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Jul 29 2020
Jul 29

The new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is more than a health crisis. As the infectious disease spreads across the world, it is leading to horrendous social, economic, and political crises that may last for the foreseeable future.

As lockdowns, physical distancing restrictions, and other measures were implemented to curb the spread of the dangerous virus, it led to an unprecedented shift in how things are done. Specifically, it disrupted the normal work environment in almost every industry, including the IT industry.

Companies that often relied on external IT support suddenly found their critical content and events pages outdated, as the external support team was overrun with requests from many other clients who needed their websites updated.

So, if there is one thing that has become clear during this pandemic it is the need to be self-sufficient. You don’t need to be hiring someone each time you want to update the design of your web page, customize images, or make any content changes to your site.

Why you need to know how to update your Drupal website

Updating your Drupal website is not rocket science. It’s something you can learn how to do on your own and avoid over-depending on your IT support staff, especially in times of crisis when reaching them is difficult.

Here are three reasons why being able to update your Drupal website is important.

1. Keeps you in control

Learning how to update your website quickly without IT support will make you in control over its look and feel. You’ll no longer need to make frantic calls for your site to be updated to meet the ever-changing user expectations.

With this level of control, you can unleash your inner creativity instantly and create whatever you want. So, whenever something unexpected happens, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll still ensure your site is up-to-date and performing optimally.

2. Saves costs

Let’s face it: relying on an IT support team to be in charge of updating your site is expensive. If your website needs to be updated regularly, the costs can affect your bottom line, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when cash flow is limited.

Knowing how to update your website will reduce the costs spent on hiring a third-party service. You can use the savings to improve your core business activities and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

3. Improves skills

Another benefit of learning how to update your site is that it’ll improve your skills significantly. Updating your Drupal website is a skill that can be acquired easily with our Drupal Layout Builder. With the new skill, you’ll improve your capabilities to succeed in the current digital age.

We all know how technology is rapidly advancing these days. So, if you can add this expertise to your skillset, you’ll position yourself for personal and professional success.

How to update your Drupal website fast without IT support

As earlier mentioned, knowing how to update your website is easy to learn. With our Drupal Layout Builder for Drupal 7, 8, and 9, you can create and update your websites without touching any line of code.

DXPR offers an easy way to make improvements to your website without requiring IT support. It allows you to create and edit what you want lighting fast.

DXPR Builder is built to offer the benefits of an enterprise-class CMS solution without the usual pain points. It comes with simple and easy to use drag-and-drop functionality that makes building and updating web pages hassle-free and rewarding.

Many of our clients have been able to quickly update their website header, footer, homepage, or event pages, with a COVID-19 messages that stands out. Some clients have used our "Alert element" and other chose for more conspicuous "Jumbotron element".

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us lessons that we’ll live with for a long time to come. For Drupal website owners, it has exposed the importance of knowing how to make updates without relying on third-party services.

DXPR Builder has proved to be a viable solution to make the process of building and updating websites in Drupal fast, easy, and independent.

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Jun 22 2020
Jun 22

Introducing DXPR Builder 1.0.0

Inspired by you — our customers and supporters — we introduce DXPR Builder: the layout builder that showcases the result of our 5 years of listening, developing, and improving the Drupal experience for Drupal's most important audience: The Authors.

Authors, especially digital marketers, have been frustrated by the lack of a visual layout builder for Drupal. With the inability to create mobile-friendly layouts, digital marketers relied on IT support to create landing pages, or even anything more complicated than a Word document.

With DXPR Builder, you can upgrade any Drupal 7, 8, or 9 websites with the following awesome no-code capabilities:

  • Immediate inline editing
  • Mobile-friendly layouts up to 12 columns
  • Access your local media or DAM
  • Add marketing elements including icons, countdown timers, and more
  • Supports Drupal views, blocks, translations, revisions, workflows, and other Drupal technologies.
Jun 10 2020
Jun 10

Today Sooperthemes announces we have open-sourced our best-selling premium theme, formerly known as Glazed Theme. As part of our total rebranding, it is released as DXPR Theme.

 

At the same time, we are excited to announce that our layout builder module has a release candidate available for testing. Across our product line, we are publishing “1.0.0-RC1” release candidates.

 

Why are we releasing our 2nd most important product for free?

 

Even though our business depends on selling services to support our commercial Drupal products, we are still part of the open-source community. When we feel we can open source a product for free without harming our bottom line, we will! 

 

The Drupal ecosystem has evolved a lot over the past few years. Today most “premium Drupal themes” shops have gone out of business. This is because the lower end of the market for Drupal websites has gone practically extinct. Our theme is still popular because it takes a “Framework” approach and it is customizable enough for large Drupal projects to make use of its no-code theming capabilities, without compromising the branding and uniqueness of the end-product.

 

In the past 4-5 years 90% of our R&D budget has gone to developing Glazed Builder, our commercial layout builder product. Glazed Builder is now our most important product, and by pioneering a visual, easy-to-use page builder for Drupal we have contributed to making the Drupal experience better for thousands of authors and marketers. 

 

We feel that designing and refining tools for marketers is our mission and therefore, our low-code framework theme is not our bottom line anymore and will be open-sourced and released on drupal.org. This does not mean we will abandon the theme. To the contrary, it remains an important product we will maintain it just as actively.

 

DXPR Builder: Now ready for testing. Go-live: next week

 

First and foremost, apologies for the delays. We initially planned to launch our big product and website update in March. The delays will be worth it because we have taken our time to develop and refine one of the most requested features: Composer compatibility.

 

We are releasing just in time to be able to fully support semantic versioning, which is now a stable feature on Drupal.org projects. Additionally, we have built our own version of “packagist” on packages.dxpr.com, which allows us to provision DXPR Builder updates via composer. As of today, the composer workflow is also ready for testing.

 

We feel confident that our RC1 is stable enough that we can publish a stable package for Drupal 7, 8, and 9 next week. In the RC1 we also include a migration tool to make sure your old “Glazed Builder” content will work with DXPR Builder. Our support desk is ready to assist you with migration and we have release migration documentation today.

At present our RC1 DXPR Builder works with Drupal 7 and 8. Not yet with Drupal 9, we will fix that in our 1.0.0 release.

 

Test drive our new products

 

Glazed > DXPR Migration documentation

 
Mar 12 2020
Mar 12

Sooperthemes will continue as DXPR at dxpr.com (website not yet available). Sooperthemes has been a household name in the Drupal community for over 10 years, providing premium Drupal themes and in recent years, a no-code Drupal layout builder for content authors and marketers. 

Our new brand name will reflect our shift from premium theme development to developing digital marketing products for Drupal content authors and marketers. 

 

Product changes, effective starting from DXPR launch day

  • Our layout builder module will continue to be actively supported and developed and will remain the focus of our company

  • The sidebar elements were soft-deprecated (hidden by default) in a previous update in December. With the major update they will be completely deprecated. 

  • Our theme will be open-sourced, and will continue to be actively maintained and developed

  • Our layout builder and theme will receive a major update along with getting DXPR product branding

  • Our CMS Drupal distribution and demo profiles will be superseded by a new distribution that is completely composer-based. It will be Drupal 8 and 9 only, because it doesn’t make sense to start new websites on Drupal 7. The CMS profile components will be minimally supported.

  • Our Portfolio module will be deprecated and will not be supported or developed anymore

At the time of release we will provide an upgrade path for our major updates to the layout builder module and our theme. We understand not everyone can upgrade their website right away. We will support the current Glazed Theme and Glazed Builder products for 90 days after launching our new, DXPR branded releases. All the above applies to our Drupal 8 and Drupal 7 software.

When will DXPR launch

We aim to launch DXPR approximately 30 days from now. However, our launch date may change, as it is dependending on work with a design agency to do our new visual identity and web design.

Support Services

We replaced our support forum system with a private ticketing set-up. We are launching changes to our support system bit by bit, before and after our DXPR launch. As part of the changes, all support tickets created more than one month ago are not available in the new support dashboard. If some of your removed tickets are still important to you, you can recreate them in the new system (starting today).

Thank you for being a part of our story! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us.


Kind Regards,
Jurriaan Roelofs
Founder, Sooperthemes
Dec 06 2019
Dec 06

Drupal 8.8 is paving the way to the future

Drupal 9 is approaching fast. However, until Drupal 9 arrives, there is another major update that is coming soon. Drupal 8.8 was launched on the 4th of December. In this blog post, I am going to tell you what are the changes and quality of life improvements that you can expect from the next major Drupal update.

Drupal WYSIWYG will include will allow media embedding

This is a feature that was long awaited for Drupal. Media has been poorly handled by Drupal for a while now. Because of that, this feature was awaited for a decade already. However, with Drupal 8.8, this wish becomes a reality. The good news is that this feature will come with complete media management capabilities that make it easier to embed the media for content creators and site builders alike. Thanks to this new development we will also be able to integrate media embedding in a future release of our Glazed Builder visual page builder.

Claro, a new administration theme integrated into Drupal core

On top of these updates, Claro, a new administration theme will be integrated in the Drupal core. This theme will bring a new refreshed design to Drupal. This UI refreshment has been long requested by the Drupal community. However, in drupal 8.8, these requests are finally coming to fruition. Below, you will see a comparison between the old and the new improved UI of Drupal with screenshots taken from both of them.

Drupal 8.8 old

In the first screenshot you can see the new page creation tab from the old Drupal UI.

.

Drupal 8.8 new

In this screenshot, you can see the same page as in the screenshot above, however, with the new UI added on top of it. As you can see, now it has a white background with blue highlights. The fields appear to be  bigger than previously, further improving the clarity and the text readability. The blue highlight seems to use a darker blue than the one in the previous version of the UI. All in all, the changes are so drastic, however, the better color pallette choice and the boxy look bring out a more clean and modern look for Drupal 8.8.

JSON:API should become significantly faster

First, let’s start with what JSON:API is.JSON:API or JavaScript Object Notation is an encoding scheme that is designed to eliminate the need for an ad-hoc code in order for that code to be able to communicate with the servers that communicate in a defined way.

In the Drupal 8.8 update, JSON:API is thought to be able to create the work even faster than before. This was possible because of a couple of issues that were resolved:

  • The include paths are resolved for every resource in a resource collection, instead of once per unique resource type. 
  • ResourceTypeRepository computes ResourceType value objects on “every request”
  • Resource “entity” should use partial caching

These changes will make Drupal 8 a better platform for phone apps and other "headless" applications.

jQuery UI is going to be deprecated from Drupal core

jQuery UI will be deprecated in Drupal 8.8. This front-end library is used to render user experience components like dragging and dropping, sliders, selecting and sorting, etc. It was first added in 2009 to the Drupal core. However, it became unmaintained since 2017 and as a  consequence was listed as an Emeritus project, which means that the people who were maintaining the projects are reaching or are at the end-of-life of the project. Even though jQuery UI will become deprecated in Drupal 8.8, it will be completely removed from Drupal with the release of Drupal 9. On top of that, because of the end of life, jQuery Ui will not work with future jQuery versions. With this in mind, it seems that Drupal core is in the middle of the process of switching to JavaScript solutions. Also, it seems that Modules and themes that are depending on jQuery UI will have to have it as a dependency and also to manage their libraries.

Path aliases are going to be converted to revisionable entities

Custom URL aliases will now be provided by a new revisionable content entity type in Drupal 8.8. However, the path.alias_storage has been kept for backward compatibility purposes, although its hook has been deprecated. You can check out the next link in order to be fully prepared to upgrade your code for Drupal 9.

Configuration Management improvements

Drupal Configuration Initiative 2.0 started being implemented from the release of Drupal 8.6. However, it started being implemented more and more with new releases of Drupal. Now, with the release of the new Drupal 8.8, the configuration management will see new improvements. One of the changes is that the Sync directory is defined in $settings['config_sync_directory'] in settings.php.
On top of that, the ability to support multiple configuration directions is $config_directories is not deprecated. Furthermore, if you happen to have a custom or contributed code that relies on this ability you either need to move your setting either to $settings or another storage. To read more about this see the change record.

Full support of Composer to build Drupal projects

Composer has helped Drupal development become more in line with the PHP standards. The relationship between Composer and PHP had started to develop more with the release of Drupal 8. Now, Drupal 8.8 will come packed with more Composer plugins.

  • Drupal/core-composer-scaffold: This plugin will be replacing the drupal-composer/drupal-scaffold plugin. The new plugin will be in charge of automating the scaffolding of the Drupal core Composer in the right place. On top of that, this plugin will provide a couple of options for the setup approaches.
  • Drupal/core-vendor-hardening: The task of this plugin is to remove some of the unnecessary folders that are present in vendor directories such as tests or documentation, this process being important when the vendor folder is included in the docroot.
  • Drupal/recommended-project: This composer template will have a role in the generation of a Drupal project structure which follows the recommendations presented in Drupal 8.8, which states that the vendor folder should be outside of docroot.
  • Drupal/legacy-project: This Composer template will generate a Drupal project that will follow the old structure. However, using this will not be recommended for Drupal 8.8.0 and further.

These Composer related parts can be found in the new /composer folder from Drupal source core.

Drupal, better than ever!

Drupal 8.8 seems to bring out a new cluster of features and quality of life improvements that will surely make the life of the site builders and content creators easier. This release will is one important release that paves the way for the arrival of Drupal 9. With that being said, congratulations to all the people that have contributed to the release of Drupal 8.8. Keep up the good work!

Nov 26 2019
Nov 26

 

NGOs and Drupal Digital Marketing

NGOs are noble companies that are aiming to make the world a better place. Without them, more children would be starving in Africa, more women would be disempowered and tigers would face extinction sooner. With this burden on their shoulders NGOs have to be sure that they can spread awareness to a wide range of people and fast. Thanks to the internet they can do this faster and more effectively than ever. In order to be successful in their mission, NGOs have to have the best digital marketing practices to ensure that the message is getting across. But how can NGOs do this? What are their digital marketing needs? Well, in this blog post, I will present you with a couple of digital marketing needs that NGOs are having and I’m going to tell you how to meet those needs with the help of Drupal digital marketing and Sooperthemes.

Security

Drupal Digital Marketing Security

Having a secure website is one of the most important criteria in order for a business to be trusted by its customers. When a customer entrusts a company with their data, they expect it to be kept safe from bad actors. This is also the case for NGOs. Especially because people who are willing to donate for a cause have to fill in private information. If this information lands in the wrong hands, this can result in credit card fraud and identity fraud. With this in mind, Drupal is one of the best choices when it comes to website security. Drupal is open-source, meaning that an entire community of more than 70.000 thousand people is discovering and reporting security issues. On top of that, issues are fixed relatively fast, since Drupal has a dedicated security team that makes sure to secure any vulnerability that might come up. So, if you’re an NGO that is conscious about the safety of your clients' data, then you can migrate your website over to Drupal and never have to worry that you might be the victim of a cybernetic attack. 

Scalability

NGOs have a need for website scalability due to the nature of their work. This is partly because NGOs have usually a lot of content to manage. In other words, NGOs have to manage content that is translated into other languages and adapted to other cultures. Drupal digital marketing makes the issue of scalability easy. Drupal was specifically engineered to be able to handle a huge load of data. At the same, it doesn't compromise on performance. Your website's performance can be further improved by adding a CDN (Content Deliver Network) that takes a lot of the load off your server and puts in on the cloud. 

Author Effective Content Visually 

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Customization is also an important aspect when running an NGO website. Drupal enables your organization to customize your website to your own preferences. It offers a high number of modules, that gives you the option to choose the amount of functionality that you give to your website. Couple this with Glazed Builder on top of your Drupal website and now you have the creative choice to aesthetically customize your website however you want. With this freedom, you can create expressive homepages, powerful campaigns and converting landing pages.

Cost-Benefit

Drupal Digital Marketing Cost

Having to create or maintain a website can be a huge drain on precious resources that your NGO could use to solve the problems of the world. Costs are usually determined by the price of the skilled labor that is hired to do the job, as well as how complex and how many functionalities the website actually has. The good news is that with Drupal you can get a powerful CMS (Content Management System) for free that scales and is ready to host a more complex website for free. However, Drupal is known for its steep learning curve and for the fact that the interface is not necessarily user-friendly. So, if you don’t have any idea how to actually use Drupal for your website, then you still are going to have to hire people that know how to use it. Sooperthemes has somewhat mitigated that issue for you. Glazed Builder is our revolutionary visual page builder, that will provide a user-friendly interface for editing your Drupal website, essentially lowering the steep learning curve, while driving up your efficiency. Seriously, it’s so simple to use and yet it delivers results that are exceeding the expectations. Glazed Builder manages to dramatically reduce the traditional costs associated with the creation and maintenance of a website. The power is in your hands, you just have to take it.

Flexible content management

Content management is an important aspect of every NGO's website. The basic premise behind this is that NGOs are required to have that ability when it comes to website flexibility. The reason behind this is that many NGOs have to make quick adjustments to their websites in order to improve and stay relevant to their campaigns. Drupal digital marketing makes these tasks easy with their CMS. However, our Drupal-based visual page builder Glazed Builder is taking this a notch further. Glazed Builder is essentially drastically shortening the learning curve required to learn and use Drupal as a CMS. The best part about Glazed Builder is that it makes it easy for your marketing department to create and edit the website, without having to involve the IT department, in other words, you can leave the coding to Sooperthemes and you can focus on creating eye-catching webpages. 

Mobile Friendly

Mobile responsiveness is more important today than ever before. Part of it is because the Google SEO ranking takes into account how well a website is optimized for a smartphone environment. In order to have success in the digital world, your website has to offer lightning speed page loads. Studies show that a webpage that has a fast loading speed will the visitor less likely to actually leave the page. This is exactly what Drupal digital marketing offers. Pages made in Drupal are smartphone-optimized from the get-go. With this in mind, you can make sure that your Google ranking will not have to suffer because of such trivial factors. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Drupal Digital Marketing SEO

Good SEO ranking is an important factor to the success of your NGO. If people are not able to find out about your NGO, then you will have a hard time reaching your audience. Without reaching the audience, then there are no funds to be gained and to donate to the cause at hand. Drupal is one of the most search-engine friendly systems out of the box. Modules like Metatag and Real-time SEO let you take your search engine optimization to the next level.

Easy creation of campaigns and landing pages

On top of that, NGOs also have to create landing pages for their visitors. A powerful landing page and campaign are more likely to persuade a visitor to become a contributing member to the cause. This is where Glazed Builder comes into play. With Glazed Builder and Drupal digital marketing, you can easily create powerful campaigns that are sure to make your visitor empathize with your cause. On top of that, landing page creation is also a piece of cake with Glazed Builder. Why would you want to struggle with the creation of a landing page in the back-end and run the risk of it turning out not as you had envisioned, when you can use the power of WYSIWYG (What You Is What You Get) to make sure that the result you desire turns outright. Now, instead of worrying, you can focus on improving the design of your website to be able to finally end the extinction of those big cats.

Form Creation

By the nature of their work, NGOs have to gather information about the people that are donating and supporting the campaign. In order to do this, NGOs use forms where donors can fill in their information when donating. However, coding a form is complicated. Fortunately, Drupal digital marketing provides modules that let you integrate forms into your website. Webform is an example of a module that lets you create said forms. You just have to install it and then enable to module and you are all set. Now, it’s easier than ever.

Conclusion

Now that you know what digital marketing needs an NGO might have, you are better prepared to face and meet them. With Drupal digital marketing and Sooperthemes, you can decrease cost, while increasing the effectiveness and the reach of your homepage, campaigns and landing pages. With this in mind, you can focus your resources to causes that are worth fighting for. Now, go out there and make the world a better place!

Oct 31 2019
Oct 31

More content for smart speakers

The steady rise of smart speakers has paved the way for new opportunities for businesses. Right now, a staggering amount of searches are done through smart speakers. What this means is that people are going to rely more and more on audio feedback. With this in mind, creating some good content and features for home speakers like Alexa and Google Home can keep you in the game. Everything is an opportunity is you work hard enough, especially adapting to new digital marketing trends.

Drupal being proven solution for headless application, is already capable of serving as a platform for you to connect your existing content directly to voice APIs.

Voice search optimization

voice search digital marketing trends

Technology is rapidly changing and shaping the way we are interacting with our surroundings, including what digital marketing trends develop. A trend that was growing in the past year is going to grow in 2020 as well. That trend is, of course, voice search. With the rise in adoption for voice assistants and smart speakers like Alexa and Google Home, voice search has seen an incredible increase in usage over the past years. 

 

With this in mind, you can start adapting your business to better make use of this trend in order for your business to grow. It’s important to remain ahead of the competition if you want your business to flourish. This is why I’m going to give you some tips on how to better optimize your website for voice search:

Tips for Voice Search Optimization

1. Understand the Language: People that are using voice usually are not searching for just one keyword. Instead, they are using long sentences that describe what they are looking for. If you want to make your content more relevant for voice search, then you will have to adapt and use long sentences that are likely to be in tune with what the customer is saying when searching for content that is similar to what you’re offering.

 

2. Be Conversational: In order to improve the likelihood to be found when people are voice searching for your content, you will have to keep the keyphrase at a conversational level. The person that is searching for content using voice search is also going to keep it conversational. In this way, you can increase your chances of being found.

 

3. Answer Questions: When people are using voice search to find out stuff on the internet, they are asking questions. Thus, if you are able to pinpoint the questions that are going to be asked in order for your content to be found, you will have to adapt your keyphrase accordingly. This will certainly increase your chances to share your content with the curious reader.

More chatbots

A.I. Digital Marketing Trends

Another one of the digital marketing trends that does not seem to slow down is the adoption of chatbots. Chatbots have seen an astounding amount of limelight in the past year and are currently part of the digital marketing trends of 2020. Of course, chatbots still have a long way to develop before they can perform more complex tasks, but as with every technology that is in its beginning stage, it is going to become better with time.

 

Juniper Research has done some research on the adoption and projection of the chatbots in the future. Chatbots are really good at cutting costs for business. Not only that, but they can also increase the revenue generated for a business.

 

On top of that, a chatbot is extremely useful when it comes to answering basic questions that required a human in the past years. They definitely cut costs and time for your support team. Your support team can now focus on answering more complex questions, instead of having to sit through the most basic ones that a customer might have. This will also lead to a more satisfied customer, as the time queues that they would have to wait for an answer from the support team are drastically shortened.

Increase the amount of automation

Automation Digital Marketing Trends

Since today's world is incredibly fast-paced, you will have to find ways to increase your efficiency, while decreasing the workload and keep up with the digital marketing trends. Start trying to automate the tasks that are repetitive and time-consuming. Instead of having to focus on sending 100 emails, for example, use a software that will automate that for you. This will make it easier for you to invest time in other more important tasks that you have to take care of.

No-code website design

In the past years, we have seen the rise of the no-code website design software. However, in the upcoming year, their popularity is only going to rise. The reason for this is that these tools are speeding up the process and are cutting down the costs of designing and modifying a web page. In other words, these types of software will lower the barrier of entry for people and businesses wishing to design a visually appealing content for the web but lack the technical knowledge of coding.

Marketing departments will finally be able to edit a webpage that matches their creative concepts without having to involve the IT department, with the magic of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). In the near future, designing a website and building effect multi-media content for the web will become accessible to a larger pool of people. So, if you always wanted to design your own website but lacked the knowledge of how to do it, you can pick up a tool like our visual Drupal-based drag and drop page builder Glazed Builder and start building your own visually stunning website easier than ever before.

Hyper-targeted Ads

Target Digital Marketing Trends

Learn to use the data that your website has gathered from your visitors. Not only that but also the data that you can gather from Google. This will make it much easier for you to find the people that are actually interested in what you have to offer. Not only will it cut the cost of your advertisements, but it will also increase the quality of the leads that are going to come to your website intrigued by your product or service. In a nutshell, start analyzing and start targeting. 

What digital marketing trends are you watching?

Did we miss any important trends or do you want to share your insights on some of the above mentioned digital marketing trends? Drop a comment and let us know!

Oct 01 2019
Oct 01

Drupal accessibility is vital for your website

It is vital to create accessible content on your website. Among your audience, people with impairments will also be included. On top of that, the website itself will become more user-friendly and you will better meet the Drupal accessibility standards that exist today. In this blog post, we will go over 20 tips that will improve your content and website accessibility, then I'm going to make a brief description of W3C and the WCAG guidelines and finally, I'm going to suggest 5 Drupal modules that will aid you in your quest to improve your Drupal accessibility. Let's get started.

1. Incorporate a Site Map

Drupal accessibility map

A site map is a beneficial tool that lets a user of your website assess the logical structure of your website. This, in turn, will make it easier for the user to be able to overview the content of your website. On top of that, it makes the content on your website easier to be accessed and increases your Drupal accessibility. 

2. ALT attributes to describe pictures

Alt attributes are a very important part of enabling your website to have accessible content. The main purpose of ALT attributes is that is going to help the search engines and website better be able to describe and understand what the picture is all about. This can be very helpful for people who can’t see and receive their image descriptions through audio feedback. Probably your website was built from the start with alt attributes in the content, but you need to train your writers and site maintainers to not skip over the alt attributes when updating the website.

3. Clean and distraction-free content

Drupal accessibility clutter

Another paramount point to make your content more accessible is to host your content on a clutter-free website. This will enable easier access to the content on your website. Which in turn will make it less frustrating for impaired people to navigate your website and to get to the important parts of it.

4. Clear and simple language

Language is another factor that has to be taken into account if you want to make accessible content. It’s important to adapt your language to be able to be understood by a wide range of people. That is why, even in writing, it’s important for the language level to remain conversational. That means no fancy words that can make it more difficult for the screen reader to do its job. If you install the Yoast SEO Drupal module you'll get a real-time score of how easy-to-read your content is! 

5. Meaningful link text

It is important that the link text is as clear as possible. Link texts like “click here” or “read here” are not descriptive enough. Instead, try to link a sentence or group of words that are describing what the link is about. This will lead to a decrease in frustration for users that are unable to see and use a reader.

6. Ensure keyboard accessibility

People that have motor disabilities, visual impairment or are amputees, often have trouble using a keyboard or any device that requires a high degree of motor coordination. That’s why keyboard accessibility is so important. The main point of keyboard accessibility is to make every element or link be selectable by using the TAB key. In order to test if your website has this functionality, just press TAB and see if every element will be able to be selected. This way, you will greatly reduce the struggles of impaired people.

7.Provide videos and audios with transcripts or captions

In order to make accessible content, video and audio should have transcripts or captions. This is a crucial step in making the content on your website accessible. With this, screen readers will be able to aid the visually impaired by reading the text, while the deaf will be able to read the text. 

8. Support screen readers

Drupal accessibility keyboard

Screen reader support is the most important piece for improving your Drupal accessibility. With this kind of software support, your website will be able to read out loud the text that it’s being displayed on your website. Basically, it lets blind people hear the text from your website. On top of that, paired with captions and translations, the screen reader can also read what is happening in a multimedia video. Also, the screen reader gives two types of feedback, either through speech or through braille. A general awareness of how screenreaders work is a great first step in training your writers on accessibility.

9. Don’t use automated media

What is automated media? Automated media is the media that starts automatically after a website is accessed. It either can be an ad or a video. In both cases, it can be annoying for somebody with an impairment to have to find and mute or close the media windows. This is why automated media should be turned off on your website.

10. Review your website using automated accessibility assessment tools

It’s always a good idea to assess your website's Drupal accessibility with an automated testing tool for accessible content. This tool will automatically scan and see how compliant your website is. After this, you can see the areas of your website were your doing great and the areas were you could still improve on your accessibility.

11. Make your website seizure proof

Drupal accessibility brain

It’s really important to make sure that your website is not causing some unwanted seizures in your audience. For example, someone that suffers from epilepsy can have it triggered by rapid flashing animations. A simple rule to avoid such an unfortunate event is to not have content that flashes for more than 3 times per second. This way you will make sure that you’re not going to trigger any photosensitive seizures.

12. Content that has to be input by the user has clear instructions

If a website requires its users to input content, then instructions have to be crystal clear in order to avoid confusion. The easy way to do this is to provide labels for every form control. Examples of such control are drop-down menus, text fields, and checboxes. On top of that, the labels have to describe the function and purpose of the control. This will make sure that the assistive technology will refer to the correct form, increasing your Drupal accessibility.

13. Character key shortcuts

Drupal accessibility characters

If a website supports keyboard shortcut that consists of numbers, letters, punctuation or symbols, then it should have the option to be able to be turned off. This will make sure that people will not trigger accidentally a shortcut in by pressing on the wrong button.

14. Users are allowed to turn animations off

Another important feature that your website has to have in order to be more inclusive and accessible has to be the function to turn animations off. It’s important to have this feature because animations can be distracting and can make the navigation on your website harder.

15. Pointer gestures

Complex actions such as pinching for zooming or swiping should also be able to be done through other means. This will ensure that the people of your audience that cannot perform for various reasons, will not be left out. This is a vital point for your Drupal accessibility.

16. Motion actuation

The interaction that can be used by moving your phone, for example shaking it, should also be able to be done through the interface, without the need of physically doing the interaction. This will increase the Drupal accessibility, inclusiveness, and user-friendliness of your website.

17. No time limits

Drupal accessibility hourglass

Having no time limits is really important. Imposing time limits on your website can make people with motor, visual or hearing disabilities have a hard time reaching their goal in a timely manner on your website. This, in turn, can lead to an increase in user frustration. In order to avoid that, disabling time limits is the way to go.

18. Text resizability

Another important aspect of improving your Drupal accessibility is text resizability. Basically, your website has to allow its users to zoom to up to 200% from the original size. This will ensure that even with some sort of visual impairment might be able to read the text or view your photos.

19. Visual presentation

This is another important criteria when you are considering making your website more inclusive. Adhering to this guideline will give our end users the ability to choose how to visualize your website. This includes the colors, the line spacing, and sizes. This will give your users the freedom to choose the visual representation of your website however it suits him best. 

20. Bypass Blocks

Drupal accessibility stop sign

Another tip to make your website more inclusive and user-friendly is to create the opportunity for the users to be able to bypass blocks. This is important because a screen reader will read all the navigation links, header links and all sorts of repetitive content that is present on a website, regardless of how long the links are. Now, you can imagine how frustrating it can be for a person to have to sit and listen to a high number of links, that may be irrelevant for them, before actually getting to see or hear the content that they were originally searching for. This may lead to a lot of your visitors becoming frustrated and leaving your page. So, in order to avoid this situation, the easiest way is to provide a skip to content link in your header. With this, you create better Drupal accessibility for your website.

WCAG Guidelines

W3C

WCAG was developed by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) as a set of regulations that help make digital content accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.

 

There are 3 versions of these regulations. These are WCAG 1.0, WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1. The latter two have at their core four basic principles that have to be met in order for a website to be compliant. These principles are as follows: 

  • Perceivable: The information and user interface has to be presented to the user in a way that can be perceived.

  • Robust: The content has to be robust enough to be able to be interpreted by many types of users, including assistive technology and future technology.

  • Operable: Navigation and user interface components have to be operable.

  • Understandable: Information and user interface have to be understandable.

 

On top of that, each guideline has a level of compliance that is assigned to it. The levels of compliance are as follows:

 
  • A: This level of compliance usually has the highest priority and is the easiest to achieve out of them all.

  • AA: This is a more extensive guideline. It is usually regarded as the standard to meet.

  • AAA: This is the most extensive design standards to meet. It is also more strict, thus it is the one that is the least common to meet.

 

Currently, most laws require websites to be WCAG 2.0 compliant. Only if the laws in your country explicitly state that your website should comply with the standards of WCAG 2.1, then you should adopt that. However, the W3C does suggest that the new website should be built in compliance with the WCAG 2.1 since they tend to be more inclusive and user-friendly.

Drupal Modules that help with your Content accessibility

Drupal accessibility disability

Now that you have an idea of the compliance levels for accessibility, it’s time to see a list of Drupal modules that can help you improve the Drupal accessibility of your website and become more user-friendly and inclusive.

Automatic alternative text

This Drupal module makes it easy for the images on your website to have an alternative text, even if there is none specified by the user. This module uses Microsoft's Azure Cognitive Services API. It basically identifies what the image is about and makes a description or more based on the confidence level.

Text resize

This module allows the text on your website to be adjusted to the needs of your user. This module is available for both Drupal 7 and 8. 

Style Switcher

This module provides a high degree of functionality for the users that are suffering from colorblindness. It gives the ability for themers to create themes with alternative stylesheets. This, in turn, gives the ability for the user to select the right color scheme for their particular type of colorblindness.

Accessibility Scanner

This module allows you to perform website accessibility assessments in order to see where your website can be improved. This module has to be used in conjunction with achecker. On top of that, the websites that can be asses are both local and remote.

Fluidproject UI Options

This module provides the user with the ability to control and modify a page’s font size, font style, height, contrast and link style. On top of that, those preferences are remembered on the website by using cookies. A perfect module to ensure a higher degree of customizability for all its users.

Conclusion

Hopefully, now that you find out those tips and have a better understanding of the WCAG guidelines imposed by the W3C, you can put your newfound knowledge into practice and use the suggested Drupal modules to make the most amazing, inclusive and user-friendly website that you can make. These will get the Drupal accessibility of your website to new heights!

Jul 26 2019
Jul 26

Is it possible to enhance your Drupal experience?

Drupal is a favorite content management system among professionals. It has been proven time and time again that it is reliable, scalable and can turn any website into a magical digital experience that your customers are loving. For these reasons, Drupal has gathered a passionate community that wants to constantly see it improve. Here at Sooperthemes, we are also driven by our passion for Drupal. We take Drupal and improve its shortcomings through our products. In other words, we enhance your Drupal experience with our framework theme and easy-to-use Drupal 8 & 7 visual content builder.

What are some examples of real-life organizations using Sooperthemes products?

It’s time to show you the results of using our easy-to-use drag and drop builder, and our framework theme. Here is a list of websites that were entirely built over the Drupal architecture using Glazed Builder and Glazed Theme:

Senate enhance your Drupal experience

The U.S. Senate is a core part of the legislation process of the United States. Such an important part of the U.S. had a need for a really good website platoform. Drupal was chosen because it can handle large and complex websites. On top of that, the senate chose to build all websites for newly inaugurated senators in 2019 with our Glazed Builder and Glazed Theme products. This resulted in a modern-looking governmental senator websites that provide a great experience at low costs to the senate, because much of the page-building work can be done in-house thanks to our easy-to-use page builder. 

2. Swarco

Swarco enhance your Drupal experience

Swarco is a company that offers traffic technology for better and safer transportation. It is based in Innsbruck Austria and has an international network of production facilities that are sure to meet the needs of their clients. Swarco decided to improve its online presence by overhauling its website with Glazed Builder. This resulted in an unforgettable digital experience that leaves a long-lasting impression. Well done!

3. Body Worlds

Body Worlds enhance your Drupal experience

Body Worlds is the biggest traveling exposition of dissected human bodies. The exposition attracted more than 37 million visitors, which makes it one of the hottest tourist attractions to date. Such a successful exposition had to also have an online presence that reflected their success. That's why Body World built its website with Glazed Builder. This resulted in a gorgeous website that attracts clients from all over the world. 

4. Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education

Monterrey enhance your Drupal experience

Monterrey Institue of Technology and Higher Education is one of the most prestigious universities in Latin America. With its headquarters established in Monterrey, Mexico, Tec offers the finest education to its student. Such a successful university required a beautiful website that can convince prospective students to join their ranks. That's why Tec decided to go for the combination of Drupal and Glazed Builder. This resulted in a beautiful website that can tackle the multi-lingual necessities of the university, while also attracting a large number of students.

5. Open Medical

Open medical enhance your Drupal experience

Open Medical is a company that wants to improve the delivery of healthcare services to the general public. In order to do this, they partner with various companies that help them reach their goal. On top of that, such an initiative needed a good website that can showcase their mission and values. That's were Glazed Builder came into play. The results were a practical website that showcases the trustworthiness of Open Medical to their potential customers. This resulted in an increased number of clients and leads generated. 

What Sooperthemes' products?

Sooperthemes bases its products on the Drupal architecture. This means that you get the best that Drupal has to offer without any of its drawbacks, making it possible to enhance your Drupal experience. The Sooperthemes portfolio includes a large number of turn-key demo websites that can be used to quickly set up a gorgeous website that converts leads to customers right out of the box. There is a wide selection of demos that you can choose from based on the industry that your company is conducting business.

A couple of examples of our demos that are completely built with our drag and drop Drupal content editor and our framework Drupal theme.

Marketing Drupal Theme Demo:

marketing enhance your Drupal experience

This theme is perfect for any marketing agency that wants to have a gorgeous website that looks professional and attracts high caliber clients. The theme is highly customizable, being able to be adapted to the needs of every marketing agency.

Business Drupal Theme Demo:

business enhance your Drupal experience

Sooperthemes also provides a business website theme, perfect for people that want to have a new and astonishing website for their clients. The business theme focuses on a more professional look that conveys trust to your prospects. The business theme is the perfect choice for any business owner that wants to provide a great online experience for their customer.

Agency Drupal Theme Demo:

agency enhance your Drupal experience

Our agency theme is the perfect choice for any agency that wants to create or improve their digital presence. It is designed to be able to fit the needs of any agency that wants to impress their audience. It has an intuitive design that can surely make a great website for your agency. Especially if you want to enhance your Drupal experience.

Logistics Drupal Theme Demo:

logistics enhance your Drupal experience

Sooperthemes has the perfect theme website for any logistics company that wants to have an impressive online presence. The layout and design are specially adapted to be able to convey the fluidity and speed with which logistics companies are driving business. Moreover, these themes can further be customized to be able to reflect your brand. 

Photography Drupal Theme Demo:

photography enhance your Drupal experience

Are you passionate about photography and don't how you to monetize your hobby? The Glazed Photography theme is the right answer for you. You can easily setup-up your website to be able to show your clients your finest material. Glazed Photography is the right answer for you if want to have an edge above your competition.

Construction Drupal Theme Demo:

construction enhance your drupal experience

Any construction company has to have a jaw-dropping online presence in order to be successful. This is what you get by having by building your website with Glazed construction theme. This theme is perfectly adapted to reflect the seriousness and commitment of the construction industry. Whether you want to showcase your team or your portfolio, this theme is the perfect choice to make a lasting impression to any potential client.

Powerful content capabilities with Sooperthemes' easy-to-use visual content builder

These themed demo sites are further customizable to suit your needs with our Glazed Builder module. This module makes it easy to turn your dream website into reality. Glazed Builder is a powerful Drupal-based drag and drop visual builder that can make any Drupal website shine. One of the struggles that Drupal users seem to have at first is the steep learning curve, which can require a large number of hours, essentially bottlenecking the workflow. In order to bypass this struggle, Sooperthemes designed Glazed Builder, effectively helping website designers and marketers save countless hours and money on working with Drupal. The hours saved can be used for other important tasks.  One of the great points about Glazed Builder is that it makes designing a Drupal website seem effortless.

Why enhance your Drupal experience with Sooperthemes?

This is a great question that everybody should be asking themselves this before making a purchase decision. Well, let me explain.

 

Sooperthemes is driven by its passion for Drupal. Our main goal is to enhance your Drupal experience. In order to do so, we address the most common pain point that Drupal has, such as long development time, steep learning curve and difficult user interface. Sooperthemes has developed its products to be able to accommodate these needs. With the Glazed theme, users can quickly have a template for their Drupal website that can be easily customizable and deployed. On top of that, Glazed Builder overcomes the native powerful but complex user interface of Drupal with its Drag and Drop capabilities and intuitive user interface. On top of that, Glazed Builder incorporates a large number of elements that can be used to be able to further customize your website. Examples are sections, panels, jumbotrons, wells, panels, collapsible, Drupal blocks, Drupal views and much more. 

 

As you can see, the imagination is the only limiting factor when it comes to the capabilities of web design with Glazed Builder and its capabilities to enhance your Drupal experience.

Conclusion

If you want to enhance your Drupal experience, then Sooperthemes is the right answer for you. Not only does it offer the best of what Drupal has to offer, but it also transforms Drupal's weak points into its strong points. If you’re not convinced yet, no problem, try Sooperthemes for free here

Jul 09 2019
Jul 09

Why Drupal is the best choice in 2019? Learn from these incredible Drupal 8 case studies

Every day there is a large number of websites that are popping up on the internet. However, some websites stand out more than the others, when it comes to the user experience provided. After seeing this list of awesome Drupal 8 website examples, you will know why Drupal is the best choice to deliver an unforgettable digital experience to your audience.

Part of this selection of awesome websites are our personal selection of favorites from the 2019 Drupal Splash Awards.

1. Chupa Chups

Chupa Chups Drupal

The first awesome Drupal website belongs to Chupa Chups. Chupa Chups had to redesign its website to encompass the vision of “Forever Fun”. On top of that, they had to build a backbone platform that can host all the international Chupa Chups website, which are over 100.

The challenge was to be able to incorporate the needs of their buyer personas in the new website design. In order to do that, they had to make sure that the chosen design was in concordance with them, as well to make sure that it is in line with the different cultural expectations all over the world.

In order to be able to pull the redesign of the website off, Chupa Chups had decided to use Drupal 8. This enables the brand to have a high level of flexibility, while not having to compromise on standardization. By using Drupal 8, Chupa Chups has aimed to centralize the platform, gaining the advantage of easy scalability. The result was a visually stunning website that is in line with the goals that the company has set for the project.

You can read more here.

2. Mintz

Mintz Drupal

Mintz is a general practice, full-service law firm that is employing over 450 attorneys worldwide. The company has noticed that there is a need for a rebranding that can better reflect the hardworking and forward-thinking culture, with which the company guides its clients through times of unprecedented transformation. 

The rebrand was reflected through the launch of a new website that better reflected the culture at Mintz. Among the most notable rebranding changes was the shortening of the name for marketing purposes, as well as a change of the logo. The change received tons of positive feedback from the community as well as the industry.

You can read more here.

3. Panasonic North America

.

Panasonic Drupal

Panasonic is one of the biggest electronics manufacturers in the world. However, the website was no longer reflecting the evolving brand of Panasonic. In other words, the website was not holding up with the times anymore. 

In order to be able to reflect the constantly evolving brand of Panasonic, they had to go for an API first approach. On top of that, they had to put the customer at the center of the project, making sure that the redesign would be in line with customer expectations.

After 18 months of development, the website was finally ready to launch. The API focused approach resulted in the ability to easily integrate other marketing tools. Those tools let the company have better customer data-driven insights. These insights can be used to deliver a better-tailored customer experience.

You can read more here.

4. COIT

Coit Drupal

COIT is a family owned specialty cleaning business that was founded in the year 1945 in California. With over 100 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, they are serving over 12 million homes. Despite this, their website was really behind the times.

In order to tackle this challenge, a capable CMS had to be chosen. The business had a corporate website with 100+ microsites. Because of the big amount of websites that had to be handled, Drupal 8 was chosen. Drupal 8 allowed COIT to tackle the complexity of the task, while also being able to deliver on the desired visual performance.

The result of this is a brand new website redesign. Geolocation was also added to the website, in order to redirect the customers to the nearest franchise location. Moreover, the new content strategy allows for better-optimized SEO, while also having deeper conversion tracking. These changes have resulted in a better online experience for consumers. 

You can read more here.

5. Rotary Foundation

Rotary Foundation Drupal

The Rotary Foundation is a non-profit organization that is supporting the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational and cultural exchange programs. The problems started to show when the people that were willing to make donations to the website had to go through a frustratingly long process.

In order to fix this problem, Drupal was chosen. It was chosen because the company already had existing Drupal websites. This made it easier to be able to develop an app that can handle the transactions in a seamless way. On top of that, the app also had to integrate with other internal processes such as finance and membership.

The development of such an app has resulted in positive feedback. It is highly customizable which lets content creators be able to effortlessly deliver their content to the audience. Moreover, donor satisfaction has never been higher. 

You can read more here.

6. WWF Switzerland

WWF Drupal

World Wide Fund is a non-governmental organization that works in wildlife preservation and aims to reduce the human impact on the environment. In order to be able to achieve its goal, WWF decided that they need a strong online presence, basically, a website that can reflect the values that the company stands for. The website has to be able to convince and educate the audience about the impact of human activity on the environment and wildlife. However, in its current state, the website wasn’t able to spark any emotion in its audience, it was like a Wikipedia page.

Part of the challenge was to be able to redesign and incorporate multiple elements at the same time on the new website. One of the requirements that is hard to fulfill was to be able to handle complex editorial, which enabled editors to be able to add pages without having to involve the IT department. On top of that, the website had to have multilingual content, CRM integration, and enhanced analytical capabilities. All these requirements were possible to be med by using Drupal 8.

The of the project was a completely new website design filled with rich content that is able to transmit the emotion through the vibrant pictures and videos of animals. On top of that, the website had become a role model for the other WWF websites around the world, that are now looking to also improve their design.

You can read more here.

7. Arsenal

Arsenal Drupal

Arsenal is one of the biggest football clubs in the Premier League in England. Because f this they have a huge fan base. However, the mobile experience that the club was offering to their fans was really outdated. The club was having two content management systems to separately manage Arsenal.com and it’s sister website. These content management systems were 10 years old and it showed.  

Arsenal recognized the need for a single centralized CMS that is being able to fulfill the needs of the users. Arsenal had selected Drupal 8 for the task. Now, the fans are more engaged than ever with the website that resulted from the change. They started consuming way more content than before, while also giving them easier access to the club fan shops.

You can read more here.

8. The Wildlife Trust

Wildlife Trust Drupal

For 100 years, The Wildlife Trust has been caring for Britain’s wellbeing of the wildlife. It acts as a hub for 46 local trusts by managing local charities, events, and member activities. The challenge arose when the 46 local had to be centralized under a single system.

Because of the scale of the task, Drupal 8 was chosen to resolve this challenge. All of the trusts are operating with a high degree of autonomy. Because of this, Drupal 8 was the perfect platform, it gives enough autonomy, however, it still maintains a level of central oversight. On top of that, Drupal also provides a flexible page layout, a great mobile experience, while also providing language adaptation for Welsh out of the box.

After a year of work on the project, the end result was a seamless online experience with more engaging content that the wildlife conscious audience will surely enjoy more.

You can read more here.

9. Askeladden

Boats Drupal

Askelaaden needed a new website to be able to cater to the needs of its customers. They needed a website that would showcase their products in an aesthetically pleasing way, while also providing a more intuitive customer journey.

For the complexity of the project, they chose Drupal as their CMS of choice. However, Drupal had a steep learning curve and they had a time constraint on their hands. In order to be able to meet the demands without having to change the CMS, they had to find a solution. That’s were Glazed Builder came into play. 

Sooperthemes' visual drag and drop Drupal page builder proved to be the perfect solution for the task. It is a powerful visual drag and drop builder that is based on Drupal. With Glazed Builder Askeladden managed to be able to finish the project in time while also delivering stunning results.

You can have a look at their website here.

10. Coastal Bend Council of Governments

Council Drupal

Coastal Bend Council of Governments was in dire need of a new website design that would be able to communicate their vision and mission in a visual way. 

Drupal seemed like the best option to complete the task. However, the need to complete the task on a short deadline was making the task more difficult. That’s why CBCOG has decided to use Glazed Builder to bring the task to its completion.

The result was a visually stunning website that manages to express the core idea of the council through a visually pleasing experience. Moreover, the Drupal development time was drastically shortened, meaning that the project was delivered on time.

You can have a look at their website here.

Conclusion

There is a reason why Drupal is such a popular and successful CMS. Those websites on the list are proof of the visually stunning capabilities that Drupal can deliver. On top of that, Drupal can also handle complex websites that deliver a multilingual experience to its users. Is Drupal still a good choice in 2019? Definitely.

Jun 25 2019
Jun 25

The Open Source CMS that Revolutionized the World

Acquia HQ and the Mayor of Boston

You may have already heard of Drupal, but for those who don't know, Drupal is an open source Content Management System. However, you might not know the history behind Drupal and the connection that it has with the SaaS company, Acquia. Well, in this blog post, I’m going to tell you the history behind the biggest open source Content Management System and the role it played in the founding of Acquia.

Drupal History

Dries Buytaert in his student days. Photo credit.

It all started in the year 2000 when Dries Buytaert and Hans Snijder, which at the time were students at the University of Antwerp, needed an internet connection, which was quite seldom found back in the days. This resulted in them both building a wireless bridge between their dorms. On top of that, they had a need for a place to also talk. This led Dries Buytaert to start a small news website with a chat board for him and his friends to be able to meet, publish and share the news.

The software that was built in the process remained unnamed until Dries had graduated. However, after his graduation, he put the website online, because he wanted to stay in touch with his friends. He originally wanted to name the domain to dorp.org.  The word "dorp" translates to "village" in dutch. However, Dries had misspelled the word "dorp" to "drop" and he chose to leave it like that. After a while, the website began to attract new members that would discuss topics on new technologies and ideas.

In January of 2001, Dries had decided that he wanted to release the software at the core of the website, for other people to be able to use it. So, it started as an open source project. The name of the software was derived from the English pronunciation of the Dutch word “Druppel”, which means “drop”. On top of that, the software was in need of a logo. For this task, Kristjan Jansen and Steven Wittens had stylized a water droplet with eyes, curved nose and a smile.

pA00 : 08 / 02 : 06O

Video showing one of the earliest Drupal Camps, New York City 2006. Unmute (bottom left) this video to get the full experience.

Drupal 1.0

The first release version was Drupal 1.0, which was built using Slash, a modular CMS, and Scoop. It was released on the 15th of January 2001. At first, there were 18 core modules, which were basically a set of PHP files containing a set of routines. Everything was accessed through PHP files due to the lack of a menu. On top of that, at first, the code had to be put into one of the seven hooks of the modules. The system was built from the beginning to be modular. This lets people adapt their websites to their needs. The system is depending on SQL in order to manage and change layout, themes and content.

Drupal 2.0

Just after two months on the 15th March 2001 Drupal 2.0 was released. This version added a translation feature that made it possible for users to translate their website into another language. On top of that, it also provided a framework that supported multilingual websites. It had 22 core modules and added user ratings and sections for stories.

Drupal 3.0

On 15th September 2001, Drupal 3.0 was released. The primary difference between this version and its predecessors is that it used nodes instead of pages. Meaning that every form of content was managed by a node from the node module. On top of that, this version reached 26 core modules.

Drupal 4.0

Video showing Drupal 4 with the (in)famous book module. 

It was released on the 15th of June 2002. At this point, there were already 100 websites that were operating on Drupal. This made Drupal truly an international open source project. A notable addition to this version was the taxonomy module which replaces the attributes and meta tags. On later versions, there were added a lot of new modules including the e-commerce module and the support for a profile module or theme template that facilitated an early version of the What You See Is What You Get. Right now, Drupal was starting to look like a truly enterprise CMS.

Drupal 5.0

On the 6th birthday of Drupal on 15th January 2007, Drupal 5.0 was released. What made this release stand apart from the others was the fact that it supported jQuery. jQuery is a JavaScript library that makes HTML scripting easier than the previous versions. Another feature that was added was the support for distributions of pre-created Drupal packages. These could be customized to the liking of the user. On top of that, modules were moved to their own folder which made it easier to install and uninstall them. The site load speeds were also improved by making use of a CSS preprocessor that migrated cacheable stylesheets into a single compressed folder.

Drupal 6.0

The 6.0 version was released on 13th February 2008. One major step for Drupal was that the Whitehouse has adopted Drupal as their website managing CMS. One notable improvement was the rewriting of the menu system from scratch, which makes it a lot easier to use. On top of that, users were now able to drag-and-drop a number of features such a blocks and taxonomy vocabularies and terms. Moreover, the language system was modified so it could handle right-to-left languages. Security was also improved by providing an Update Status module that automatically checks for new updates.

Drupal 7.0

Video showing Drupal 7 and its clear improvements in user experience

It was released on the 5th of January 2011. Drupal was used to build simple blogs and websites of large corporations, essentially becoming trustworthy worldwide. This version of Drupal also had a couple of improvements. First of all, nodes were no longer dependent on modules, as they could interact with any node at runtime, meaning that everything became an independent entity. On top of that, this version added a queue API and an improved jQuery usage. This made it possible for everything to be associated with web apps.

Drupal 8.0

The current version of the CMS was officially released on 15th November 2015. The previous generations did manage to accomplish a big deal, however, this version is sure to bring even bigger changes. Drupal 8 was a complete rewrite of Drupal 7, this time based on a PHP framework called Symfony. Notable new features that were added are enhanced multilingual features, Views in core, a new level of web accessibility, improved theming with Twig, modern PHP, Symfony and OOP (Object Oriented Programming) adoption amongst others. Another notable feature is the new in-line editing. However, not as powerful and intuitive as our own in-line editing tool, Glazed Builder, which is based on Drupal. Here you can try our more elaborate inline editing experience for free!

Glazed Builder: Our Drupal UX add-on solution

While Drupal made strides in improving its core components' user experience, Sooperthemes created a commercial add-on solution that takes Drupal to the next level. With our 10+ years experience in Drupal theming, we decided to concentrate our resources on developing a new Drupal experience for authors, marketers, and site builders. Here is a short demo of what our our Glazed Builder product can add to your Drupal website:

pA00 : 32 / 02 : 17O

Video showing our Drupal UX solution Glazed Builder. This blog post was also created with Glazed Builder and without our tool we couldn't have created this video-enhanced story-telling experience.

Acquia

When Drupal was gaining momentum in 2007, Dries Buytaert saw that in order to be able to deliver the best support for large organizations, a dedicated company was needed. However, he was still hesitant, since, at that time, he was dedicated to finishing his Ph.D. This all changes when Jay Batson introduces himself to Dries at the Sunnyvale DrupalCon. Jay dreaming of opening a company that was focused on providing support and supplementary services for open source software such as Drupal and Apache Solr. After Jay persuaded Dries, they dropped Apache Solr from the equation and chose to focus on Drupal. On June 25th 2007, Jay registered the company under the name Acquia.

Although Acquia did not have an official product yet, they still received their Series A funding. This meant that Acquia was to be a significant player in the Drupal communnity, having managed to raise $7 million. For the most part of the remaining year, Acquia worked on their corporate values and products. Finally, In September 2008, Acquia has opened the doors for business. From that moment on, Dries and Jay's vision to build the universal platform for the world’s greatest digital experiences had started to materialize.

Conclusion

Drupal and Acquia both have had humble beginnings. However, with the passage of time, they have become staples for the open source community. Right now, Drupal is the third most popular Content Management System by market share. Moreover, with the ongoing trend in the market for companies to adopt or incorporate open source, Drupal still has potential to grow. In our previous blog post, you can find out why open source is our future.

Feb 14 2019
Feb 14

Our Glazed framework theme allows users to have control over every aspect of a Drupal site: from typography to colors, grid design and navigation. Combine this with our Drag and Drop builder and everything you need on a professional website can be designed and developed directly in the browser. This empowers your marketing and design staff to work efficiently without incurring heavy IT costs. 

When you take look at Drupal competitors such as WordPress and cloud based solutions like Squarespace, one of the main reasons they successfully skyrocketed in the web development industry is because of the simple front-end editing experience and the value this experience brings to the users. Glazed Builder brings this modern site-building experience to the Drupal world by combining the power and unique aspects of Drupal with the simplicity and intuitiveness of Drag and Drop technology. 

Glazed Builder is different from Wix, Squarespace, or any other Drag and Drop builders: it's made for Drupal and deeply integrated with Drupal APIs. It acts as a Drupal field formatter and you can have multiple instances per page, for your footer, main content, blocks, and even custom entity types. It automatically understands Drupal's revision system, language systems, workflow states, and permissions. This makes it one of the most advanced visual page builders in the world from a website architecture perspective.

How Sooperthemes products create a better Drupal experience 

Drag and Drop tools have evolved to be more powerful, produce better code, and leverage frontend frameworks to create a fluent authoring experience that runs in the browser. In Glazed Builder this experience is integrated with Views and the block systems: you can create highly dynamic pages and even dashboards with Drag and Drop, without losing reusability of the components you build. It is available for both Drupal 8 and Drupal 7, and provides the tools to easily perform difficult customization tasks. It lets the user focus on creating value for the customers and leave the technical aspects behind. It's intuitive and easy to use out of the box. 

Adding Glazed Builder on top of your existing Drupal 8 stack

Dec 18 2018
Dec 18

The pricing page is one of the key pages in a website, therefore it is important to have a clear and professional design that communicates the product benefits and pricing tiers your business offers. In today’s article we are going to learn how to recreate the new Sooperthemes pricing page. The Sooperthemes pricing page has a clean design style that mainly consists of rows, columns and text. Throughout this article we are going to work with the following elements:

  • Rows
  • Columns
  • Text
  • Buttons
Nov 27 2018
Nov 27

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

Technical Terms

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

Why Drupal?

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

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

Flexibility and Scalability

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

IT Cost Reduction

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

Excellent security

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

Easy Content Authoring and Management

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

One of the Biggest Dedicated Communities

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

Nov 16 2018
Nov 16

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

Help Center: New Documentation

Nov 08 2018
Nov 08

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

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

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

Custom Code - a necessity of the past?

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

1. Open Source vs. Proprietary License

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

2. Creating and Managing Web Content

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

3. Re-designing and Updating Content

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

4. Future Upgrades and Longevity

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

5. Drupal Costs & Long Term Savings

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

Oct 22 2018
Oct 22

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

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

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

7. Global Impact | Charity.org

Oct 10 2018
Oct 10


Header & Main Menu

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

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

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

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

Behavior of the Drupal Drop-Down Menu

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

Customize Navigation Colors

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

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

Side Header & Mobile Menu Options

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

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

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

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

DESIGN 1

Oct 03 2018
Oct 03

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

1. Countdown Timer

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

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

How to Use the Countdown Timer element

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

Sep 26 2018
Sep 26

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

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

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

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

Sep 18 2018
Sep 18

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

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

Managing Sooperthemes' Growth 

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

Sneak Peek: Glazed Builder User Profiles

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

Apr 26 2018
Apr 26

The Idea That Will Revolutionize Your Drupal 8 & 7 Experience

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

Built From The Ground Up For Drupal 8

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

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

Build, Write, And Edit Visually 

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

Sooperthemes Is Super Fast!

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

Drag, Drop, Clone, Style

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

Save Time With Templates

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

Access A Complete Selection Of Marketing Tools

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

Enough about us..

Apr 24 2018
Apr 24

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

Managing Menu Links In Drupal 8

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

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

Adding New Menu Links In Drupal 8

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

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

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

Creating A Dropdown Menu

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

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

Dropdown Menus Included In Glazed Theme

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

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

Dropdown Menus With The SuperFish Drupal 8 Module

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

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

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

Apr 22 2018
Apr 22

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

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

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

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

Apr 20 2018
Apr 20

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

Drupal 8's Content Overview Page

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

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

Adding Content In Drupal 8

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

Adding Content Types In Drupal 8

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

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

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

Creating A Jobs Content Type

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

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

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

Adding Visual Drag And Drop To Your Content Type

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

Apr 19 2018
Apr 19

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

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

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

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

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

SooperThemes Drupal 8.x-1.0 Release Planned Tuesday

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

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

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

Apr 18 2018
Apr 18

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

Drupal 8 Core Contact Module

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

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

Better Together: Contact Module + Contact Storage Module

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

Webform Module

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

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

Contact Module vs Webform Module

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

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

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

Placing Drupal 8 Forms With Our Visual Page Builder

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

Apr 17 2018
Apr 17

Block Administration And Placement In Drupal 8

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

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

Custom Content Blocks In Drupal 8

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

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

Placing Blocks With Our Visual Page Builder Glazed Builder 

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

Creating A Footer Block In Drupal 8

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

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

Entity Browser Meet File Entity Browser

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

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

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

Media Management In Glazed Builder 8.x

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

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

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

SooperThemes Open Source Contributions For Entity Browser

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

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

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

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

Apr 02 2018
Apr 02

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

Drupal 8 RC3

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

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

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

SooperThemes Updates Coming Soon

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

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

Open Source Contributions Scheduled After Stable Drupal 8 Release

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

Feb 21 2018
Feb 21

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

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

Migrating 15 Demos With 1000+ Content Items

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

Can I start using this on production?

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

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

What's Next?

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

Get Testing!

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

Open Source Contributions

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

Dec 16 2017
Dec 16

Drupal 8 Products Now Feature-Complete with New Media Library

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

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

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

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

Refinements and Minor Bug Fixes: Patch Release On D7 Products

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

Glazed theme:

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

Glazed Builder

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 22 2017
Nov 22

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

Creating Professional Portfolio Views Has Never Been Easier

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

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

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

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

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


Upgrading Your Drupal 7 Site From Glazed Portfolio/MD Portfolio

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

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

Upgrading is very simple:

1. Install new module

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

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

4. Uninstall glazed portfolio/MD Portfolio

Where are Drupal 8 Glazed Builder and Glazed Theme at?

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

Nov 16 2017
Nov 16

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

4 Hot New Theme Designs

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

Gradient Design Tool For Stunning Section Backgrounds

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

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

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

Save Precious Time With Single Click Inline Editing

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

Using External Images in Glazed Builder

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

Vertical Centering Option On Sections

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

CMS Portfolio Module Revamped And New Module To Be Announced Tomorrow

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

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

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

Aug 12 2017
Aug 12

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

Media Unsplash: Free Photos Without Leaving Your Website

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

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

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

Drupal 8 Alpha2 Test Release

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

Changes in alpha2:

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

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

Glazed Theme 7.x-2.6.5 Release

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

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

Glazed Builder 7.x-1.1.4 Release

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

Important NoteS If You're Updating A Complete Installation Profile

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

Join SooperThemes Or Upgrade To Unlimited today!

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

Aug 02 2017
Aug 02

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

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

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

Sneak Preview

Drupal 8 Related Questions

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

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

When can we expect a stable release of all products?

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

What can we test today?

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

Jun 13 2017
Jun 13

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

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

Theming: Easier and Better But Completely New

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

Theme Settings

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

Logic Inside Twig Templates

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

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

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

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

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

Site Building: Pretty much the same

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

Module Development: Definitely harder

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

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

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

Plugins, Services, Controllers, and Schema Metadata

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

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

Installation Profiles: Similar But Better

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

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

Demo Content

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

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

Configuration 

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

Media: Work In Progress

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

Drupal 8 Entity Browser

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

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

Improvements In Documentation

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

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

My Prediction: Drupal 8.4 Will Bring Up The Numbers

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

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

SooperThemes Drupal 8: Upgrade Status

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

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

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

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

Mar 27 2017
Mar 27

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

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

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

Various Fixes

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

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

Mar 22 2017
Mar 22

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

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

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

Is your business ready for Drupal 8?

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

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

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

Mar 01 2017
Mar 01

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

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

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

Performance Improvements for Theme and Builder

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

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

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

Ready for Drupal 8

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

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

For more details about this week's updates:

Pages

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