously, some of your performance capabilities happen on the backend (e.g., caching, DB Query optimization, MySQL settings, etc.) But your theme still has a sizable effect on how your website performs.

Overly large CSS files, redundant coding for modules, blank spaces, and other issues can all increase time-to-load, create visual issues, and create stop-points for your users. To be clear, performance is a significant component in both lead generation and retention:

  • A 100-millisecond delay drops conversions by 7%.
  • Increasing the number of page elements from 400 to 6,000 drops conversion rates by 95%.
  • 79% of shoppers that encounter a website with poor performance will never return.

Always test out themes for performance. The aesthetic qualities of a website are important, but performance is a necessity.

3. UX

We like to call UX the “hidden performance.” It’s how your users will engage with and consume content throughout your website. The theme you pick will dictate a significant portion of your UX. Before you choose a theme, build out your information architecture strategy, create mockups for UI (or at least find UI examples that you enjoy), and plot out your broad content strategy. Then, choose a theme that compliments your strategy and information architecture.

Here’s the most important thing: always evolve your UX. Consider applying agile to your theme building and choosing practices. Even after you select the right theme, constantly make improvements to your UI/UX to breed consistency and customer-centricity. You can purchase a pre-made theme on the Drupal marketplace, but you still need to customize the theme to fit your brand and conform to your UX framework. You don’t want to choose a cookie-cutter theme on the marketplace and fail to maximize its value. Not only will your website look nearly identical to thousands of other Drupal sites, but you also won’t truly build an experience-driven website. Give your customers home-cooked steak and potatoes—not a microwaved frozen dinner.

Are You Looking for the Perfect Drupal Theme?

If you want a theme that’s hyper-branded, built for performance, and created using brand-specific information architecture, you won’t find it on a pre-built theme website. You need to create it. At Mobomo, we help public and private entities create breathtaking Drupal themes specifically for their brand and their users. Let’s build your brand something amazing.

Contact us to learn more.

Jul 08 2020
Jul 08

argument-open-sourceargument-open-source

Businesses and governments build websites for one reason: to provide value to their users. But what if your website was incapable of reaching millions of your users? 25% of Americans live with disabilities. For some of them, the simple act of navigating websites, digesting information, and understanding your content is difficult. Yet, despite brands increasing spending on web design and digital marketing, less than 10% of websites actually follow accessibility standards. Businesses are spending significant money to capture an audience, yet they’re not ensuring that their audience can engage with their website.

It’s a problem—a big one.

You don’t want to exclude customers. It’s bad for business, and it’s bad for your brand. Better yet, accessibility features help improve your SEO, reduce your website complexity, and increase your ability to connect with your loyal audience. But accessibility standards aren’t always baked into the architecture of websites.

Luckily, there are some content management systems (CMS) that let you create hyper-accessible websites without even trying. Drupal comes equipped with a variety of accessibility features — each of which helps make your website more accessible for your customers.

Understanding the Importance of Website Accessibility

Creating an accessible website may sound vague, but there’s already a worldwide standard you can follow. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) — which is maintained by The World Wide Web Consortium — is the global standard for web accessibility used by companies, governments, and merchants across the world.

Sure! Following the WCAG standard helps you reach a wider audience. But it also keeps you out of legal hot water. Not only has the ADA made it abundantly clear that compliance requires website accessibility. A United States District Court in Florida ruled that WCAG standards are the de facto standards of web accessibility. And there are already cases of businesses getting sued for failing to adhere to them.

  • The DOJ sues H&R Block over its website’s accessibility.
  • WinnDixie.com was sued for accessibility, and the judge required them to update their website.
  • The National Museum of Crime and Punishment was required to update its website accessibility.

The list goes on. Adhering to WCAG web accessibility standards helps protect your brand against litigation. But, more importantly, it opens doors to millions of customers who need accessibility to navigate and engage with your amazing content.

One-third of individuals over the age of 65 have hearing loss. Around 15% of Americans struggle with vision loss. And millions have issues with mobility. The CDC lists six forms of disability:

  • Mobility (difficulty walking or climbing)
  • Cognition (difficult remembering, making decisions, or concentrating)
  • Hearing (difficulty hearing)
  • Vision (difficulty seeing)
  • Independent living (difficulty doing basic errands)
  • Self-care (difficulty bathing, dressing, or taking care of yourself)

Web accessibility touches all of those types of disabilities. For those with trouble seeing, screen readers help them comprehend websites. But, screen readers strip away the CSS layer. Your core content has to be accessible for them to be able to comprehend it. Those with mobility issues may need to use keyboard shortcuts to help them navigate your website. Hearing-impaired individuals may require subtitles and captions. Those with cognitive issues may need your website to be built with focusable elements and good contrasting.

There are many disabilities. WCAG creates a unified guideline that helps government entities and businesses build websites that are hyper-accessible to people with a wide range of these disabilities.

Drupal is WCAG-compliant

WCAG is vast. A great starting point is the Accessibility Principles document. But, creating an accessible website doesn’t have to be a time-consuming and expensive process. Drupal has an entire team dedicated to ensuring that their platform is WCAG compliant. In fact, Drupal is both WCAG 2.0 compliant and Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG 2.0) compliant. The latter deals with the tools developers use to build websites. So, Drupal has accessibility compliance on both ends.

What Accessibility Features Does Drupal Have?

Drupal’s accessibility compliance comes in two forms:

  1. Drupal has built-in compliance features that are native to every install (7+).
  2. Drupal supports and enables the community to develop accessibility modules.

Drupal’s Built-in Compliance Features

Drupal 7+ comes native with semantic markup. To keep things simple, semantic markup helps clarify the context of content. At Mobomo, we employ some of the best designers and website developers on the planet. So, we could make bad HTML markup nearly invisible to the average user with rich CSS and superb visuals. But when people use screen readers or other assistive technology, that CSS goes out-of-the-window. They’re looking at the core HTML markup. And if it’s not semantic, they may have a difficult time navigating it. With Drupal, markup is automatically semantic — which breeds comprehension for translation engines, search engines, and screen readers.

Drupal’s accessibility page also notes some core changes made to increase accessibility. These include things such as color contrasting. WCAG requires that color contrasting be at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 7:1 for enhanced contrast. Drupal complies with those guidelines. Many other changes are on the developer side, such as drag and drop functions and automated navigation buttons.

Of course, Drupal also provides developer handbooks, theming guides, and instructional PDFs for developers. Some of the accessibility is done on the developer’s end, so it’s important to work with a developer who leverages accessibility during their design process.

Drupal’s Support for the Accessibility Community

In addition to following WCAG guidelines, Drupal supports community-driven modules that add additional accessibility support. Here are a few examples of Drupal modules that focus on accessibility:

There are hundreds. The main thing to remember is that Drupal supports both back-end, front-end, and community-driven accessibility. And they’ve committed to continuously improving their accessibility capabilities over time. Drupal’s most recent update — the heavily anticipated Drupal 9 — carries on this tradition. Drupal has even announced that Drupal 10 will continue to expand upon accessibility.

Do You Want to Build an Accessible Website

Drupal is on the cutting-edge of CMS accessibility. But they can’t make you accessible alone. You need to build your website from the ground up to comply with accessibility. A good chunk of the responsibility is in the hands of your developer. Are you looking to build a robust, functional, beautiful, and accessible website? 

Contact us. We’ll help you expand your reach.

Apr 01 2020
Apr 01

argument-open-sourceargument-open-source

Back in 2013, when I first joined Mobomo, we migrated NASA.gov from a proprietary content management system (CMS) to Amazon Cloud and Drupal 7. It goes without saying, but there was a lot riding on getting it right. The NASA site had to handle high traffic and page views each day, without service interruptions, and the new content management system had to accommodate a high volume of content updates each day. In addition to having no room for compromise on performance and availability, the site also had to have a high level of security. 

Maybe the biggest challenge, though, was laying the groundwork to achieve NASA’s vision for a website with greater usability and enhanced user experiences. If NASA’s audience all fell into the same demographic, that goal probably wouldn’t have seemed so intimidating, but NASA’s audience includes space fans who range from scientists to elementary school kids. 

Our mission was to create a mobile-first site that stayed true to NASA’s brand and spoke to all of the diverse members of its audience. A few years later, we relaunched a user-centric site that directed visitors from a dynamic home page to microsites designed specifically for them.

Making Space Seem Not So Far Away

NASA.gov includes data on its missions, past and present. To make this massive amount of data more user-friendly, we worked with NASA to design a site that’s easily searchable, navigable, and enhanced through audio, video, social media feeds, and calendars. Users can find updates on events via features such as the countdown clock to the International Space Station’s 20th anniversary. NASA.gov users can also easily find what they need if they want to research space technology, stream NASA TV, or explore image galleries. 

The NASA.gov site directs its younger visitors to a STEM engagement microsite where students can find activities appropriate for their grade level. The site also includes the NASA Kids’ Club where students can have some fun while they’re learning about exploration. For example, they can try their hands at virtually driving a rover on Mars, play games, and download activities. 

Older students with space-related aspirations can learn about internship and career opportunities, and teachers can access lesson plans and STEM resources.

How to Make it Happen

To successfully achieve NASA’s goals and manage a project this complex, we had to choose the right approach. Some website projects are tailor-made for a simple development plan that moves from a concept to design, construction, testing, and implementation in a structured, linear way. The NASA.gov project, however, wasn’t one of them.

For this website and the vast majority of the sites we develop, our team follows DevOps methodology. With DevOps, you don’t silo development from operations. Our DevOps culture brings together all stakeholders to collaborate throughout the process to achieve:

Faster Deployment

If we had to build the entire site then take it live, it would have taken much longer for NASA and its users to have a new resource. We built the site in stages, validating at every stage. By developing in iterations, and involving the entire team, we also have the ability to address small issues rather than waiting until they create major ones. It also gives us more agility to address changes and keep everyone informed. This prevents errors that could put the brakes on the entire project.

Optimized Design

NASA.gov has several Webby Awards, and award-winning web design takes a team that works together and collaborates with the organization to define the audience (or audiences), optimize the site’s navigation and usability, and strike a balance between the site’s primary purpose and its appeal. 

Mobile-First

Because NASA.gov users may be accessing the site from a PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other device, it was also pivotal to use mobile-first design. Mobile-first starts by designing for the smallest screens first, and then work your way up to larger screens. This approach forces you to build a strong foundation first, then enhance it as screen sizes increase. It basically allows you to ensure user experiences are optimized for any size device. 

Scalability

NASA.gov wasn’t only a goliath website when we migrated it to Amazon Cloud and Drupal. We knew it would continue to grow. Designing the site with microsites that organize content, help visitors find the content that is most relevant to their interests, and enhance usability and UX informed a plan for future growth. 

Efficient Development Processes

DevOps Methodology breaks down barriers between developers and other stakeholders, automates processes, makes coding and review processes more efficient, and enables continuous testing. Even though we work in iterations, our team maintains a big-picture view of projects, such as addressing integrations, during the development process. 

Planned Post-Production

DevOps also helps us cover all the bases to prepare for launch and to build in management tools for ongoing site maintenance. 

What Your Business Can Learn from NASA

You probably never thought about it, but your business or organization has a lot in common with NASA, at least when it comes to your website. Just like NASA, you need a website that gives you the ability to handle a growing digital audience, reliably and securely. You’re probably also looking for the best CMS for your website, one that’s cost-effective and gives you the features you need.

Your website should also be designed to be usable and to provide the user experiences your audience wants. And, with the number of mobile phone users in the world topping 5 billion, you want to make sure their UX is optimized with mobile-first design. 

NASA’s project is also an illustration of how building your website in stages, getting input from all stakeholders, and validating and testing each step of the way can lead to great results. You also need a plan for launching the site with minimal disruption and tools that will make ongoing management and maintenance easier. 

You probably want to know you are doing everything you can to make your content appealing, engaging, and interactive. You may think NASA has an advantage in that department since NASA’s content is inherently exciting to its audience.

But so is yours. Create a website that showcases it. Not sure where to begin? Click here and we’ll point you in the right direction.

Mar 12 2020
Mar 12

argument-open-sourceargument-open-source

If you engaged in a word association game, one of the first things people would respond when you say “open source” is that it’s free. If any of those people are in the position of purchasing software licenses for a business or organization, that makes open source (a.k.a., free) definitely a benefit worth exploring. Open source has the potential to save thousands of dollars or more, depending on the software and the size of the organization. 

Even though eliminating a budget line item for licensing costs may be enough to convince some organizations that open source is the way to go, it’s actually only one of several compelling reasons to migrate from proprietary platforms to open-source architecture. 

In a debate on open-source vs. licensed platforms, the affirmative argument will include these four, additional points: 

Development Freedom

When businesses provide workstations for their employees, they choose (often inadvertently) the framework on which their organizations operate. For example, if a business buys Dell computers, it will operate within the Microsoft Windows framework. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A business with limited IT and development resources won’t have to worry about how to keep its operating system working or whether business applications or security solutions are available. Microsoft has a line of solutions and partnerships that can provide what they’re looking for. 

With a system built on an open-source platform, on the other hand, it may take more resources and work to keep it running and secure, but it gives developers the freedom to do exactly what the end user needs. You aren’t limited by what a commercial platform enables you to do. 

In some markets, foregoing the status quo for developmental freedom sounds like risk. It’s a major reason that government users lag behind the commercial space in technology. They’re committed to the old systems that they know are robust, secure, and predictable at budget time — even though they’re outdated. When those organizations take a closer look, however, they quickly realize they can negate development costs through greater visibility, efficiency, and productivity that a platform that specifically supports their operations can provide. 

Open-source platforms are also hardware agnostic, giving organizations more latitude when it comes to the computers, mobile devices, and tools they can use, rather than being locked into limited, sometimes expensive, options for hardware. 

Moreover, development freedom delivers more ROI than merely decreasing current costs. Open-source platforms give developers the freedom to customize systems and innovate. If your system enabled you to expand your reach, better control labor costs, and support new revenue streams, what impact could that have on your business?

Interoperability

Enterprises and manufacturers have traditionally guarded their proprietary systems, which gave them an edge in their markets and control over complementary solutions and peripherals end users needed. Those same proprietary systems, however, could now be a business liability. Many markets are moving toward open source to provide greater interoperability, and businesses continuing to use proprietary platforms will increasingly be viewed as less desirable partners. 

Military avionics is a prime example. This industry is migrating to the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Technical Standard. Administered by the FACE Consortium, this open standard aims to give the U.S. Department of Defense the ability to acquire systems more easily and affordably and to integrate them more quickly and efficiently.  

You’ll also find a preference for open-source architecture in some segments of the tech industry as well, such as robotics. The Robot Operation System (ROS) is a set of open resources of tools, libraries, and conventions that standardizes how robots communicate and share information. ROS simplifies the time-consuming work of creating robotic behaviors, and ROS 2 takes that objective further by giving industrial robot developers support for multirobot systems, safety, and security. 

As Internet of Things (IoT) technology adoption grows, more operations are experiencing roadblocks connecting legacy equipment and enabling the free flow of data — which open-source architecture can overcome. Furthermore, IoT based on open-source components allow networks to expand beyond the four walls of a facility to connect with business partners, the supply chain, and end users. The Linux Foundation’s Zephyr Project, for example, promotes open-source, real-time operating systems (RTOS) that enables developers to build secure, manageable systems more easily and quickly. 

Faster Time to Market

Open source projects can also move more quickly than developing on a proprietary platform. You may be at the mercy of the vendor during the development process if you require assistance, and certifying hardware or applications occur on their timelines. 

That process moves much more quickly in an open source community. Additionally, members of the community share. Some of the best developers in the industry work on these platforms and often make their work available to other developers so they don’t need to start from scratch to include a feature or function their end user requires. A modular system can include components that these developers have created, tested, and proven — and that have fewer bugs than a newly developed prototype. 

Developers, using prebuilt components and leveraging an open source community’s expertise, can help you deploy your next system more quickly than starting from ground zero. 

Business Flexibility

Open-source architecture also gives a business or organization advantages beyond the IT department. With open source, you have more options. The manager of a chain of resorts facing budget cuts, for example, could more easily find ways to decrease operating expenses if her organization’s system runs on an open-source platform. A chain that operates on a commercial platform, however, may have to find other options, such as reducing staff with lay-offs.  

Open source architecture also decreases vendor lock-in. In a world that’s changing at a faster and faster pace, basing your systems open-source architecture gives you options if a vendor’s company is acquired and product quality, customer service, and prices change. It also gives you flexibility if industry standards or regulations require that you add new features or capabilities that your vendor doesn’t provide, decreasing the chances you’ll need to rip and replace your IT system.

The Price of Open Source

To be perfectly honest in the open source vs. commercial platform debate, we have to admit there is a cost associated with using these platforms. They can’t exist without their communities’ contributions of time, talent, and support. 

At Mobomo, for example, we’re an active part of the Drupal open-source content management system (CMS) platform. Our developers are among the more than 1 million members of this community that have contributed more than 30,000 modules. We also take the opportunity to speak at Drupal community events and give back to the community in other ways. 

Regardless of how much we contribute to the community, however, it’s never exceeded the payback. It’s enabled lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for us and our clients, saving millions of dollars in operating expenses. It has ramped up our ability to create and innovate. It’s also allowed us to help build more viable organizations and valuable partnerships. 

The majority of our industry agrees with us. The State of Enterprise Open Source report in 2019 from Red Hat asked nearly 1,000 IT leaders around the world how strategically important open source is to an enterprises’ infrastructure software plans. Among respondents, 69 percent reported that it is extremely important, citing top benefits as lower TCO, access to innovation, security, higher-quality software, support, and the freedom to customize. 

Only 1 percent of survey respondents said it wasn’t important at all. 

Which side of the open-source vs. commercial platforms argument do you come down on?

Contact us to drop us a line and tell us about your project.

Feb 27 2020
Feb 27

You’re having trouble keeping up with demand and need a more powerful and robust website platform.

As business problems go, that’s a great one to have. Especially for enterprise-grade organizations and government entities. The question is: Which website platform is best?

To help you make informed decisions about your platform choice, we’re sharing a look at what Acquia has to offer. In this post, you’ll learn what Acquia is and how it works, who should consider using the platform and who should not. Then you’ll read our thoughts on what should be top of mind when selecting a platform.

Full disclosure: Mobomo is an Acquia partner organization, meaning we help clients make the most of their Acquia technology and services. Far from being a hard sell, however, this post aims solely to provide expert analysis and an honest assessment of the company and its products.

What Acquia Is and How It Works

Acquia is considered a digital experience platform (DXP), which is a collection or suite of products that work in concert to manage and optimize the user’s digital experience. These products can include a CRM, analytics, commerce applications, content management and more.

In its industry report on DXPs, Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms, Gartner defines a digital experience platform as “an integrated set of core technologies that support the composition, management, delivery and optimization of contextualized digital experiences…Leaders have ample ability to support a variety of DXP use cases and consistently meet customers’ needs over substantial periods. Leaders have delivered significant product innovation in pursuit of DXP requirements and have been successful in selling to new customers across industries.”

Organizations use DXPs to build, deploy and improve websites, portals, mobile and other digital experiences. They combine and coordinate applications, including content management, search and navigation, personalization, integration and aggregation, collaboration, workflow, analytics, mobile and multichannel support.

Acquia is one of the major players in this space, and the only one designed solely for Drupal.

Acquia co-founder Dries Buytaert was in graduate school in 2000 when he created the first Drupal content management framework. Buytaert and Jay Batson then established Acquia in 2007 to provide infrastructure, support and services to enterprise organizations that use Drupal.

Features and Benefits of Acquia

Acquia initially offered managed cloud hosting and fine-tuned services for Drupal. It has since expanded on its Drupal foundation to offer a complete DXP, including but not limited to:

  • Acquia Cloud: Provides Drupal hosting, development tools, hosting services and enterprise grade security.
  • Acquia Lightning: An open source Drupal 8 distribution with preselected modules and configuration to help developers build sites and run them on Acquia Cloud.
  • Acquia Digital Asset Management: A cloud-based digital asset management tool and central library for Drupal sites.
  • Acquia Commerce Manager: Provides a secure and flexible platform for content-rich experiential commerce.
  • Mautic: A marketing automation platform that enables organizations to send and personalize multi-channel communications at scale.
  • Acquia Journey: An omnichannel tool that allows marketers to listen and learn from customers to craft a sequence of personalized touchpoints and trigger what they will see next.

Additionally, Acquia provides comprehensive logging, performance metrics, security and Drupal application insights, and uptime alerts organizations need to monitor and optimize applications.

The Acquia platform also shines in its security capabilities, supporting strict compliance programs such as FedRAMP, HIPAA, and PCI, among others. Acquia customers can also internally manage teams at scale with advanced teams and permissions capabilities.

And they’re running with the big dogs. Other DXP companies assessed in the Gartner Magic Quadrants report include Adobe, IBM, Salesforce, Liferay, SAP, Adobe, Microsoft and Oracle.

In that report, Gartner cited Acquia’s key strengths as follows:

  • Acquia Experience Cloud offers a wide array of capabilities well-suited to support the B2C use case. Some clients also use it for B2B and B2E use cases.
  • The open-source community behind Acquia, which is the main contributor to the underlying Drupal WCM system, is highly active and well-supported by the vendor.
  • Acquia’s partner ecosystem continues to grow, offering choices to clients looking for expertise in specific verticals and availability in specific regions.

Who Should Consider Acquia

In a nutshell, Acquia is a good fit for enterprise-grade clients and government entities needing a comprehensive and powerful platform that optimizes the entire user experience while integrating data from multiple sources to support decision-making. Organizations that deploy and manage multiple websites will find Acquia particularly helpful.

One glance at Acquia’s customer page crystalizes the scope and scale of organizations they serve. Brands using Acquia include Wendy’s, ConAgra Brands, University of Virginia, City of Rancho Cucamonga in California and Australia’s Department of the Environment and Energy.

According to Website Planet, what sets Acquia apart is their foundation in the open-source Drupal content management framework. Unlike many of their competitors, Acquia allows customers to buy resources and features individually rather than purchasing entire pre-made packages. This can be particularly appealing to organizations who already have a couple of strong individual solutions in place that they want to integrate into their DXP, such as this reviewer in the manufacturing industry:

“A few things drove me to this solution: Decoupled architecture that allowed me to build a completely distributed digital landscape while keeping central control, The Open Platform concept that allowed me to build my own integrations and connect different components of my existing Martech stack without always using the “default” provided options and the comfort/security of relying on a cloud-based solution with full service support on top.

For e-commerce website owners, Acquia’s packages provide a PCI DSS compliant solution that can easily scale to accommodate extensive product catalogs, large transaction volumes and surges in traffic. Acquia’s proprietary e-commerce manager integrates the various content, commerceand user interfaces, allowing you to provide seamless experiences to your customers through a single system.”

Who Should Not Consider Acquia

Acquia is best suited for organizations with both the need for such a powerful suite of tools and the development expertise to easily implement and manage it. Beginners and small businesses lacking the requisite knowledge of programming and Drupal are likely better off with a different provider.

For those who develop their website through an agency, you’ll want to double-check that they will provide developers experienced with Drupal 8. If you do develop in-house, make sure your developers have strong familiarity with it.

Additionally, Acquia’s power comes at a price: Its price point may put it out of reach for small-to-medium businesses.

Acquia: Our Takeaway

As with any other significant investment, the best choice for your organization boils down to your wants and needs of you, the consumer. Keep these points in mind assessing how well Acquia matches up with your master list of must-haves.

  • Determine your desired business outcome. Think about what you’re after in terms of improving the business. What does each DXP offer and can you make the most of every feature you’re paying for?
  • Know your stack. Document your current technology architecture: what do you have, who uses it, for what and how is it connected?
  • Determine use cases. Who will use your technology and how will it make them productive?
  • Prepare your people. Your personnel play a massive role in assembling your digital experience technology stack. Don’t set yourself up to spend time and money on a platform that doesn’t get adopted or used to its potential.

By conducting a thorough assessment of your organization’s needs, capabilities, and goals, you can readily determine whether Acquia is the best fit to help you provide an amazing digital experience for your audience.

Contact us today and find out how Mobomo can help you make the most of Acquia.

Jan 30 2020
Jan 30

A chef can make a great meal with a few basic ingredients. But when offered a massive pantry full of options, the result can be a work of art.

The same principle applies when it comes to website CMS software. A basic template-style CMS can result in something that hits the spot. But Drupal’s staggering degree of flexibility and modular options has allowed the developers of some of the world’s most prominent websites to create gorgeous and highly functional sites that inspire, inform, and elevate.

Here are our top 10 picks for Drupal websites that we think have raised the bar:

  • Tesla
  • PGAL
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
  • Mint
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame
  • The Australian Government
  • Rethinking Picasso’s Guernica
  • The Emmy Awards
  • NASA

Let’s examine these in more detail:

10. TeslaTeslaTesla

A rare day passes by without Tesla making headlines. The brand and its founder, Elon Musk, are renowned for big, audacious ideas that have potential to change the world. The beautiful photography and design make every section look like a high-end editorial page in a magazine, while the simple, intuitive navigation and call-to-action features are clean and unobtrusive. It all combines to create a website that’s aspirational yet attainable.

9. PGALPGALPGAL

PGAL is an international design firm focusing on interiors, architecture, planning, and engineering. Their challenge is to show and tell, so that potential clients are dazzled by the site’s visuals while still being able to find enough solid information to want to take the next step. The site, which uses imagery as the gateway to project stories, is a delightful rabbit-hole that we could spend hours exploring. Make sure to check out their Projects page, as it is an excellent example of how to show off a portfolio in a clean but comprehensive way.

8. The University of Texas at AustinUniversity of Texas at Austin University of Texas at Austin 

University websites can often be an overstuffed nightmare to navigate, but the team behind UT Austin’s website got it right: Their menu navigation is clean, well-organized, and enticing. Add to it a home page that evokes the fresh excitement of starting the post-secondary journey, while peppering in well-organized data that invites the reader to learn more, and you have a website that gets students and their families off to the perfect start.

7. Children’s Hospital of Los AngelesChildren’s Hospital of Los AngelesChildren’s Hospital of Los Angeles

160,000 visitors go to CHLA.org every month, making it vital for the site to present clear, accurate, easily navigated information in a way that builds and maintains trust. It’s a tall order, but CHLA.org delivers. The design is clean but far from cold, while the most frequently searched information is put front and center instead of being hidden in the navigation bars, making it easy for frazzled parents to find out what they need to know. The sheer volume of information on the “Patients and Families” page could easily be overwhelming but is organized beautifully and intuitively.

6. Mint

Mint’s value statement: “We help you effortlessly manage your finances in one place.” They offer clean and simple financial management, using a clean and simple sentence to describe what they do. A cluttered or complicated website would completely undermine their brand. Fortunately, Mint.com is anything but cluttered or complicated. The simple and soothing colors and minimalist text are reassuring to visitors who want straightforward information, while the navigation and iconography make navigation a breeze.

5. National Baseball Hall of FameNational Baseball Hall of FameNational Baseball Hall of Fame

For any website to be successful, it has to give the end-users what they’re looking for, and the BHoF delivers. After extensive user research, the site was designed to showcase the incredible stories and artifacts in BHoF’s collection, bringing it all to life for the site’s visitors. Fortunately, it also does so in a way that’s easy to navigate, inviting visitors to spend plenty of time exploring.

4. The Australian GovernmentThe Australian GovernmentThe Australian Government

As with universities and colleges, government websites can often be an impenetrable labyrinth to navigate. Australia.gov.au does things differently, living up to their header, “Helping you find government information and services.” The site is incredibly well-organized, with virtually no clutter. And even though it has not one photo to speak of, it still manages to be attractive, through a judicious use of color and minimalistic icons.

3. Rethinking Picasso’s GuernicaRethinking Picasso’s GuernicaRethinking Picasso’s Guernica

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía created an ambitious project around one of Picasso’s most famous works of art, and the results were groundbreaking: The project has been recognized with a Webby as the best 2018 Cultural Institutions Website. The storytelling and imagery on this site are captivating, while the user experience is smooth and unobtrusive.

2.  The Emmy AwardsThe Emmy AwardsThe Emmy Awards

The Emmy Awards are splashy and glamorous on the outside, while requiring meticulous planning and organization behind the scenes. Their website is no different. With a plethora of content, rich color choices, and high-quality images, the site is as immersive an experience as the awards show is. But thoughtful, intuitive navigation, exciting features, and well-curated content demonstrate expertise.

1. NASANASANASA

NASA.gov is a massive resource on space, astronomy, and the universe, offering detailed information on present and past missions, gorgeous photography, educational resources, and information about the organization in general, to name but a few features. Organizing such a wealth of information in a coherent and clear way shows what is possible with Drupal.

Full disclosure: We’re the team behind NASA.gov, so it’s understandable that we might have a soft spot for this site. However, we’re far from alone in loving the finished product. Our friends at Vardot.com call it “a shining example of Drupal CMS used to present stunning information, and elevate the user’s experience,” and NASA.gov has made the top of more than one “Best Drupal Websites” list.

Want to see the possibilities that Drupal can hold for your organization’s website?
Contact us today!

Jan 17 2020
Jan 17

Drupal 9 is scheduled for release on June 3, 2020. And as with any highly anticipated release, questions abound: “What will change from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9?” “What do I need to do to prepare before upgrading?” And top-of-mind is the big question: “What will Drupal 9 be like to work with?”

Read on as we share what you’ll need to know … and what might surprise you.

Anybody who’s upgraded from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 recalls the giant chasm between the two systems. Almost 200 new features were launched including an entirely new page editor, a new theme engine, a new text editor, and new field types, to name but a few.

This gap doesn’t exist between Drupal 8 and Drupal 9. In fact, on the surface, there IS no difference: Drupal 9 has the same code, functions, and feature set as Drupal 8.9.

So why release it then? As it turns out, there are differences — they’re just not front-and-center on the interface.

Time to Clean House

Throughout its development cycle, Drupal 8 has wound up with a lot of code debt: functions that were created programmatically and used for some time but have been rendered redundant by more efficient functions.

These bits of code clutter up Drupal 8 like your old CDs and DVDs clutter up your bookshelf: There’s nothing wrong with them, but you probably don’t need them anymore now that you have something more efficient.

The result of all this extra code is that programmatically, there might be 10 different ways to do one single thing.

What Drupal has done is marked all of those code items in the backend code base as being “deprecated”. When Drupal 9 comes out, the plan is to remove all the deprecated code on this list, leaving only the latest version of whatever that code’s API is. They’ll also be updating third-party dependencies, such as Symfony and Twig. From Drupal’s site:

“Drupal 9 will be a cleaned-up version of Drupal 8. It will be the same as the last Drupal 8 minor version with our own deprecated code removed and third-party dependencies updated. We are building Drupal 9 in Drupal 8.”

Will Drupal 9 Be Better?

Yes, but not without some minor risks.

Jettisoning all this deprecated code will result in a much faster, cleaner, and better-operating version of Drupal. However, if you have legacy programs whose modules use some of that deprecated code, you could find yourself with some broken processes.

How to Prepare for Drupal 9

In general, upgrading to Drupal 9 is not an onerous process – it can literally be done via a single command. What will take more time is monitoring and auditing code bases to ensure that none of your functionality is dependent upon deprecated code.

Fortunately, Drupal is well prepared for this, and has indicated that the Drupal 8 branch of the Upgrade Status module can be used  to identify and report on any deprecated code:

“This module scans the code of the contributed and custom projects you have installed, and reports on any deprecated code that must be replaced before the next major version. Available project updates are also suggested to keep your site up to date as project will resolve deprecation errors over time.”

In addition, we anticipate that when downloading or updating modules, Drupal will likely advise whether there are compatibility issues due to bad functions. However, that notification system isn’t currently in place (if it indeed happens at all), so your best bet is to work with your development partner, who can audit your code to identify any trouble spots.

Marie Kondo-ing Your Infrastructure

Drupal 9 will be a much faster and more streamlined platform, but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If the rest of your operational architecture is similarly full of code debt and redundant processes, updating Drupal 9 will be akin to sending a Lamborghini down a pothole-rutted road: That powerful engine is wasted if the route is slowing it down.

So, going to Drupal 9 is an excellent opportunity to look at your legacy systems, audit them as well, and make sure your entire infrastructure is clean, fast, and free of roadblocks.

The Bottom Line

In general, upgrading to Drupal 9 should not be a complex or lengthy process. By cleaning out the clutter and performing some common dependencies, Drupal is practicing good development hygiene and providing its customers with a more streamlined system that will be faster … but still familiar.

Want to know more? Contact us today!

Apr 01 2019
Apr 01

Vienna, VA March 19, 2019—Mobomo,

Mobomo, LLC is pleased to announce our award as a prime contractor on the $25M Department of Interior (DOI) Drupal Developer Support Services BPA . Mobomo brings an experienced and extensive Drupal Federal practice team to DOI.  Our team has launched a large number of award winning federal websites in both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8, to include www.nasa.gov, www.usgs.gov, and www.fisheries.noaa.gov.,These sites have won industry recognition and awards including the 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Webby Award; two 2017 Innovate IT awards; and the 2018 MUSE Creative Award and the Acquia 2018 Public Sector Engage award.

DOI has been shifting its websites from an array of Content Management System (CMS) and non-CMS-based solutions to a set of single-architecture, cloud-hosted Drupal solutions. In doing so, DOI requires Drupal support for hundreds of websites that are viewed by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, including its parent website, www.doi.gov, managed by the Office of the Secretary. Other properties include websites and resources provided by its bureaus  (Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, National Park Service, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey) and many field offices.

This BPA provides that support. The period of performance for this BPA is five years and it’s available agency-wide and to all bureaus as a vehicle for obtaining Drupal development, migration, information architecture, digital strategy, and support services. Work under this BPA will be hosted in DOI’s OpenCloud infrastructure, which was designed for supporting the Drupal platform.

Oct 24 2018
Oct 24

Award Program Showcases Outstanding Examples of Digital Experience Delivery

Vienna, VA – October 24, 2018 – Mobomo today announced it was selected along with NOAA Fisheries as the winner of the 2018 Acquia Engage Awards for the Leader of the Pack: Public Sector. The Acquia Engage Awards recognize the world-class digital experiences that organizations are building with the Acquia Platform.

In late 2016, NOAA Fisheries partnered with Mobomo to restructure and redesign their digital presence. Before the start of the project, NOAA Fisheries worked with Foresee to help gather insight on their current users. They wanted to address poor site navigation, one of the biggest complaints. They had concerns over their new site structure and wanted to test proposed designs and suggest improvements. Also, the NOAA Fisheries organization had siloed information, websites and even servers within multiple distinct offices. The Mobomo team was and (is currently) tasked with the project of consolidating information into one main site to help NOAA Fisheries communicate more effectively with all worldwide stakeholders, such as commercial and recreational fishermen, fishing councils, scientists and the public. Developing a mobile-friendly, responsive platform is of the utmost importance to the NOAA Fisheries organization. By utilizing Acquia, we are able to develop and integrate lots of pertinent information from separate internal systems with a beautifully designed interface.

“It has been a great pleasure for Mobomo to develop and deploy a beautiful and functional website to support NOAA fisheries managing this strategic resource. Whether supporting the work to help Alaskan Native American sustainable fish stocks, providing a Drupal-based UI to help fishing council oversight of the public discussion of legislation, or helping commercial fishermen obtain and manage their licenses, is honored help NOAA Fisheries execute its mission.” – Shawn MacFarland, CTO of Mobomo 

More than 100 submissions were received from Acquia customers and partners, from which 15 were selected as winners. Nominations that demonstrated an advanced level functionality, integration, performance (results and key performance indicators), and overall user experience advanced to the finalist round, where an outside panel of experts selected the winning projects.

“This year’s Acquia Engage Award nominees show what’s possible when open technology and boundless ambition come together to create world-class customer experiences. They’re making every customer interaction more meaningful with powerful, personalized experiences that span the web, mobile devices, voice assistants, and more,” said Joe Wykes, senior vice president, global channels at Acquia. “We congratulate Mobomo and NOAA Fisheries and all of the finalists and winners. This year’s cohort of winners demonstrated unprecedented evidence of ROI and business value from our partners and our customers alike, and we’re proud to recognize your achievement.”

“Each winning project demonstrates digital transformation in action, and provides a look at how these brands and organizations are trying to solve the most critical challenges facing digital teams today,” said Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing and one of three Acquia Engage Award jurors. Sheryl Kingstone of 451 Research and Sam Decker of Decker Marketing also served on the jury.

About Mobomo

Mobomo builds elegant solutions to complex problems. We do it fast, and we do it at a planetary scale. As a premier provider of mobile, web, and cloud applications to large enterprises, federal agencies, napkin-stage startups, and nonprofits, Mobomo combines leading-edge technology with human-centered design and strategy to craft next-generation digital experiences.

About Acquia

Acquia provides a cloud platform and data-driven journey technology to build, manage and activate digital experiences at scale. Thousands of organizations rely on Acquia’s digital factory to power customer experiences at every channel and touchpoint. Acquia liberates its customers by giving them the freedom to build tomorrow on their terms.

For more information visit www.acquia.com or call +1 617 588 9600.

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All logos, company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Oct 23 2018
Oct 23

PHP 5.6 will officially be no longer supported through security fixes on December 31, 2018. This software has not been actively developed for a number of years, but people have been slow to jump on the bandwagon. Beginning in the new year, no bug fixes will be released for this version of PHP. This opens the door for a dramatic increase in security risks if you are not beginning the new year on a version of PHP 7. PHP 7 was released back in December 2015 and PHP 7.2 is the latest version that you can update to. PHP did skip over 6; so don’t even try searching for it.

Drupal 8.6 is the final Drupal version that will support PHP 5.6. Many other CMS’s will be dropping their support for PHP 5.6 in their latest versions as well. Simply because it is supported in that version does not mean that you will be safe from the security bugs; you will still need to upgrade your PHP version before December 31, 2018. In addition to the security risks, you have already been missing out on many improvements that have been made to PHP.

What Should You Do About This?

You are probably thinking “Upgrade, I get it.” It may actually be more complicated than that and you will need to refactor. 90-95% of your code should be fine. The version your CMS is may affect the complexity of your conversion. Most major CMS’s will handle PHP 7 right out of the box in their most recent versions.

By upgrading to a version of PHP 7, you will see a variety of performance improvements; the most dramatic being speed. The engine behind PHP, Zend Technologies, ran performance tests on a variety of PHP applications to compare the performance of PHP 7 vs PHP 5.6. These tests compared requests per second across the two versions. This relates to the speed at which code is executed, and how fast queries to the database and server are returned. These tests showed that PHP 7 runs twice as fast and you will see additional improvements in memory consumption.

How Can Mobomo Help?

Mobomo’s team is highly experienced, not only in assisting with your conversion, but with the review of your code to ensure your environment is PHP 7 ready.  Our team of experts will review your code and uncover the exact amount of code that needs to be converted. There are a good number of factors that could come into play and affect your timeline. The more customizations and smaller plugins that your site contains, the more complex your code review and your eventual conversion could be. Overall, depending on the complexity of the code, your timeline could vary but this would take a maximum of 3 weeks.

Important Things to Know:

  1. How many contributed modules does your site contain?
  2. How many custom modules does your site contain?
  3. What does your environment look like?
May 29 2018
May 29

Part 3: The Final Installment

This is the final installment of Drupal Taxonomy that we feel is important for one unfamiliar with Drupal to know! At this point, hopefully, you understand some of the key language that is regularly used in the Drupal Community.  For reference, our first two blogs, Part 1 and Part 2, should provide you any background you may not already have.  Mobomo is the team that is behind NASA, the solar eclipse with NASA, the USGS store, and NOAA Fisheries, all of which are Drupal sites.  Similar to these organizations, Drupal is the CMS system for you if your needs are more complex, you are developing an e-commerce portal, or if you have a large amount of content to maintain.  If you have a Drupal project in the works or are about to migrate versions or CMS systems, Mobomo has some of the best and brightest Drupal developers in the DC area.

Key Terms:

  1. Permissions – This is a tool for controlling access to content creation, modification, and site administration at the application level.
    1. Administrators can assign permissions to roles, then assign users to these roles.
    2. The first user receives all permissions.
  2. Template – This refers to a file to express presentation
    1.  These are mostly written with a markup language that has variables representing data provided to the template.
  3. Theme Engine – This is a set of scripts that interprets code and makes theming a site easier. These scripts take the dynamically generated content and output it to HTML.
    1. The default theme engine is PHPTemplate
  4. Theme Hook – This is an identifier used by the calls to the theme() function to delegate rendering to a theme function or theme template.  Modules which extend Drupal may declare their own theme hooks to allow editors to control the markup of that module in their theme.
  5. Trigger – These typically result from a characteristic change in an entity maintained by a module.
    1. Types:
      1. Deleting content
      2. Adding a comment that a user has logged in
      3. Adding a term
  6. Triage – A new issue is assigned a priority based on its severity, frequency, risk, and other predetermined factors.
  7. Zebra Striping – This refers to the to the alternating colors between rows of data. It is most common for rows of data to alternate background colors between white and gray.
  8. Testbot – A continuous integration service for testing patches submitted to project issues on Drupal.org.
  9. Roles – A name for a group of users, to whom you can collectively assign permissions. There are two predetermined, locked roles for every new Drupal installation:
    1. Authenticated User – anyone with an account on the site.
    2. Anonymous User – those who haven’t yet created accounts or are not logged in.
    3. Additional roles can be added and users can belong to multiple roles.
  10. Path – This is the final portion of the URL that refers to a specific function or a piece of content.

Please reference Drupal.org for more information!

Apr 26 2018
Apr 26

Part 2:

In our previous blog post, we gave a brief intro to some terms that we believe are necessary to understand the basics of Drupal.   Here we have what we believe to be the next round of terms that we consider necessary to understanding those basics. Recently, we had the opportunity to assist Matrix AMC in migrating from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8.  They were unable to use their website because of the version of Drupal that their website was hosted on was out of date and no longer supported by the Drupal community. While these specific terms are consistent across Drupal versions, they are crucial to understanding the importance of being up to date in with your version of Drupal.

Key Terms:     

  1. Block – the boxes visible in the regions of a Drupal website.
    1. Most blocks (e.g. recent forum topics) are generated on-the-fly by various Drupal modules, but they can be created in the administer blocks area of a Drupal site.
  2. Region – defined areas of a page where content can be placed. Different themes can define different regions so the options are often different per-site. Basic regions include:
    1. Header
    2. Footer
    3. Content
    4. Left sidebar
    5. Right Sidebar
  3. Roles – a name for a group of users, to whom you can collectively assign permissions. There are two predefined, locked roles for every new Drupal installation:
    1. Authenticated User- anyone with an account on the site.
    2. Anonymous User- those who haven’t yet created accounts or are not logged in.
  4. WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get; An acronym used in computing to describe a method in which content is edited and formatted by interacting with an interface that closely resembles the final product.
  5. Book – a set of pages tied together in a hierarchical sequence, perhaps with chapters, sections, or subsections.  Books can be used for manuals, site resource guides, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), etc.
  6. Breadcrumbs – the set of links, usually near the top of the page, that shows the path you followed to locate the current page.
    1. The term is borrowed from Hansel and Gretel, who left crumbs of bread along their path so they could find their way back out of the forest.
  7. Form mode – this is a way to customize the layout of an entity’s edit form.
  8. Multisite – a feature of Drupal that allows one to run multiple websites from the same Drupal codebase.
  9. Patch – a small piece of software designed to update or fix problems with a computer program or its supporting data.
    1. This includes fixing bugs, replacing graphics and improving the usability or performance.
  10. User – the user interacting with Drupal. This user is either anonymous or logged into Drupal through its account.

Refer to Drupal.org for any other questions!

Mar 28 2018
Mar 28

Key Drupal TaxonomyKey Drupal Taxonomy

Part 1:

When it comes to considering what is the best CMS for a website, most don’t know up from down or Drupal from WordPress.  At Mobomo, we consider ourselves Drupal experts and have guided many of our clients through a Drupal migration. Drupal is a content management system that is at the core of many websites.  Drupal defines itself as “an open source platform for building amazing digital experiences.” These simple Drupal terms, or taxonomies, make it sound easy, but it can, in fact, be very confusing. Listed below are some popular terms defined to help make the start of the migration process what it should be, simple and easy:

Key Terms:

  1. Taxonomy – this is the classification system used by Drupal. This classification system is very similar to the Categories system you’ll find in WordPress.
  2. Vocabularies – a category, or a collection of terms.
  3. Terms – items that go into a vocabulary.
  4. Tags – this is a generic way to classify your content and this is also the default setting when you first begin.
  5. Menus – these refer both to the clickable navigation elements on a page, as well as to Drupal’s internal system for handling requests. When a request is sent to Drupal, the menu system uses the provided URL to determine what functions to call.  
    • There are 4 types:
      • Main
      • Management
      • Navigation
      • User
  6. Theme – this refers to the look and feel of a site and it is determined by a combined collection of template files, in addition to configuration and asset files.  Drupal modules define themeable functions which can be overridden by the theme file.  The header, icons, and block layout are all contained within a theme
  7. Content-Type – Every node, see below for definition, belongs to a content type.  This defines many different default settings for nodes of that type.  Content Types may have different fields, as well as modules may define their own content types.
  8. Fields – These are elements that can be attached to a node or other Drupal entities. Fields typically have text, image, or terms.
  9. Node – A piece of content in Drupal that has a title, an optional body, and perhaps other fields. Every node belongs to a particular content type (see above), and can be classified using the taxonomy system. Examples of nodes are polls and images.
  10. Views – This refers to a module that allows you to click and configure the interface for running database queries. It can give the results in many formats.
  11. Views Display – A views display is created inside of a view to show the objects fetched by the view in a variety of ways.
  12. Module – A code that extends Drupal features and functionality. Drupal core comes with required modules, some of which are optional. A large number of “contrib,” or non-core, modules are listed in the project directory.
    • Core- has features that are available within Drupal by default
    • Custom- a module that is custom developed for a purpose that may not be available within the core system.  
    • Contributed- A module that is made available to others within the Drupal community after it was created as a custom module. There are more than 40,000 modules available today.

See Part 2 and Part 3 for more.  Any other questions? Check out Drupal.org!

Aug 01 2017
Aug 01

We were thrilled to conduct a training at this years Drupal Gov Con on local Drupal development with containers. Check out our presentation!

The post Local Drupal Development With Containers appeared first on .

Jul 31 2017
Jul 31

One of our lead developers spoke at this year’s Drupal Gov Con at NIH. Check out his presentation on Taxonomy Terms as Organic Groups.

The post Taxonomy Terms as Organic Groups appeared first on .

May 24 2017
May 24

WordPress and Drupal WordPress and Drupal

President of Mobomo, Ken Fang, recently sat down with Clutch for a Q and A about all things WordPress and Drupal.

What should people consider when choosing a CMS or a website platform?

They should probably consider ease of use. We like open-source because of the pricing, and pricing is another thing they should take into account. Finally, for us, a lot of it revolves around how popular that particular type of technology is. Being able to find developers or even content editors that are used to that technology or CMS is important.

Could you speak about what differentiates Drupal and WordPress from each other?

Both of them are open-source platforms, and they’re probably the most popular CMS’s out there. WordPress is probably the most popular, with Drupal running a close second. Drupal is more popular in our federal space. I think the main difference is that WordPress started off more as a blogging platform, so it was typically for smaller sites. Whereas Drupal was considered to be more enterprise-grade, and therefore a lot of the larger commercial clients and larger federal clients would go with Drupal implementation.

They’ve obviously both grown a lot over the years. We’re now finding that both of the platforms are pretty comparable. WordPress has built a lot of enterprise functionality, and Drupal has built in a lot more ease of use. They’re getting closer and closer together. We still see that main segregation, with WordPress being for smaller sites, easier to use, and then Drupal for more enterprise-grade.

Could you describe the ideal client for each platform? What type of client would you recommend each platform for?

Definitely on the federal side, Drupal is a much more popular platform. Federal and enterprise clients should move to the Drupal platform, especially if they have other systems they want to integrate with, or more complex workflow and capability. WordPress we see much more on the commercial side, smaller sites. The nice thing about WordPress is that it’s pretty quick to get up and running. It’s a lot easier for the end user because of its limited capability. If you want to get something up more cost-effectively, that’s pretty simple, WordPress is a good way to go.

Could you speak about the importance of technical coding knowledge when building a website on either platform, from a client’s perspective?

Most of these main CMS’s are actually built in PHP, and most of them have a technology stack that requires different skillsets. So, on the frontend side, both of them require theming. It’s not only knowing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but it’s also understanding how each of the content management systems incorporate that into a theme. You usually start off with a base theme, and then you customize it as each client wants. As such, you need either WordPress or Drupal themers to do that frontend work. For any backend development, you do need PHP developers. For Drupal, it’s called modules. There are open-source modules that people contribute that you can just use, you can customize them, or you can even build your own custom modules from scratch. For WordPress, they’re called plugins, but it’s a very similar process. You can incorporate a plugin, customize it, or write your own custom plugin.

In between all of this, because it is a content management framework and platform, there are site builders or site configurators. The nice part about that is that you can literally fire up a Drupal website and not have to know any PHP coding or whatever. If you’re just doing a plain vanilla website, you can get everything up and running through the administrative interface. A Drupal or WordPress site builder can basically do that, provided they are savvy with how the system actually works form an administration standpoint. So, those are the technical skills that we typically see, that clients would need to have. In many cases, we’ll build out a website and they’ll want to maintain it. They’ll need somebody in-house, at least a Drupal site builder or a themer, or something like that.

Do you have any terms or any codes that clients should be aware of or should know prior to trying to launch a project in Drupal or WordPress?

PHP is definitely the main language they should know, and then HTML, JavaScript, and CSS for the frontend stuff. Drupal 8 has some newer technologies. Twig is used for theming as an example, so there’s a set of technologies associated with Drupal 8 they need to know as well.

Is there a particular feature of WordPress or Drupal that impressed you and potential users should know about?

I’m going to lean a little more into the Drupal world because a lot of people are starting to move to Drupal 8, which was a big rewrite. There are now a lot of sites starting to use that in production. They did quite a bit of overhaul on it. It is more API-driven now. Everything you do in Drupal 8 can be published as a web service. You can even do a lot of what they call headless Drupal implementations. That means you can use some of the more sexy frameworks, like Angular or React, to build out more intricate frontends, and still use Drupal as a CMS, but really as a web service.

Are there any features of the two platforms that could be improved to make it a better CMS?

I think they’re pretty evolved CMS’s. On both of them, platforms are getting into place to build right on the CMS’s without having to install them. Platforms like Acquia, WordPress.com, Automaticc. These platforms are profitable because from an enterprise standpoint right now, it is hard doing multisite implementations at that scale, managing all of the architecture, and stuff like that. From a technical standpoint, if you get into an enterprise, clients who says they want to be able to run a thousand sites on a single platform, that becomes difficult to do from a technical perspective. They both have the ability to support multisite implementations, but advancements in there to make those types of implementations easier to use and deploy would be a significant advancement for both platforms.

What should companies and clients expect in terms of cost for setting up a website, maintaining it, and adding new features?

For a very basic site, where you’re just taking things off the shelf – implementing the site with a theme that’s already built, and using basic content – I would say a customer can get up and running anywhere from two to six weeks, $20,000-30,000. Typically, those implementations are for very small sites. We’ve seen implementations that have run into the millions, that are pretty complex. These are sites that receive millions of hits a day; they have award-winning user experience and design, custom theming, integration with a lot of backend systems, etc. Those can take anywhere from six to twelve months, and $500,000 to $1 million to get up and running.

Can you give some insight into SEO and security when building a website?

The nice thing about Drupal and WordPress is that there are a lot of modules and plugins that will manage that, from Google Analytics to HubSpot, all sort of SEO engines. You can pretty much plug and play those things. It doesn’t replace the need for your traditional content marketing, analyzing those results and then making sure your pages have the appropriate content and keywords driving traffic into them, or whatever funnel you want. All your analytic tools usually have some sort of module or plugin, whether it’s Google, Salesforce, Pardot, or whatever. A lot of those things are already pretty baked in. You can easily get it up and running. That’s the nice thing about the SEO portion of it.

The other nice thing about it being open-source is that there are constant updates on sort of security. Using these CMS systems, because they tie to all the open-source projects, if you download a module, anytime there’s a security update for it, you’ll get alerted within your administrative interface. It’s usually just a one-click installation to install that upgrade for security patches. That’s nice, as you’re literally talking hundreds of thousands of modules and millions of users. They’re usually found and patched pretty quickly. As long as you stay on that security patching cycle, you should be okay. You could still do stupid stuff as an administrator. You could leave the default password, and somebody could get in, so you still have to manage those things. From a software perspective, as long as you’re using highly-active, contributed modules and the core, security patches and findings come out pretty regularly on those things.

As a company, because we do stuff with some regulated industries like banking and federal agencies, we usually have to go a level above on security. Take a WordPress site or whatever, we would actually remove that form the public so it couldn’t be hit from outside of a VPN or internal network, and then have it publish out actual content and static pages so the outside just doesn’t even connect to the back-end system. That does take some custom programming and specialty to do. Most people just implement your regular website with the appropriate security controls, and it’s not a big issue.

Are there any additional aspects of building a website or dealing with a CMS that you’d like to mention? Or any other CMS platforms you’d like to give some insight on?

For us, because we are such a big mobile player, we typically would say that, whatever you build, your CMS, obviously focus on user experience. Most people are doing a good job of that these days. One of the areas that is still a little weak is this whole idea of a content syndication. There’s still a big push where the content editors build webpages, and they want to control the layout, pages, etc. They get measured by the number of visitors to the website and all that stuff. I’m not saying that’s not important; however, we’re trying to push an idea of a web service content syndication. So, how you use these CMS’s to do that, so your content gets syndicated worldwide. It doesn’t necessarily have to be measured by how many people hit your website. It should be measured by the number of impressions.

For instance, with the work we’ve done at NASA, they announced the TRAPPIST-1 discovery of potential Earth-like planets. That drove a huge amount of traffic to the website, probably close to nine million hits that day. If you look at the actual reach of that content and NASA’s message – through the CMS’s integration with social media, with API’s that other websites were taking, with Flickr, that sort of thing – it hit over 2.5 billion social media posts. That’s an important thing to measure. How are you using your content management system more as a content syndication platform, opposed to just building webpages? USGS has also done a really solid job of this ‘create once, publish everywhere’ philosophy. I think people should be looking at content management systems as content management systems, not as website management systems.

We ask that you rate Drupal and WordPress on a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being the best score.

How would you rate them for their functionalities and available features?

Drupal – 5 – We have a bias towards Drupal because it’s more enterprise-grade. It fits what a lot of our clients need. I think they’ve come a long way with both the 7 and 8 versions and have really brought down the cost of implementation and improved the ease of use.

WordPress – 4 – I think it’s fantastic. It’s obviously extremely popular and very easy to set up and use. I give it a 4 and not a 5 because it’s not as easy to extend to enterprise-grade implementations. For some functionalities, you still have to dig into core, and nobody wants to be modifying core modules.

How would you rate them for ease of use and ease of implementation?

Drupal – 4.5 for ease of use, because it’s not as easy as WordPress, and 4.5 for ease of installation.WordPress – 5 for ease of use, and 4 for ease of implementation. If you want to go out of the box, it’s a little more difficult. Configuring multisite is a real difficulty in WordPress.

How would you rate them for support, as in the response of their team and the helpfulness of available online resources?

Drupal – 4

WordPress – 4

Being open-source projects, there are a ton of people contributing. They’re very active, so you usually can get your answers. In many cases, to get something embedded into core, it does have to get reviewed by the organization, which is a bunch of volunteers for the most part. Because of that, it does take a while for things to get embedded.

How likely are you to recommend each platform for a client?

Drupal – 5

WordPress – 5

I think they’re the strongest CMS’s out there for the price.

How likely are you to recommend each platform for a user to build their own DIY website?

Drupal – 3

WordPress – 4  

If you’re going to build your own website, and you have zero technical skills, you might want to look into a Weebly, Wix, or something like that. There is a need to know how to do site-building if you use Drupal or WordPress. Somebody has to configure it and understand it.

How would you rate your overall satisfaction collaborating with each platform?

Drupal – 5

WordPress – 5

We implement on both of them regularly, and they’re really great. They solve the need for a lot of our clients to migrate from much more expensive legacy systems.

Clutch.co interview: https://clutch.co/website-builders/expert-interview/interview-mobomo-dru...

Jan 18 2017
Jan 18

Magnifying glass over Google search bar Magnifying glass over Google search bar

A few tweaks and modules later, Drupal has easy to build SEO friendly websites. To achieve it, there are two sides involved:

  • Developers and designers will apply technical enhancements (making a good use of the core and contributing modules, write semantic and valid HTML prototypes).
  • Clients create good content.

Below are a few things you can do to improve SEO on your website just by working with content (texts, images, files).

Text content

Title

When you create a page on a website, the page title you decide on is used in several different places so it’s important to get it right and make sure it’s clear and useful.

Page title will appear:

  • On the page (usually as h1 heading)
  • In the main menu
  • In the url page
  • On listings linking to the page (from your site and also from social media sources)

All of above are picked up by search engines, so it’s important to include relevant keywords in your titles.

Page titles should be clear and descriptive. If titles are too long to fit into a menu, or if you want to have a different menu link then the page title you could use the ‘menu link title’ field to display.

Drupal has a feature that allows you to specify a ‘menu link title’, you can find this at the bottom of the edit page form in the “menu settings” tab > “Menu link title”.

Please note, spaces in titles will be converted into dashes in the url, so do not use  dashes in titles. Maybe you could replace dashes with a colon to avoid “double dashed” urls.

Meta description tag

The meta description is the excerpt that displays under the page title and site name on the search engine’s results page. If it’s not filled in, the body copy will be used instead. This may lead to a cut off excerpt, but you could manually fill the ‘meta description’, or use the ‘summary’ field to avoid it.

In Drupal, the body text field on a page is accompanied by a summary field. It is important to fill this in. Sometimes, it’s used on the site as a teaser to promote users to click the page and read the full copy.  Remember, it will be picked up as the meta description for the page if no meta description was manually added.

Headings

When adding or editing content to the Body, in the WYSIWYG toolbar at the top of the text field, you’ll see a dropdown with a few headings options. Commonly, you will have a choice of heading 2, heading 3, heading 4, and normal/paragraph.

When starting a new section on a page, use one of the headings defined in the dropdown. Headings are picked up by search engines and will contribute to your search rank.

Besides helping out with SEO, headings are designed to draw the reader’s eye so that they are able to find what they were looking for much easier. They are also useful for good content structure if the copy is long.

For SEO purposes you should only have the h1 tag used once on a page. H1 is commonly the page title.

Anchor Texts

This is the text that links to something else. For example, if I would like to point you to the about us page, then the anchor text is the (commonly) blue text you see.

Search engines compare the text written in the anchor to the link “behind” it. So if they anchor text includes keywords or phrases that will add value over time.

Anchor text is read by screen readers so it plays an important role in complain with accessibility requirements.

Please make sure that your anchor text is also descriptive.

Length

As a general rule the copy should be as long as it needs to be. Online content is not read in the same way as printed content, so keep things concise, clear and straightforward bearing in mind the user experience, not only the SEO.

As a reference, some SEO advisers recommend around 200 words as a minimum for page copy.

Files (Images, documents)

Filenames

Filenames should follow the following convention to eliminate technical problems and to improve SEO.

  • Use full words
  • Replace spaces with dashes
  • Do not use special characters, just letters, numbers and dashes.

Filenames should be also descriptive.

Some good examples are: mobomo-logo-red.jpg, partnership-agreement-2017.pdf

Reference: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/114016?hl=en

Alt Text

This is a descriptive text that appears if an image cannot be loaded and is also used by screen readers. So here SEO is directly implicated with Accessibility. It’s especially important if the image also acts as a link.

This text should clearly describe the image.

Filesize

Main thing you should know about files in web: Large file sizes slow down page load.

Users tends to abandon pages if the load time is greater than 3 seconds. So search engines “don’t like” to direct users to slow sites.

So, you can help to keep the page speed to a minimum by making sure the files you add are light.

A general rule is to try to keep images filesize below 70k, this sometimes is hard especially with large images (banners for example), so let’s say images should not ever be larger than 600k.  

Format

All images should be saved in jpeg format.

Documents should be saved as pdf or doc (for editable documents).

Other

404 and 403 pages

We are going to set up these pages for you, but it’s important that you fill them with accurate content given your audience. For example, you could add a link to your Homepage here or to an Archive / Search page to help your audience finding what they were looking for.

Please note these points listed above are changes you can apply without any tech support, they are just Content edits you can apply by yourself when adding / updating content for your website.

Here’s a few SEO related Drupal modules that makes developers lives easier.

Oct 24 2016
Oct 24

You know the old saying: “This is how the world ends: not with a bang, but with a misplaced DROP TABLE.” Working directly with Drupal 7’s database is an arduous task at best.  It’s a sprawling relational system and it uses many space and memory saving tricks to be as speedy as possible.  Thankfully, there […]

The post Manipulating Your Drupal 7 Database appeared first on .

Aug 02 2016
Aug 02

drupal-development-sketch-mockupsdrupal-development-sketch-mockups

Navigating the administrative backend of Drupal can be daunting.  Here are some helpful things to consider while managing a Drupal development project.

Clearing cache

Knowing how to clear cache on Drupal is critical. During the development phase, chances are you will be looking at the site as developers are working simultaneously. Clearing Drupal cache should be the first step in troubleshooting as changes such as theme or module changes might not take place immediately. The easiest way to clear cache from the administration menu is Administration > Configuration > Development > Performance > click on ‘Clear Cache’. If your site uses the admin menu module, a shortcut easily accessible at all times on the top menu bar. So the next time something doesn’t show up as expected, try clearing the cache first!

Basic Drupal terminology

A lot of scary words can be thrown around while describing project requirements and needs. In order to get a better understand of the inner workings of Drupal development, here are some common Drupal terms you should familiarize yourself to.

  1. Node – Pieces of content are known as nodes. They are stored in the database with an unique identifier known as a node ID.
  2. Content Type – Content types are the most basic categorization of nodes. A node’s content type defines what kind of node it will be. Each content type can be assigned a variety of fields and configuration settings. The default ones that Drupal ships with are “article” and “basic page”, but you can create your own as well.
  3. Field – Fields are the datasets that makes up a content type. They define the kind of information you want to be stored within each content type. For example, a Staff content type may consist of a First Name and Last Name fields, while an Article content type could have Body and Description fields.
  4. View – One of the most common way to display aggregate lists of data on the frontend is using the Views module. Views are very powerful as it can define what the end user sees through the use of specific fields, filters, and sorting criterias.
  5. Taxonomy – Taxonomy is the practice of classifying nodes through the use of keywords. A taxonomic structure consists of a vocabulary and its associated taxonomy Terms. A vocabulary is the overarching category made up of sets of terms to while taxonomy terms are the individual pieces.

Be aware of different user permission levels

Keep in mind that what you see while logged in might not reflect what other users might see. A lot of times when a client does not have access to something, it is most likely a permission problem. It is always helpful to have test accounts with various user roles so you can log into them and see exactly what other accounts are seeing.

Expecting manual configuration changes on production is risky
Things can become a bit sticky once a client is needing manual configuration changes made on production environment. If the right processes are not in place, the development environment can get out of sync very quickly. Always note the changes needed and make the changes to all the environments across the board so nothing gets lost. Another way is pulling the production database downstream periodically. You can also use the Features module to capture certain configuration changes so it is committed in the codebase (however, there are limitations to this module).

Jul 08 2016
Jul 08

/drupal-8-migration//drupal-8-migration/

First things first, what is Drupal 8? Well, Drupal 8 is the biggest update in Drupal history. It is said to be way easier to create content and every built in theme is responsive design. With over 200 new features, Drupal 8 has made its appearance. Drupal 8 is an improved suite of tools and features not seen in Drupal 7 and can be the application backbone for your projects. A few months ago we discussed how you can benefit from Drupal 8 . But now, let’s talk about migration and things you may want to consider. 

Drupal 8 Migration:

Apple comes out with a new iPhone every how many months? Joking, but we all know that it seems like they are constantly creating a mad rush for people to upgrade to the next best thing. Same is true with Drupal, there is no right or wrong time to migrate to Drupal 8, however, if you want to be up-to-date with the latest cutting edge technology you typically choose to migrate just as you would get the newest version of the iPhone.

Things to consider whenever migrating to Drupal 8:

  • The availability of modules from the community- many of them have not yet been fully converted to Drupal 8.
  • Do you have any custom modules that will have to be ported to Drupal 8?
  • Is your theme available for Drupal 8 or does it need to be ported (converted) to Drupal 8?
  • Does all content need to be migrated? This may be a good time to prune your content.
  • If your site is complex, you may require additional modules, and possibly custom modules to help migrate.

What are your Drupal needs? Feel free to get in touch so we can discuss your next Drupal project.

May 12 2016
May 12

drupal-nasa-website-monitordrupal-nasa-website-monitor

A content management system, or CMS, is a web application designed to make it easy for non-technical users to add, edit and manage a website. We use WordPress and Drupal the most for CMS development, but it is all dependent on our clients’ needs. Not only do content management systems help website users with content editing, they also take care of a lot of behind the scenes work.

Whenever it comes to developing a website from scratch, and for a client who wants to be able to manage the site after the launch it is important as a developer to find a tool that the client will be able to use. When we think about web development it’s always better for the client and for the company to find a good content management system or CMS, because it solves problems that you will never have to worry about from the UI of the backend to the front-end wanted features it solves a lot of issues upfront that you will not have to worry about later.  As a website evolves, it will never stay in the final version you delivered to your client, when we develop we need to always think to the site’s future.

WordPress is one of the most popular tools because it is very adaptable. The amount of plugins (solutions to your problems) are endless. Not only does it have great features but it has a friendly UI backend. All of the advantages mentioned lower the development time, which helps the client to lower their costs. In short, WordPress saves time and money! The most recent example is our very own website Mobomo.

Another resource for a CMS is Drupal. Drupal may be a little more difficult to develop with because it can handle bigger sites with much more data and a ton of users but this system is better for newspapers or government sites such as NASA. 

Each CMS will have their own advantages but our first priority is making it adaptable to the client’s needs.

Apr 28 2016
Apr 28
what-is-a-style-guide

One of our talented designers recently spoke at an event hosted by Drupal 4 Gov covering everything you need to know about style guides. Check out his presentation below as well as our Drupal page.  

The post Style Guides: What They Consist Of, The Benefits, And How To Get Started appeared first on .

Mar 02 2016
Mar 02

Drupal 8Drupal 8

With over 200 new features, Drupal 8 is officially here! Drupal is one of the world’s favorite open source content management platform.. and it just got even better. Here are some of the ways that Drupal 8 will benefit various groups of people.

Developers:

  • Configuration management – In prior versions of Drupal, most of the configuration was stored in the database.  The problem with this is that it is very difficult to keep track of versions of the configuration when it changes.  The only way to get configuration out of the database was to use a combination of modules such as strongarm and features to export things from the database into code.  This was often time-consuming and error prone.  Now with Drupal 8, configuration management is built-in so that carrying over configuration from development to production is a breeze.
  • Web services – Drupal 8 can now be used as a data source to output content as structured data such as XML or JSON.  This means that Drupal 8 can strictly be used as a back-end while the front-end could be developed completely separate with a framework such as AngularJS or Ember.  In other words “Headless Drupal” capabilities are now built-in instead of requiring various addon modules and lots of custom development.  

Content Editors:

  • Bundled WYSIWYG editor – Drupal 8 is the first version of Drupal to come with a bundled WYSIWYG editor.  Previously it was possible to add one of many different editors into Drupal but the setup was often time consuming and confusing.  Additionally there were so many choices that some users felt lost about which one to choose.  Over time CKEditor has become the most popular WYSIWYG editor for Drupal and now it is included out of the box.
  • In place editing – In addition to having CKEditor bundled in with Drupal 8, the Spark initiative is taking WYSIWYG concept a step further with true in place editing.  This would give editors the ability to change content, menus, etc. directly from the front-end view of the site without having to navigate to an admin page on the back end.  More info about the Spark initiative can be found here:  http://buytaert.net/spark-update-in-line-editing-in-drupal

End Users:

  • Mobile First – Previous versions of Drupal allowed developers to create responsive themes.  However some modules were not 100% compatible with responsive layouts.  Now with Drupal 8 all themes are mobile first which means that all community modules will be compatible with responsive layouts.  Additionally the default Drupal admin theme will be mobile friendly which should improve the experience for editors who want to author content from mobile devices.

Accessibility and Languages – Drupal 8 now has extensive support for accessibility standards including the adoption of many WAI-ARIA practices.  This will make content structures easier to understand for people with disabilities.  In addition to the accessibility improvements Drupal 8 now has multi-lingual support included.  Drupal 8 has the capability to reach more users than any previous version of Drupal.

Feb 11 2016
Feb 11

amazon-web-services-drupal-architectureamazon-web-services-drupal-architecture

Mobomo believes in partnering. Over the years we have partnered with Amazon, IBM, Tracx, and a number of other companies and organizations. We are pleased to announce our recent partnership with the Drupal Association (https://assoc.drupal.org), Drupal has been a major contributor in the community for many years. 

Drupal is an open-source content management system framework used to make many of the websites and applications that you use every day. Drupal has great standard features like easy content authoring, reliable performance, and excellent security. But what sets Drupal apart from other solutions is its flexibility and extensibility; modularity is one of its core principles. Drupal allows you to build the versatile, structured content that is needed for engaging and dynamic web experiences.

We are very pleased to be a part of the Drupal community, since we have developed Drupal solutions for major Federal Government websites in the past this partnership only makes sense. We are excited about our partnerships and look forward to building bigger and better things as a supporting partner of Drupal.org. Be sure to visit our Drupal page.

Jul 15 2015
Jul 15

Regardless of industry, staff size, and budget, many of today’s organizations have one thing in common: they’re demanding the best content management systems (CMS) to build their websites on. With requirement lists that can range from 10 to 100 features, an already short list of “best CMS options” shrinks even further once “user-friendly”, “rapidly-deployable”, and “cost-effective” are added to the list.

There is one CMS, though, that not only meets the core criteria of ease-of-use, reasonable pricing, and flexibility, but a long list of other valuable features, too: Drupal.

With Drupal, both developers and non-developer admins can deploy a long list of robust functionalities right out-of-the-box. This powerful, open source CMS allows for easy content creation and editing, as well as seamless integration with numerous 3rd party platforms (including social media and e-commerce). Drupal is highly scalable, cloud-friendly, and highly intuitive. Did we mention it’s effectively-priced, too?

In our “Why Drupal?” 3-part series, we’ll highlight some features (many which you know you need, and others which you may not have even considered) that make Drupal a clear front-runner in the CMS market.

For a personalized synopsis of how your organization’s site can be built on or migrated to Drupal with amazing results, grab a free ticket to Drupal GovCon 2015 where you can speak with one of our site migration experts for free, or contact us through our website.

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SEO + Social Networking:

Unlike other content software, Drupal does not get in the way of SEO or social networking. By using a properly built theme–as well as add-on modules–a highly optimized site can be created. There are even modules that will provide an SEO checklist and monitor the site’s SEO performance. The Metatags module ensures continued support for the latest metatags used by various social networking sites when content is shared from Drupal.

SEO Search Engine Optimization, Ranking algorithmSEO Search Engine Optimization, Ranking algorithm

E-Commerce:

Drupal Commerce is an excellent e-commerce platform that uses Drupal’s native information architecture features. One can easily add desired fields to products and orders without having to write any code. There are numerous add-on modules for reports, order workflows, shipping calculators, payment processors, and other commerce-based tools.

E-Commerce-SEO-–-How-to-Do-It-RightE-Commerce-SEO-–-How-to-Do-It-Right

Search:

Drupal’s native search functionality is strong. There is also a Search API module that allows site managers to build custom search widgets with layered search capabilities. Additionally, there are modules that enable integration of third-party search engines, such as Google Search Appliance and Apache Solr.

Third-Party Integration:

Drupal not only allows for the integration of search engines, but a long list of other tools, too. The Feeds module allows Drupal to consume structured data (for example, .xml and .json) from various sources. The consumed content can be manipulated and presented just like content that is created natively in Drupal. Content can also be exposed through a RESTful API using the Services module. The format and structure of the exposed content is also highly configurable, and requires no programming.

Taxonomy + Tagging:

Taxonomy and tagging are core Drupal features. The ability to create categories (dubbed “vocabularies” by Drupal) and then create unlimited terms within that vocabulary is connected to the platform’s robust information architecture. To make taxonomy even easier, Drupal even provides a drag-n-drop interface to organize the terms into a hierarchy, if needed. Content managers are able to use vocabularies for various functions, eliminating the need to replicate efforts. For example, a vocabulary could be used for both content tagging and making complex drop-down lists and user groups, or even building a menu structure.

YS43PYS43P

Workflows:

There are a few contributor modules that provide workflow functionality in Drupal. They all provide common functionality along with unique features for various use cases. The most popular options are Maestro and Workbench.

Security:

Drupal has a dedicated security team that is very quick to react to vulnerabilities that are found in Drupal core as well as contributed modules. If a security issue is found within a contrib module, the security team will notify the module maintainer and give them a deadline to fix it. If the module does not get fixed by the deadline, the security team will issue an advisory recommending that the module be disabled, and will also classify the module as unsupported.

Cloud, Scalability, and Performance:

Drupal’s architecture makes it incredibly “cloud friendly”. It is easy to create a Drupal site that can be setup to auto-scale (i.e., add more servers during peak traffic times and shut them down when not needed). Some modules integrate with cloud storage such as S3. Further, Drupal is built for caching. By default, Drupal caches content in the database for quick delivery; support for other caching mechanisms (such as Memcache) can be added to make the caching lightning fast.

cloud-computingcloud-computing

Multi-Site Deployments:

Drupal is architected to allow for multiple sites to share a single codebase. This feature is built-in and, unlike WordPress, it does not require any cumbersome add-ons. This can be a tremendous benefit for customers who want to have multiple sites that share similar functionality. There are few–if any–limitations to a multi-site configuration. Each site can have its own modules and themes that are completely separate from the customer’s other sites.

Want to know other amazing functionalities that Drupal has to offer? Stay tuned for the final installment of our 3-part “Why Drupal?” series!

Jul 08 2015
Jul 08

why drupalwhy drupal

Regardless of industry, staff size, and budget, many of today’s organizations have one thing in common: they’re demanding the best content management systems (CMS) to build their websites on. With requirement lists that can range from 10 to 100 features, an already short list of “best CMS options” shrinks even further once “user-friendly”, “rapidly-deployable”, and “cost-effective” are added to the list.

There is one CMS, though, that not only meets the core criteria of ease-of-use, reasonable pricing, and flexibility, but a long list of other valuable features, too: Drupal.

With Drupal, both developers and non-developer admins can deploy a long list of robust functionalities right out-of-the-box. This powerful, open source CMS allows for easy content creation and editing, as well as seamless integration with numerous 3rd party platforms (including social media and e-commerce). Drupal is highly scalable, cloud-friendly, and highly intuitive. Did we mention it’s effectively-priced, too?

In our “Why Drupal?” 3-part series, we’ll highlight some features (many which you know you need, and others which you may not have even considered) that make Drupal a clear front-runner in the CMS market.

For a personalized synopsis of how your organization’s site can be built on or migrated to Drupal with amazing results, grab a free ticket to Drupal GovCon 2015 where you can speak with one of our site migration experts for free, or contact us through our website.

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Drupal in Numbers (as of June 2014):

  • Market Presence: 1.5M sites
  • Global Adoption: 228 countries
  • Capabilities: 22,000 modules
  • Community: 80,000 members on Drupal.org
  • Development: 20,000 developers

Open Source:

drupalOSdrupalOS

The benefits of open source are exhaustively detailed all over the Internet. Drupal itself has been open source since its initial release on January 15, 2000. With thousands of developers reviewing and contributing code for over 15 years, Drupal has become exceptionally mature. All of the features and functionality outlined in our “Why Drupal?” series can be implemented with open source code.

Startup Velocity:

Similar to WordPress, deploying a Drupal site takes mere minutes, and the amount of out-of-the-box functionality is substantial. While there is a bit of a learning curve with Drupal, an experienced admin (non-developer) can have a small site deployed in a matter of days.

drupal-the-oniondrupal-the-onion

Information Architecture:

The ability to create new content types and add unlimited fields of varying types is a core Drupal feature. Imagine you are building a site that hosts events, and an “Event” content type is needed as part of the information architecture. With out-of-the-box Drupal, you can create the content type with just a few clicks–absolutely no programming required. Further, you can add additional fields such as event title, event date, event location, keynote speaker. Each field has a structured data type, which means they aren’t just open text fields. Through contrib modules, there are dozens of other field types such as mailing address, email address, drop-down list, and more. Worth repeating: no programming is required to create new content types, nor to create new fields and add them to a new content type.

admin-screenshotadmin-screenshot

Asset Management:

There are a number of asset management libraries for Drupal, ensuring that users have the flexibility to choose the one that best suits their needs. One newer and increasingly popular asset management module in particular is SCALD (https://www.drupal.org/project/scald). One of the most important differences between SCALD and other asset management tools is that assets are not just files. In fact, files are just one type of asset. Other asset types include YouTube videos, Flickr galleries, tweets, maps, iFrames–even HTML snippets. SCALD also provides a framework for creating new types of assets (called providers). For more information on SCALD, please visit: https://www.drupal.org/node/2101855 and https://www.drupal.org/node/1895554

turner.premshow2turner.premshow2

Curious about the other functionalities Drupal has to offer? Stay tuned for Part 2 of our “Why Drupal?” series!

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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