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Oct 12 2021
Oct 12

Does 13 months feel like a comfortable cushion between now and the Nov. 28, 2022 Drupal 7 end of life? It’s not.
The time to get serious about your Drupal 9 migration is now. There are countless reasons why. 
Here are our top 20. 

  1. Even though Drupal 7 is technically still being supported, the Drupal community’s focus is on Drupal 9 and 10. With no particular inspiration among developers to support Drupal 7, websites that use Drupal 7 contributed modules will be increasingly prone to instability issues.  
  2. With as many structural difference as there are between Drupal 7 and Drupal 9, building in as much time as possible is an essential strategy for mitigating against unwelcome surprises that can occur during a Drupal 9 migration.
  3. Despite the Drupal 9 release date of more than a year and a half ago (June 2020), more than a half million websites around the world are still on Drupal 7. As such, there is every reason to expect that the best Drupal design and development agencies will become overwhelmed with work as the November 2022 Drupal 7 end-of-life date nears. Delaying a migration to Drupal 9 might mean settling for sub-par Drupal talent and expertise, and allowing your site to be rushed through an extremely packed queue.
  4. Drupal migration is a prime opportunity to think strategically about your site and how the architecture, design, and user experience can more effectively drive current objectives and branding. Starting the Drupal 9 migration process as soon as possible will help in optimizing every aspect of the opportunity.
  5. Every day that migration to Drupal 9 is delayed translates into another day in which your organization is not benefitting from a far superior CMS with a depth and breadth of transformative new Drupal 9 features and functionality.
  6. Drupal 9 offers game-changing content editing capabilities that far exceed what was possible in Drupal 7. The built-in visual layout builder allows for the ability to easily edit and switch up layouts, reuse blocks, and customize all parts of the page.
  7. Building upon the content editor enhancements of Drupal 8, the Drupal 9 admin dashboard features CKEditor’s WYSIWYG rich text editing capabilities, along with a configurable toolbar, quick edit feature, Layout Builder, and the modern Claro admin theme.
  8. Development and staging environment support is built into Drupal 9’s integrated configuration management system.
  9. A media library comes out of the box, allowing for the easy access to and reuse of all images and media.
  10. Establish as the leading CMS for multilingual functionality, Drupal translation interfaces for more than 100 languages allow for full multilingual support in all content and configuration. Recent enhancements include the attachment of language fields to language-aware entity objects from which language is "inherited," vs. previous public API exposure. 
  11. Better keyboard navigation is among the built-in ADA web accessibility features for users with disabilities.
  12. Olivero, Drupal 9’s new front-end theme has been described as an accessibility masterpiece.
  13. Structured data features build upon Drupal’s framework for enhanced SEO. 
  14. A  “mobile first” approach translates into a huge SEO advantage driven by Google’s transition to mobile-first indexing.  
  15. The mobile-first UI also allows for the ability to easily make updates or revisions to the site from a mobile device. 
  16. Built-in BigPipe supports faster initial page loads, along with better performance and scalability.
  17. Built-in JSON:API support allows for progressively and fully decoupled applications.
  18. The updated code base leverages the latest version of PHP, for increasingly tighter security.  
  19. Use of the most current third-party libraries and components, such as Symfony and Twig, enhance performance. 
  20. Integration with JavaScript frameworks and architecture enhancements result in greater speed. 

The Drupal organization has referred to migration from Drupal 7 as the last big migration. No further platform upheavals are expected. Future upgrades will be evolutionary, within a continuous innovation cycle that delivers enhanced features twice a year. 
Migrating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 is a process that hundreds of thousands of site owners worldwide have opted to not yet engage with. Despite the procrastination that is running deep and wide, the fact is, when a devoted Drupal design and development partner is guiding the migration with unsurpassed expertise and skill, the process transforms from a “have to” to a “get to.”
The Drupal 7 end of life clock is ticking. Looking for a partner who can get you where you need to be with far greater value than you could have expected? That’s what we do here at Promet Source. Questions or concerns about how or where to start? Let’s talk.
 

Oct 07 2021
Oct 07

Those of us who have a strong conviction that Drupal is the optimal CMS for government websites are in good company.
Secure, scalable, accessible out of the box, inherently cost effective, easily integrated with other systems, and fueled by a million member plus Drupal community -- the number of government entities around the world that are relying on the Drupal CMS is on a solid upward trajectory. Key among the factors driving Drupal’s role in the world’s accelerated advance toward digital government: the Drupal ecosystem’s 40,000 plus core and contributed modules. 
With so much from which to choose, sorting through the possibilities and moving forward with confidence that the best options are being deployed can be a challenge. Here at Promet Source, the multiple government clients for whom we’ve had the privilege recently of developing, designing and migrating Drupal sites, has resulted in a depth and breath of insight on the topic and expertise that we can share.  
Here’s an overview of a few of our faves and thoughts on must-have Drupal modules for government.

Management of Complex Permissions Levels

Workflows

Drupal 8 comes out of the box with a workflow management capability that can accommodate a basic level of  permissions and processes associated with creating and ushering content from draft to published states. Government clients, however, tend to require complex content publishing workflows concerning creation, editing, publishing, revising, and updating of content within designated pages and sections of the site. The Drupal Workflow module stands up to the complex workflow requirements of government clients, allowing for a high degree of customization and the association of specified workflow states with entities. 

Spam Mitigation

Honeypot

Digital government requires the ability to conduct business online, which often requires the completion and submission of online forms, free from the interference of spam bots, whose impact runs the spectrum from a time-consuming annoyance to a disabling of all or part of the site’s functionality. Our favorite Drupal module for stopping spam is the contributed Honeypot module is designed to deter spam bots from completing forms on a Drupal site, by adding an invisible field, as well as a time stamp to every form. Humans can’t see the invisible field and won’t fill it out. If the invisible field is filled out by a bot, the form returns an error. The time stamp feature enables detection of bots an based unreasonably quick completion of a form. With Honeypot a designated amount of time is required before the form can be effectively submitted. 
 

Secure, Single Sign On

SimpleSAMLphp Authentication

Government clients need to be able to count on sign on capabilities that are both robust and easy to manage. The Drupal SimpleSAMLphp Authentication module serves both purposes, integrating Drupal with SimpleSAMLphp, which serves to authenticate users with a single sign on. The module is fully configurable, allowing for the assigning of highly specific internal permission levels.

Easy Access to Related Content

Entity Reference Module

The Drupal Entity Reference module enables a critical functionality, which Promet heavily leverages on every government website that we build. Utilizing the Entity Reference field, the module can significantly enhance user experience by alerting them to related content, which could be a node, a user, or a taxonomy term. 

Multilingual Capabilities

Drupal Translation Modules

Even on the local level, government websites are widely expected to serve a wide range of constituencies who might speak multiple different languages. Starting with Drupal 8, Drupal became multilingual out of the box, supported by a robust selection of translation modules.

  • The Content Translation module allows for the translation of content, comments, custom blocks, taxonomy terms, users and other content entities in order to create a duplicate web page in the designated language. 
  • Entity Translation allows translation of particular web page elements. Instead of translating complete nodes, Entity Translation provides the option of making only designated fields translatable.
  • Merge Translations provides the ability to merge nodes that are in different languages into one, translated node.

Multifaceted Resource for Government Sites

Provus

Cherry picking from among tens of thousands of Drupal modules in the process of building optimal web solution for our public sector clients has served us well. 

Focused on greater efficiencies and leveraging best practices, we recently created Provus, a distribution system consisting of dozens of modules, multiple themes, several content type, and taxonomy terms -- all of which are auto enabled at the time of the initial installation.

Provus proved key in the efficient, seamless launch of the Orange County, Calif., website, which consists of 40 microsites. Key to the efficient development of the Orange County site was a component-based design system that offered a robust set of design options without needing to reinvent the wheel with the build of every new microsite. From the perspective of the current content editors of the site, Provus has sparked a new level of empowerment with the ability to easily edit, update, and switch up layouts utilizing drag-and-drop functionality. 
Among the modules leveraged within Provus:

  • Layout Builder allows content editors and site builders create visual layouts for displaying content and customize how content is arranged on a single page with an easy to use drag-and-drop interface
  • Fullcalendar View provides a calendar view format powered by the FullCalendar JavaScript library and features day, week, or month views; the ability to create a new event by double clicking; event colors based on taxonomy or content type; and recurring event functionality.
  • Geolocation Views facilitates the creation of Views-based mapping solutions using a choice of map renderers. 
  • Focal Point is an image scaling and cropping tool that allows for the specification of what part of the image is most important, ensuring, for instance that a subject’s head or the most essential element of the image is not cropped out.
  • Media Library is a media management module that provides an accessible and consolidated view of all of images that have been uploaded to a site. A robust and easy-to use interface allows for the searching, sorting and creation of media items, and can be used to add media items to an entity reference field, or embed media into content via a text editor.
  • The Drupal Office Hours module defines a weekly office hours or hours of operation field type allowing for the specification of when facilities are opened or closed. 
  • Facets provides a system for sorting content on a search, enabling users to filter down to the specific content that they are looking for in an easy and accessible manner. This functionality is huge for government sites which require robust search capabilities. The Facet module allows site builders to easily create and manage faceted search interfaces. 
  • DraggableViews can be used to organize simple lists and complex structures via drag-and-drop functionality. Access to style plug-in settings serves to simplify configuration.
  • Search API is a module that we leverage with a high degree of frequency in conjunction with Views and Facets. This module provides a framework for easily creating searches on any entity known to Drupal, using any kind of search engine. 
  • Taxonomy is a powerful core module that facilitates  the connection and classification of a website’s content, gathering terms within "vocabularies." 

Drupal sites for government clients that leverage Promet’s collective brainpower, plus the all the best that the Drupal community has to offer: that’s what we do. What can we do for you? Let’s talk.

Sep 29 2021
Sep 29

Never before has the topic of Drupal content migration loomed so large. With Drupal 8’s end of life date less than five weeks away (Nov. 2, 2021), and Drupal 7 facing end of life about 13 months later, on Nov. 28, 2022, a very slim minority of Drupal site owners are not needing to think about migration right now. Latest stats indicate that a mere 5.8 percent of Drupal site owners have migrated to Drupal 9. 

The rest of the lot (28.5 percent) is facing an imminent and relatively straightforward migration from Drupal 8 to to 9, with a whopping 61.3 percent still on Drupal 7 and needing to get serious ASAP about the inherently more complex migration from Drupal 7 to 9. 

Here at Promet Source, we’ve sharpened our focus on a pulling together Drupal community resources in an effort to help fast track the migrations. 

Fact is though, for so many Drupal site owners who are making decisions concerning migrations, Drupal developers sometimes seem to be talking a different language -- and that may well have an impact on the widespread procrastination.

Our objective with this post is to cover the topic of Drupal migration for the world outside of our Drupalsphere -- answering some of the questions we hear a lot and deconstructing the topic for the vast swath of site owners for for whom acronyms such as PHP, SQL, and JSON are not household words. 

Let’s begin with some basics. 
 

What do "content types," "taxonomies," and "views" refer to?

Drupal Speak

What it really means

Content types

Content encompasses both text and images displayed on a website -- including photos, logos, icons, and other graphic items. 

A content type, sometimes referred to an an Entity Bundle, refers to a grouping of elements used for a specific purpose with fields for various types of information. A blog post is an example of a content type. A grouping of fields hold the data for each blog post that is created and displayed on the website. A Promet Source blog post, provides an an example of a content type with a field for an image, the author’s name, the date of publication, keywords, related posts, and styling specifications for headers and fonts.  

Migrated data needs to be classified and imported for each content type. The more content types, the more display views and migration intricacies

Taxonomy

A.K.A. Control Vocabularies

Classification Terms

Taxonomy provides a way to classify or organize content on a Drupal site and group related content into categories. Taxonomy added to a News Item, for example, might include Taxonomy Terms of local or international items. This would allow Views to sort and create a list view of related local news items or international news items.  Taxonomy added to Staff Member content item might include Taxonomy Terms that denote departments or functions within an organization, enabling the creation of a view according to department or function.  

Views

A View is a display of content items created by the Drupal Views module. It can be a list, grid, table, a full page or a block on a website.  Using the Promet Source site as an example, clicking “Insights” on the main horizontal navigation lists the nine most recent blog posts. This is a View that includes basic information about each post. 

There are multiple options for views such as news items that simply display titles, or with teaser content, as a carousel display, or even as an RSS feed to export items to an external source. The benefit of creating Views of content is that edits just need to be made once and are automatically updated everywhere that a View of that content is displayed. 

What are the typical website components?

Header

Navigation

Hero (featured Image)

Slider - like a hero but with changing images and messaging

Top Level Menu

Utility Links

Main Content

Left, Right sidebars

Footer

Call outs

CTA (Call to Action)

Content

  • Blog
  • Article
  • Services
  • Products

Landing Page

  • A page that serve as either an entry point to the website other than the home page OR the top most level page for a category. Products can be a landing page that distinguishes between product types a provides links to filter options.  

Homepage

Card

What are the Acronyms that Factor into Content Migration?

JSON

JSON is short for JavaScript Object Notation, and refers to a file format for organized, accessible data storage. Its filename extension for written programming code is .json.

For a deep dive how JSON works in a Drupal migration setting, a detailed example is available on Drupal.org., that covers migration to Drupal from an external source system when the source data in JSON format. This example uses the URL source plugin with HTTP basic authentication provided by the Migrate Plus module.


XML 

XML stands for Extensible Markup Language, which defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that can be read by both humans and machines. For insight into the applicability of XML in a Drupal content migration setting, check out this Step-by-Step of Importing XML with Feeds Migrate

API

API is short for Application Programming Interface, which is a software go-between that allows two applications to talk to each other. 

The Drupal Migrate API facilitates the migration of data from a source system to Drupal. Migration is an Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) process. In the Drupal Migrate API:

  • the extract phase is called source,
  • the transform phase is called process, and 
  • the load phase is called destination. 

PHP

PHP, which stands for Hypertext Preprocessor,  is a programming language for back-end development, which is the language that Drupal is written in.  An open source scripting language that can be embedded into HTML, PHP requirements for current release versions of Drupal 9 can be found here.

CSV

CSV refers to a comma-separated values file. CSV text files have a specific format which allows data to be saved in a table structured format. The contributed Migrate Source CSV module provides a source plugin for utilizing .csv files as migration sources.

SQL

SQL stands for stands Structured Query Language. It is used to communicate with a database, and is the standard language for relational database management systems. This Drupal.org documentation page provides a step-by-step walkthrough concerning the migration of data from an SQL source. 

Considerations to kick off the migration

Migration to Drupal 9 is inevitable. It’s also an opportunity to begin realizing the benefits of a far superior CMS with a vast array of new features. At Promet Source, we're advocating a mindset shift away from a Drupal 9 migration as a "have to," and towards embracing the opportunity as a "get to," because it is

Migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 is a process, but we have never known of a client who didn’t wholeheartedly agree that every speck of the effort was worth it. Migration is an opportunity to:

  • Rethink goals and your approach to your web presence;
  • Clean house of content that is superfluous, outdated, or no longer aligned with your brand;
  • Reset your content model;
  • Ensure a superior end-user experience;
  • Highlight new features and services;
  • Ensure alignment with your current brand strategy, and
  • A lot more.

Here at Promet Source, we are passionate about partnering with clients to streamline their migration to the latest version of Drupal, while adding value that opens up new possibilities throughout the process.

Questions about a Drupal migration? Ready to get started? Let us know how we can help!

Sep 23 2021
Sep 23

Last week, one of the largest and most populous counties in the United States launched a new website that a team of us at Promet Source had the privilege to design, build, and manage the content migration from a proprietary CMS. 

Seeing this beautiful multi site project through to completion was more than a labor of love. We viewed it as a rescue mission from a costly, locked-in software licensing contract and toward the flexibility and freedom of an open source, Drupal CMS. 

We are passionate at Promet about open source for government, as well as Drupal for government, for lots of good reasons. Quite simply, we believe that public funds should not pay for private code. 

Public funds should not pay for private code. 

While there are a few misconceptions about open source that can be a cause for concern within both the private and public sector, government entities at every level are moving toward open source, and this is particularly true within the federal government. Cost savings and security are the driving forces that are fueling open source software. Innovation, agility, accountability are powerful factors, as well. 

Mindset Shift

Most of us tend to be quite familiar and comfortable with a proprietary or competitive mindset in which the secret sauce of the solutions we’ve developed is held as a closely guarded secret. 

Even though the open source world operates more from the perspective of the Kenneth Blanchard’s famous quote: “None of us is as smart as all of us,” open source is not an “either/or” option. Open source is unequivocally, good for business, good for government and essentially just good.

Some may disagree with me on the advantages of open source, so let’s break it down into what I believe to be the four top reasons why open source is a better option for government websites. 

  1. Collective Brainpower
  2. Auditable Security
  3. Freedom from Costly Licensing Contracts K
  4. Value-Added Support Relationships
     

1. Collective Brainpower

Consider a web development agency that creates proprietary software for government sites. The company might employ 10, 20, or possibly even upwards of 100 highly trained and talented developers. 

None of us is as smart as all of us.

                            - Kenneth Blanchard

Nothing, however, that happens within or among a team of proprietary developers can compare to the innovation, collective energy, and sheer brainpower of the one million plus worldwide Drupal Community members, 100,000 of whom are are actively working with the code, making refinements, providing support, creating documentation, sharing networking opportunities, and building freely available modules that fuel new possibilities.
 

2. Auditable Security

Security is often the greatest source of skepticism with open source, but the fact is, better security is an essential advantage. Open source software allows for thorough auditing of the code for purposes of detecting potential security threats. Site owners can modify the code as they see fit -- whether to enhance security or customize a site to meet their specific needs. 

The U.S. Department of Defense is a strong advocate for open source, which on some level says all. Is there an organization on Earth that is more concerned with data confidentiality and security that the Department of Defense?

Reasons why we at Promet Source -- along with much of the Federal Government -- are on the same page as the DoD concerning open source software ties back to better and more extensive brainpower. The Drupal community is constantly monitoring for and alerting Drupal support partners to security threats, and users are thoroughly empowered on their own to shore up any vulnerabilities that they detect. 

Contrast the level of attention devoted to open source security to the relatively small and inherently limited teams that are focused on the security of proprietary software. 

On the surface, it might appear that proprietary software has a security edge due to the fact that the code is hidden. Lack of access to the code, however, does not translate into protection from a successful breach. Notorious attacks with a global impact and lesser-known activities of bad actors have proven this point time and time again. 
 

3. Freedom from Costly Licensing Contracts

When asked to site the primary advantage of open source, lower costs tends to top the list for both public and private sector.  

Federal, state, and local governments are on the hook for billions and billions of dollars every year for costly software licensing contracts. To an increasing degree, open source software is viewed as a means to gain control over IT spending. 

While apples-to-apples comparisons between proprietary and open source can be difficult, total cost of ownership for open source software is often far lower. Proprietary software generally includes both an upfront purchasing cost and an ongoing licensing fee, which covers updates and support. 

Open source options such as Drupal are free to use without any licensing or vendor lock-in. Drupal site owners generally contract for ongoing support to cover security and other essential updates, but not only can they choose from among a wide range of support providers, they can also choose to have an in-house expert manage and maintain their site. 
 

4. Value-Added Support Relationships

Proprietary licensing contracts represent vendor lock-in -- for better or for worse. Open source equals options for support, which means competition for the best pricing, the best service, and the greatest value.
After we develop and launch a Drupal website for a client, they have essentially three options for ongoing maintenance, monitoring, and security updates: 

  • Contract with us for support,
  • Contract with another support provider, or
  • Manage support in house.

If a client is not happy with the caliber of Drupal support they are receiving from one company, they have the option to switch to another and that’s often the case. Drupal Support is a particular strength for Promet, as evidenced by the fact that we did not actually build the websites for the majority of the majority of our support clients.

What this means from a market perspective is that Drupal support providers have every incentive to bring their A Game every day to the support relationship. The incentive for stellar service in a locked-in vendor relationships, on the other hand, an entirely different dynamic.
 

And there's more!

These four reasons are just the beginning, but the case is clear. Government entities at every level have much to gain from the flexibility, future proofing, and innovation that is inherent to open source. 
The advantage of open source is a particular passion for us at Promet Source. Contact us today to start the conversation on what you are looking to achieve and how we can help. 
 

    Sep 11 2021
    Sep 11

    A frequent question in the Open Source CMS world is variation of: “Which is better, Drupal or WordPress?” 

    Of course, there’s not a simple answer to the WordPress CMS vs. Drupal CMS debate. Many have a strong bias towards one content management system or the other, but often, staunch opinions on the subject are based on a few cursory facts or outdated information.

    Both the WordPress CMS and the Drupal CMS have evolved a lot since their introductions in the early 2000s. In some ways, this evolution has brought them into closer alignment with each other, evidenced by developments such as the porting of WordPress’s Gutenberg content editor over to Drupal in 2018. In other ways, WordPress and Drupal evolutions have clarified distinctions. 

    Generally speaking though, in the current environment, the majority of sites can be supported equally well by either option. 

    Fierce Loyalists in Both Camps

    That’s not to say that the WordPress vs. Drupal debate doesn’t still spark strong opinions. Both have their devotees. Promet Source has deep ties to Drupal, and over the past two years, we have broadened our perspectives and talent base to include WordPress advocates and experts. As such, we're well positioned to objectively cover the topic. 

    Let's start with a few key stats and facts about Drupal and WordPress.

    Drupal Advantages: The Internet's Heavy Lifter

    A modular CMS written in PHP, Drupal enables developers to leverage a flexible taxonomy system that’s designed to organize complex content types, set highly customizable user permission levels, and ensure web accessibility compliance with enhanced testing and tracking capabilities.

    Launched in 2000, Drupal now stands as the third most popular CMS in terms of market share.

    Drupal’s enterprise-level trajectory was launched in November of 2015 with the release of Drupal 8, which resulted in a complete architectural overhaul and the creation of an enterprise-level CMS. Subsequent versions, such as the June 2020 release of Drupal 9, are now intended to be incremental, more of a point release than anything resembling the total CMS rewrite that occurred with the upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. 

    As of February 2020, there were an estimated 1.3 billion websites on the Internet and Drupal accounted for: 

    • Roughly 2 percent of total websites and
    • An estimated 3 percent of the CMS market, with 
    • 560,000 live, active Drupal sites.

                                  Drupal Share of CMS Market

    Drupal stats for 2020         Source:  Website Builder: 67 Amazing Drupal Statistics,  Jan 2020

    For reasons that include core support for multilingual sites, Drupal is often the CMS of choice for government, higher ed, large enterprises, and health care institutions. The NASA site is on Drupal site, as is Portland State University, the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, and Martin County Florida. The White House website was on Drupal during the Obama administration.

    Drupal has a diverse and dedicated community of contributors, as evidenced by 42,650 free modules that are available for download. 

    WordPress Advantages: A Pervasive Internet Presence

    While websites with complex content models and data requirements gravitate towards Drupal, WordPress sites cover a wide spectrum of needs. WordPress accounts for roughly 60 percent of the total CMS market, primarily among small to mid-range sites, but a number of enterprise sites are on WordPress, as well. 

    Originally developed as a blogging platform, WordPress has maintained its appeal for non-tech types with a low barrier to entry. While it’s possible to set up a WordPress site without development or coding expertise, experienced developers frequently work within WordPress and leverage their knowledge of HTML, CSS, and PHP to build sizable sites with a greater range of capabilities for business clients. 

    Making steady inroads into the enterprise CMS space, WordPress is now the CMS for Time the New Yorker, and BBC America

    Beyond the basics, WordPress offers thousands of plug-ins to expand functionality, outranking Drupal for ready-to-go themes that serve to fast-track development without the need for custom development work.

    As of February 2020, of the 1.3 billion websites on the Internet. WordPress accounted for: 

    • More than 35 percent of total websites and
    • 61.7 percent of the CMS market, with 
    • 455 million websites currently on WordPress.

    For more WordPress stats, check out this recent post in WPCity.

                                  WordPress Share of CMS Market

    WordPress stats 2020          Source:   Who is Hosting This?: 2020’s Most Surprising WordPress Statistics,  Feb, 2020

    One conclusion to be drawn from WordPress’s impressive internet saturation: it’s a CMS that has proven to be the right fit for a wide range of different needs and has gotten many things right, from a wide ranging selection of plugins to an easy-to-use CMS. 
     

    Convergence of Features

    As more and more Drupal developers realize the advantages within Wordpress, and other user-friendly CMS platforms such as consumer-focused SquareSpace and WIX that offer an easier to use back end, we are seeing new frameworks and features being added to the default editor within Drupal. A multitude of no-code/low-code solutions, such as drag-and-drop functionality or component-based design, are finding their way into Drupal, due to the flexibility of the platform and providing marketers and content editors with greater flexibility and possibilities for making revisions to their sites. 

    Core Distinctions

    Both Drupal and WordPress offer a depth and breadth of add-ons that extend functionality. These are called “modules” in Drupal, and ”plugins” in WordPress. “Themes” that refer to a site’s aesthetics and user experience, such as design, layout, colors and navigation, is a term that applies to both Drupal and WordPress.

    Unlike Drupal’s 2015 architectural realignment with the launch of the enterprise-ready Drupal 8, WordPress has never undergone that same kind of overhaul. The resulting difference is that expanded functionality for WordPress occurs at the theme/plugin layer. Much of Drupal’s functionality, on the other hand, is centralized within the ever-increasing core level, as the most frequently used and widely accepted Drupal modules are continuously incorporated into core. 

    WordPress functionality relies heavily upon themes and plugins, and many contend that this represents a strength. WordPress modules tend to be more complete applications, and the vast WordPress collection of themes and plugins provides a high degree of flexibility. 

    The flipside of this argument, and key factor that tends to fuel the appeal of Drupal for complex enterprise, higher ed, and government sites, is that there is an inherently a higher level of security and stability associated with working in core. Continued support for themes, plugins, or modules is not always guaranteed in either Drupal or WordPress, and their track record is not necessarily established.

    Scalability vs. Complexity

    WordPress has proven itself to be extremely scalable and the right fit for some notable sites such as time.com, which I mentioned earlier. The essential distinction which is often missed is not so much size or scalability, but complexity. Even though there are hundreds and hundreds of pages, on time.com, for example, the site consists primarily of articles. When a greater range of content types and complex data models are required, WordPress falls short and Drupal shines.

    Acknowledging that both Drupal and WordPress are solid content management systems, and that there’s considerable overlap in the types of sites for which either would provide an excellent solution, Promet recently developed the following matrix in an effort to highlight the relative strengths of both options and open a dialog among our teams.

    Here’s what we came up with relative to 10 key criteria.

                        Open Source CMS Comparison

    Drupal vs WordPress  Open Source CMS Comparison

    1. Open Source. Yes. Both Drupal and WordPress are solid Open Source solutions with great track records. 
    2. Lamp Stack (PHP). Yes. Both use Lamp Stack PHP equally. Five stars for both.
    3. Enterprise Ready. Drupal: Yes. That’s where this CMS shines. WordPress: Yes and No. It’s applicable for some, not all, enterprise applications. 
    4. Dedicated Hosting Partners. Yes. Both Drupal and WordPress have dedicated hosting partners, allowing for proactive maintenance, as well as heightened security, speed, and reliability. 
    5. Available/Accessible to Novices. No for Drupal. Developing a Drupal site and understanding how to work within the Drupal interface requires distinct expertise and training. Yes for WordPress. A non-technical hobbyist or small business owner with a touch of know-how can find a theme that fits their needs and figure out how to build and manage a WordPress site, often within a few hours.
    6. Appropriate for a Brochure Site. No for Drupal. While it’s possible to create a straightforward brochure site on Drupal, there’s not much point in doing so when other, simpler options are available. Yes for WordPress. WordPress is ideal for a brochure and blog site. That’s what it was originally developed for. 
    7. Has a Complex Content Model. Yes for Drupal. Complex taxonomy content models are where Drupal thrives. Not so much for WordPress, which best serves sites that don’t require the organization of high levels of complexity. 
    8. Works for a Tight Budget. (under $10,000). No for Drupal. The flipside of Drupal’s ability to navigate complexity tends to be the requirement of considerable developer legwork and ramping up. Yes for WordPress. WordPress offers a greater range of out-of-the box solutions and, depending on requirements, it’s quite possible to build a respectable Drupal site for under $10,000. 
    9. Design Theme Availability. Drupal: Somewhat. Drupal has a limited number of design themes that are ready out of the box. Promet has created a Drupal theme as part its upcoming launch of a component-based, drag-and-drop capability for Drupal. WordPress: Yes. WordPress has an extensive and robust design theme capability
    10. Community. Drupal: Absolutely. Drupal has a great professional community of dedicated developers, who regularly gather for training and information exchange (now virtually) at events, camps, and meetups all over the world. This is less the case for WordPress. While there are many professional WordPress developers, the WordPress community is more diverse and less cohesive. 

     

    Tracking the Evolution

    Among those of us whose history in the CMS trenches dates back many years, it’s been very interesting to witness the evolutions of both Drupal and WordPress. At one time, Drupal and WordPress accounted for the vast majority of the open source CMS world. Together, they still account for a whopping 65 percent of the CMS market, but newcomers such as Wix and Squarespace are gaining ground among their respective niches, and GoDaddy has also just introduced a drag-and-drop CMS. At the same time, multiple closed-source website creations options have emerged that weren’t around as recently as a few years ago. 

    To an increasing degree, Drupal and WordPress are viewed less as competitors, and more so as members of the same family.

    One big indicator of this trend: in May of 2020, Drupaldelphia, the annual camp held in Philadelphia for Drupal developers, site-builders, content administrators, and designers, was renamed CMS Philly. The event was largely dominated largely by Drupal and WordPress. 

    High Stakes Solutions  

    When the stakes are high (and when are they not), selecting the right CMS calls for careful consideration and expert analysis. The Drupal vs. WordPress conversation does not lend itself toward across-the-board rules or easy answers.

    That said, the judgment and expertise of anyone who suggests that Drupal is always the answer or that WordPress is always the answer should be considered highly suspect. As the saying goes: “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

    WordPress and Drupal each have a definite place at their respective ends of the spectrum, with hobbyist or small business sites on one end and complex, enterprise-level digital experiences at the other. The vast middle ground between these two ends can be highly nuanced with no easy answers, but there’s a likelihood that either Drupal or WordPress would work equally well.

    The main thing is the assurance that true experts with a depth of perspective and commitment to client success are doing the work. 

    Interested in an expert analysis of the CMS that stands to represent the right fit for your organization’s distinct objectives? At Promet Source, we have all the right people to help with that. Contact us today. 

    Source for Drupal Stats:

    https://websitebuilder.org/drupal-statistics

    Source for WordPress Stats:

    https://www.whoishostingthis.com/compare/wordpress/stats/

    Sep 08 2021
    Sep 08

    This week, September 5-11, 2021, has been set aside as National Suicide Prevention Week

    Suicide has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, with each year adding another dark chapter to the to rising trajectory. 

    Stemming the tide and saving lives calls for a complex mix of solutions. Key among is bringing the topic out of the shadows and onto the table, with a greater awareness of helpful and easily accessible resources and support.

    That’s why we at Promet Source were so honored this year for the opportunity to partner with Marin County, California, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, in the design and development of a new Drupal site for Prevention and Outreach.

    Encouraging, Engaging, Easy

    The objectives for the new site centered on the creation of a comforting community hub, that fueled awareness of and interaction with the full scope of available services, including vetted and recommended community resources, events, and community connections. 

    Many of these resources had previously been buried within the main Behavioral Health website.

    Recognizing that reaching community members who are in critical need of support
    means that resources needs to be not just easy to find, but comforting and encouraging, the site’s UX allows for access to all resources directly from the home page. Resources are presented in meaningful categories that include Suicide Prevention, Parenting & Families, Schools & Educators, and Mindfulness & Self Care.

    All critical hotline phone numbers are displayed prominently on the home page, and repeated again on the footer of every page. Within every section, opportunities to get help are highlighted.

    A handwritten script-like font on the home page, along with rounded corners on the photos and a contemporary UX, contributes to a comforting, human touch.

    Content Editor Empowerment

    Also essential was a flexible CMS that could be easily updated with a drag-and-drop design functionality, enabling stakeholders and content editors to make revisions, as needed, without ever needing to touch the site’s underlying code. 

    The CMS platform needed to be one that could be richly and easily expanded upon by members of the Prevention and Outreach Team, without needing to reach out to the IT department or ever touch the underlying code.

    Promet’s Provus solution enables content editors to easily work with established design components to update content, add functionality and switch up layouts as needed.
     
    Our recent engagement with Marin County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Prevention and Outreach Team has inspired us to package a web solution that can be easily deployed by other local governments. 
     
    Contact us to learn about a ready-to-deploy site with UX that is inherently comforting and encouraging, and provides easy access to a wide range of resources, while allowing for easy updates and revisions. 
     
     

    Sep 01 2021
    Sep 01

    More so than ever before, the public sector is relying on websites to handle a depth and breadth of heavy lifting -- serving as a central information hub, providing a venue for taking care of official business, advancing civic pride, alerting citizens to weather and public health emergencies, and a lot more. 

    Covid-19 sharpened the focus on the importance of government websites being able to step up and multi-task. That trend is shows no signs of reversing.

    Essential objectives for government sites share much in common with private sector sites -- easy navigation, robust search capabilities, and a consistent application of design elements -- but in the current environment, government websites present distinct challenges and opportunities.

    Drupal for Government

    Leveraging the power of Drupal to design and develop expectation-exceeding websites for public sector clients at every level, we at Promet Source have honed a distinct expertise in the build of government sites that can function on many levels.

    The process begins with a true understanding of the evolving role of public sector websites and the value of an open source CMS, followed by a  commitment to diligent discovery and active listening to the needs to stakeholders. 

    Here are the top five factors that we’ve identified as the essential differentiators between government and private sector sites.

    1. Public sector sites need to serve every demographic group.

    While the targeted niche for a private sector site often encompasses a wide spectrum, government sites, have an inherent need to serve everyone. Creating web experiences that appeal to and accommodate the user journeys and needs of every age group, education level, income level, and comfort zone with technology, as well as people with disabilities, requires a significant balancing act. 

    An in-depth discovery process is required to set the stage for a successful outcome. Adept information architecture skills also very much come into play in the process of creating a user experience that streamlines navigation and simplifies access to a wide and disparate range of information and resources for the full spectrum of users.

    And easy navigation is just the start. Public sector sites also need to be engaging, reassuring, familiar, service oriented, and always aim for a subtle "WOW!-that-was-easy" factor.

    Southern District of New York website

    Southern District of New York websiteThe Southern District of New York's redesigned site focuses on the needs of a wide range and disparate range of of personas including staff, jurors, attorneys, judges, the local and national media, as well as individuals caught up in the court system.    

     

    2. Community building is a core objective.

    In many respects, government sites are now serving as a virtual town square --  the place where connections are made, information is exchanged, essential tasks are completed, and messages concerning what sets the community apart and what it stands for are reinforced. 

    While private sector sites tend are likely to have one, clearly defined and singularly focused mission, the success of government sites hinges on multiple factors. 
    The design of a government website needs to account for the likelihood that it might be visited and viewed simply for purposes of checking in, and that the content and experience on the site will serve as a source of conversation. 

    Marin County prevention and outreach websiteFriendly fonts and consistent reinforcement of key messaging drive home the high-stakes, communitywide mission of the Marin County, California Prevention and Outreach site.    

     

    3. All constituents view themselves as stakeholders.

    Whether searching for information about trash pickup schedules, looking into the city’s permitting process, learning about local government initiatives, paying bills, or a myriad of other tasks, expectations are high among all visitors that the site needs to work for them. The optimal UX on a government website offers immediate access to the most frequently sought topics, with robust search capabilities that easily lead to everything else. 

    Beyond information gathering and essential task-related factors, the site needs to reflect the county or municipality its very best light, for both citizens and potential tourists. Just as citizens have high expectations that the grounds and interior of their city hall, county courthouse, or state capital will be well tended and impressive, expectations are high for a modern, easy to navigate, beautifully designed website that reinforces civic pride. 

    Martin County Florida websiteCentral to Promet's redesign of the Martin County Florida website is a carousel of images on the home page that features the area's spectacular beauty and attractions for both residents and tourists.                                                                     

    4. The need to offload a wide range of administrative tasks is paramount.

    If there is one, overarching truth among all government entities in the current climate it's this: budgets are tight and everyone needs to find ways to do more with less. Multi-tasking websites are stepping in to fill that void, and their success in doing so hinges on the degree to which taking care of tasks online proves to be a value-added process and free of frustration.

    Martin County Fla homepageKey to the success of the Martin County, Florida website, which was recently migrated to Drupal 9: Prominent access to most the frequently searched tasks within an aesthetically pleasing user experience.

     

    5.  The content management system needs to enable easy updates along with a high degree of content editing flexibility. 

    For a public sector website to serve as a single source of truth, site managers and content editors need to be able to make updates on the fly. Weather alerts or public health emergencies can emerge with no warning, and for a government site to be counted on as a provider of up-to-the-minute accuracy, site managers and content editors need to be able to easily make updates or add new pages. 

    Simple and streamlined content editing capabilities contribute to a consistent and reliable user experience throughout the site and across all desktop and mobile platforms. Another factor fueling the need for simplified and more robust content editing experiences: the opportunity for continuous improvements and citizen-centric enhancements based on community  feedback and ongoing intelligence gathering. 

    Check out the possibilities of Provus -- Promet's new drag-and-drop content editing platform.

    Marin County covid site  Since the onset of the pandemic, daily alerts and updates have been the essential mission of Marin County, California's Health and Human Services Covid-19 site.  

    The best state and local leaders are well aware that every positive web interaction represents an opportunity to serve citizens and fuel vast new possibilities for connection and operational efficiencies. Partnering with the public sector to create next-level web experiences that address the full spectrum of citizen needs and expectations is what we do here at Promet Source.

    Interested in what we can do for you? Let’s talk!

    Aug 15 2021
    Aug 15

    The digital age has sparked an era of self-serve with more and more of the tasks that were once in the domain of the experts being handed over to lay people. Sometimes, the new ways of navigating are met with the resistance. Other times: relief and excitement concerning new possibilities for empowerment, efficiency, and control. 

    Content editors are largely falling into the latter category as the days of relying on IT departments or web development agencies to keep a site updated and brand aligned are giving way to easy-to-manage, drag-and-drop flexibility for creating original pages that serve specific purposes beyond the limitations of standard templates.

    Of course, the potential of better content editor UX goes far deeper than greater job satisfaction for this particular role. The ability for teams to easily update content, add new new pages, revise designs, and switch up layouts -- essentially take ownership of their websites -- positions organizations to ensure that sites to stay on track and seamlessly evolve as needed. 
     

    Content Editing in Focus

    The current content editing capabilities are a bit uneven, with multiple options within a range of platforms, plugins, modules, and tools designed to streamline and simplify content. 

    Studies show that content editors and site admins want more control over their content and a more streamlined, intuitive UI, better tools for media management and page building, along with WYSIWYG. These types of enhancements closely align with the Drupal Community’s current focus.
     

    Raising the Bar within Drupal

    Until recently, Drupal’s content editing reputation lagged behind the other top CMSs, as Drupal was largely considered to be at the challenging end of the content editing spectrum. While a less-than-simple content editor experience might have gone hand in hand with Drupal’s longstanding position as a top pick for large, complex sites that require considerable customization, the Drupal Community has been steadily chinking away at the sources of content editing complexity. 

    The June 2020 launch of Drupal 9, represented a significant step forwarded for content editor UX with features such as:

    • The availability of Claro as the default admin UI theme, which follows the new Drupal Admin Design System to provide a more intuitive, aesthetically appealing, and content editor friendly UI;
    • The ability to craft layouts with the built-in visual layout builder, reuse blocks, and customize all parts of the page;
    • Management of reusable media in the out-of-the-box media library;
    • Greater enhancements to a structured, content-based system; 
    • A customizable media library management system that allows content editors and designers collaborate on images, videos, and other assets in an intuitive interface;
    • Superior taxonomy handling that extends to the media library, allowing for easy organization of library assets;
    • The ability to make changes from mobile devices due to a mobile-first UI.
    • Enhanced content workflows beyond the previous two optional default states of “Unpublished,” and “Published.” The core Workflows module allows for the addition of custom states (such as Unassigned, Assigned, or Draft) to better align with existing editorial processes. 

    Paragraphs, Layout Builder, Provus

    Drupal 9, combined with the options within primary content editing modules -- specifically Layout Builder and Paragraphs -- have served to vastly streamline and simplify solutions for designing, laying out, and revising pages. 
    Leveraging Layout Builder, the 2020 introduction of Provus, further raised the bar with a component based design system that allowed for built-in adherence to brand and style guidelines.

    Provus has effectively leveled the content editing playing field among the easiest to create and manage SAAS solutions, such as WIX and Squarespace, and Drupal’s inherent scalability, flexibility and ability to accommodate complex content models.

    Paragraphs Pros and Cons

    Paragraphs is an extremely popular contributed module that provides content editors with a solid level of control with minimal clicks. It’s often considered the best option for web applications that call for a flexible content model, but not necessarily a range of layout options. 

    With the Paragraphs, content editors essentially create Paragraph Types, each with their own set of fields that live within the parent content form. 

    Paragraphs was originally designed to create collections of fields within a larger piece of content. Even though its original purpose was not specifically to manage layouts, Paragraphs has provided content editors in Drupal with a proven module to build pages with components that can be switched up as needed. 
     

    Layout Builder in Drupal Core

    Drupal Layout Builder is a drag-and-drop page-building tool in Drupal Core that can be implemented as a no-code, site-building tool. The current version of layout builder enables visual page editing using intuitive, block-style layouts. 

    Key advantages of Layout Builder include:

    • The ability to build default page templates for different content types such as FAQs, news updates, or product pages;
    • The option to override default settings when needed; 
    • The ability to create structured landing pages for a one-time offer or event that don’t follow a template; and 
    • The representation of layouts in the back-end of the site, providing content editors with the advantage of preview functionality for viewing their layouts as they work. 

    Layout Builder is ideal for providing content editors with a visual way to manage how content and layout fit together. This can be accomplished by configuring Block Types, similar to how Paragraph Types are configured, and then providing content editors with access to edit the layout of a page.

    An essential difference between Layout Builder and Paragraphs is the ability within Layout Builder to add “Sections” for each page, with the potential for each section to function as a container for the page content. Each Section can have its own layout, which means the potential for a high degree of flexibility. 
    Often the decision concerning Paragraphs vs. Layout Builder hinges on flexibility and the degree to which it’s viewed as a necessary or desirable feature.

    When needed, the Layout Builder Restrictions and Block Blacklist modules to can inject a level of control over the block types and layouts that can be added to a page.

    Provus for Drupal: Next-Level Solution

    Further leveraging Layout Builder, Provus was designed by Promet Source as a new approach to designing, developing, and managing Drupal sites. Content editing capabilities incorporate an intuitive, no-code, drag-and-drop page building tools with a curated library of high quality components that enable marketers and content editors to easily layer designs, add functionality, and rearrange layouts.

    Provus empowers marketers and content editors with the ability to revise and reconfigure their sites within a customized framework of brand guidelines that are determined during development. The result is the assurance that all design and layout options adhere to organization’s guidelines for brand and site governance, and that a consistent level of aesthetic and design standards is carried through to every page.

    Developed for Drupal, Provus provides for varying permissions levels to be set for everyone who has access to the site. 

    Design governance which offers the assurance that content editor empowerment does not translate into mismatched, crowded, or sub-par page designs is a key factor fueling the success of Provus. Additional differentiators include:

    • Self-adjusting features within components that create a foundation for both readability and ADA accessibility, by ensuring, for example, adequate contrast between fonts and background colors; 
    • Customization options presented within an expertly calibrated design framework for ensuring adherence to quality design and UX standards on all devices, without breaking layouts or straying from an organization’s brand guidelines; and
    • The ability of content editors to seamlessly edit components and change patterns within the view mode, eliminating time-consuming processes of re-entering content and switching back and forth between edit and publish modes.

    Content editing capabilities have experienced a sharp upward trajectory recently, and as new possibilities emerge, there’s increasingly less patience for limited capabilities and cumbersome processes.

    Promet’s Open Source, drag-and-drop, component based approach to content editing is changing the game for content editing within Drupal, and now is the time to explore what it can do for you. Interested in learning more? Let's talk.
     

    Aug 07 2021
    Aug 07

    Structured data, also known as schema or schema markup, has become a standard feature on search engine results pages (SERPs). 

    Simply defined as coding that can be added to the back end of website for purposes of helping search engines to effectively crawl a site and highlight relevant content on the SERP, a solid understanding of structured data is fundamental to both SEO and user experience. 

    In our current search environment, SEO calls for a lot more than ranking high on a SERP. Structured data needs to be leveraged to ensure that a listing’s position is fully maximized. 

    Recent studies reveal that more than two thirds of all websites currently utilize some form of structured data. Evidence of structured data at work is apparent from nearly any SERP. 

    Structured Data at Work

    A search results panel such as the following from a Google search for Promet Source has become a relatively standard search outcome.

    Promet Source search results panel
    The most basic form of structured data, the above search results panel from a Google search for Promet Source is the outcome of specific coding on the back end of a site designed to help Google effectively interpret the content. 

    Recent studies show that structured data, utilizing tools such the Google Structured Data Markup Helper, can have a dramatic impact to click-through rates. 
    One example: after adding 100,000 search features to their site, Rotten Tomatoes experienced a 25 percent increase in click-through rates.

    Use of structured data is essential for:

    • Meeting and exceeding user expectations,
    • Staying ahead of or at least on a level with your competition,
    • Fully leveraging your site’s content, and 
    • Ensuring alignment with the search engines.

    Sign Posts for the Search Engines

    While Google’s search algorithm is incredibly smart and effective in its ability to crawl and index a site’s content, there remain some inherent limitations to machine intelligence. Search engines are helped with structured data snippets and data labels that appear in the HTML code to deliver more detailed results on the SERPs

    The result is clear indicators for the search engines concerning the content on a page and in a format that is well organized and easily understood by machine language -- explicitly identifying content within a wide range of categories such as names, dates, addresses, phone numbers, FAQs, recipes, reviews, ratings, and many, many more. 

    Structured data essentially spoon feeds search engine crawlers and bots with information to help interpret a site’s content using their algorithm, and then use that information to streamline a user’s search.

     

    Better, More Efficient Search Experiences

    SERPs have have rapidly evolved in recent years, raising user expectations in the process. Due the prevalent use of structured data, users are now receiving greater value from their searches, often getting the answers and information that they are looking for without the need to click beyond SERPs, which increasingly function as robust, information-packed resources in and of themselves.   

    Key to the enhanced value offered on SERPs is the rich snippet.

    Rich snippets refer to organic search results that include enhanced information displayed on a search listing beyond the standard the url, meta title, and description. They serve to optimize listings with the inclusion of more space and attention-grabbing information that will help a listing to stand out with data such as hours of operation, “closing soon,” ratings, reviews, geolocation and more.
    Users have come to count on rich snippets to streamline their search activity, and with a sharp focus on enhancing value.  

    Featured rich snippets not only boost web traffic, they also serve to improve brand recognition and awareness.  

    Implementing Structured Data

    There are essentially three options for structuring data. These formats ensure uniformity across all the webpages in the website.
     

    JSON-LD

    JSON-LD is the recommended format that Google recommends and is also one of the easiest to implement. JSON-LD stands for JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data and is usually implemented as a block on the page rather than embedded across the content of the page. 
     

    Microdata

    Microdata is another method of marking up the content of the site by adding tags that help search engines understand the content of the webpage. It is mostly used in the page body and uses HTML tag attributes to mark the content on the page as structured data.

    RDFa

    RDFa is an HTML5 extension that uses HTML tag attributes to mark up content on the webpage as structured data.

    General Guidelines for Structured Data

    Google does not provide a guarantee that the structured data will show up in the search engine results page, even if it is applied correctly. This is because their search algorithm tailors the results based on several variables.

    Adherence to SEO best practices is an essential consideration. Key points to keep in mind: 

    • Google advocates that all content in the structured data follows the Google webmaster quality guidelines, discouraging the use of content that is automatically generated, keyword stuffing, and scraped content.  
    • Refrain from marking-up hidden content in the page or content that is not visible to page visitors
    • Avoid using click-bait content that misleads users from clicking into your site like marking up irrelevant content, fake reviews, or false headlines.

    Testing Structured Data

    Google provides a free tool, the Structured Data Testing Tool, to help websites test the structure of their webpages. This tool provides a live preview of the structured data generated based from the HTML core or structured data code snippet.

    Types of Structured Data Results

    There are currently more than 31 types of structured data results available in Google’s search gallery. Here is the list of the most common types of results.

    Article

    This is typically used to display results of a keyword search that is published as a news or blog format. The rich results typically display the thumbnail of the article and a headline with links to the page.

    Screen Shot for a Promet Blog on Drupal Terminology

    How-to

    The How-to result is primarily used to display results that convey instructional content that relates contextually to the search term. This type is also closely related to the Recipe results. How-tos such as the following, have become a standard search feature:

    Screen shot for how to clear your cache

    Local Business

    The local business result is typically displayed in the knowledge panel. It provides a concise summary of business information such as business hours, review rating, direction, geolocation, and more.

    local business search result for Promet Source

    Product

    This result provides a summary of the product information like a brief product description, pricing, and user reviews.

    Screen shot of a search result for Toyota Camry

    Recipe

    This is a rich result that is commonly found as a search result for recipes and cooking advice. The result provides a concise summary of the recipe that is displayed directly on the search engine results page. 

    Rich snippet search result
     

    As with all disciplines in the dynamic world of SEO and digital optimization, staying on top of structured data trends and opportunities requires close alignment with Google’s constantly evolving search algorithm, and a sharp focus on what’s new and next. At Promet Source, optimizing the inner workings of your website to ensure that it’s working hard for you is what we do. Interested in taking your website to the next level? Let us know how we can help!

    Jul 21 2021
    Jul 21

    Current stats on the high percentage of Drupal websites that are still on version 7, with no apparent migration plan in sight, are sparking concern and curiosity throughout the Drupal sphere. What exactly is standing in the way of decisions to shed this outdated version and start reaping the benefits of better security and a far superior CMS? 

    The Drupal Association pandemic-inspired decision to move the Drupal 7 end-of-life date forward by one year to November 2022, may have derailed migration timelines from their previous top-of-mind status. We believe though, that the big reason for the migration delays, is a track record for complicated and cumbersome (and often, costly) migration processes. Drupal Community insiders are aware of this reputation, and have made great strides in reversing it with new modules, tools, systems, and accelerated project planning. The result is a new era for streamlined Drupal 7 to 9 migrations with minimal snags.

    Here at Promet Source, we’ve stepped up as a key player in this process. We've also taken a big picture overview of all the work that’s going on to fast-track Drupal migrations. In doing so, we’ve assembled a comprehensive guide to information, insights, expert opinions, modules, tools, systems and more. 

    Let’s start with our top picks for insights and expertise. 

    Expert Perspectives

    Upgrading to Drupal 9 Using the Migrate API 
    This 30-minute recording from a DrupalCon North America 2021 presentation provides straightforward and solid information concerning a Drupal 9 migration path, leveraging the Drupal Migrate API. The presenters also cover recommended tools to facilitate a Drupal 9 migration, pitfalls, and essential perspectives. This presentation is chock full of great information and I highly recommend it. 
     
    Tools to get your site ready for Drupal 9 & 10
    When you are ready to get into the actual weeds of a Drupal 9 migration, this presentation from DrupalCon North America 2021 can serve as an excellent resource with recommendations concerning the right tools, along with step-by-step explanations of when and how to put them to work. 
     
    How to Optimize a Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 Migration
    There’s much more to a Drupal migration than simply following the right steps. A Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 migration represents an excellent opportunity to rethink and press the reset button on your organization’s entire web experience. This recent perspective sets forth eight considerations for reaping the most benefit from a Drupal migration.
     
    What? So Drupal 8 Support Ends Before Drupal 7 Support?
    In June of 2020, during the same week as the long-anticipated arrival of Drupal 9, I wrote a blog concerning the essential steps involved in a Drupal 8 to 9 migration. There’s a slight irony, in the fact that Drupal Community support for Drupal 8 will stop cold on November 28, 2021, without the option of extended commercial support, but Drupal 7 support will remain intact through November 2022, with the option of extended commercial support. This disparity is due to the Drupal 8 Symfony dependency, which has an end-of-life date of November 2021.

    Drupal 9 Migration: Top Questions and Expert Insights 
    Recognizing that there are more than a few facets to Drupal migrations, Promet Source tapped the brainpower of some of our top devs and solutions architects for insights and observations concerning how to make the most of migration-related challenges and opportunities. Here’s what they had to say.

    Migrating From Drupal 7 to Drupal 9? Acquia has your back
    Acquia has developed a Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 Migrate Accelerate tool designed to fast track the migration process. This blog post from the Acquia site covers some of the capabilities of that tool along with links to other helpful Drupal migration resources. 

    Migration From Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 or Drupal 9
    For the visual and audio learners among us, this online tutorial from Drupal expert Kantesh Hotchandani, an India-based Sr. PHP Drupal Developer, provides a step-by-step, on-screen tutorial of some of the key steps in involved in the Drupal 9 migration process. 
     

    How to Plan Your Drupal 7 Migration
    An overarching theme from all of the Drupal 9 migration literature is this: successful migrations are built upon thorough assessments of the existing site and thoughtful planning. This step-by-step E offers a helpful strategy for doing just that.

    As a service to the Drupal Community, we've set out to present a solid overview of Drupal migration resources. If we've missed anything, please add it to the comments section below! 

    Drupal Release Dates Gantt Chart

    Due to Symphony 3 and 4 dependencies, EOL dates for Symphony 3 and 4 will mean a forced EOL on Nov. 28, 2021 for Drupal 8 and a forced EOL in Q4 2023 for Drupal 9. Drupal 7 sites, on the other hand, will have the option of extended paid commercial support.

    Project Planners

    Drupal 8 to 9 Upgrade Planning Template

    Drupal 7 to 9 migrations are taking up most of the oxygen these days from conversations concerning Drupal 9 migrations. Fact is, Drupal 8 end-of-life is scheduled for four months from now -- with no option for extended commercial support. Even though, as many have pointed out, Drupal 8 to 9 is more accurately called an upgrade than a migration, Drupal 8 site owners face a critical imperative for upgrading ASAP to Drupal 9. This template can serve as a helpful tool in doing so. 
     

    Checklists

    Drupal Migration Planning Checklist

    Sometimes, a single oversight that could have been easily addressed at the start of a project can set a migration off course and spark undue setbacks. This Drupal migration planning checklist provides eight essential pointers that can set your migration up for success right from the start.
     

    Pre-Migration Intelligence Gathering

    The Upgrade Status module in its Drupal 7 version will check the list of projects your have installed and show their availability for Drupal 8/9
     https://www.drupal.org/project/upgrade_status

    The Drupal Module Upgrader is a command line script that scans the source of a Drupal 7 module, flags any code that requires updating to Drupal 8/9, points off to any relevant API change notices, and (where possible) will actually attempt to convert the Drupal 7 code automatically to the Drupal 8/9 version.
    https://www.drupal.org/project/drupalmoduleupgrader 
     

    Migrate Modules

    With the arrival of Drupal 8, Migrate module has moved into Drupal Core. However there are a number of contributed modules that are helpful for migrations and are used in most, if not all, projects here at Promet Source.

     

    Must-have Migration Modules

    Migrate Plus
    The Migrate Plus module provides a swiss army knife of useful extensions and plugins. Migrate Plus allows the grouping of migrations, which is often handy if there are multiple types of migrations in a project.

    Additionally, Migrate Plus provides two example modules which are especially useful for learning how migrations work first hand.

    See the full list of Process, Source, Destination and additional plugin types on the project page: https://www.drupal.org/project/migrate_plus
     

    Migrate Tools
    Migrate Tools is essential for most projects as it provides Drush commands and a user interface to run, roll back, and perfect migrations.

    https://www.drupal.org/project/migrate_tools 

    General Use Migration Modules

    Migration Tools
    Made by the awesome people at CivicActions, Migration Tools is a bevvy of useful plugins to help with the thorniest of migrations -- especially those from HTML sources. It is perhaps worth noting that the maintainer, dkucharm (https://www.drupal.org/user/3072643), is not only a great developer but also a fantastic musician!

    See: DrupalCon Seattle 2019 - Migrating terrible static content into Drupal 8 

    https://www.drupal.org/project/migration_tools

    Migrate Manifest
    While Migrate Plus provides the ability to group migrations, Migrate Manifest takes this to the next level by allowing developers to create a manifest file to run migrations. This can be very useful for large projects and complex migration workflows. https://www.drupal.org/project/migrate_manifest

    Migrate Upgrade
    Provides Drush support for Drupal 6 or 7 to 9 upgrades. https://www.drupal.org/project/migrate_upgrade 

    Migrate Scanner
    Provides a recursive directory scanner for migrations files, which helps to organize migrations into sub-directories.

    https://www.drupal.org/project/migrate_scanner

    Migrate Files
    This is useful when you need to migrate files in the same migration as other data. It is especially relevant when migrating from sources where relevant entity data is offered in a single row such as CSVs or some APIs.

    https://www.drupal.org/project/migrate_file 
     

    Source-specific Migration Modules

    Entity-specific Migration Modules

    Process and Source Plugins

    Migration Facilitators

    Import/Export Modules

    At Promet Source we tend to approach every engagement with a deep dive into the details and a determination to understand big-picture perspectives, as well as all of the minutiae that also matters a lot.

    Looking for insight or consultative support on any aspect of a Drupal migration? Let us know how we can help

    Jul 01 2021
    Jul 01

    On the surface, there’s not much about Drupal support and maintenance that seems compelling. 

    The exciting part, of course, is the design, development, and launch of a new site -- this phase is full of promise, game-changing possibilities, and anticipation on many levels. 

    If the fundamental difference between Open Source and proprietary or licensed software was not made abundantly clear at the outset of the engagement, there can be questions concerning why support is needed on a brand new site. Drupal site owners sometimes find themselves wanting to wing it when it comes to support -- or at least delay a support arrangement for the near term.

    Spectrum of Drupal Support

    As the Director of Support Services here at Promet Source, my team and I are passionate about great Drupal support relationships that add value on multiple levels. Drupal support is not a commodity. It’s a relationship that stands to set your site, and your entire organization up for success over the long haul.  

    Committed to both the Drupal community and the success of our clients, while recognizing that the spectrum of Drupal support can range from so-so to stellar, we recently determined that the following six factors are what combine to create a Drupal support relationship that secures essential data, maintains a consistent user experience, creates confidence, fuels organizational growth, augments staff expertise, and ensures the site stays on the leading edge of what’s new, next, and needed. 
     


    1. Get real about Open Source vs. proprietary software.

    And make sure key stakeholders understand these distinctions, as well. Open Source software is freely available, the code base can be inspected, modified or enhanced, and there are no licensing fees associated with its use. Proprietary software, on the other hand, is owned and managed by an organization that holds exclusive rights to the source code. There are licensing fees associated with use of proprietary software, which covers ongoing upgrades and security fixes. 

    The flipside of Open Source is that keeping the site secure and up to date requires ongoing maintenance and support. 

    At Promet Source we are devotees of both Open Source and Drupal for a host of reasons that include greater security and functionality due to consistent and thorough vetting and review by the global community.  And while Open Source tends to be considerably more cost effective than proprietary solutions, it’s essential to keep the concept of “free” in perspective. Keeping an Open Source Drupal site secure and up to date requires ongoing support and maintenance. 
     

    2. Get informed about the basics of your Drupal CMS.

    Learn what versions of Drupal, PHP database software, and operating system you are currently running on. All four need to work together and the longer that an older version is operating without updates, the greater the security risk. If you do not have this information, it tends to be a standard component of a support audit, if one is performed. Be sure to document these critical stats and keep them top of mind. 

    3. Elevate security to its rightful place. 

    Security needs to appear at the top of the list of support relationship requirements. The essential question concerning security is no longer whether your site contains sensitive financial or medical data that needs to be protected. The question is whether and to what extent your organization would be disrupted if your site was compromised or disabled. Keep in mind, there are no shortage of bad actors at large for whom hijacking a site is a sport. Failure to update your site as needed can result in unnecessary exposure on many fronts. The most effective means to confidently guard against a potential security breach is a solid support relationship that includes security monitoring and regular system updates. 

    Drupal Core security advisories can be released by Drupal at any time, however they are generally released on the third Wednesday of each month. Some months there isn't an update issued at all, historically, there tends to be four to six updates every year. 

    The Drupal community also issues security updates for core that it categorizes as “minor,” as well as ongoing security updates for contributed modules -- all of which need to be addressed, fixed, and tested. 

    Hosting stack security is another essential Drupal support factor. All hosting stacks for Drupal sites contain a minimum of four items: an operating system (Centos/Ubuntu/etc, a database (mySQL, SQL), PHP and Drupal. If your support partner does not manage your hosting relationship, they need to ensure that they are in sync with your hosting company’s system administrators to ensure ongoing and seamless integrations. 

    4. Consider what else you want your support relationship to accomplish.

    Beyond security, determine what specifically you want your support relationship to accomplish. This can include an audit of core and contributed modules; a cleanup of unused code, metrics concerning ADA web accessibility and SEO, and UX consultations, and insight into migration timetables.

    While initial consultations with your support partner can help to clarify objectives, the better understanding you have of what you want your support partnership to look like, the better positioned you will be to choose your partner wisely.

    5. Think big picture.

    Drupal support can be narrowly defined and confined to a limited checkbox of services, or it can be built upon a relationship with a partner that has access to a depth and breadth of expertise to power your site to the next level as needed.
     

    6. Move forward with confidence.

    Having earned the trust of countless Drupal support clients, I can say that trust is a critical component of a productive support partnership. You absolutely need to:

    • Trust that your site is updated and secure, 
    • Trust that your support partner has your best interest at heart, 
    • Trust that your partner is proactively bringing solution and ideas to the table, and 
    • Trust that your support partner has the expertise and capacity to do what’s right.

    Bottom line: If your Drupal support relationship is not defined by a high degree of confidence and trust, with a track record of exceeded expectations, then it’s time to look for a new Drupal support partner.

    Partnering with Drupal support clients to ensure that their Drupal CMS remains a well-oiled machine that works as promised, evolves with the organization, and stands up to the expectations of clients, is a particular passion for us at Promet Source. Looking to start a conversation about what stellar support can look like? Let’s talk!


     


     

    Jun 23 2021
    Jun 23

    For St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y., the migration of a Drupal 6 website built in 2010, to a redesigned Drupal 8.9 site that's positioned to seamlessly migrate to Drupal 9, stands to drive the next phase of the institution's growth and global impact. 

    Keys goals for the new site:

    • Intuitive, streamlined navigation,
    • A cleaner, simpler design and UX, 
    • Greater engagement among students, prospective students, alumni, and Orthodox communities, to drive both recruitment and fundraising, and 
    • Simplified content editing capabilities that provided content editors with greater flexibility for changing layouts and creating new pages. 

    The redesign and Drupal migration achieved that and a lot more. A critical success factor proved to be the deployment of Provus, which combined layout builder and flexible design component features, provided content editors with the ability to easily rearrange layouts, create new sections, and make updates -- all with the assurance that high quality designs and branding consistency would not be broken with the mixing up and switching out of page components. Provus has also allowed for drag-and-drop, no-code content editing, enabling flexibility in building and revising sections, along with functionality such as accordion components that allowed for the presentation of great lengths of content in a compact, approachable format.

    Read the full case study.

    The new site is powerfully aligned with St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary's goals for fundraising, recruitment, connecting, and community building and that's a function of many factors that include navigation that’s closely aligned with the needs of specific persona groups, prominent calls to action to apply, donate, or subscribe, as well as an inviting design refresh.

    Commenting on the potential of the new site and the institution's experience in working with Promet, Sarah Werner, Chief Marketing Officer, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, noted: 

    The discovery and design phases were fantastic. The Promet team did an amazing job of bringing our new brand to life.

    Interested in web design and development engagements that can ignite transformative digital experiences? That's what we do. Contact us today


     

    May 21 2021
    May 21

    This year, Pantheon set out to evaluate the digital landscape and recognize the world’s best WebOps leaders for creating web experiences that “drive deep, positive change.”

    As a leading hosting platform for Drupal sites, and a top SaaS-based website operations platform for developers, designers, and marketers, Pantheon provides a distinct perspective and knowledge of the current scope of transformative solutions that are making a difference. That’s among the reasons why we believe that the Promet Provus platform’s receipt of Pantheon’s 2021 Lighting Award for Innovation represents such a profound achievement.

    Pantheon selected Provus:

    For creating an innovative user experience enabling content editors to quickly and easily customize, iterate and deploy websites on-brand and at scale for large, multisite networks.

    Citing an example of what Provus is enabling Promet Source to achieve in service to our clients, Pantheon further noted that, “The [Promet] team successfully rolled out 53 websites for [a large county website], completing two to three sites every six weeks."

    What is Provus?

    A Drupal platform that provides marketers and content editors with a library of design components, along with drag-and-drop capabilities to quickly build and update pages as needed, Provus is paving the way for a new normal of no-code, content editor empowerment.


    Inspired by the realization that nearly every website consists of various combinations of roughly 15-20 types of features or patterns, Provus organizes a library of high-quality components that can be repurposed for low-code, no-code site building, to create a foundation for:

    • Easier content editing capabilities with drag-and-drop functionality,
    • Greater design flexibility within defined brand standards, and
    • Streamlined development using Drupal’s proven content models.

    How Provus Works

    Combining the latest drag-and-drop page-building tools in Drupal with a curated library of components, Provus enables content editors to layer designs, add functionality, and rearrange layouts for more engaging and interactive web experiences. Provus is also accelerating development by combining commonly used content types and features with a library of off-the-shelf components.  

    Provus on Pantheon, pushes this accelerated development cycle even further by leveraging Pantheon’s WebOps tools, enabling integration in ways that include: 

    • Access to Terminus through the Docksall docker orchestration tool.
    • Use of a single command, “fin pull,” to get the latest database and media assets. 
    • An automatic push of updated versions, to Pantheon from Travis, when pull requests are merged to the “develop” branch.  
    • Configuration import and database updates that happen automatically using Quicksilver.
    • Notification of Slack channels when new code is deployed using Quicksilver.

    Under the Hood

    Provus leverages Drupal’s Layout Builder module, enhanced by additional contributed modules that include Layout Builder Browser, Layout Builder Library, along with some custom configuration and theming. 

    To create high quality, flexible, and accessible components, Provus uses the Emulsify theme, taking advantage of Emulsify’s Storybook integration to facilitate the development and reuse of components across projects. 

    Provus’ most flexible and powerful component, the “Link Group,” allows marketers and content editors to choose any content type and apply any of the available cards or component layouts. For example, a content editor can choose events, filter by the event type, sort by title or date, and then place that on the page in a number of available carousels, content lists types, or in rows or columns.

    An essential differentiator with Provus is the built-in brand governance that ensures marketers and content editors are working within a framework of brand and style guidelines to maintain a consistent aesthetic, brand-aligned user experience. 

    See a demo of Provus in action!

     

    Inherently Open Source

    Provus is Open Source and is powered within an Open Source ecosystem that includes:

    • Docker
    • Cypress
    • Behat
    • Storybook
    • Drupal
    • MySQL / MariaDB
    • Solr
    • PHP
    • Redis

    Signature Promet Source

    I could not be more proud of the collective brainpower and the Promet team’s dedication to our clients’ success that has factored into the development of Provus. Provus serves as a powerful representation of our fervent dedication to our clients’ success, as we consistently ask the kinds of questions that begin with “Why Not?” and “What If?” 


    It’s great to win awards and the Pantheon 2021 Lightning Award for Innovation is a big one. But truly, our greatest reward is the opportunity to serve as a trusted partner for our clients, while continuing to ignite digital possibilities.


    Interested in a demo of Provus in action, or want to talk about new possibilities? Let us know what we can do for you! 
     

    May 06 2021
    May 06

    It was around this time last year when the Drupal organization, in the midst of Covid-19 upheaval and uncertainty, decided to defer the Drupal 7 end-of-life date from Nov. 2021 to Nov. 2022. Twelve months fly by fast, and here we are, with many Drupal 7 sites that are still far from a Drupal 9 migration plan. 
    Considering that there are more than 1 million Drupal sites worldwide and that 81 percent are still on Drupal 7, it’s not a stretch to say that we’re down to the wire. As the Nov. 28, 2022 end-of-life date nears, Drupal development agencies will become increasingly booked and backlogged. Those who delay migration might find themselves scrambling to secure the right expertise to guide them through the process. Cutting corners or settling for sub par Drupal developers for a resource that’s as mission critical as your website is highly unadvisable. 
     

    The Drupal 9 Difference

    The solution is to act now and begin to realize the following advantages of a far superior CMS sooner rather than later. 

    • The ability to craft layouts with the built-in visual layout builder, reuse blocks, and customize all parts of the page.
    • Use of the integrated configuration management system with development and staging environment support.
    • Management of reusable media in the out-of-the-box media library.
    • The advantage of full multilingual support in all content and configuration.
    • Better keyboard navigation and the assurance of accessibility.
    • Use of the structured content-based system with which you are already familiar. 
    • The ability to make changes even from your mobile devices thanks to a mobile-first UI.
    • Better performance and scalability with built-in BigPipe support for even faster initial page loads.
    • Built-in JSON:API support for progressively and fully decoupled applications.

    Big Lift, Big Benefits

    The Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 migration process is not to be underestimated. The Drupal organization is referring to D7 to D9 as the last big migration, with a promise of future upgrades that will be evolutionary, not revolutionary. No more wholesale platform upheavals. Instead: a continuous innovation cycle that delivers enhanced features twice a year. 
    That promise has proven to be the case with the Drupal 8 to 9 migration. One slight snag there is the fact that Drupal 8 sites need to migrate over to Drupal 9 a year earlier than Drupal 7 sites. The Drupal 8 end-of-life date was not changed from the original November 2, 2021, due to its dependency upon Symfony 3 and Symfony 3 will no longer be supported after November 2021. 
    Drupal 7, of course, is a different story. Drupal 7 sites can continue to hang around throughout 2021 and most of 2022, and the Nov. 28, 2022, Drupal 7end-of-life date does not mean that D7 sites will suddenly disappear. Here’s what it does mean: 

    • After Nov. 28, 2022, Drupal 7 will lose Drupal community support. That means no new bug fixes. 
    • Absence of support-related security releases will expose vulnerabilities to cyber attacks and the possibility of D7 sites being flagged as insecure during third-party scans. 
    • No further development means an end to any further improvements. 
    • Bottom line: a lot of uncertainty.

    Drupal 7 Disintegrating

    Streamline the Scope

    A Drupal 9 migration offers a perfect opportunity to ensure that the architecture, UX, and design of your website is in sync with your current brand and objectives. Doing it right takes time, the alignment of stakeholders, and calls for some very thoughtful planning. The key word: planning. 
    That means taking stock of your current site, and evaluating it on a wide range of factors. The following steps can serve to significantly streamline the process.  
     

    Audit Existing Content

    A content inventory that flags outdated, redundant, or off-brand content is a critical first step in the site migration process. The less content that needs to be migrated to the new site, the simpler the process will be, so it’s helpful to clear out the clutter early, while identifying and prioritizing which information you want to keep (and migrate). 

    Look at Site Analytics

    It’s often difficult for stakeholders to agree on which content and features are must-haves, and which ones can be left behind. Analytics help. Data that reveals which pages get the most traffic will bring much-needed insight and objectivity into the decision-making process. It will also identify which pages and articles are not likely to be missed because they are receiving relatively few visits. 
     

    Audit Modules

    Evaluate your site’s contributed modules to determine whether they’ve been updated for Drupal 9 or pulled into Drupal 9 core. If they haven’t been, investigate whether there is a Drupal 9 alternative that could be used to maintain the same functionality. You'll also want to evaluate any custom modules that have been written specifically for your site by your development team, paying special attention to the ones that integrate with systems outside of Drupal. Search Drupal.org for a contributed module that could provide the same functionality. If you don’t find replacements, your development team will need to rewrite the custom module(s) for Drupal 9. 

    Assess Your Theme

    If your current site is using a contributed theme, look into whether there is a Drupal 9 version of that theme. While it is unlikely that a larger site would use a contributed theme without any modifications, it’s quite possible that your site’s custom theme is a sub-theme of a contributed theme (a base theme like Bootstrap, Zen, or ZURB). If you can keep the same base theme in its Drupal 9 form, you might need fewer changes in order to upgrade.

    Identify Complexities

    The next step is to determine whether there are particularly complex features or functions of the site -- such as multi-language capabilities or single sign-on (SSO). While there are solutions to these complexities, the migration process is significantly more straightforward when they are identified and accounted for early.

    Get Your 8-Point Drupal Migration Planning Checklist

     

    Consider an Automatic Migration Tool

    Automatic Drupal migration tools, such as the Drupal UI Migration Tool or the Drush Migration Tool, could be worth trying, especially if your site doesn’t have much custom code. The likelihood of one of these methods’ success for any particular migration depends on your site’s architecture. If it is predominantly made of content types and fields configured through the Drupal UI and using Drupal core functionality, there’s a greater chance an automatic migration will do more of what you need.

    Optimize the Opportunity

    At Promet Source, we understand that your organization’s website tells your story and that no two are alike. We also understand that the series of steps to prepare for migration, which we have outlined here, are often outside of the scope of available time and resources. 
    Our Architecture Strategy Workshops are designed to zero in on the big picture, taking into account all factors that affect the migration to a successful Drupal 9 website. For many clients, the opportunity to achieve stakeholder consensus over the course of a one- or two-day workshop, as well as a plan for next steps, represents a breakthrough opportunity that could otherwise take months and months of meetings and analysis. 

    Keep in mind! Delaying migration means delaying benefits of a CMS that offers, increasingly tighter security, improved performance, greater speed, a built-in emphasis on accessibility, along with multilingual capabilities and a mobile-first UX. The impact of a Drupal 9 migration is guaranteed to go deep and wide within your organization.
    If you are in the process of auditing your site for migration, interested in learning more about an architecture workshop, or are looking for a value-added partner to perform the entire migration process for you, Contact us today.
     

    Mar 31 2021
    Mar 31

    The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a series of specifications developed and maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for the purpose of ensuring that websites are accessible for people who have disabilities. Due to technological advances and evolving perspectives on web accessibility challenges that individuals disabilities face, the WCAG is regularly being updated and revised. The current version of WCAG 2.2 was issued on Nov. 30, 2020, and the WCAG 2 Series is coming to an end with a new WCAG 3.0 under development.  

    WCAG 3.0 will not undo the previous versions, but will extend and provide greater clarity concerning current guidelines. 

    The following are some of the questions that I get asked most frequently concerning the upcoming shift to WCAG 3.0. 

     

    What’s the current status of WCAG 3.0?

    On January 21, 2021 the W3C published the first working draft of what will become WCAG 3.0. This is just a draft and there is the opportunity now to suggest revisions as the W3C works toward a final version. At this point, there is no set date for the publication of the final draft. 

     

    Why are ongoing revisions to WCAG standards considered necessary?

    The W3C changes the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for a few reasons. One is to apply the guidelines to new technologies. Technology changes over time so the WCAG needs to change with it. Another is to move toward guidelines that are easier to understand and allow for greater flexibility. Finally, the W3C is committed to broadening the scope of the guidelines to expand web accessibility by covering a greater depth and breadth of disabilities. 

     

    Are there features of WCAG 3.0 that could potentially simplify compliance?

    One of the goals of the WCAG 3.0 is to increase understanding of the guidelines. This is accomplished by replacing success criteria with outcomes, techniques with methods and understanding documents with how-tos. While I would argue this is not really a simplification of the WCAG, I do believe by replacing the “grey areas” of WCAG 2.2 with expected outcomes, methods and how-tos the overall feel and functionality of WCAG 3.0 will lead to  guidelines that are easier to understand and apply. 

     

    FREE Webinar! Register now for WCAG Now and What’s Next. Get insider insights into what to expect with WCAG 3.0.  April 20, 2021, 11 a.m. CST.

    What is Promet’s position on the direction the revised standards appear to be moving in?

    The revised standards appear to be trying to place less importance on any one rule, while at the same time attempting to create a more balanced picture of any website in comparison to all of the standards. Rather than the current pass/fail system, WCAG is moving toward a score-based system. Here at Promet, we see this as an important step toward increasing accessibility for all by allowing for a better picture of the true accessibility of a site and drawing attention to any aspects of the site that would make the site completely inaccessible to certain segments of the population. 

    If we've achieved Level AA WCAG compliance, will we need to have another accessibility audit? 

    It is always recommended that audits be conducted on an annual basis. Websites are rarely static entities, and if content is being added to a site or changes are being made, then an audit for accessibility is advisable -- regardless of the status of WCAG or whether a revised version is being issued. It is important to point out, however, that any content that conforms to the current version of WCAG will continue to conform to the new standards under WCAG 3.0.  

     

    At this point, should we just just wait until we see what’s in WCAG 3.0 before testing or remediating our site for accessibility?

    While the standards are changing it is always best to do as much as possible now to ensure accessibility. The foundational WCAG concepts (Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust) are not changing, and remain the basis for both WCAG 2.2 and 3.0. Any accessibility upgrades completed today will be a step toward ensuring alignment with the new standards once they are released. 

    At Promet Source, we're passionate about opportunities to make web experiences engaging and inclusive for all. Let us know what we can do for you!
     

    Mar 25 2021
    Mar 25

    It's widely reported that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math professions are in slated for the highest growth potential in the coming years. To varying degrees, women are under represented in these fields. Latest statistics indicate that women account for 27 percent of all STEM workers in the United States, and a much lower 15 percent of engineers.

    While these figures do represent progress -- only 8 percent of all STEM workers were women in 1970 -- many find the needle to be moving forward at a disappointingly slow pace. Far fewer women than men are entering STEM careers, and they exit at a far greater rate. 

    There's, of course, a complex set of factors at work here, but the long-term advancement of women in STEM calls for early intervention that helps young girls to get excited about the possibility of a career in STEM, and to believe that the field is wide open and welcoming for them.

    At the same time, helping women who are currently in STEM roles to amplify their visibility and their voice, can serve to strengthen both their professional stature and potential to serve as role models. 

    Promet Source had the honor of partnering with Lyda Hill Philanthropies on a site that's laser focused on these two related objectives.  The IF/THEN® Collection features 125 women across a wide variety of fields, selected as Ambassadors to serve as high-profile role models for middle school girls.  Using a talent agency approach, IF/THEN® supports the Ambassadors and their inspiring work by showcasing them on a national platform.

    Read how the IF/THEN® Collection website is advancing its mission and vision

    With an ambitious goal of getting these stories and images of women in STEM careers in front of adolescents wherever there is an opportunity to have an impact on cultural norms -- schools, libraries, museums, community centers and more -- the IF/THEN® team had a distinct vision for their Drupal website

    Innovative web design and development solutions that help to bring new possibilities to life for our clients is what we are passionate about here at Promet Source. Let's talk about what we can do for you.

    Mar 23 2021
    Mar 23

    Whether working with a Drupal consulting company on a new web build, or starting out as a Drupal developer, Drupal terminology often emerges as a sticking point. There’s a lot of Drupal jargon that’s not intuitive. 

    As a Drupal Trainer, I’ve found that a lot of time can be saved and confusion spared with an upfront overview of terms that have a distinct meaning in Drupal. Clarity on Drupal Terminology can kickstart efforts to both talk the Drupal talk and walk the Drupal walk, so here’s a quick guide to essential Drupal-specific vocabulary to get started on that journey.

     

    1. Content

    Content encompasses both text and images displayed on a website -- including photos, logos, icons, and other graphic items. 

    2. Views

    A View is a display of content items created by the Drupal Views module. It can be a list or grid or table, a full page or a block on a website.  News items, for example, can be displayed as simply titles, or with teaser content, as a carousel display, or even as an RSS feed to export items to an external source. The benefit of creating views of content is that edits just need to be made once to be automatically updated everywhere that a view of that content is displayed. 
    Looking at the Promet Source site as an example, clicking “Insights” on the main horizontal navigation lists the five most recent blog posts. The View displayed here is a list of with basic information about each post. 

    Screen shot from the Promet Blog Views pageThe Promet Source blog Views page lists all blogs on the site, arranged by date, with five per page. Each item on the list includes the blog's title, author, date published, the first few lines of the post itself, an image, and a link to the full post.

     

    3. Content Type (Entity Bundle, Entity Type)

    A Content Type, sometimes referred to an an Entity Bundle is a grouping of content used for a specific purpose with fields for various types of information. Most sites have multiple content types.  A blog post is an example of a content type. A grouping of fields hold the data for each blog post that is created and displayed on the website. The following post from the Promet Source Blog is an example of a Content Type.

    Example of a Promet Source blog post as an entity typeThe Promet Source blog post content type has a field for an image, the author’s name, the date of publication, Keywords, Related Posts, and styling specifications for headers and fonts.  

     

    4. Content Item or Node

    A Content Item or Node refers to an individual instance of a content type. Referring to the Promet Source website again as an example, blogs are an example of a content type and each blog post on the site is an example of a Content Item or Node. 
     

    Check out Promet’s current Drupal training lineup and register NOW for the class that fits your needs.

    5.  Core

    Core refers to the central Drupal codebase that provides the basic functionality of every Drupal website. Core is the base upon which Drupal sites get built. Each component of core has a dedicated maintainer. Contributed modules or themes are integrated into core as they receive widespread acceptance and usage. 
     

    6. Contributed

    As an Open Source content management system, Drupal community members can contribute modules and themes that are then available, free of charge or licensing fees, for use by other members of the community. While there is a relatively stringent review process for contributed modules and themes, the quality of contributed code can vary. 

    7.  Modules

    Drupal modules (the equivalent of WordPress plugins) are collections of files containing PHP, JavaScript, and/or CSS code that provide some functionality of a website. Modules on a Drupal site fall into one of the following categories: 

    • Core modules are included in the Drupal core. While many core modules are enabled when Drupal is initially installed, there are others that can be enabled as needed. 
    • Contributed modules are created by members of the Drupal community and contributed back to the full Drupal community. The contributed modules extend the functionality of the Drupal core to provide features many websites require. These modules can be downloaded from the Modules download section of drupal.org., and installed within a Drupal installation to assist with integration of third-party software, enhance SEO, and many other features. 
    • Custom modules are created for a specific site application. For instance, a developer might create a custom module for a site that needs a feature related to proprietary data or to extend the functionality of a core or contributed module. Best practice is to use contributed modules before writing a custom module since contributed modules are maintained by a larger community and subject to security reviews, whereas custom modules are not. 

    8. Themes

    A theme is a set of files that define the look and feel of a Drupal site. Themes can be either core, contributed, or custom. Drupal core provides several basic themes but most sites create a custom theme or start with a contributed theme that can be downloaded from drupal.org. 

    9. Taxonomy

    Taxonomy is a way to classify or organize content on a Drupal site and group related content into categories. Taxonomy added to a News Item, for example, might include Taxonomy Terms or local or international items. This would allow Views to sort and create a list view of local news items or international news items. A Taxonomy added to the Staff Member content item might include Taxonomy Terms that denote departments in an organization (HR, Design, Manufacturing, Sales, etc.) Views could then create a view of only staff members in the Sales department to display on a page.

    Screen shot of the search bar from the Promet Source blogTaxonomy facilitates internal search on a website. The "All Topics" dropdown above provides a list of frequent topics covered on the Promet blog, and is is an example of Drupal taxonomy

     

    10. Menus

    Menus are a collection of links used for navigating a website. Drupal includes several standard menus, which can be edited and additional menus can be created to meet a variety of navigational requirements. The standard Main menu is built by site administrators as pages are added to a site. The standard Management menu is the menu available to site administrators to access administrative areas of the site. The standard User menu contains links for logging out of a site and accessing the user’s profile page. Each menu automatically creates a block of the same name that can be placed in various regions across the site.


    Drupal is woven into the DNA of Promet Source. We build Drupal sites, support Drupal sites, and offer a robust Drupal training curriculum. Contact us today and let us know what we can do for you!

    Mar 10 2021
    Mar 10

    In the current, digitally driven climate, search engines serve as gatekeepers, determining whether and where a site appears on search engine results pages (SERP). Latest stats indicate that 93 percent of all web traffic is routed through search engines, with Google accounting for the vast majority -- 76 percent of all desktop search traffic and 86 percent of all mobile search traffic. 

    This amounts to more than 3.5 billion Google searches globally every day, amounting to more than 1.2 trillion searches per year. 

    Google is constantly refining its search algorithm, which means that the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) process needs to be an ongoing effort to ensure that a website and its pages are optimally aligned with the ways that the search engines index, crawl, and rank a site on a on a SERP.
     

    Fortunately for Drupal site owners, multiple modules and features have been designed to boost SEO.  
     

    Drupal is considered by many to be a top-ranking CMS for SEO features and functionality. 

    Optimizing a Drupal site for the search engines is an essential competitive imperative. It requires awareness of the top Drupal modules, as well as close attention to the steps that will align a site with how the search engines operate. 
     

    SEO in Action

    Optimizing your Drupal website for search engines helps drive organic traffic to your site with a high rank on the search engine results pages for targeted keywords, key phrases, or queries. 

    The closer to the top that a site appears on search engine results page, the greater the impressions and the traffic that it is likely to receive.  

    The example below, from a search for “human centered web design,” reflects the impact of effective targeting for a specific key phrase. 
    Human Centered Web Design SERP

    Human Centered Web Design SERPAn example of a search engine optimized Drupal Site appearing at the top of a search engine results page.

    There are key steps to follow to ensure that your Drupal site is optimized for SEO.

    Download our SEO for Drupal Get Started Guide with recommended Drupal modules.

    Keep in mind! The Google Search algorithm is constantly becoming smarter and more refined, and distinct expertise is needed to ensure optimal strategic alignment

    Looking for support and consultation to ensure your SEO strategy is positioning your site for maximum advantage? Our team can take your site's SEO to the next level. Contact us today

    Mar 03 2021
    Mar 03

    A little over a year ago, the global pandemic struck and all planned events came to a screeching halt for the foreseeable future. Here at Promet Source, we quickly adjusted, leveraging a wealth of knowledge we had acquired from our track record of successful collaborations around the world. Within the Drupal Community at large, the learning curve might have been more steep, but it appears to have been rapidly scaled.

    In signature Drupal community style, tech solutions were explored, adjustments were made barely a beat was missed as networking, learning, and growth kept right on going. 

    Last month’s Florida DrupalCamp took the virtual event experience to a new level for many of us as we got to experience gather.town in action. Promet’s Chris O’Donnell and Aaron Couch collaborated on a presentation of some breakthrough new possibilities for Drupal during their “Drag and Drop Content Management in Drupal,” session, and Promet Source is always thrilled to get to serve as a sponsor of Drupal events.

    Onward to Drupalcon 2021 next month, April 12-16. Hope to “see” you there and in the meantime, here are some thoughts on Florida DrupalCamp from a few of us from Promet Source who participated in the event. 

    Q.  What drew you to Florida DrupalCamp this year?

    Chris O’Donnell: I presented at Florida DrupalCamp last year (in unusually cold weather!) and wanted to reconnect with the Florida Drupal community. Of course it was 78 degrees and sunny this year, when nobody could travel there! 

    Luc Bezier: Promet Source is sponsoring several camps every year and I’ve heard a lot from the team about Florida DrupalCamp Florida. I am in Europe and since the camp was being offered this year, it was a great chance for me to participate, without having to get on an airplane. 

    Danita Bowman: It was definitely the weather. Oh wait! It was virtual so that couldn't have been the reason. But seriously, I have wanted to attend Florida DrupalCamp for several years and it just never was the right set of circumstances. With the camp being virtual this year, it fit perfectly with my schedule.

    Q. What was the highlight of the event from your perspective?

    Chris: Reconnecting and catching up with far flung Drupaler’s that I had not spoken with in quite a while -- since last year’s Florida DrupalCamp in some cases. 

    Danita: The highlight of most camps and other Drupal events is connecting with old friends and meeting new ones. That was the case this year with Florida DrupalCamp. 
     

    Q. What were the top takeaways from your participation in Florida DrupalCamp?

    Danita: Aside from Chris O’Donnell and Aaron Couch’s presentation on Drag and Drop Content Management in Drupal, the top takeaway for me was that the Drupal Community has weathered the last year just fine, but we are all really itching to drop the “virtual” from our meetups. 

    Q. How did the virtual event technology differ from what you are accustomed to? 

    Chris: This was my first event using gather.town. I was initially skeptical as every attempt to recreate the on-site convention experience has been disappointing so far. However, gather.town does an amazingly good job of recreating that serendipitous “running into somebody in the hallway" experience that is so important to Drupal events. 

    Luc: The conditions right now are forcing organizers to find new tools to reproduce the interaction we normally have at events. We were able to create an avatar and hold conversations as little groups with gather.town. Nothing beats the face-to-face events of course, but this was a good way to get to chat with other attendees and speakers. 

    Danita: I can't say enough good things about the experience this camp provided with gather.town. For the first time in more than a year of virtual events, I once again got to participate in my favorite part of events - the hallway track. 

    Q. Any comments on the Drupal Community’s ability to power through during difficult circumstances?

    Luc: It’s really great to see that despite the ban on face-to-face events the community keeps on creating and organizing opportunities to connect. This proves that Drupal events, and tech events in general, are very important. We need those to learn and connect with others. 

    Danita: I've been impressed with the Drupal community throughout this year, as I’ve watched so many events pivot on short notice to virtual but still provide great training sessions and experiences for attendees. The organizers are to be commended for their resilience and determination to keep the Drupal community engaged. And the entire community is to be commended for staying in the game and showing up with a continued commitment to learning, growth, and contribution.

    At Promet Source, Drupal is in our DNA. We demonstrate an ongoing commitment to contributing and connecting to new possibilities for Drupal sites that solve complex challenges. Interested in  a conversation about leveraging what’s new and next with Drupal for your next project? Contact us today!
     

    Feb 25 2021
    Feb 25

    When speaking with government clients, I’m often asked about web design trends. 

    The fact is, design trends for government sites have very little to do with colors, fonts, or any sort of fleeting fashion. Nor are government sites the place where the boundaries of technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, or voice control are being pushed.

    What matters most for government sites is trust, transparency, and ease of use. 

    Government sites have a lot of heavy lifting to do, and more so than ever before, these sites are serving as a central hub from which constituents keep informed about events, monitor public health alerts, take care of official business, stay connected to the community, and a lot more. 
     

    Web Design at Work

    Those responsible for government and public sector sites tend to be very savvy about the need to engage constituents and ensure that the navigation and overall experience of their sites align with what visitors are looking to accomplish. The pandemic, of course, catapulted the importance of excellent UX to the forefront, but as COVID-19 hopefully heads for the history books, expectations for the UX of government sites will remain high. 

    Given the depth and breadth of content that often needs to be organized and accommodated on government sites, modern design practices such as proper use of white space along with a spacious and fresh feel that mitigates against clutter and confusion is an essential best practice. While the interior pages of the site often need to be more content-heavy, an open and inviting home page serves as an engaging launch pad for a wide range of user journeys. 

    Once the key persona groups who visit the site are defined, and the user journeys are mapped, the essential focus needs to be on streamlining and simplifying the UX, with a focus on removing any potential roadblocks or frustrations. 
     

    People First

    A people-first design philosophy is the “trend” that serves as a key driver for us at Promet Source. This calls for a recognition that government sites are being designed for a broad range of users -- those who are young, those who are elderly, users who are accustomed to conducting business online, users who are easily frustrated with technology, users with disabilities that require assistive technology to access the site, and a wide swath of users within every spectrum. Given the complex content models and scope of objectives that government sites need to accomplish, we find that Drupal is the CMS tends to be the best suited

    Much of the world’s websites and many government sites among them are running on outdated, clunky user interfaces that were developed long before the concept of user experience or UX entered into the general lexicon or the discipline of web design. Now that we understand the design imperative of defining end-user needs, goals, motivations, and pain points, we are much better positioned to leverage design thinking as a solution to streamline user experience journeys. 

    The fact is, design trends for government sites have very little to do with colors, fonts, or any sort of fleeting fashion. 

    - Peter Ross,  Senior UI/UX Designer

    Among the indicators of this trend is increasingly friendly and highly contextual navigational language. One example would be navigational tabs that represent a walk-through to specific talks. Rather than a “Forms” tab, or a list of departments, for instance, a tab we recently designed for a county website read: “I want to.” Clicking that tab resulted in a sub-menu of options within the categories of: 

    • Apply for
    • Pay for 
    • Register
    • Report
    • View

     

    Visual Storytelling

    While there are a multitude of tasks that need to be accomplished on government websites, a well-designed government or public sector website factors in a lot more than information and functionality. Perspectives and messaging can be intricately woven into the design, through a holistic approach to collaborating with government clients and drawing upon multiple disciplines to create the look, feel, messaging, and the entire experience that conveys the government entity’s story and identity. 

    Working closely with content and development teams, we’re able to optimize engagement, conveying information a manner that is both creative and informative. 

    This holistic design approach to the user’s experience on a site digs much deeper and ensures a greater degree of inclusivity than simply asking, “does it look nice?” Government websites truly need to work for everyone.

    The more we strategically approach design and UX and the more we educate ourselves and others on the best practices for inclusive design the better everyone will be for it. I see it as an opportunity to be conscious of others and unite within a digital platform.

    Working in close collaboration with federal, state, county, and municipal clients, Promet Source is making a difference and having an impact. Interested in starting a conversation concerning the distinct objectives for your website? Let’s talk
     

    Feb 17 2021
    Feb 17

    Seeking to ultimately create a globally centralized, online presence for all of its commercial customers, Lenovo reached out to Promet Source for a range of initiatives that included a performance audit, a Drupal 8 migration, integration with the Lenovo Martech stack, consolidation of 15 separate websites from 60 markets and 87 different languages into its Lenovo Tech Today site, and ongoing support. 

    The result: a cohesive brand and online presence that enables Lenovo’s commercial customers worldwide to easily explore all of Lenovo’s commercial technology solutions that include workstations, servers, storage solutions, IT management software, smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, and apps.  

    The success of this massive consolidation project was due in part to Promet’s development of a component-based, drag-and-drop page-building capability leverages Drupal Paragraphs.

    Read more about how we helped Lenovo drive efficiencies with a cohesive global web presence.

    Promet also established clear processes for enabling content editors and site managers within multiple markets worldwide to log in and easily update content or add pages. Site updates and revisions that would have otherwise taken a week’s time and required the help of an in-house IT support team or a local agency, can now be completed by non-technical site managers within a few hours. For Lenovo’s global commercial customer base, the consolidated Lenovo Tech Today site has provided the advantage of a consistent brand presence and user experience, along with significant operational efficiencies and massive cost savings.

    Commenting on the impact of Lenovo's global website consolidation initiatives and engagement with Promet, Roman Olney, Head of WW Digital Marketing, PCSD Marketing, for Lenovo said,

    Over the last few years, Promet has helped us navigate some complex technology needs that have driven significant efficiencies for our global marketing organization. With their support, Tech Today continues to grow and meet the needs of our customers in new and exciting ways.

    Interested in consultation and support in managing complexities, while improving user experience? Let us know how we can help!

    Feb 11 2021
    Feb 11

    The past 12 months have presented lots of opportunities for looking at life and work through a different lens. Many of us have gained a newfound gratitude for the people, perspectives, and technologies that have sparked new possibilities and powered us through.

    Love is in the air as Valentine's Day approaches and here at Promet Source, we thought we'd take this opportunity to share an inside look at some of new inspiration, developments, and tools that we've come to love lately. 

    1. Haben: The Deafblind Women Who Conquered Harvard Law

    Denise Erazmus, Accessibility Specialist

    This is the memoir by Haben Girma, who is the first deafblind student to graduate from Harvard Law.

    So much of what we focus on as web accessibility specialists is empathizing with differently abled people in order to understand how they consume content. This book gave me even more insight into that experience by showing a picture of a girl born deaf, who goes through the process of losing her sight, but not her drive to succeed.  The memoir also helped to further raise my awareness of what members of the disabled community can accomplish, which I believe is absolutely anything.

    Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law book cover

    2. The New, Accessible White House Website

    Peter Ross, Senior UI/UX Designer

    I love all of the design and accessibility features of the new whitehouse.gov. I also love that a Spanish-language version has been reinstated into the WordPress CMS. The layout is clean and reads much more like a news site. 

    Whitehouse.gov screenshotA screenshot from the newly designed whitehouse.gov site

     

    3. CrossFit. Definitely CrossFit

    Andrew Kucharski, President

    I love CrossFit because it kicks my butt. It sharpens my focus for all aspects of my life and it has moved me beyond wellness into fitness. Plus: I get the self satisfaction of being disciplined enough to stay at it. Every. Single. Day.

    Andrew Kucharski at CrossFitAndrew Kucharski, President of Promet Source and a serious CrossFit devotee

    4. Dual Monitors!

    Chris O'Donnell, Digital Strategist

    I love dual monitors. I have no idea how I worked with a single monitor for most of my life. I'm planning to get a KVM switch so I can share my second monitor with my Linux PC and have two monitors on my personal set-up too.

    Chris O'DonnellChris O'Donnell at his desk with two monitors going strong

     

    5. The Snapchat Filter for Zoom

    Chris Sensat, Graphic Designer

    I love the Snapchat filter for Zoom. Remote meetings can take on a whole new life when there's the option of showing up for a moment or two from the beach, as a bandit, or as an alien, or with a cat on your head.

    Snap Chat during a Zoom Call

    6. Provus

    Aaron Couch, Director of Technology Solutions

    We're just getting started, and I love all of the new possibilities that Promet's Open Source, drag-and-drop page building solution is creating. Provus is giving marketers and content editors the keys to take ownership of their websites with the ability to easily build pages, revise page designs, and a lot more. 

    Provus banner

     

    7. LastPass 

    Patti Cardiff, Director of Support Services 

    I love LastPass! I have a zillion client passwords to keep up with. LastPass makes my processes much, much faster!

    last pass logo

    8. The Drupal Community!

    Danita Bowman, Drupal Trainer

    Until you are actually a participating member, it's hard to realize how awesome the Drupal community is and how much there is to love -- the support, the inclusivity, the way this amazing worldwide team is committed to helping each other, and the continuous contributions to making Drupal a better CMS for all. 

    DrupalCon 2019 SeattleGroup shot from DrupalCon 2019 in Seattle

     

    9. Sketch for Teams

    Mic Seaton, Senior UI/UX Designer

    Sketch for Teams allows for amazing new possibilities that includes seamlessly sharing designs with stakeholders, sharing feedback within the team, prototyping previews for user testing and research, and staying organized!

    Sketch for teams

     

    10. Google Data Studio

    Ishmael Fusilero, Digital Marketing Analyst

    I love the depth and breadth of intelligence that's available from Data Studio.  We leverage Data Studio internally, and the tool also helps us to offer our SEO and analytics clients highly precise levels of insights and recommendations. 

    Data studio screen shot

    At Promet Source, we're a diverse team of experts with passions that run deep and wide. What unites us is our enthusiasm for igniting new digital possibilities for our clients. Let us know what we can do for you!

    Feb 03 2021
    Feb 03

    More so than ever before, government and public sector websites are called upon to multi-task,  functioning as the digital town square -- a central spot for connecting, conducting business, keeping informed, showcasing top attractions, and a lot more. 

    Among government officials who are responsible for managing and making decisions concerning the right content management system (CMS), the margin for error is low and the stakes are high. Government websites need to be secure, scalable, engaging, flexible, accessible, dependable, and easy to navigate. As budgets get squeezed, websites also need to demonstrate cost effectiveness and all that factors into good governance.

    Factoring in all that’s riding on getting it right, combined with our in-the-trenches perspective from hundreds of conversations and engagements with government clients, we at Promet Source rank Drupal to be the CMS that best stands up to the demands of public sector websites

    We’re in good company concerning this assessment.

    Drupal’s share of the government and public sector CMS market is built upon a solid foundation that includes these eight factors:

     

    1. Drupal Integrates with other solutions and services.

    Drupal plays well with others and this means a lot. Ease of integration with other services -- even proprietary solutions -- ensures that a government website will have the flexibility to accommodate both current and future needs. The Drupal CMS is a modular CMS, which serves as a foundation for easily integrating with other solutions. The value of this feature is compounded by the fact that Drupal is Open Source. As such, there is no controlling authority determining or limiting integration activity. Open Source also means that there are no additional costs or licensing fees associated with multiple integrations.  

    2. Security is both transparent and robust.

    Security is a paramount concern for government websites, and Drupal’s track record of superior security is a key factor contributing to its popularity among public sector clients. The fact that Drupal is Open Source means that government IT officials have access to the code for their sites and can exercise whatever level of due diligence they they feel that they need to in order to feel assured of the site can stand up to hacking and cyber threats. 

    The 1.3 member strong Drupal community is collectively committed to eliminating potential threats with contributions of several security modules. Among them: Login Security, Password Policy, Captcha, and Security Kit. The Drupal Security Working Group is focused on ensuring that both Drupal core and the entire ecosystem of member contributions ensure both world-class security for Drupal sites.

    Another factor worth noting is that Drupal is not a SAAS solution, which means that the site’s code is not commingled in a shared database.

    3. Drupal accommodates multisites.

    Any CMS for the government or public sector will need to accommodate a wide range of sites, and Drupal’s multisite feature streamlines the creation of multisites by enabling developers to copy the main site's code base and create as many offshoot sites as needed that leverage the same functionality. This represents a significant savings in both development costs and ongoing maintenance.

    While the ability to accommodate multisites is now a standard feature among most CMS platforms, the factor that sets Drupal apart from the proprietary options is cost -- as in the absence of cost. As an Open Source CMS, there are no additional fees associated with the addition of multiple sites. 

    Scalability of Drupal is intertwined with multi-site functionality, enabling brand guidelines to be be centrally maintained while individual agencies and departments can independently manage their content. 

    4. Drupal sites can handle millions of hits.


    Drupal’s inherent scalability is another important factor in the multisite feature, as a high influx of traffic on one site affects all of the sites on the same Drupal code base. 

    Government websites need to be ready at any moment for a surge in traffic. Whether due to dangerous weather warnings, civic upheaval, or even a celebratory event, a government website is never more vital than when a critical mass of citizens flock to it at the same time. Drupal supports some of the most highly trafficked government websites in the world, and is built to handle both sudden surges and millions of visitors a month without crashing or breaking. 
     

    5. Hosting options can fit specific requirements.

    With Drupal, site owners can select the hosting vendor that best fits their needs, they can change hosting vendors whenever they feel the need to, and they can opt to host the website internally. This is not always the case with a proprietary CMS solution.


    6. Multilingual support is built in.

    Drupal supports more than 100 languages out of the box. Although all major CMS solutions offer multilingual support at this point, Drupal offers extra features that facilitate translation capabilities. 

    • The Content Translation module in Drupal allows pages and individual content to be translated by creating a duplicate set in the translated language. 
    • Entity Translation module allows particular fields to be translated.

    7. Drupal sites are accessible out of the box.

    Drupal is fundamentally committed to compliance with web accessibility standards, which is an essential consideration for all government and public sector websites. Clients can count on the fact that Drupal is compliant with the most recent Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1). This is a key advantage of Drupal, as CMS solutions that rely more heavily on external plug-ins cannot be counted on to be in compliance with web accessibility standards to anywhere near the same degree. 

    8. The Drupal Community is 1.3 million members strong.

    The Drupal community is a huge advantage to both developers and public sector clients. As a longtime member of the Drupal community, I’ve experienced on many occasions the power of a 1.3 million member community who are invested in its success. There are no secrets in Drupal. It is built on a common OS dev stack, which means that Drupal developer talent tends to be more widely available than for proprietary CMS solutions. Help and support for whatever or question may arise within the community is freely and generously available. 

    At Promet Source, Drupal is in our DNA. We serve as engaged contributors to the Drupal community and embrace the spirit of open sharing of expertise and solutions, along with a strong track record of designing and developing Drupal sites for government and public sector clients. Let us know what we can do for you!

    Subscribe to Promet Insights
     

    Feb 01 2021
    Feb 01

    The key points that need to be considered when testing mobile applications can be addressed with the following questions:

    • Which mobile devices and operating system versions will this application support?
    • How do we test applications to make sure they run on those platforms?
    • What modifications must be made to accommodate the differences among platforms?
    • How will industry innovations be supported going forward, since new mobile devices, technologies, and applications are constantly being introduced?
    • How do we know how much testing is enough?
    Mobile Application Testing MatrixThe mobile application testing matrix becomes exponentially more complex with the addition of each factor to be considered. 

    Hardware Diversity Compounds Complexity

    In the PC test environment, testers have essentially only one central processing unit platform (x86- compatible microprocessors) on which they need to test applications. Most of the other hardware components that go into a PC or Mac, such as the disk drives, graphics processor and network adapters are usually thoroughly tested for compatibility with those operating systems and pose a relatively minor risk of problems. Their display formats also fall within a relatively narrow range of choices, and the input devices (mostly keyboards and mice) are well-known and familiar.

    But mobile voice and data service carriers differentiate themselves by offering a wide range of handsets, each with unique configurations and form factors that can have unpredictable effects on the performance, security, and usability of applications.

    Multiple handset options are built around a wide variety of processors, running at various speeds with widely varying amounts of memory, as well as screens of different sizes operating at different resolutions and in different orientations (landscape, portrait or both).

    Many handheld devices rely on multiple digital signal processors (one to handle voice communications, the other to process the audio, video, and images associated with applications), as well as multiple input devices, such as a touch-screen and a keypad. Each combination of components interacts in different ways with each other, and with the operating system, and this creates potential compatibility and performance issues that must be addressed in testing.

     

    PLUS Complexities from Software Platform Diversity

    In addition to these hardware-based concerns, the tester must cope with the complexity of the software environment. To ensure that an application will work on most customers' desktops, a tester need only test it on the most popular current versions of the Windows, Apple Macintosh, and Linux operating systems.

    To ensure performance on the same range of mobile devices, a tester must address all current versions of the iPhone, Windows Mobile 7, Symbian, Android, iPhone, and RIM Blackberry OSes, as well as the MeeGo platform developed by Nokia.

    Applications must be tested for their compatibility with any of the networks on which any given device might run.The networks operated by different carriers provide various levels of bandwidth. Different carriers use different methods to tunnel their own traffic into the TCP IP protocol used by the Web, changing how applications receive, transmit and receive data. They also use different Web proxies to determine which websites their users can access, and how those sites will be displayed on their devices. 

    All of these differences can affect the stability performance or security of a mobile application and must be tested to ensure that the the end-user experience works as intended.

    Testing Mobile Apps on Device Emulators

    Mobile application testing needs to take into account a wide range of target mobile devices to ensure that every possible interaction among hardware and software elements, as well as with the wireless carrier's network, is covered. However, acquiring every possible target device and performing manual testing on it is too complex, costly, and time-consuming to be feasible during every stage of testing.

    Device emulators, which are software that simulates the performance and behavior of the physical device, are far easier to obtain and less expensive than samples of the physical devices. While they can be less accurate test platforms than the actual hardware, they can be a cost-effective alternative to testing on the physical device when used appropriately.

    Emulators can be used to test Web applications using the software development kit for a browser or by packaging the application as a .jar, .apk or .sis (platform-specific) file, installing the application on the emulated device, and testing the application.

    Since speeding time-to-market is often a critical consideration in app development, many mobile applications are developed using RAD (rapid application development) in which multiple versions of the software are quickly developed, assessed by end-users, and tweaked accordingly. This rapid-fire cycle of coding and re-coding makes it almost impossible to assess how each change affects the application's performance, stability, or security.

    At Promet Source, we are adept at mobile application development, as well as the full range of processes and procedures required to ensure that apps perform as intended. While complexities continue to increase, the margin for error remains zero, and our commitment is is get it right the first time. 

    Interested in help or consultation with application development or Quality Assurance of a mobile application?  Contact us today.

    Jan 27 2021
    Jan 27

    It has become increasingly common to find located in the footer of many websites a link to their Statement of Accessibility. In a few cases you will find some sites with a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) and Statement of Accessibility linked. What are these documents? What is their purpose and should your site have one or both? 

    VPAT vs. Statement of Accessibility

    A Statement of Accessibility is a document that defines the current state of accessibility for a website. It provides an area where the site owner can let a user know they are working on the accessibility of their site and provide a method for the user to contact the site owner regarding accessibility issues.

    A VPAT explains how a website, service or product meets the Revised 508 Standards, which refers to the law that requires that the federal government procure, create and maintain technology that is accessible, regardless of whether a particular site is actually a federal government site.

    A Statement of Accessibility is a general statement on a site's accessibility and a declaration that the owner of the site is working to remediate any identified inaccessible features. A VPAT specifically notes any accessibility issues within a site as they relate to WCAG, Section 508 or even European accessibility guidelines. 

    The Statement of Accessibility has basically says "we are working on our accessibility and here is a way to contact us with questions," whereas VPAT lists all of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and whether the site is in compliance point by point. Here are examples of a VPAT and a Statement of Accessibility:

    Often organizations are asked for their VPAT if they are receiving funds or working with the federal government in any capacity. It is Federal Government requirement to have a VPAT as part of the accessibility process.  Creation of this document can be time consuming and requires a full accessibility audit. 

    Demonstration of Due Diligence

    While these documents are similar in subject matter they are different in purpose. The Statement of Accessibility demonstrates to uses that you care about accessibility and the needs of those who require assistive technologies to access your content.  It helps to provide the user with information about the accessibility of content and demonstrates a commitment to accessibility and the community the website serves. 

    The purpose of a VPAT can actually be more of a requirement than a voluntary statement. The VPAT is required for any business or service which fall under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, primarily those that do business with the federal government or receive government funds. The VPAT is intended to communicate to the wider procurement community the accessibility level or degree of conformance of the website, service, or product. 

    So should you add a Statement of Accessibility and a VPAT to your site? While neither of these documents are guaranteed to protect your organization from legal action, they do help show that your organization is aware of any accessibility issues and is working to resolve them. It is appropriate to add a VPAT if there is any chance your organization will be subject to Section 508 regulations.

    VPATs can take considerable time to create and if the need is there, it is advisable to have one in place. 


    Looking for clarification concerning whether your website requires a Statement of Accessibility and/or a VPAT? We’re happy to help and if necessary, move forward with pursuing this documentation. Contact us today.

    Jan 20 2021
    Jan 20

    Are your meetings falling flat lately?

    For many, the realities of remote working are wearing kind of thin. We’re looking for ways to breathe more life into meetings and raise the bar for engagement, productivity, and yes, even fun. 

    It’s easy to become frustrated with participants during a call when they’re on mute for most of the meeting, or texting, or only partially present. It’s true, of course, that this is business, and we’re all adults, and tuning out should not be an option. It’s also true that when the leader of the meeting gets intentional about a different approach to navigating group interactions, the energy and the impact of the meeting takes off in a new trajectory.

    Remote meetings present distinct challenges, especially months into a global pandemic in which most everyone has been required to work remotely. Regardless of whether participants are sitting around the same table or separated by several time zones, there is so much that meeting facilitators can do to encourage all participants to lean in, actively contribute, and build upon each others’ ideas to come up with great solutions. 

    Improv at Work

    The rules of improv comedy can actually provide some great lessons for keeping meetings moving with all participants bringing their A-Game.

    I had the fortunate experience of working with several coworkers at an interactive digital marketing agency who taught and performed improv comedy. I learned from them that the kind of hysterically funny, in-the-moment interactions present in improv is not as spontaneous as they may seem. Great improv results from a lot of study and practice. 

    As it turns out, learning and following the basic “rules” of improv can have a significant impact on the energy and outcomes of business meetings. 

    Here are a few improv comedy rules along with some thoughts on how they can be adopted for business. 
     

    Rule #1: Say "YES"

    “Yes AND …” along with “Yes ANDing” has emerged essentially as the catchphrase of improv. “Yes ANDing” is a skill that requires practice and, for many, a big mindset shift. 

    The knee-jerk reaction during meetings tends to be either “Yes, BUT,” or a flat out “NO,” followed by all the reasons why a given idea isn’t feasible or isn’t based on adequately strategic thinking. 

    • “We tried that last year. It didn’t work.”
    • “Sounds good but have you thought about …”
    • “There’s no way we could get _______ to sign off on something like that.” 

    While making someone else wrong might seem to represent discernment and critical thinking skills, the real impact is a gradual, or sometimes a swift, shut down of further contributions.

    The objective of “Yes ANDing” is to validate, to be open to another perspective -- a Plan B or C -- to collaboratively build something together by adding to it.  

    Here are some sample “Yes AND” responses:

    • “Interesting. I hadn’t thought about that, and this could be a good foundation for ...”
    • “We tried something like that last summer. That was when the market was very different  / or we didn’t do X, Y, and Z.”


    The challenge, before shutting them down, is to help build out ideas, even if you don’t fully understand them or it wasn’t what you had in mind. For any number of reasons, the idea might not ever take shape, but taking the time to listen and learn, builds both productivity and relationships. 

    Rule #2: Build up. Don’t break down. Keep it moving.

    With improv, the second someone gets invalidated, the scene dies. A similar dynamic plays out in meetings when participants go quiet and they silently say to themselves:   “OK you figure this one out.”

    Too often, poor participation and long silences stem from this kind of dynamic.

    The genius of great improv is the pace. 

    We don’t need to measure up to the lightning-fast wit of the improv pros from the likes of the TV show “Whose Line is it Anyway,” which ran from 1998 through 2007, but silence can kill the energy of a meeting, just as it does with improv comedy. Encourage participation and build from it.

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    Rule #3:  Don’t ask questions. Contribute new information. 

    This one can be a challenge to put into practice. The standard is to expect participants to defend their ideas or lead them into the realization that their ideas will not hold water. 

    Avoid the expectation that only fully thought out suggestions are allowed to be voiced. 

    Instead of:

    • “How could we ever expect the dev team to take this on?”

    How about:

    • “I was talking with Deborah in dev the other day and she seemed really eager to try some new things. This might be right up her alley.”
    • “Let’s talk further about how we can get the dev team on board with us on this.”

    Rule #4:  No Wrong Answers

    We’re all familiar with the “no bad ideas” premise of brainstorming and the objective of a free-flow of lots ideas that spark other ideas, as a few “best” ideas start to emerge. 

    Rules of improv are also built upon an understanding that making people wrong is wildly unproductive. The difference is that brainstorming is inherently focused on a number of ideas with the assumption that the vast majority of them will never see the light of day. Sometimes, brainstorming is exactly what’s needed, but improv is a bit different. It’s about co-creation and collectively building something together as a team.

    Another difference: with brainstorming in general, it’s possible for some participants to sit back and others to dominate. Improv -- similar to Promet's Human-Centered Design workshops -- draw  in the whole group.
     

    Rule #5: Everyone participates and brings their A game.

    Improv rises and falls on the dynamic of the group. It’s not about who has the best ideas or who is the smartest. It’s about knowing each other’s strengths and how to best leverage them. We can bring this same principle into our meetings along with the expectation that everyone who has been invited to the meeting is there for a reason. 

    With improv, everyone is expected to bring their A-Game, stay in curiosity, let go of their ego, take risks, and have some fun.  

    Try injecting some rules of improv into your next meeting! First, inform your group of how it works and see how following these practices can actually enhance and motivate your team to have more participation, provide more ideas, and work together to create some new possibilities.

    Interested in witnessing first-hand the impact of our collaborative energy on discovery session outcomes? Contact us today. 

    Jan 18 2021
    Jan 18

    Human-centered design is a concept that gained traction in the 1990s as an approach  to developing innovative solutions based on a laser-sharp focus on human needs and human perspectives during every phase of a design or problem-solving process. Building upon the principles of human-centered design, Promet Source has served as a pioneer and leading practitioner human-centered web design. 

    At the core of our approach to human-centered web design is a deep level of inquiry that questions all assumptions and engages key stakeholders in various exercises that call for letting go of individual preferences and moving toward an empathetic focus on optimizing the experience for the user. The results reveal new possibilities on multiple levels.

    With an overarching emphasis on empathy, we look to open new opportunities by understanding the needs and expectations of the people who actually use the website. Sometimes this sparks a mindshift, that reorients the site architecture away from an organization’s internal structure, and focused instead on user journeys.
    Too often, websites are architected from the perspective of insiders -- organized by department, without stepping back to ask: 

    • Who visits the site? 
    • What kinds of information are they seeking? 
    • How can we align the navigation of the site around what makes sense to users? 

    The best web experiences leverage empathy, and begin with human-centered design processes that dig deep and question any all assumptions about how users’ interactions with the website can it be designed to ensure that they and easily find the information they need and that their experience of visiting the site is both engaging and value added. 

    At Promet Source, we approach human-centered web design as a seven-step process.

     

    1. Build empathy with user personas

    The first and most essential question: For whom are we building or redesigning this site? Following the identification of the key persona groups, we proceed to dig deep, asking “why” and “how” concerning every aspect of their motivations and expectations.
     

    2. Assess what user personas need from the website

    Understanding of and empathy for user personas dovetails into an analysis of how they currently use the site, how that experience can be improved, and how enhancing their experience with the site can drive a deeper relationship. 
    This level of inquiry at the front end might feel excessive or out of sync with what many are accustomed to, but as Tom Gilb, noted in Principles of Software Engineering Management, getting it right at the outset pays off tenfold over the cost of fixing after the site is released.

    Ensuring that projects get off to an excellent start is at the core of what human-centered design is all about.

     

    3. Map their journeys through the site to key conversions

    Just as user groups do not all fit the same mold, what they are looking for from your site will vary, depending on what phase they are in relative to their relationship with your organization – what we refer to as the user journey. 
    Too often, website design focuses on one aspect of the user journey. It needs to be viewed holistically, taking the perspectives of all user groups into account.

     

    4. Identify Obstacles in their path.

    Next step: identify challenges. We map user journeys through every phase, aiming for seamless transitions from one phase to the next.
    This step calls for continuous inquiry along with a commitment to not defend or hold on to assumptions or previous approaches that may no longer be optimal, while pursuing answers to questions such as:

    • What have we heard from clients? 
    • Where have breakdowns occurred in conversions and in relationships?
    • How can we fix it with the messaging, design, or the functionality of the website?  
       

    5. Brainstorm objectives

    Our facilitated workshop setting is structured to build upon a productive flow of ideas via several exercises that draw upon stakeholder perspectives and expertise from multiple angles.

    6. Prioritize solutions

    While there are “no bad ideas in brainstorming,” in the real world of budgets and time, questions such as “how,” “what’s the cost,” “where to begin,” and “what will have the best impact,” need to be considered. 

    As ideas are synthesized, these answers will begin to take shape.  

    7. Create a roadmap for development

    Too often, web design and development begins at this step. 
    With human-centered web design, a depth and breadth of research, persona development, empathetic insights, journey mapping, solution gathering, collaborative energy, and excitement about what’s to come have already been invested when we get to this point. 
    As a result, clients have the advantage of moving forward with a high degree of alignment among stakeholders, along with a conviction of ownership in an outcome that will enhance both the experiences and relationships with the humans who visit the site. 

    Human-Centered Design Activities

    The above steps help to define the “What” of human-centered web design. The “How” of human-centered web unfolds during facilitated workshops. Here are some of the activities that we leverage in the process of bringing human-centered web design to life.

    Persona Development

    Persona development example

    Identifying individual personas helps to define the range of differing user needs and expectations, for purposes of tailoring solutions accordingly. 

    Giving every identified persona a name helps to humanize the exercise and reinforces empathy for the actual users of the site. It also serves as a ready reference point or shorthand for further conversation for questions such as: 

    • What else is Joshua going to expect from this page?
    • Will this navigation make sense to Alexis?

    Rose-Thorn-Bud

    This exercise is designed to quickly gather a significant amount of data in response to specific and essential questions. Adopted from a Luma Institute collection of exercises, participants are given brightly colored Post-It® notes and asked to write everything that they view as an advantage or a plus on a pink (Rose) Post-It. Challenges or downsides are to be written on a blue Post-It (Thorn). Green

    Post-Its are for collecting input on potential or emerging for opportunities (Bud). 
    Every participant’s opinion ranks equally as responses are gathered and grouped on a white board according to identified categories. 

    Affinity Clustering

    Affinity cluster example

    During this next step, the “Rose-Thorn-Bud” input is organized according to agreed-upon groupings, to reveal patterns, surface priorities, bring order to complexity, and spark productive conversation.

    The use of different colored Post-Its is particularly useful in revealing that within a particular category there might be a mix of challenges, opportunities, or advantages. Participants might also have differing opinions as how to characterize a particular attribute.

    For example, some stakeholders might view the current site architecture as a Plus (Rose), others might view it in terms of the inherent opportunity or potential (Bud), while others might be largely focused on the challenges of the and ways that the site’s architecture falls short (Thorn).  

    In all cases, this exercise sparks engaging conversations and reveals new opportunities for achieving consensus.

    Stakeholder Mapping

    Stakeholder mapping results in what is essentially a network diagram of people involved with or impacted by the website. Typically, there are considerably more stakeholders than originally thought, and stakeholder mapping evaluates all the possible users of a system to then identify and prioritize needs and expectations. 

    Abstraction Laddering

    During this exercise, we guide teams through the process of deconstructing a goal as dig deeper into questions concerning “How” and “Why” for purposes of advancing toward greater clarity and specificity. 

    Let’s take the example of the statement: “We need to get more visitors to sign up for a demo?” which on its own does not offer much context to develop an action plan. 

    During a human-centered design workshop, we’ll move up the ladder going at least three deep to record answers to “Why” and down at least three deep recording answers to “How.” 

    Importance / Difficulty Matrix

    importance difficulty matrix

    Inevitably, some of the ideas that emerge will spark excitement for the strategic leap forward that they could represent. The required time and resources to move forward with them, however, might exceed current capabilities. Other ideas might fall into the category of Low Hanging Fruit -- initiatives that can be achieved quickly and easily.

    Plotting every idea on an Importance / Difficulty Matrix is an essential group activity that sparks conversation and accountability concerning Who, How, and When -- transforming good ideas into action items.

    In the current environment, organizations tend to be defined by their digital presence. The stakes for getting it right are high and the margin for error is low. Optimizing ideas and perspectives at the outset, and continuing to iterate with feedback creates a strong starting point that serves as a superior foundation for web solutions that are capable of heavy lifting over the long haul. 
    Interested in learning more about the possibilities for a human-centered design workshop in your organization? Contact us today.

    Jan 12 2021
    Jan 12

    2020 was hard.

    At Promet Source, we’re planning for and counting on 2021 being easier and better in many ways.

    We realized last year that there actually was something we could do to raise the bar for 2021 and make life easier and better for everyone who manages a Drupal website. 

    We developed Provus.
     

    What is Provus?

    The brainchild of Aaron Couch, Promet’s Lead Solutions Architect, Provus is Promet’s newly launched Drupal platform. Utilizing Atomic Design principles, Provus combines the latest drag-and-drop page building tools in Drupal with a curated library of design components, enabling content editors to easily layer designs, add functionality, and rearrange layouts.  

    An essential differentiator from other drag-and-drop tools is the degree to which Provus empowers content creators, while at the same time adhering to an organization’s brand guidelines to ensure consistency and aesthetic alignment. 

    From a development perspective, Provus is allowing for vast new efficiencies as we work toward eliminating the wall that had previously existed between easy-to-create and manage SAAS solutions, and scalable Drupal solutions, for websites that have complex data models and a depth of content.
     

    New Perspectives and Possibilities

    Provus was inspired by the realization that nearly every website consists of various combinations of roughly 15-20 types of features or patterns. By organizing a library of high-quality components that can be repurposed for low-code, no-code site building, we create a foundation for:

    • Easier content editing capabilities with drag and drop functionality
    • Greater design flexibility within defined brand standards
    • Streamlined development using Drupal’s proven content models

    The Provus Technology Stack

    Provus Technology Stack Promet’s Open Source Provus starter kit for component-based Drupal sites is based on Atomic Design principles using Emulsify as the base theme and leveraging Storybook to create a library from which the newly themed components are mapped into Drupal Layout Builder for a flexible, dynamic, drag-and-drop CMS. 

    Provus in Action

    Traditional Drupal theming includes CSS and JavaScript selectors that are intertwined with their context, connecting them to the backend implementation. The result of this “theme for the page,” approach is that assets that can’t be repurposed across projects.
    Having identified that component-based theming tools are key to next-level efficiencies in website building, our next step was to single out an optimal approach for delivering reusable components. 

    Promet’s strategy for achieving this new UI and content management paradigm incorporates the Emulsify® design system, which is a component-driven Drupal theme and gives us a huge lift in building repurposable components. Emulsify functions as both a starter component library with Storybook, which contains the Atomic Design library and is a tool for building user interface components. Storybook can be turned on from within the Emulsify theme, resulting in a highly efficient new workflow.
     
    With Provus, components built using JavaScript and CSS are curated int o a library. If the backend implementation changes or we want to move it to another project, the component itself is not changed, allowing us to efficiently redesign and reuse it.

    What Sets Provus Apart?

    Content editor empowerment, combined with the robust guidance and governance are key factors fueling the success of Provus. More specifically:

    • Self-adjusting features within components create a foundation for both readability and ADA accessibility, by ensuring, for example, adequate contrast between fonts and background colors. 
    • Design governance offers the assurance that content editor empowerment does not translate into mismatched, crowded, or sub-par page designs. Customization options are presented within an expertly calibrated design framework for ensuring the highest quality designs and user experiences on all devices, without breaking layouts or straying from an organization’s brand guidelines. 
    • Content editors are able to seamlessly edit components and change patterns within the view mode, eliminating time-consuming processes of reentering content and switching back and forth between edit and publish modes.

    As a thought leader on how humans interact with technology, Promet Source has enthusiastically pursued component-based design systems for their potential to drive high velocity capabilities that drive consistency and collaboration. 

    While Provus provides for game-changing advantages on multiple levels, we’re most excited about the amazing new capabilities that we are now able to offer our clients. In blending a formal design system that ensures brand consistency across the site with the flexibility of drag-and-drop site building tools within Drupal core, we are reducing the cost of ownership and empowering clients with a site that’s designed to flex and expand to fit evolving needs and new priorities. 

    Interested in learning more about Provus or seeing a demo of Provus in action? Let us know how we can help and we'll be in touch!

                     Stay in-in-the-know with what's new and next for Drupal. Subscribe to the Promet Source newsletter.


     

    Jan 05 2021
    Jan 05

    Even though 2020 came to a close with an overwhelming sense of “good riddance,” the year was not all bad. It was filled with as many surprises as it was filled with opportunities for growth, learning, and many new developments.

    The realities of remote work revealed new levels of resilience and flexibility, Drupal 9 was released right on time, and here at Promet Source, we pulled together a lot of collective brainpower to introduce new possibilities for empowering content editors while streamlining web development. 

    Our weekly blog posts reflect our commitment to draw upon a depth and breadth of our team’s expertise to convey best practices, new insights, innovations, and thought leadership for the Drupal and web development communities.

    Here are Promet's 10 blog posts that grabbed the most attention.  

     

    1. Drupal Enabled Drag-and-Drop Content Management, by Chris O’Donnell

    Drupal enabled drag and drop blog image

    Leading up to the end-of-year launch of Provus, which offers a new approach to designing, developing, and managing Drupal sites with intuitive, no-code, drag-and-drop page-building tools, this post explained the foundations of component-based web design systems and the accompanying leaps forward for efficiency and content editor empowerment. Read Drupal Enabled Drag and Drop Content Management.

     

    2. Provus! Drupal Content Editing Reimagined, by Mindy League

    Provus Feature Image

    Signaling new directions and game-changing possibilities for 2021, this final post of the year sparked a surge of interest in Provus, Promet’s new platform for better content editing in Drupal, and presented insight into the kind of thinking that drove the development of this new platform. Read Provus! Drupal Content Editing Reimagined.
     

    3. How to Master Entity Access in Drupal, by Bryan Manalo

    How to Master Entity Access banner

    The first in a two-part series on Entity Access, this how-to provided an in-depth tutorial on hook entity access, along with a discussion of when and how to use it. Read How to Master Entity Access in Drupal.

    4. How to Facilitate an Innovative Remote Meeting, by Mindy League

    remote work illustration

    Early into the pandemic, as many began looking for new ways to enhance engagement, Promet offered a new approach for breathing new life into remote meetings by applying the techniques of design thinking and human-centered design. Read How to Facilitate an Innovative Remote Meeting.

    5. Anticipating Post Pandemic Web Design Trends, by Mindy League 

    Post pandemic design trends

    As Covid-19 heads for the history books, “normal” stands to look a lot different than how we remembered it. Pointing to design changes that have been sparked by global upheaval in past decades, this post looked at what’s next and cited upcoming trends for web design. Read Anticipating Post Pandemic Web Design Trends.

    6. Remote Work Success in a Time of Caution and Quarantine, by Pamela Ross

    Promet's Pamela Ross

    With a track record of attracting talent from all over the world and effectively collaborating via Zoom, Promet Source entered the pandemic with an edge over companies that were scrambling to adjust to working remotely. This post shared some of Promet’s expertise on the topic with five key strategies for optimizing the remote work opportunities. Read Remote Work Success in a Time of Caution and Quarantine.

    7. Drupal 9 Has Dropped! What to Do Now, by Aaron Couch

    Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 migration

    Despite a global pandemic, Drupal 9 was released on time, as promised, on June 3, 2020. This post covers the key features of Drupal 9 and lays out a strategy for assessing migration readiness. Read Drupal 9 Has Dropped! What to Do Now.

    8. Pros and Cons of Five Web Accessibility Tools, by Denise Erazmus 

    scales for weighing pros and cons

    There are a wide range of available tools designed to support ADA web accessibility compliance, but they vary in the number and types of errors they detect and the degree to which they can help ensure compliance. To help sort through options, this post covers the five most popular tools or extensions, along with the key pros and cons of each. Read Pros and Cons of Five Web Accessibility Tools.

    9. Always Be Optimizing for SEO, by Ishmael Fusilero

    Optimize for SEO

    This post explains why and how organizations need to approach SEO as an ongoing activity, consistently monitoring metrics, along with a strategy to leverage the intelligence hidden within the data. Read Always Be Optimizing for SEO.

    10. Drupal 8 Load Testing with Locust, by Josh Estep

    Load Testing with Locust

    Load-testing is an essential step in the development process. It quantifies the amount of traffic a site can sustain both during development and prior to launch. This post provides a how-to on the use of Locust as an Open Source load testing tool for Drupal 8. Read Drupal 8 Load Testing with Locust

    With a diverse talent base, Promet Source is well positioned to share expertise and insights that connect, engage, inform, and spark new ideas. Do you have big plans for your website in 2021? Let us know what we can do to help you achieve your goals!
     

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    Dec 15 2020
    Dec 15

    At Promet Source, our favorite types of questions are “why not?” and “what if?”  This mindset energizes new approaches and possibilities. It’s the perspective that’s fueled a lot of our collective brainpower lately, sparking some big questions such as: 


    What if we could leverage the coding and the components that we create for one website, for purposes of building a foundation for vast new efficiencies while making content editing easier and more efficient?

    And

    How can we simplify content editing, while empowering marketers and content editors to revise and reconfigure their sites as they see fit, without requiring any tech expertise or tinkering with the code?

    These are the kinds of questions that have driven the development of Provus

    What is Provus?

    Provus is Promet’s solution for making the content editing experience better for marketers and site managers.

    Promet Source created Provus because we get it -- that within every organization, priorities, perspectives, and products are constantly evolving, and that keeping Drupal sites updated at the same pace is a big challenge for fast-moving marketing teams.

    With Provus, marketers and content editors get access to a library of customized, commonly used components -- such as galleries, carousels, maps, lists, blogs, FAQs, quick links, grids, social media assets, and events -- that are designed to be mixed, matched, and rearranged. 

    What Sets Provus Apart?

    A big differentiator between Provus and other drag-and-drop page-building tools is that marketers and content editors can be assured that they won't "break the site" and any combination of components available within Provus will be ADA accessible, adhere to brand standards, and look great. 

    Clients working with Promet benefit from our design team customizing options for their site to ensure that the range of possibilities for reconfiguring the look and layout of a page is within a system of brand and accessibility guidelines. Provus is Open Source and has the inherent benefits of an Open Source product. 

     

    Content editors can also count on: 

    • Self-adjusting features that ensure adequate contrast between fonts and background colors for readability and ADA accessibility. 
    • The assurance that brand guidelines stay intact as layouts change. 
    • The ability to easily change patterns within the views, eliminating the need to switch back and forth between edit and publish modes.

    Provus bridges the CMS divide that had formerly existed between easy-to-create and manage solutions, such as -- WIX or Squarespace -- and Drupal, which provides a scalable solution for complex, enterprise-level sites.

     

    See the difference

    This sequence of images demonstrates how a single view can be adjusted without having to delete the existing component, redundantly re-enter content, and start a new layout. Provus enables the content editor to simply select from several alternate views creating a variety of layouts with either manual inline content or pulling in automatic dynamic content from existing Drupal content types such as News or Events.

    Screen capture of the Provus Content Editor experienceThe Provus CMS within Drupal allows easy selection from a variety of layouts.Screen Cap of the Provus CMSFeaturing the Card Carousel, the Group Display component provides multiple views of a set of contents.Provus CMS view of a simplified content editing experienceProvus users simply change the layout by selecting a new view within the component without having to reenter content. Multiple view options are available for this commonly used component.Carousel view displayed in the Wysiwyg editor.The newly selected view is then displayed in the Drupal WYSIWYG editor of Layout Builder. The library of components that are part of Provus provides ways to display engaging content that extends beyond basic content pages that are part of Drupal out-of-the-box.

     

    What's New & Next

    As a thought leader on how humans interact with technology, Promet Source has enthusiastically created Provus and we are excited about the new possibilities that are in store.

    Interested in hearing what Provus can do for you, or seeing a demo of Provus in action?

    Read more about Provus here and Sign up for a demo!

    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