Tips from the Dev Team: Using Config Split and Config Ignore to Fine-Tune Your Configuration Management Process

O8 Config Drupal

One of the many great features introduced in Drupal is configuration management. This enables developers to easily push configuration changes from their development environment to staging, then production environments. It is a robust way to ensure that all of our content types, views, menus, and other settings are correctly deployed with minimal manual work.

What is configuration and what is content?

One of the challenges with configuration management is that there can be a fuzzy line between what is content and what is configuration. Content should not be exported as configuration: Editors should be free to change that content without it being overridden when the configuration is imported again.

Some elements are easy to divide into configuration and content: A menu is configuration but menu links are content. A block placement is configuration but custom block content is content. A taxonomy vocabulary is configuration, but the term items are content.

But there are some types of elements that are a little fuzzier. Take, for example, a webform. A form is configuration, but it also has content fields such as an instructions field and thank-you message. 

On the O8 website we found that there were some configuration items that changed often on production while the marketing team did their work. Every time we pushed new configuration to production we would have to make sure to export these changes and commit them to git without accidentally overwriting the new configuration we were trying to deploy. We needed a better solution.

Developers also commonly use several utility modules while doing their work: we also need to make sure that this configuration is not enabled on production.

Luckily, there are a few additional modules we can use to solve these problems: Config Split and Config Ignore.

Using Config Split for development configuration

Config split is an excellent way to create a set of configuration that should only be enabled in certain environments. The classic use case for this is for modules and settings that are only needed for development work.

Follow these steps to implement a development-only config split:

  1. Download and install Config Filter and Config Split modules
  2. Move your main configuration directory to a subdirectory if it isn’t already in one (e.g. config/sync). Edit your settings.php file and change the update the main config directories path to the new subdirectory:

    $config_directories[CONFIG_SYNC_DIRECTORY] = '../config/sync';
  3. Create a directory for your new config split (e.g. confg/dev)

  4. Set up the config split:

    Screenshot showing the Config Split settings screen

    Make sure the machine name of your split matches the name of the folder you set up in step 3.

  5. Add your development modules to the config split settings. In this case we are going to completely split the configuration for Database Logging, Devel, Kint and Stage File Proxy modules.

    Screenshot showing the Config Split settings screen, where config items are added to the split

    As you can see, it is possible to export individual configuration items here, or even use wildcrards to select sets of configuration.

  6. To enable this split on your development environment only, add the following line to your settings.local.php file:

    $config['config_split.config_split.dev']['status'] = TRUE;
  7. Export your configuration using drush csex.

You should see that your development modules have been exported to the dev directory set up in step 3. A normal config export using drush cex should respect your config split, but there may be a bug with some versions of drush that prevents this from working. Always make sure to check the unchanged files list in git to make sure your dev config hasn’t accidentally been exported to the main sync directory. If it has, just run drush csex again.

More detailed instructions can be found in the Drupal documentation, including an explanation of when you could choose a Conditional Split instead of Complete Split as described above.

Using Config Ignore for items that change on production

We could have used a config split for our webforms as well, but this presented a few logistical issues. We really don’t need to enable or disable this config in certain environments - we just need to prevent it from being overwritten on production. Config Ignore is a much better fit for this purpose.

Config Ignore simply prevents configuration from being imported. The process for setting this up is simple. 

Follow these steps to implement a development-only config split:

 

  1. In your development site, download and install Config Ignore module.

  2. On the config ignore configuration screen, add the entries that you don’t want to ignore on import:

    Screenshot showing the Config Ignore settings page

    These machine names match the names of the yml files that are normally exported in a config export and displayed on the Configuration Synchronization screen when there are changes to import. As you can see with the webform example, you can use wildcards here.

  3. Export configuration and deploy to production. 

  4. If changes are made to the ignored configuration items, you’ll see something like this when you try to import configuration:
    Screenshot showing how ignored items appear on the Configuration Synchronization screen

What’s next for Configuration Management

The Configuration 2.0 initiative is a new effort to improve configuation management in Drupal core. Some of the work going on in that initiative will integrate functionality currently provided by config filter and config split (planned for Drupal 8.7), along with fixes for some other ongoing headaches for developers. Find out more about the Configuration Management 2.0 initiative here and here.

Case Study: Drupal 8 redesign for a Community College

Academic Catalog

From the client's perspective:

From start to finish Origin 8 has been an excellent company to work with. We came to them with a responsive design template with many dynamic elements and a goal to use Drupal 8 as the content management solution. Though we have considerable in-house experience in web development, we had little specifically in Drupal. We needed a company that could partner with us and handle the technical challenges of site development and programming to provide us with a flexible interface to keep our site maintenance cost and update time to a minimum. They met the challenge head on and helped us reach all of our performance goals.

Origin 8 set up a sprint-based project management process whereby we met online every two weeks to go over progress from both of our areas and set out the tasks for each person for the next sprint period. We wanted to do as much of the content entry as possible, so Origin 8 took that into account and turned things over to us as soon as they were ready for data entry and testing. Origin 8 documented tasks and progress in an online tool, so it was possible to see the status and thread of any task. The sprint process helped us stay on track too as the goals set each call were manageable within that time period.

In addition to their technical expertise, Origin 8 was also very easy to work with. They listened carefully to what we said and used that understanding to either implement that specific request or to suggest an alternative method that could either lower maintenance overhead or be better suited for future site developments.

See the review on Google >>

From our perspective:

This was a fantastic approach to incremental improvement and agile development of a Drupal 8 site that dramatically empowers stakeholders at the college. But really, our client couldn't have said it better.

Drupal vs Sitecore: It's 2019, Which Should I Choose?

It's 2019, Should I Choose Sitecore or Drupal?

"Sitecore vs Drupal" – it's a tricky topic, but one differentiator is critical:

Drupal is free, and built by a worldwide community. Sitecore has licensing fees, and is built by a company.

So what? Some will mention how Sitecore saves development costs by providing more features "out of the box" in its core

However, Drupal already has a "box" that you can pull things out of – it has building blocks called "modules" that you can use to extend it. It's a trivial effort to pull the building blocks out of the box and assemble a site – you get more room to be original that way. Yes, Sitecore is customizable, but Drupal's building blocks are evolving at a faster pace.

Drupal's core components are still lagging behind a bit, but it's catching up. Below is the Drupal 8 roadmap provided by Drupal's founder, Dries Buytaert (source). NOTE: these features already exist as modules (the "building blocks" of Drupal) – Drupal has been slower to incorporate such features into its core because it has been a highly customizable framework.

Screenshot 2018-05-03 17.45.12.png

Don't get me wrong, though. Sitecore is an amazing platform from several standpoints. If you have a sufficiently staffed digital marketing team with the right mindset and knowhow to really take advantage of its testing and optimization features, it can be a very powerful tool. Problems can arise if your marketing team is not trained in Conversion Rate Optimization and other aspects of Digital Impact Optimization, because to a degree a tool is only as good as the tests that you run. But its optimization as well as integrated dashboard features can be very nice for certain marketing teams. There are plenty of ways to do the same thing in Drupal, but again it's not as "out of the box." 

Both platforms are strong industry leaders and solid choices for the right customer. Contact us for further help making a decision about either platform – we promise to be as unbiased as we can!

Why Drupal Remains a Leading CMS in 2019

Web development

The digital landscape is changing, and with it are increasing demands on content management systems (CMSes) and organizations to keep pace with consumer needs. Users are demanding more personalized experiences, greater connectivity between devices, and more interactive elements in their web experiences. Organizations want websites that grow with your digital technology and business needs and help you achieve your goals.

In this blog, we cover what features you should look for in a CMS and why Drupal is one of the strongest options on the market in 2019:

1. Drupal As A Web Experience Management System

2. Targeted, Personalized User Experiences And User Interface

3. Contextual Digital Experiences

4. High Tech And Innovative Marketing Tools

5. Leading Tools For Metadata And Taxonomy

With over one million users worldwide, Drupal is one of the top website solutions because of its robust and flexible infrastructure, innovative design, and open source modules. Drupal also gives organizations access to countless free tools and information to help you get the right features, functionality, and design.

Drupal 8, the most current release, will turn 4 years old on May 19, 2019, and already it has moved in the direction of being a leading platform to meet the demand for interactivity, personalization and scalable tools. Its powerful built-in modules make it easy to use right out of the box. As well, Drupal users gain access to a seemingly endless offering of dynamic, flexible, and ever-evolving modules that pay dividends as organizations look to integrate new tools for analytics, optimization, e-commerce, marketing, and automation.

 

[For a more in-depth explanation of the process behind choosing the right CMS, please visit our post Choosing the Best CMS for Your Website]

 

1. Drupal as a Web Experience Management System

Drupal differs from much of the competition in that it makes it easy for organizations and marketers to integrate third-party tools. This is because the Drupal CMS has made a point of being a flexible platform that performs more like a web experience management system – giving you the ability to integrate your favorite customer relationship management (CRM) software, such as Salesforce, or inbound marketing platforms into your website, rather than making you use proprietary automation and analytics tools. This is why Drupal is a clear choice for organizations that want to seamlessly integrate your preferred third-party technology with your website.

 

2. Targeted and Personalized User Experiences and User Interface

Websites are both your storefront and salesperson, and while clicks might be good, visitors to your website who convert into customers or donors are even better. Drupal 8 has built-in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) tools and modules that support the needs of the modern customer for personalized, interactive, and targeted experiences when they visit your website. Drupal 8’s advanced system also makes it easier for your development team to build and maintain your website, sparing your team countless hours of frustration and, possibly, expletives.

Quick UX and UI Definitions

Briefly, while UX implies all of the elements of a website that a user interacts with and how pleasing they find that experience, UI is how someone interacts with a website, such as through web pages, menus, or buttons.

How Drupal Leads in UX and UI

There are several built-in and contributed modules that supercharge Drupal, making it the best choice among content management systems for these reasons:  

  • Personalization – give your users the experience that’s right for them using one of several content personalization modules for Drupal, including Personalization Module, Browsing History Recommender, Commerce Recommender, and Context-Menu Block.

  • Enhanced caching capabilities – Drupal leads in terms of page loading efficiency and speed thanks to BigPipe and other caching optimization modules.

  • Responsive design – whether a visitor to your website is using a smartphone, tablet or desktop, Drupal 8’s out-of-the-box responsive web design scales and modifies to fit their screens.

  • Social media modules – easily connect online customers to your Twitter and Facebook social media feeds from your website with one of Drupal’s several social media integrations modules.

  • Contextual blocks – drag and drop blocks to rearrange the appearance of text and images on your website. You can also repeat the same block in multiple regions throughout your page, giving you greater design flexibility.

  • Comment fields – Drupal 8 allows you to display comments on different parts of your page, and you can have more than one type of comment, such as private notes to users and adding comments to comments.

  • Multilingual functionality – these features are built right into Drupal 8 core and give you the power to translate your site or have the language displayed on your website shift depending on the user’s geographic location.

  • WYSIWYG editor – a much-appreciated feature that allows users to sneak a peek at how the text and images they’ve entered into the text editor will look before pushing the “publish” button.

  • Quick Edit – type directly into a text editor in Drupal to cut down on the time required for adding and uploading content to your website.

Enhancing your UX and UI is akin to cleaning shop so that you have a more presentable, inviting, and efficient store for your customers to visit and staff to work in. The nice thing about laying your storefront on a Drupal foundation is that you’re pretty much guaranteed to be working on solid ground.

 

3. Contextual Digital Experiences

Drupal 8 gives organizations the tools they need to create tailored customer experiences. Your website should meet the needs of your visitors, guiding them towards that all-important purchasing decision from the moment your webpage loads. And, as Forrester notes, in today’s market, that means using customer-centric interactions that make each visitor to your site feel like their experience has been tailored to meet their individual needs. It’s essential that your CMS support the growing demands on software and design, including acting as a consistent guide across the customer journey.

Access to robust APIs is one essential ingredient all websites need if they’re going to win the top prize at an online marketing fair. The amazing thing about Drupal is that its international team of expert volunteers continually updates and improves upon years of insight and development already built into the Drupal machine.

The release of Drupal 8 heralded in several new APIs, which simplify and streamline the development process, as well as making a website more intuitive for customers:

  • The RESTful Web Services API in Drupal 8 supports a decoupled Drupal site; the communication between native mobile iOS/Android apps and a Drupal site; and, integration with web services.

  • Render API enhances the user experience through faster page rendering, and better caching protocols.

  • Drupal 8’s Translation API can adjust language on your website depending on where your viewer lives.

Added to this, Drupal’s flexible interface makes it easy to mold it to fit almost any systems architecture with tools and features that improve the experience of customers and programmers.

 

4. High Tech and Innovative Marketing Tools

As static websites fade away and are replaced by dynamic content across many different digital touch-points, organizations are looking for a CMS that stays in step with new sales and customer engagement technologies. E-commerce is another area in which Drupal excels. Drupal has been seamlessly integrated into the commerce platforms of companies like Tesla, IBM WebSphere Commerce, Magento, Puma, and Motorola to drive sales through better customer interactions.

The Google Analytics module allows you to collect all-important customer data and make adjustments to optimize how well your Drupal site speaks to and engages your target market. 

 

5. Leading Tools for Metadata and Taxonomy

According to a 2017 Forrester report, semantic structure plays a key role in the working lives of content authors and managers. Auto-tagging tools, such as Drupal’s Metatag module, allows you to add meta tags to your website automatically – an asset for search engine optimization (SEO). Drupal’s Metatags module also allows you to shape how your content appears on social media sites with such APIs as Twitter Cards for Twitter and Facebook’s Open Graph protocol, giving you the ability to share consistent messages across platforms.

Another key asset for websites in 2019 is having a flexible and intuitive taxonomy system. Drupal’s built-in taxonomy system is designed to simplify how you organize your content, with the help of keywords. This intuitive content classification system has obvious benefits: it makes it easier to organize information on your website, including by theme, and to navigate to search terms and set viewing options. Drupal’s flexible taxonomy system is designed to support the growth of your organization, so you can continue to add more content and features to your website without bursting your CMS’s seams.

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Get the right support from Origin Eight’s Drupal and CMS experts. Contact us for a free consultation. 

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Kenneth

Kenneth wears many hats for the company but his main responsibilities are administrative assistance, human resources, AP, and AR. Prior to joining Origin Eight, he worked remotely for several web design and marketing clients as a freelance executive assistant, online researcher, and project manager. 

He earned his Public Administration degree from the University of the Philippines-Diliman where he was an active member of political organizations.

Kenneth loves spending his free time playing fingerstyle guitar, watching any ancient times documentary, and sleeping. 

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Ready for D8 Series: 5 Reasons to Upgrade to Drupal 8 Now

Drupal 8 upgrade - Time is now!

I'm going to keep this short and sweet! It's only 5 reasons, after all, although there are many more. 

  1. Upgrading a Drupal 8 site to Drupal 9 should be comparatively painless, unlike previous versions. Drupal 8 (D8) is the most future-proof version to date. The more you invest in your Drupal 7 site, the less you are investing in a long-term, future-proof site with which you can continually optimize in order to boost growth.
  2. Contributed modules are ready! You can either install the Upgrade Status module on your D7 site to see your personalized upgrade path, or take a look at the Contrib Tracker resources.  
  3. D8 is built on a model of continuous innovation – it just keeps getting better and better in a way that Drupal 7 never did. For example, usability is continually improving as you can see in the animations here in Drupal 8.2, followed by more improvements in 8.3. 
  4. Pushing changes to the live site is more reliable, using configuration management. This is a huge step in making Drupal 8 an even more professional platform and enterprise-ready.  
  5. There is even a module to automatically upgrade much of your D7 code to D8https://www.drupal.org/project/drupalmoduleupgrader 

Our team is comprised of Drupal experts and community veterans. One of our team members has been developing and contributing to Drupal for 12+ years, and our CEO has been a member for 8+. We've done several D8 migrations and are a friendly, ingenious, highly-responsive team. Let's set up a call to discuss!

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Seth

In no particular order... Seth has built websites for famous artists like Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey, led a team as CTO at a social network startup company, presented at Stanford and the International Society for Neuronal Regulation Conference on an EEG study in consciousness, travelled to Tokyo for data center network security assessments, worked on world-class e-commerce software as a software engineer, and provided Drupal expertise for Estee Lauder and their many international brands.

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Ready for D8 Series: What You Need to Know Before Upgrading to Drupal 8

Migrating to Drupal 8

Now that Drupal 8 is over a year old, many organizations are more comfortable than ever upgrading their website to this dynamic and powerful content management system (CMS) solution. Several organizations with existing Drupal websites are switching over to this latest version of the Drupal software, others have converted from competitor open source software, such as WordPress, because of the additional functionality that comes baked into the Drupal 8 platform. However, there are important considerations, including upgrades, requirements and security features in Drupal 8 that every organization should know before taking the plunge.

Origins of Drupal 8

In October 2015, Drupal 8 became the latest and greatest version of the Drupal software to hit the market. The open source platform is the product of countless hours dedicated by a team composed almost entirely of volunteer developers who upgrade to the software, make any necessary fixes and address security concerns.

Thanks to the tireless work of Drupal’s core development team, there are currently over one million Drupal sites and the Drupal software remains a top competitor on the CMS market. Drupal’s advanced software, flexibility and functionality are a few of the many reasons why so many organizations are choosing this cutting edge technology for their websites. But before you make your decision, here are some key points to bear in mind.

GETTING STARTED

The Drupal platform has advanced in leaps and bounds over the years. While Drupal 8 has many similarities to its predecessor, Drupal 7, there are several significant differences you need to know about before migrating your content or creating a Drupal 8 website from scratch.

Finding A Hosting Home

Now that Drupal 8 has reached a greater level of maturity, you can choose from numerous dedicated Drupal webhosting solutions. A basic web search will show you just how many companies are out there! However, it’s essential that you find a hosting company that can support the technical requirements – such as PHP 5.5 and MySQL 5.5 – of a Drupal 8 website.

Some main points of consideration to help you select a web host for your site:

  • For newbies, you might want to start small with a shared hosting account
  • Consider the present and near-future needs of your organization and website
  • Learn about options for upgrading and growing your hosting services       
  • Assess the webhosting company’s reliability, security and customer service
  • Compare initial and renewal pricing and services to get the best bang for your buck
  • Find out if the hosting company will be able to meet your additional domain needs
  • Double-check that your host will backup your website
  • Check whether or not their hosting control panel is user-friendly

Installation Is Easier Than Ever

One of many highly welcome improvements that makes Drupal 8 a superior product is how it’s much easier to install than previous versions. For those wanting to update a Drupal 6 or 7 website, Drupal’s Migrate API can help you to easily move into a Drupal 8 site and track the changes made. The Migrate Plus module, new for Drupal 8, also includes sub-modules that can assist with migrations from non-Drupal, as well as Drupal, sources. Migrate Tools gives you even more support to run and manage migrating your content to Drupal 8.

A new system of storing core files in Drupal 8 also speeds up the installation process and creates an additional safeguard against your site’s files being overwritten when installing future updates.

As an added bonus, several modules that once needed to be downloaded separately – such as Views and Entity API – are now included in Drupal 8 core. So there’s much less you need to install out of the box!

Drupal 8 core’s Configuration Management tool helps with synchronizing, importing and exporting items. Its main purpose is to make it easier for developers to take a copy of your live site to create a development site where changes can be made without affecting what appears online – before importing those changes to the live site. One of the drivers behind Drupal 8’s Configuration Management Initiative was the multilingual capabilities developers can now access in Drupal 8 to create sites in a variety of different languages. These enhancements found in Drupal 8 dramatically simplify the website migration and development process for many organizations.

SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS

Switching to a new platform for your website can be intimidating, particularly when it comes to understanding its security features. Many organizations need to know that their new website will be able to comply with organizational policies, protect sensitive information and guard against threats. Right out of the box, Drupal 8 has enhanced security features that make it an enticing CMS solution, even for large financial institutions like Nasdaq Corporate Solutions Investor Relations, which uses Drupal 8 for their website.

But before you embrace Drupal 8, it’s important to familiarize yourself and/or your development team and staff with your organization’s online security needs and create a plan for building safeguards into the framework of your website. Here are some major considerations to bear in mind as you map out your new site.  

Getting Your Development Team Ready For Drupal 8

Some big changes come packaged with Drupal 8. Before you get started on locking down the security of your site, make sure that your development team is ready to work with Drupal 8’s object-oriented programming (OOP) design. Drupal 8 has moved away from the specialized core architecture of previous versions, to using cleaner and industry standard development tools, such as OPP, Symfony PHP and Twig. Symfony’s routing replaces Drupal-specific routing in previous versions and makes it easier to include more third party PHP components in Drupal 8. OOP and Symfony may present a learning curve for some developers. However, the inclusion of these modern programming tools in Drupal 8 opens the door for further security enhancements and gives you access to a broader talent base of developers who can confidently work with them.    

A couple of security enhancements found in Drupal 8 worth noting, which we cover in-depth in this blog post, include:

  • More flexible and enhanced security controls against hackers and trolls thanks to the introduction of Symfony PHP and Twig
  • Configuration API and YAML for tracking configuration changes

The official Drupal Security Support Team also shares information about bugs and makes available fixes that you and your development team can access through project pages on the drupal.org website.

Additional Security

The standard Drupal 8 installation comes with more built-in modules than previous versions, meaning that many important security features are already baked in. However, there are also thousands of actively maintained modules – and over a 100 that have met a development status of “maintenance fixes only” as of early 2017 – available for Drupal 8. Community contributed modules can be a safe bet when they are actively maintained, but look for stable releases from the Drupal team as a failsafe when in doubt.

Warning For Drupal 6 And Earlier Sites

Something you need to know if you’re an organization using Drupal 6 or an earlier version for your website is that your site is no longer protected by Drupal’s Security Support Team. This means that Drupal 6 and earlier websites are more vulnerable to attacks from malware and bugs in the software. Upgrading to either Drupal 7 or 8 is recommended in this situation to benefit from the additional support and security afforded to these more recent versions of Drupal. Of course, once Drupal 9 is released, Drupal 7 websites will also have a limited time in which to update their software to Drupal 8 or 9 before they also lose access to Drupal’s Security Support Team. In terms of longevity, it makes a lot of sense to upgrade your website to the most recent version, currently Drupal 8, to give your team more time to upgrade once Drupal 9 is released.  

UNDERSTANDING DRUPAL’S NEW RELEASE CYCLE

The Drupal development team has committed to a regular release cycle with the advent of Drupal 8. Designed to enhance the predictability and speed of updates to the software, Drupal 8 ships an update – such as 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, etc. – every six months instead of on an ad hoc basis, as was the case with previous versions. This change improves the predictability of software updates and means Drupal 8 will evolve over time with additional features and fixes.  

In the past, there were no clear guidelines regarding when a new release would be made available. For example, Drupal 8 came almost five years after Drupal 7 was released in January 2011, compared with three years between Drupal 6 and Drupal 7. Determining when the next version of Drupal hit the market often hinged on whether there were enough new features ready to go. The present six-month release cycle is designed to address this problem by establishing predictable timelines for when new features will be added to the software, and to provide an estimated release date for the next version of Drupal, which will be Drupal 9.

Pro tip: Because of Drupal 8’s regular release cycle, it’s best to use stable APIs and well-maintained contributed modules to avoid any problems when the next version of Drupal – for example Drupal 8.3 or 8.4 – is released.

Make the move to Drupal 8 today! Contact Origin Eight for a free consultation: 612-276-5880 or leave details on our contact page

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Seth

In no particular order... Seth has built websites for famous artists like Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey, led a team as CTO at a social network startup company, presented at Stanford and the International Society for Neuronal Regulation Conference on an EEG study in consciousness, travelled to Tokyo for data center network security assessments, worked on world-class e-commerce software as a software engineer, and provided Drupal expertise for Estee Lauder and their many international brands.

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Ready for D8 Series: Why Switching to Drupal 8 Is The Best Solution For Your Organization

Switching to D8 graphic with Drupal 8 logo

New features that come baked into Drupal 8 core make it faster, easier, and safer than ever to use this robust content management system (CMS) solution. It’s a compelling option for forward-thinking organizations looking for a flexible open source platform to grow your online presence and keep pace with the latest advances in website development technology.

The latest version of the Drupal software is Drupal 8, which launched in November 2015. Unlike previous versions, the Drupal 8 team has made a commitment to adhere to a regular schedule for major, minor and patch releases. This means that the Drupal 8 you see today will continue to improve incrementally as upgrades are made and new features and functionality are rolled out. It’s a CMS gift that keeps on giving and our initial predictions about the benefits of Drupal 8 to clients are being validated.

 

FASTER IS BETTER

Right out-of-the-box, Drupal 8 has over 200 features and improvements that make it a more robust CMS solution than its predecessors Drupal 7 or Drupal 6, including several caching improvements to manage the additional bulk of features without compromising website speed. And, as everyone knows, site speed is a significant factor in SEO and provides increased user engagement for your site.

Caching stores pages and page elements so they can be generated quickly when requested in the future. It’s a key component for determining page load speed, and the overall quality of the user experience you offer visitors to your website. A faster page load speed equals a better user experience, greater conversion from visitors to customers and a higher overall score on the Search Engine Results Page.

Dynamic Page Caching

A major upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 comes in the form of cache tags. Drupal 8 assigns any number of catch tags to a cache item on a website. These cache tags describe the item being cached and remove the item when it’s no longer valid. As a result, you get a faster, more streamlined caching process that includes exposing tags to reverse proxies to ensure that the invalidation is applied throughout the website’s delivery architecture.

Unlike Drupal 7, Drupal 8 comes with the option for dynamic page caching. This allows Drupal 8 websites to cache pages without the personalized parts, which are turned into placeholders. Anonymous users will automatically have their page caching activated for six weeks, making serving these users much faster using Drupal 8. Authenticated users may also reap the benefits of dynamic page caching because of the scalability of the module. It’s a significant improvement, as Drupal 7 required a lot more work to achieve lesser results.

See It Sooner With Rendering Pipeline

Another big leap forward for Drupal 8 is the introduction of the rendering pipeline – modeled after Facebook’s BigPipe, which breaks down webpages into pagelets and renders them in stages. Similarly, Drupal 8’s rendering pipeline prioritizes the rendering of content on a webpage, bringing the main parts of the page into focus before such things as sidebars, menu items and other content that is generally slower to load.

Users see the important eye-catching content on a page first, while slower items that don’t have as much of an impact on the perceived speed of the website and the user experience have a chance to load.

See You Sometimes JavaScript

Delivering a product that is lean and mean was definitely on the minds of the Drupal 8 development team. On top of improvements to caching and rendering, they’ve also put a lot of effort into making sure that pages get the information and code they need, and no more. So they cut out the JavaScript fat by only sending it to pages that need to use it. Sending smaller bits of code and information at a time results in a faster, more efficient information machine.

Automated Testing

Another performance booster is the automated tester, built by the Drupal development team. The automated tester makes sure fixed bugs stay fixed. Every time a fix is made in Drupal 8, a test is generated to fix the bug should it reappear.

 

MAKE IT SIMPLE – A CMS SOLUTION WITH EASE OF USE IN MIND

It seems every year technology upgrades are moving towards making it easier for users to interact with software. Drupal 8 is no exception to the rule. In fact, the Drupal 8 core development team has sculpted their latest upgrade into the most intuitive and easy to use form yet. For example, core infrastructure functionality is built into Drupal 8. So unlike Drupal 7, you don’t have to download many essential modules, such as Views and Picture – they’re already included in Drupal 8!

Easier Text Editing

For day-to-day content authoring and editing, one of the best features that drastically increases the convenience factor is Drupal 8’s WYSIWYG text editor – now included in core, whereas, previously, one had to configure 2 or more modules to get the same functionality. It allows you to add, edit and preview content in the front end of your website before your content goes live. The Quick Edit feature is an even faster method of adding or changing text in-place for rapid amendments. The CKEditor will also spellcheck what you type in your browser to help you catch those pesky spelling errors before publishing your content.

Don’t Worry, We Can Translate That

Developers can now access multilingual translation capabilities with Drupal 8. Using Drupal 8’s powerful Multilingual modules, you can quickly and easily build sites in a variety of languages and/or translate the content of an entire website into another language. Now that’s music to our ears.

Help Is A Click Away

Confused about what a feature does? Access numerous helpful tips while working on your Drupal site with the Tour module, included in Drupal 8 core. When this module is enabled, Tour provides pop-up bubbles of tips and information about many different features of your website, and becomes a handy reference for newer users.

There are also plenty of online resources available free of charge to help guide you and your development team through the learning process of using Drupal 8. The Drupal.org website is stacked with free information, and there are also plenty of blog posts and articles covering a variety of tips and tricks for optimizing your Drupal 8 experience.

 

SAFETY FIRST – WHAT MAKES DRUPAL 8 MORE SECURE

Concerned about hackers, ransomware, computer viruses or other threats to your valuable web property? Online security is an ever-present concern for corporations and website visitors alike, and organizations are taking concerted steps to reduce risk by only choosing software with built-in security features.

Drupal is a leader in data security, with many advanced features designed to address the ever-present scourge of cyber threats. And more organizations are choosing Drupal for that very reason, including The White House and Nasdaq Corporate Solutions.

Drupal 8 has taken security measures one step further from previous versions of Drupal. The introduction of Symfony PHP and its PHP template engine, Twig, in Drupal 8 makes it possible for developers to have more control over markup and input. This comes in handy when your website has an open commenting system, which can often be targeted by hackers and aggressive spammers. Using Drupal 8, your development team can implement more safeguards to protect your site against hackers and trolls alike.

For Drupal 8 sites with custom themes, it’s also good to know that Twig auto-escaping is enabled. This places an added layer of protection on your site. Unless a string is flagged as safe, no changes should be made to the look and style of your site with auto-escaping enabled.

Symfony has become the industry standard for PHP applications, making it a smart addition to the Drupal 8 release. Like Drupal in general, it’s open source, meaning that Symfony’s source code can be used and modified by anyone, anywhere. And thanks to its widespread use, Drupal 8 developers now also have access to a vast community of Symfony users who are constantly scouring for bugs and sharing fixes.

Code Configuration Tracking

Drupal 8 uses the Configuration API to store information and YAML as the file storage format for its configuration management system. What’s good about this change – in Drupal 7, these functions would have been represented in PHP code – is that it’s easier in Drupal 8 to track changes made to the configuration of your site. This comes in handy in organizational environments where it’s important to have rigorous controls on configuration, and the ability to roll back changes that have undesirable effects.

Drupal Security Team To The Rescue

Unlike some CMS solutions, Drupal has a dedicated Drupal official security support team that provides a coordinated and efficient approach to ensure the security of Drupal websites. The team was officially launched in 2005, according to Drupal’s website, and it’s goals are to:

  • Resolve reported security issues in a Security Advisory
  • Provide assistance for contributed module maintainers in resolving security issues
  • Provide documentation on how to write secure code
  • Provide documentation on securing your site
  • Help the infrastructure team to keep the drupal.org infrastructure secure

Drupal users with a security concern can report it on the appropriate drupal.org project page or you can send an email directly to Drupal’s security team.

The security features and services found in Drupal 8 make a lot of sense in today’s online environment where cyber hacking and other security threats are an ongoing concern. Knowing that Drupal has you covered can help free up more of your time, so you can concentrate on reaching online audiences and growing your business.

Interested in upgrading to a Drupal 8 site? Contact Origin Eight for a free consultation: 612-276-5880 or leave details on our Contact Page

 

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Clients Will Love Drupal 8 Because...

Clients Will Love Drupal

The buzz about Drupal 8 is real, and the upgrade is ready for primetime.

At ORIGIN EIGHT, we are proud to have a talented and diverse development team with lots of experience of working with client partners in a multitude of industries. We asked them what they thought clients would like about Drupal 8 and we got some enthusiastic feedback. Here is a compilation of responses that reveal concrete benefits that clients will appreciate:

CK

Drupal 8 provides improved editorial experience, coupled with streamlined internationalization and translation. This will appeal to clients who are heavy on content, especially with an international presence and shifting the control over to editorial teams.

Paul

Drupal 8's "fast-by-default" performance improvements will allow clients to see rewards in page load times as soon as they build their D8 site. In addition, the more granular caching system will allow clients to create customized pages without sacrificing page load times.

Tim

Drupal 8 has been geared towards Responsive Design from the beginning and includes all the building blocks needed to make a Righteous Responsive Site!!!

Justin

Easier to integrate with other platforms/services
More flexible caching for better server performance
Better user interface and user experience

Megan

I think that what a client will like depends on the client and what is important to them. If they produce a lot of content, and need to manage it on a day-to-day basis, they'll appreciate the streamlined user interface and improved content management tools. If they are worried about maintaining separate dev/staging/production environments, they'll like the new configuration management. If they're worried about site speed and performance they'll like that performance has been a big focus for Drupal 8.

You could say that all clients care about these things, but I think they all have different priorities :)

David

Drupal 8 is more than mobile friendly, It’s mobile first--all built-in themes are responsive. Also, multilingual capabilities have been improved a lot, allowing translation of anything in the system. Performance with Drupal 8 has also been improved; basic sites can be spun up in a matter of minutes.

Moises

Drupal 8 was designed for growth. It is scalable and it allows projects to grow in the future as required. Drupal 8 = responsive + performance + scalable = the base your project needs.

With Drupal 8 you will receive constant updates, and fixing security issues and adding new functionality will be easier than ever.

***

So, the response from our developers is a resounding yes to Drupal 8 being a win for clients. It is rightly hailed as a ground-breaking release that offers an improved developer experience, and an enhanced platform for client partners to offer a better digital experience for site users, content creators and administrators.

If you’d like to discuss what a Drupal 8 upgrade can do for your business, please contact us. We will evaluate your site and determine if an upgrade is timely and appropriate for your organization. If you agree that it is, we can put together an appropriate action plan for you.

Contact us for a free consultation:

(612) 276-5880

Use our online contact form.