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Palantir: Drupal 8 is Great for Easy Publishing

2. Oktober 2017 - 21:19
Drupal 8 is Great for Easy Publishing brandt Mon, 10/02/2017 - 14:19 Alex Brandt Oct 2, 2017

The #D8isGr8 blog series will focus on why we love Drupal 8 and how it provides solutions for our clients. This post in the series comes from Alex Brandt, Marketing Lead.

In this post we will cover...
  • What changes Drupal 8 has made to the editing experience
  • How Drupal 8 promotes accessibility
  • One way we use Drupal 8 to connect with our audience

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Oh Drupal 8, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… As a content editor on a small team, I welcome every chance I get to publish something easier, quicker, and more effectively. My first experience publishing content in Drupal was in Drupal 7, and without having previous HTML experience, it was a time-consuming endeavor. Although there is a plethora of different reasons why I love publishing content in Drupal 8, I’ll narrow it down to my top three.

1.) WYSIWYG FTW!

This little bar is my best friend:

A quick WYSIWYG editor (CKEditor) is now standard in Drupal 8 core, which means there’s no need to look up the HTML every time I want to include a link, stylize a heading, or insert an image. The amount of time I save when publishing is awesome, but it also prevents me from using sloppy code that could become an issue later down the line if we migrate content.

2.) Keeping Things Accessible with Alt Text

Drupal 8 now flags when you need alternative text (alt text), and it doesn’t allow you to publish a post without providing these descriptions. We always strive to make our corner of the web equally accessible for all users, and this is a safeguard to make sure we continue doing so. You can read more about why alt text is important in our recent post on accessibility.

This red asterisk prompt displays every time you insert an image.3.) Customization

Just like most institutions, our website is one of the most important marketing tools for our agency. Not only does it provide us with a place to share knowledge with our audience, it provides different ways for our audience to engage with us.

One of the easiest ways we are able to connect with our clients, partners, and community is by creating customizable call-to-action buttons to display in various places on our site. These buttons allow our site visitors to sign up for our newsletter, schedule a time to chat with us, register for a webinar, or any other action we hope they take. By having the ability to customize each button (opposed to only having a generic contact us button), we can make sure the call-to-action buttons fits the content where they are displayed. Drupal 8 makes these buttons easy to create (once we set up our desired fields).

Different options for customizing CTA buttons.Easy Publishing in Drupal 8

All of these features in Drupal 8 allow me to share tailored content with our audience, without becoming bogged down by the technology. And because I know you were wondering, the time it took me to take this blog post from google doc to published? 3 minutes, 17 seconds.

We want to make your project a success.

Let's Chat.

Dries Buytaert: Drupal looking to adopt React

2. Oktober 2017 - 19:32

Last week at DrupalCon Vienna, I proposed adding a modern JavaScript framework to Drupal core. After the keynote, I met with core committers, framework managers, JavaScript subsystem maintainers, and JavaScript experts in the Drupal community to discuss next steps. In this blog post, I look back on how things have evolved, since the last time we explored adding a new JavaScript framework to Drupal core two years ago, and what we believe are the next steps after DrupalCon Vienna.

As a group, we agreed that we had learned a lot from watching the JavaScript community grow and change since our initial exploration. We agreed that today, React would be the most promising option given its expansive adoption by developers, its unopinionated and component-based nature, and its well-suitedness to building new Drupal interfaces in an incremental way. Today, I'm formally proposing that the Drupal community adopt React, after discussion and experimentation has taken place.

Two years ago, it was premature to pick a JavaScript framework

Three years ago, I developed several convictions related to "headless Drupal" or "decoupled Drupal". I believed that:

  1. More and more organizations wanted a headless Drupal so they can use a modern JavaScript framework to build application-like experiences.
  2. Drupal's authoring and site building experience could be improved by using a more modern JavaScript framework.
  3. JavaScript and Node.js were going to take the world by storm and that we would be smart to increase the amount of JavaScript expertise in our community.

(For the purposes of this blog post, I use the term "framework" to include both full MV* frameworks such as Angular, and also view-only libraries such as React combined piecemeal with additional libraries for managing routing, states, etc.)

By September 2015, I had built up enough conviction to write several long blog posts about these views (post 1, post 2, post 3). I felt we could accomplish all three things by adding a JavaScript framework to Drupal core. After careful analysis, I recommended that we consider React, Ember and Angular. My first choice was Ember, because I had concerns about a patent clause in Facebook's open-source license (since removed) and because Angular 2 was not yet in a stable release.

At the time, the Drupal community didn't like the idea of picking a JavaScript framework. The overwhelming reactions were these: it's too early to tell which JavaScript framework is going to win, the risk of picking the wrong JavaScript framework is too big, picking a single framework would cause us to lose users that favor other frameworks, etc. In addition, there were a lot of different preferences for a wide variety of JavaScript frameworks. While I'd have preferred to make a bold move, the community's concerns were valid.

Focusing on Drupal's web services instead

By May of 2016, after listening to the community, I changed my approach; instead of adding a specific JavaScript framework to Drupal, I decided we should double down on improving Drupal's web service APIs. Instead of being opinionated about what JavaScript framework to use, we would allow people to use their JavaScript framework of choice.

I did a deep dive on the state of Drupal's web services in early 2016 and helped define various next steps (post 1, post 2, post 3). I asked a few of the OCTO team members to focus on improving Drupal 8's web services APIs; funded improvements to Drupal core's REST API, as well as JSON API, GraphQL and OpenAPI; supported the creation of Waterwheel projects to help bootstrap an ecosystem of JavaScript front-end integrations; and most recently supported the development of Reservoir, a Drupal distribution for headless Drupal. There is also a lot of innovation coming from the community with lots of work on the Contenta distribution, JSON API, GraphQL, and more.

The end result? Drupal's web service APIs have progressed significantly the past year. Ed Faulkner of Ember told us: "I'm impressed by how fast Drupal made lots of progress with its REST API and the JSON API contrib module!". It's a good sign when a core maintainer of one of the leading JavaScript frameworks acknowledges Drupal's progress.

The current state of JavaScript in Drupal

Looking back, I'm glad we decided to focus first on improving Drupal's web services APIs; we discovered that there was a lot of work left to stabilize them. Cleanly integrating a JavaScript framework with Drupal would have been challenging 18 months ago. While there is still more work to be done, Drupal 8's available web service APIs have matured significantly.

Furthermore, by not committing to a specific framework, we are seeing Drupal developers explore a range of JavaScript frameworks and members of multiple JavaScript framework communities consuming Drupal's web services. I've seen Drupal 8 used as a content repository behind Angular, Ember, React, Vue, and other JavaScript frameworks. Very cool!

There is a lot to like about how Drupal's web service APIs matured and how we've seen Drupal integrated with a variety of different frameworks. But there is also no denying that not having a JavaScript framework in core came with certain tradeoffs:

  1. It created a barrier for significantly leveling up the Drupal community's JavaScript skills. In my opinion, we still lack sufficient JavaScript expertise among Drupal core contributors. While we do have JavaScript experts working hard to maintain and improve our existing JavaScript code, I would love to see more experts join that team.
  2. It made it harder to accelerate certain improvements to Drupal's authoring and site building experience.
  3. It made it harder to demonstrate how new best practices and certain JavaScript approaches could be leveraged and extended by core and contributed modules to create new Drupal features.

One trend we are now seeing is that traditional MV* frameworks are giving way to component libraries; most people seem to want a way to compose interfaces and interactions with reusable components (e.g. libraries like React, Vue, Polymer, and Glimmer) rather than use a framework with a heavy focus on MV* workflows (e.g. frameworks like Angular and Ember). This means that my original recommendation of Ember needs to be revisited.

Several years later, we still don't know what JavaScript framework will win, if any, and I'm willing to bet that waiting two more years won't give us any more clarity. JavaScript frameworks will continue to evolve and take new shapes. Picking a single one will always be difficult and to some degree "premature". That said, I see React having the most momentum today.

My recommendations at DrupalCon Vienna

Given that it's been almost two years since I last suggested adding a JavaScript framework to core, I decided to talk bring the topic back in my DrupalCon Vienna keynote presentation. Prior to my keynote, there had been some renewed excitement and momentum behind the idea. Two years later, here is what I recommended we should do next:

  • Invest more in Drupal's API-first initiative. In 2017, there is no denying that decoupled architectures and headless Drupal will be a big part of our future. We need to keep investing in Drupal's web service APIs. At a minimum, we should expand Drupal's web service APIs and standardize on JSON API. Separately, we need to examine how to give API consumers more access to and control over Drupal's capabilities.
  • Embrace all JavaScript frameworks for building Drupal-powered applications. We should give developers the flexibility to use their JavaScript framework of choice when building front-end applications on top of Drupal — so they can use the right tool for the job. The fact that you can front Drupal with Ember, Angular, Vue, React, and others is a great feature. We should also invest in expanding the Waterwheel ecosystem so we have SDKs and references for all these frameworks.
  • Pick a framework for Drupal's own administrative user interfaces. Drupal should pick a JavaScript framework for its own administrative interface. I'm not suggesting we abandon our stable base of PHP code; I'm just suggesting that we leverage JavaScript for the things that JavaScript is great at by moving relevant parts of our code from PHP to JavaScript. Specifically, Drupal's authoring and site building experience could benefit from user experience improvements. A JavaScript framework could make our content modeling, content listing, and configuration tools faster and more application-like by using instantaneous feedback rather than submitting form after form. Furthermore, using a decoupled administrative interface would allow us to dogfood our own web service APIs.
  • Let's start small by redesigning and rebuilding one or two features. Instead of rewriting the entirety of Drupal's administrative user interfaces, let's pick one or two features, and rewrite their UIs using a preselected JavaScript framework. This allows us to learn more about the pros and cons, allows us to dogfood some of our own APIs, and if we ultimately need to switch to another JavaScript framework or approach, it won't be very painful to rewrite or roll the changes back.
Selecting a JavaScript framework for Drupal's administrative UIs

In my keynote, I proposed a new strategic initiative to test and research how Drupal's administrative UX could be improved by using a JavaScript framework. The feedback was very positive.

As a first step, we have to choose which JavaScript framework will be used as part of the research. Following the keynote, we had several meetings at DrupalCon Vienna to discuss the proposed initiative with core committers, all of the JavaScript subsystem maintainers, as well as developers with real-world experience building decoupled applications using Drupal's APIs.

There was unanimous agreement that:

  1. Adding a JavaScript framework to Drupal core is a good idea.
  2. We want to have sufficient real-use experience to make a final decision prior to 8.6.0's development period (Q1 2018). To start, the Watchdog page would be the least intrusive interface to rebuild and would give us important insights before kicking off work on more complex interfaces.
  3. While a few people named alternative options, React was our preferred option, by far, due to its high degree of adoption, component-based and unopinionated nature, and its potential to make Drupal developers' skills more future-proof.
  4. This adoption should be carried out in a limited and incremental way so that the decision is easily reversible if better approaches come later on.

We created an issue on the Drupal core queue to discuss this more.

Conclusion Drupal should support a variety of JavaScript libraries on the user-facing front end while relying on a single shared framework as a standard across Drupal administrative interfaces.

In short, I continue to believe that adopting more JavaScript is important for the future of Drupal. My original recommendation to include a modern JavaScript framework (or JavaScript libraries) for Drupal's administrative user interfaces still stands. I believe we should allow developers to use their JavaScript framework of choice to build front-end applications on top of Drupal and that we can start small with one or two administrative user interfaces.

After meeting with core maintainers, JavaScript subsystem maintainers, and framework managers at DrupalCon Vienna, I believe that React is the right direction to move for Drupal's administrative interfaces, but we encourage everyone in the community to discuss our recommendation. Doing so would allow us to make Drupal easier to use for site builders and content creators in an incremental and reversible way, keep Drupal developers' skills relevant in an increasingly JavaScript-driven world, move us ahead with modern tools for building user interfaces.

Special thanks to Preston So for contributions to this blog post and to Matt Grill, Wim Leers, Jason Enter, Gábor Hojtsy, and Alex Bronstein for their feedback during the writing process.

Acro Media: Video: Shipping in Drupal Commerce 2.x is Better Than Ever!

2. Oktober 2017 - 14:45

“Shipping” in Commerce 1 meant “get shipping rates.” End of story. If you wanted to do something crazy like actually receive the item or put it in a box in the warehouse, you were out of luck. You could integrate with another system, but otherwise you were really just a storefront.

But Commerce 2.x is a different story. Now you can go from getting rates all the way down to actually receiving the shipment.

Amazee Labs: DrupalCon Vienna Friday Sprints

2. Oktober 2017 - 13:17
DrupalCon Vienna Friday Sprints

At the end of a great month of cycling, a great week of summits, pieces of training, keynotes and more at #DrupalConEUR, the last and final day of this week-long conference was all about sprinting. Let me share my wrap-up of the DrupalCon’s Friday sprints in this blog post.

Josef Dabernig Mon, 10/02/2017 - 13:17

The Messe Wien conference center was split up into 3 areas: the first-time sprinter workshop, mentored core sprints as well as general sprints. Let’s go through them one by one.

1) The first-time sprinter workshop, brings new contributors up to speed with setting up a Drupal 8 environment, understand the contribution process and find their first novice issues to tackle. This process has been tested at various previous DrupalCons and turns out to be highly effective at recruiting and onboarding potential future Drupal contributors.

The group of sprint mentors runs through duties in the morning. Rachel Lawson (rachel_norfolk) blogged about her experience working together with the highly dedicated team of mentors.

At the first-time sprinter workshop, besides learning tools, processes and the technology, the main emphasis is on being able to collaborate in-person with other community members such as in this case Jen Lampton (jenlampton) from the US together with Chris Maiden (matason) from the UK.
 

2) The mentored core sprints are designed to take those who have gotten their feet wet in the first-time sprinter workshop or already have prior contribution experience to the next level. The setup of the second room with round tables focused on different topics such as Drupal core subsystems or initiatives allows engaging directly with mentors specialized in those skill areas. New contributors will work side-by-side with experienced core contributors on core tasks.

Mentors, such as Fatima Sarah Kahlid (sugaroverflow) from Canada, provide individual advice to those sprinting on an issue. The goal is to help a new contributor on their way through the process and learn from each other.

The mentors all wore green t-shirts and we used name tags for every attendee to make sure it’s easy to know who can help and lower the bar for memorizing hundreds of names within a few hours. This is Michael Lenahan (michaellenahan) making an announcement to the crowd of sprinters at DrupalCon Vienna.

 

3) The general sprints are where all the other magic happens. You will find other Drupal core initiatives and Drupal module maintainers sprint together on topics they care about being moved forward. It is similar to the mentored core sprints format, as we have tables that focus on certain topics but without the official sprint mentors and rather each initiative self-organized with or without a given structure.

A huge spreadsheet is used every year to pre-organize sprints. Here individuals can sign-up for sprints happening during the week and take part in individual sprint initiatives such as working on “Drupal 8 criticals and majors” or “Migrate” or “Usability / Redesign the Admin UI”.

A busy and growing table was the “Search API Family” where Thomas Seidl (drunken monkey) sprinted together with many other contributors on Search API and related modules such as Facets. Note that the Search API module has also been given the price in the Drupal category or the Open Minds award that we held during the week of DrupalCon on Tuesday. Together with Entity API by Wolfgang Ziegler (fago) and GraphQL by Sebastian Siemssen (fubhy) and Philipp Melab (pmelab) it was awarded as most valuable Drupal contributions from Austria.

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The sprints were concluded with a very special moment, the Drupal Core Live Commit.

Lauri Eskola (lauriii), provisional core committer performed a live commit on stage. The seemingly trivial issue Add @internal to schemaDefinition() methods was reviewed and showed how the process works. The issue had been worked on by three contributors Valery Lourie (valthebald), Kevin Wenger (wengerk) and Gilles Doge (gido) until it went via the Active and Needs Review to Reviewed & tested by the community. Together with the approval from core committer Angie Byron (webchick), Lauri was able to commit the improvement not only to the latest 8.5.x development branch but also to 8.4.x which currently in release candidate mode.

Shannon Vettes (svettes) and Michael Schmid (schnitzel) also joined the stage to share what they sprinted on. This time it was about an initiative that isn’t necessarily related to writing code but helping drive change. Drupal-Petitions.org is designed to create a process & tool similarly to https://www.change.org/ or https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/ where the community can prioritize and gather momentum around ideas of improvements.

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Wrapping up

Friday was all about sprints. As explained, I’m excited about the many ways that new and existing contributors had been working together.

Special thanks to all sprint mentors, to the great organization by the DrupalCon Events team as well as Thunder as the main sponsor for the Friday sprints.

More photos from Friday and the entire conference can be found in our Flickr collection. Interested in sprinting again? Watch out for Drupal Dev Days in 2018 or other upcoming Drupal events in your area.

Comic Relief Technology Blog: Waste not want not: Upcycle your tech!

2. Oktober 2017 - 11:18
Working in the charity sector you learn to be pretty resourceful when you need to be, and that doesn’t stop… Read More Waste not want not: Upcycle your tech!

ADCI Solutions: What's the difference between single-page application and multi-page application?

2. Oktober 2017 - 9:51

SPA approach of website developing is on rise. It’s cool, it’s popular. Everybody wants to chime in and participate. Don’t forget about multi-page approach though: there are many use cases you may love.

 

Read the whole article and learn how to apply those approaches using Drupal, React, Vue.js.

 

OSTraining: Drupal 8 or Drupal 7

2. Oktober 2017 - 2:00

Drupal has long been a techie's choice of open source content management system. It may be harder than WordPress or Joomla to setup but it more than makes up for this with its power and flexibility.

Does Drupal 8 continue this tradition?

Drupal Modules: The One Percent: Remembering Kirk Clawes

1. Oktober 2017 - 19:30
Remembering Kirk Clawes NonProfit Sun, 10/01/2017 - 12:30

Vardot: Best Drupal Blogs: List of Valuable Resources To Subscribe To

30. September 2017 - 20:27
Best Drupal Blogs: List of Valuable Resources To Subscribe To Dmitrii Susloparov Sat, 09/30/2017 - 21:27

Drupal professionals have to constantly upgrade their skills to keep up to date with technology. The good news is that much of the knowledge now is available online, and there is no more need to spend hours in the library looking for resources that can give answers to your questions. In the 21st century most of the topics are covered in different blogs.

 

Vardot was featured as one of the top 20 Drupal blogs for Drupal developers. In this post, we recommend several resources (in addition to the one you are reading now of course) for you to subscribe. We believe that these resources will give you an excellent overall picture of what is happening in the Drupal community.

 

 

Drupal Blogs You Should Be Reading in 2017 Dries Buytaert blog

Dries' personal blog offers a glimpse of his work at Acquia and his views on Drupal and open-source software, in addition to general news and his opinions about the Drupal community.

 

If you are looking for low-level Drupal tips from the grand master himself, this is not the source for it. Instead, you will find a high-level and strategic perspective of where Drupal has trekked before and where it is heading, from none other than its creator. It will keep you well-informed of Drupal trends.

 

In our opinion, Dries’ blog is simply the best online resource for catching Drupal trends and formalizing your Drupal strategy.

Acquia blog

Acquia is the company that Dries Buytaert co-founded to provide cloud-based Drupal services, and according to a recent report, the number 1 organization for code contribution to Drupal in the 12-month period ending in June 30, 2017. The Acquia blog publishes posts by Dries, other Acquia insiders, and guest bloggers about 4 times a week.

 

This blog is the mother lode of knowledge about all things related to delivering Drupal enterprise solutions. You will find posts on best practices, architectural considerations, marketing trends, etc, on full-cycle Drupal commercialization. Developers should take note of posts from the Acquia Developer Center.

 

If you want to learn more about delivering enterprise Drupal solutions, the Acquia blog is a great resource. Vardot is proud to partner with Acquia to deliver professional hosting and training services.

Lullabot blog

The Lullabot blog averages about 2 new posts per week, and its target audience is enterprise Drupal developers. Building a modern enterprise Drupal website involves integrating multiple open-source technologies that must work well together. Consequently, enterprise developers must be well-rounded in various open-source technologies in addition to Drupal. The Lullabot blog has an excellent coverage of the entire Drupal technology stack.
 

One great feature about this blog is that it also features a library of podcasts on various Drupal topics. If you have a long commute, these Drupal podcasts are a great means for making good use of your time. (Another good source of Drupal podcasts is DrupalEasy.)

 

If your interests are entirely developer-centric, you may want to subscribe to the Lullabot feed.

Drupalize.Me blog

Drupalize.Me, a sister company to Lullabot, runs a website dedicated to Drupal developer training. It is made up of 2 main components: a blog and a series of technical guides/tutorials. The Drupalize.Me blog mainly posts Drupal community news, and announcements about new Drupalize.Me guides. A small proportion of the guides are free (samplers), while the rest are available for a monthly membership fee.

 

Despite the paid subscription model, Drupalize.Me offers arguably the most systematic approach for Drupal developers of all skill levels to upgrade their Drupal expertise online. The guides are categorized into topics: introduction to Drupal (including Drupal 8), site building, theming, module development (including API), site administration, and backend and infrastructure. The guides cover multiple Drupal versions, including the latest Drupal 8 as well as the older Drupal 6 and 7.

 

Drupalize.Me is a good investment for Drupal developers for continuing their Drupal training because of its breadth in topics and its depth in skill level. For a detailed list of the main online resources for learning Drupal, please consult this Vardot guide.

Volacci's Drupal SEO blog

Volacci's Drupal SEO blog, as its name suggests, targets marketing professionals rather than developers. Marketing has become a critical component in the Drupal community as evident in the recent DrupalCon Vienna 2017. DrupalCon hosted the very first Drupal Marketing Sprint in the DrupalCon Vienna program. So, we include Volacci’s high-caliber Drupal SEO and marketing blog on our recommended subscription list.

 

This blog is updated with a new post about once every 2 weeks. It covers Drupal industry news, SEO techniques and best practices. Ben Finklea, CEO and the primary author of the blog, is a world-renowned Drupal SEO expert. He was also the presenter for the Drupal 8 SEO hands-on seminar at DrupalCon Baltimore 2017.

 

If you are strictly interested in the SEO and marketing perspectives of Drupal, this is a blog that you should definitely follow. For additional quality SEO-related posts, please refer to the SEO tag in our blog.

 

Don't want to read too many Drupal blogs at the same time?

 

No problem, there are several resources where you can find latest news about Drupal from all over the world. Honorable mentions of blogs worthy of your subscription are listed below.

Planet Drupal

This is the official Drupal blog. It aggregates posts from a pre-approved list of Drupal-related blogs. The volume is quite high, about 40 posts per week. The scope spans a broad spectrum of development as well as business and marketing topics.

Reddit Drupal

Reddit Drupal is another high-volume website that covers anything Drupal-related. Because it is being hosted on the Reddit platform, you will find the website more interactive than the other Drupal blogs. You can ask questions directly on reddit or search through the existing posts for possible answers.

The Weekly Drop

This is a handcrafted weekly digest of the best Drupal-related blog posts from each week. If you find following multiple Drupal blogs too time-consuming, you should consider subscribing to the Weekly Drop which can keep you up-to-date with a minimal weekly drop of relevant articles.

Drupal Association Youtube channel

If you could not personally attend a DrupalCon conference, the best consolation is to watch the video recordings of its always educational workshops on Youtube. The Drupal Association Youtube channel has been updated with the workshops presented at the recent DrupalCon Vienna 2017.

 

To keep abreast of developments in the fast-changing Drupal community, we recommend that our readers subscribe to the above Drupal blogs in addition to Vardot’s own. And what is your favorite Drupal blog?