Planet Drupal

Srijan Technologies: Hello, Drupal 8.7! We've Been Expecting You

3 weeks 1 day ago

Web development has moved forward from writing websites by developing codes to a place where people can assemble the websites. And that is where the Drupal community is focusing on to advance - building assembled web experiences.

Drupal 8.7 releases today, on 1 May. It is in sync with that same roadmap (building assembled websites) providing enhanced customization, stable features, better UI and what not?

Here’s a quick and comprehensive guide for you to track what’s new in version 8.7 and how it paves the way for Drupal 9.

Drupal Association blog: DrupalCon Seattle 2019 Round Tables - Event Organizers

3 weeks 1 day ago

Every year at DrupalCon, we aim to bring together people with a common interest who need to move a potential initiative forward or work together in other ways to help grow Drupal.

In Seattle, we brought together a room full of event organizers. This is the story of two hours locked in a room, deep in the heart of the Seattle Convention Center…

Invitees

Thomas Scola, Michael Miles, Karthik Kalimuthu, Jessica Dearie, April Sides, Aimee Decker, Aimee Degnan, Michael Hess, Kaleem Clarkson, Jesse Hofmann-Smith, Jared Stoneberg, Rick Hawkins, Michael Anello, Leslie Glynn, Dan Moriarty, Kevin Thull, Jeremy Rasmussen, Quincy Austin , Brian Gilbert, Dori Kelner, Suzanne Dergacheva, Gábor Hojtsy, Steven Hughes, Raul Solano, Owen Lansbury, Dane Rossenrode, Juan Pablo Novillo Requena, Stephanie Lüpold, Kazu Hodota, Baddy Sonja Breidert, Nick Switzer, Elli Ludwigson, Matthew Saunders, Kelly Albrecht, Narcisse Mbunzama, Shawn Duncan, Pat Gilbert, Oyekan Abiodun, Mark Casias, Darren Oh, Gregg Marshall, Anson Han, Raed Al-khurayji, Gaurav Mishra, Shadab Ashraf,, Hussain Abbas, Jordana Fung, Josef Dabernig, Tushar Thatikonda, and myself - Rachel Lawson.

If I have missed any of your names, I apologise. Please let me know and I will update. Thank you to all who attended and especially to Avi Schwab who volunteered to take notes.

Process

Some weeks before DrupalCon Seattle, I consulted with a number of people and devised a series of questions to pose to the room, to get the conversations started. I then divided the audience into groups and assigned each one of the questions, asking them to get together and prepare a five-minute “presentation” without recourse to audiovisual aids like a screen. I want to hear what they have to say, not look at fancy slides. There then followed 15 minutes of discussion including the whole room.

Once the round table began, we initially did a quick voting exercise to ensure we worked on the topics in priority order, plus some custom ordering to take into account not everyone can be in the room for the whole two hours. It is DrupalCon after all!

Topics

More topics were initially set than were discussed. We took a group decision to spend more time on each topic, so lower priority items fell off the bottom until another day.

The following represent notes taken during the day and some reflection on the general flow of the discussion.

Event Organizers as an “Official” Group?

We discussed whether we should look to form an “official” group, with a charter etc, that looks to help events coordinate and collaborate.

  • Fostering the next generation of Drupalists
  • Surfacing smaller events on Drupal.org
  • Marketing camps to students and young people
  • More case studies and paired sessions “How Disney/WWE/J&J made their website”
  • Get agencies to engage clients. Win (camp) win (agency) win (client).
  • How do we create value?
  • We already have revenue, discussed below how we might turn that into value?
  • Regional financial entities
  • But maybe higher level organization to help create them
  • Example: National Endowment for the Arts - national grants
  • Regional, local all their own organizations
  • Group representation:
  • Globally diverse
  • Diverse among camp sizes
  • Intentionally contracting to do work and solve our problems
  • Two separate things
  • Global “Just enough” organization to support events
  • Fiscal sponsorship & financial
  • Who should this organization report to?
  • Dries? DA?
  • The DA is listening now. They’re good at doing events.
  • Dries is only one Human Being
  • Fewer and fewer working groups are reporting to him
  • Global working group as CONNECTORS between groups. Some groups need very little, some need help being lifted up. How do we pool our resources together to solve event org problems?

There was certainly the will to create an official group and to put the necessary work into making it representative of the global event community. I’m highly encouraged by this and looking forward to this happening.

What can we (Dries + DA) do to help you get your event to the next level?

We wanted to understand how the Drupal Association especially could provide the right support to events.

Summary:

  • Form for organizers to fill out before and after the event
  • Drupal Association could help organize resource library for organizers
  • Events would like to have some consistent opening slides that describe and promote the Drupal Association
  • DA to promote Ticket sales
  • Events want to be able to register as Drupal Association Supporting Partners under a new level just for them.

Discussion:

  • DATA is worth its weight in gold - we all benefit by collecting data about each event in terms of numbers of attendees, sponsorship revenues, speakers, etc.
  • Data could go into standardized letter for requesting sponsorship
  • Templates for requesting sponsorships, also for saying thank you.
  • Educate potential sponsors the value of these events
  • Should a standardized CoC be required for DA support? What happens if someone doesn’t check the “We have a CoC” checkbox? Is it just required?
  • Could we enforce participation through enforcement of the trademark?
  • That might make more work for Dries in defending it
  • Put other value behind agreement
  • Could tie into CWG initiative to train CoC people
  • Create a Speaker Directory for diverse speakers
  • Incentivizing getting into the “Speaker Directory” could be a great honor
  • Add to form: where did we find the speaker?
  • Speaker Selection Panels
  • D.o profile list speaking engagements
  • Site distro for camps/starter kits/COD
  • Drupal Europe is out there
  • We have the resources in $$$, could gather resources and hire someone to do it
  • Separation of Tasks from the Drupal Association

It seems that the greatest input the Drupal Association can have right now for event management is related to data and, especially, on Drupal.org. We should look to create a plan that takes input from this discussion, Suzanne Dergacheva (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QZppszEs_7J5P4gzXnCjHSfDoCZD0TfCDntXyGyhgzM/edit#) and Rachel Lawson’s (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Su5spAtDg_viKsCqxcaWg9DZ-T08DNot9MAOJRUCVek ) discussion documents on what that data should be. 

We should look to represent data on Drupal.org wherever possible, rather than Google docs.

Define a mission statement for why we organize events and how to measure success

One of the key factors to success of the project is coordination across all the places people interact with it. Having a common agreed-upon description of what in-person events are attempting to achieve would help. We wanted to know what would be involved in reaching such a common understanding through a mission statement.

  • Taxonomy?
  • Set up focus group to define a common taxonomy.
  • What kind of sessions does a camp want?
  • Is the event mission-based or just regional
  • Grow the community, awareness thereof, and lead collaboration across open source communities
  • Scaling only happens when there’s demand
  • Focus on the higher-level goals will pull up the lower ones
  • We’re not doing any benefit to ourselves if we just keep talking to the same group of people
  • How do we implement the data collection?
  • Define & measure our KPI’s.
  • Cross-pollinate camp participation
  • Dashboard to improve visibility and encourage participation
  • “Help people exploit and promote drupal”
  • Improve skills
  • Improve the product
  • Connect people to resources, clients to solutions, providers to clients, etc
  • How do we measure success?
  • D.o signups for the event (groups.d.o is… not super)
  • Add Drupal Ladder status to profile pages (and track how that coincides with event attendance)
  • How do you use Drupal? (and check change over time)
  • Reporting how many people participate in contribution
  • Social media mentions
  • Connect to a tag 

A good discussion on exactly why we run events and defining what we want to achieve with them. Great to hear people saying that it is not enough to simply keep talking to the same people - part of an event’s mission should normally be attractive to people new to Drupal so we continue to grow.

The room agreed that a good mission statement for events would be “Help people exploit and promote drupal

Focussed Output

Dries had a very powerful slide in his Driesnote that set the focus for the upcoming year, for the whole project.


Slide from the Driesnote, photo by Rachel Lawson 

I was keen to walk out of the room with an agreed focus for the group and we settled on the following, in order:

  1. Let’s do what’s needed to make the group official
  2. Let’s work on the ecosystem - how do we provide things like fiscal sponsorship across events of all sizes in US?
  3. We need to start collecting data from events in a single place.
Next Steps

Sticking to the focus above, the group who attended and others will be looking into the requirements for an official group to be formed, with a charter etc. Activities here should be updated as blog posts in www.drupal.org/community/event-organizers

Lessons Learned

My own lesson out of the exercise is that everyone has a very full timetable at DrupalCon and to make the invites much earlier before the event, to give people lots of preparation time. This also needs to be more clear of the facilities available in the room!

I will also look into adding the round tables into the official program, still as invite-only events but at least people can see them more easily and plan their days.

I Want to Hear from You

I want to continue to hold round tables in the future on this and other topics of interest in the community. 

What community initiatives should we be getting people together to look at the future? Let me know in the comments!

Drupal blog: Welcoming Heather Rocker as Drupal Association Executive Director

3 weeks 1 day ago

This blog has been re-posted and edited with permission from Dries Buytaert's blog.

The Drupal Association is announcing that Heather Rocker, former CEO of Girls, Inc. and Executive Director of Women in Technology, is joining as its next Executive Director.
 

The Drupal Association announced today that Heather Rocker has been selected as its next executive director.

This is exciting news because it concludes a seven-month search since Megan Sanicki left.

We looked long and hard for someone who could help us grow the global Drupal community by building on its diversity, working with developers and agency partners, and expanding our work with new audiences such as content creators and marketers.

The Drupal Association (including me) believes that Heather can do all of that, and is the best person to lead Drupal into its next phase of growth.

Heather earned her engineering degree from Georgia Tech. She has dedicated much of her career to working with women in technology, both as the CEO of Girls, Inc. of Greater Atlanta and the Executive Director of Women in Technology.

We were impressed not only with her valuable experience with volunteer organizations, but also her work in the private sector with large customers. Most recently, Heather was part of the management team at Systems Evolution, a team of 250 business consultants, where she specialized in sales operations and managed key client relationships.

She is also a robotics fanatic who organizes and judges competitions for children. So, maybe we’ll see some robots roaming around DrupalCon in the future!

As you can tell, Heather will bring a lot of great experience to the Drupal community and I look forward to partnering with her.

Last but not least, I want to thank Tim Lehnen for serving as our Interim Executive Director. He did a fantastic job leading the Drupal Association through this transition.

Electric Citizen: GDPR and Online Privacy, 1 Year Later

3 weeks 1 day ago

For many of us in the U.S., the GDPR is still a mystery. Although it had been in the works for a long while, it seemed to appear out of nowhere, cause a sudden rush of panic as the deadline to comply arrived, and then disappear without a trace.

At first blush, it seems like the kind of thing we could ignore. That’s Europe’s law, and not America’s. But a closer look suggested it would apply to any site doing business with Europeans, even if it was simply receiving site visitors from Europe. Here at Electric Citizen, that seemed to be a fairly small part of our client base, but something we took seriously nevertheless.

Drupal In the News: Drupal Association appoints Executive Director

3 weeks 1 day ago

Heather Rocker will lead the Association in supporting the global Drupal community.

Washington DC, April 30, 2019 - The Board of Directors of the Drupal Association has voted unanimously to appoint Heather Rocker as Executive Director to lead the Drupal Association.

Adam Goodman, chair of the Drupal Association Board, said, "Drupal is for ambitious digital experiences. Heather’s experience matches this ambition as we seek to increase adoption, diversify and invest in our community, and grow opportunities for builders, agencies, content creators and marketing decision makers. Heather brings seriousness of purpose, character consistent with our values and principles, and lively good humor — just what the Board and I were seeking out for our next leader."

The Drupal Association's mission is to unite a global community to build, promote, and secure the open source Drupal software. Since 2008, the organization has supported a global network of open source contributors; a robust business ecosystem; and has hosted events across 4 continents and more than 20 countries.

Heather Rocker said, "It’s an incredible honor to serve the Drupal Association in this capacity.  This opportunity is not only in alignment with my skills and experience but also with my core belief that outstanding things can be achieved through a dedicated and diverse community of volunteers and partners.  I look forward to building on the solid foundation and collaborative spirit that exists today. "

Heather will begin her work with the Association at the beginning of June.

About Heather

Heather Rocker joins the Drupal Association with a strong history of leadership in technology and the nonprofit world. She was the first executive director of the Women in Technology Foundation, as well as the CEO of Girls Incorporated of Greater Atlanta. Most recently she acted as the Managing Principal of Systems Evolution, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. She also serves as Immediate Past-President of the Board of Directors of Georgia FIRST Robotics.

Dries Buytaert, founder of the Drupal project, said, "I’m confident that Heather will move the Drupal Association into its next chapter. Her skills and experience at building relationships in both the non-profit and technology spaces will be a tremendous asset.  I also believe she’ll be a great partner with me to move forward the Drupal project as a whole."

About Drupal

Drupal is content management software. It is used to make many of the websites and applications you use every day. Drupal has great standard features, easy content authoring, reliable performance, and excellent security. What sets it apart is its flexibility; modularity is one of its core principles. Its tools help you build the versatile, structured content that ambitious web experiences need.

About the Drupal Association

The Drupal Association is dedicated to fostering and supporting the Drupal project, the community and its growth. The Drupal Association helps the Drupal community with funding, infrastructure, education, promotion, distribution and online collaboration at Drupal.org.

###

Media Contact: Rebecca Pilcher
Phone: 503-405-1159 x 705
Email: rebecca@association.drupal.org

Dries Buytaert: Welcoming Heather Rocker as Drupal Association Executive Director

3 weeks 1 day ago

The Drupal Association announced today that Heather Rocker has been selected as its next executive director.

This is exciting news because it concludes a seven month search since Megan Sanicki left.

We looked long and hard for someone who could help us grow the global Drupal community by building on its diversity, working with developers and agency partners, and expanding our work with new audiences such as content creators and marketers.

The Drupal Association (including me) believes that Heather can do all of that, and is the best person to lead Drupal into its next phase of growth.

Heather earned her engineering degree from Georgia Tech. She has dedicated much of her career to working with women in technology, both as the CEO of Girls, Inc. of Greater Atlanta and the Executive Director of Women in Technology.

We were impressed not only with her valuable experience with volunteer organizations, but also her work in the private sector with large customers. Most recently, Heather was part of the management team at Systems Evolution, a team of 250 business consultants, where she specialized in sales operations and managed key client relationships.

She is also a robotics fanatic who organizes and judges competitions for children. So, maybe we’ll see some robots roaming around DrupalCon in the future!

As you can tell, Heather will bring a lot of great experience to the Drupal community and I look forward to partnering with her.

Last but not least, I want to thank Tim Lehnen for serving as our Interim Executive Director. He did a fantastic job leading the Drupal Association through this transition.

Drupal Association blog: Drupal Association appoints Executive Director

3 weeks 1 day ago

Heather Rocker will lead the Association in supporting the global Drupal community.

Washington DC, April 30, 2019 - The Board of Directors of the Drupal Association has voted unanimously to appoint Heather Rocker as Executive Director to lead the Drupal Association.

Adam Goodman, chair of the Drupal Association Board, said, "Drupal is for ambitious digital experiences. Heather’s experience matches this ambition as we seek to increase adoption, diversify and invest in our community, and grow opportunities for builders, agencies, content creators and marketing decision makers. Heather brings seriousness of purpose, character consistent with our values and principles, and lively good humor — just what the Board and I were seeking out for our next leader."

The Drupal Association's mission is to unite a global community to build, promote, and secure the open source Drupal software. Since 2008, the organization has supported a global network of open source contributors; a robust business ecosystem; and has hosted events across 4 continents and more than 20 countries.

Heather Rocker said, "It’s an incredible honor to serve the Drupal Association in this capacity.  This opportunity is not only in alignment with my skills and experience but also with my core belief that outstanding things can be achieved through a dedicated and diverse community of volunteers and partners.  I look forward to building on the solid foundation and collaborative spirit that exists today. "

Heather will begin her work with the Association at the beginning of June.

About Heather

Heather Rocker joins the Drupal Association with a strong history of leadership in technology and the nonprofit world. She was the first executive director of the Women in Technology Foundation, as well as the CEO of Girls Incorporated of Greater Atlanta. Most recently she acted as the Managing Principal of Systems Evolution, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. She also serves as Immediate Past-President of the Board of Directors of Georgia FIRST Robotics.

Dries Buytaert, founder of the Drupal project, said, "I’m confident that Heather will move the Drupal Association into its next chapter. Her skills and experience at building relationships in both the non-profit and technology spaces will be a tremendous asset.  I also believe she’ll be a great partner with me to move forward the Drupal project as a whole."

About Drupal

Drupal is content management software. It is used to make many of the websites and applications you use every day. Drupal has great standard features, easy content authoring, reliable performance, and excellent security. What sets it apart is its flexibility; modularity is one of its core principles. Its tools help you build the versatile, structured content that ambitious web experiences need.

About the Drupal Association

The Drupal Association is dedicated to fostering and supporting the Drupal project, the community and its growth. The Drupal Association helps the Drupal community with funding, infrastructure, education, promotion, distribution and online collaboration at Drupal.org.

###

Media Contact: Rebecca Pilcher
Phone: 503-405-1159 x 705
Email: rebecca@association.drupal.org

Palantir: National Rural Health Resource Center

3 weeks 2 days ago
National Rural Health Resource Center brandt Mon, 04/29/2019 - 17:13

How we helped NRHRC conduct user testing to validate an audience-centric navigation. 

ruralcenter.org User Testing to Validate an Audience-Centric Navigation On

The National Rural Health Resource Center (The Center) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining and improving health care in rural communities by providing technical assistance, information, tools, and resources. Users on The Center’s site are looking for information relating to services they provide, programs and events they coordinate, and resources that have been developed to guide and support rural health stakeholders, like webinars, articles, and presentations.

The Center had been making iterative modifications to their Drupal site to improve wayfinding for their visitors, but the team had not yet been able to conduct any user testing on the organization of the site. The Center partnered with Palantir.net to build on previous architecture work and test, validate, and provide recommendations for a more effective, user-centric navigation that lowers user effort on their site.
 

The goals of the engagement were to: 


 

  • Make navigation labels and structure relevant and intuitive to users
  • Test and validate hypotheses with real user data
  • Have the web team partner hands-on with Palantir, so they could see how the user testing processes and tools work and execute these research methods on their own for future optimization efforts
The project had two key constraints:
  • Testing needed to focus on copy and labeling rather than new features. The Center’s goal was to surface UX improvements that their team could implement within the Drupal CMS by iterating on menu labels, menu structure, and copy.
  • Limited budget. The Center’s budget could cover a limited set of tests, so Palantir needed to formulate a testing plan that maximized the value of the user testing.

Palantir and the Center teamed up to run a Top Task survey to inform a new Information Architecture (IA) and then ran a tree test to validate the new IA.

Key results with the new Information Architecture and the optimized tree:

  • 17% higher success rate overall for users completing tasks
  • 8% increase in overall “directness” rate (tasks completed with fewer backtracks)
How did we get there?

Palantir implemented a three-step process:

  1. Work with key stakeholders at the Center to identify key metrics.
  2. Design and implement tests.
  3. Handoff our recommendations for the Center to implement.
Step 1: Work with key stakeholders at the Center to identify key metrics.

It was imperative to understand the Center’s goals as they relate to their user’s goals to be able to optimize the site structure and test against what users find important. 

Because the Center’s site is a resource site first, the goals focused on users being able to find the resources they are looking for.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

How we planned to measure success against our established goals:

  • Customer-reported satisfaction with “findability”
    • “Did this content answer your question?” feature (example)
  • Improvement in task performance indicators
    • Webinar participation
    • Completion of Self-Assessment form
    • Download of publications
  • Qualified, interested service leads
Step 2: Design and implement tests.

Our testing approach was two-fold, with one underlying question to answer: what is the most intuitive site structure for users?

Test #1: Top Task survey

During the Top Task survey, we had users rank a list of tasks we think they are trying to complete on the site, so that we have visibility into their priorities. The results from this survey informed a revised version of the navigation labels and structure, which we then tested in the following tree test. The survey was conducted via Google forms with existing Center audiences, aiming for 75+ completions.

We then used these audience-defined “top tasks” to inform the new information architecture, which we tested in our second test.

Test #2: IA tree test

During the tree testing of the Information Architecture, we stripped out any visuals and tested the outline of the menu structure. We began with a mailing list of about 2,500 people, split the list into two segments, and A/B tested the new proposed structure (Variant) vs. the current structure (Benchmark). Both trees were tested with the same tasks but using different labels and structure to see with which tree people could complete the tasks quicker and more successfully.

Step 3: Handoff our recommendations for the Center to implement.

Once the tests were completed, users’ behavior was compared to an “ideal” path, and success rates were analyzed. The test results informed our recommendations to help the Center think about label changes that are more user-centric as opposed to internal jargon. 

The Center has worked with Palantir on multiple projects. Palantir delivers their service in close partnership with our small team. This approach has allowed us to build our internal website development capacity and repeat success even after Palantir’s contract work was completed.

Phillip Birk

Senior IT Specialist

The Outcomes

Overall, users had a 17% higher success rate with the optimized tree, and they completed the tasks with fewer “backtracks” (less second-guessing their path) on the variant.

One of the most impressive results for the Center was that 29% more users could find recorded webinars with the newly proposed tree. 
 

Next steps for the Center will be to implement the top-level navigation recommendations made by Palantir, and then select KPIs to monitor long-term. They’ll also follow up with program-specific tree test projects.

The greatest mark of success for this project is that the Center’s web team now has knowledge of the tools and processes needed to run these tests on their own, so they can continue to make iterative improvements over time. Websites are one of the most important tools used to deliver business value, and just like your business’ needs evolve over time, so do the needs of your audience. It’s never too late to perform user testing and improve upon your user experience.

Achieve Internet Blog: GCP with our CTO

3 weeks 2 days ago
GCP with our CTO Madison Huntley Mon, 04/29/2019 - 16:19 Learning Madison Huntley Apr 30, 2019 Short Description Our CTO Nick Falcone dives further into what our partnership with Google means. Check out our future initiatives and additional services. Body

Recently recognized as Google Cloud Platform partners, Achieve are adding additional services, products, and capabilities in light of this new partnership. We sat down with our CTO, Nick Falcone, to go over some specifics on this partnership and what it means for Achieve and our capabilities moving forward.

  When did we decide becoming a GCP partner was a necessity for Achieve moving forward?

With Achieve being Apigee System Integrations Partner for the past 3 years and Google acquiring Apigee, we realized it was only a matter of time before Apigee would rolled up into the larger GCP Partner Program and ecosystem.

 

Gábor Hojtsy: Estimate your site's Drupal 9 compatibility easily with Upgrade Status

3 weeks 2 days ago

Dries Buytaert recently published a great post on how to prepare for Drupal 9. He explains how we build Drupal 9 in Drupal 8 using deprecations and the tools to use to detect use of deprecated code. One of the tools I worked heavily on with Zoltán Herczog in the past few weeks is Upgrade Status, and Zoltán just released the alpha2 version. It is definitely worth a try!

Here is how it works:

Jacob Rockowitz: Applying some "nudge theory" to the Webform issue queue

3 weeks 2 days ago

Learning how to manage communication and support within the Webform issue queue is something that makes me very proud. I also want to keep improving everyone’s experience within the Webform issue queue. A while back, I started welcoming new contributors and saying thank you. Frequently, I have to direct general support questions to Drupal Answers. Occasionally, I have had to remind people to be mindful of their tone. I am continually seeking ways to improve my process and communication within the Webform module's issue queue.

At Drupalcon Seattle, I took part in a discussion about strategies for effective and inclusive group communication where I was introduced to the "nudge theory".

Besides nudging people towards the desired outcome, which is a healthy and sustainable Open Source collaboration, clearly defining these nudges will also make it easier for everyone to improve the overall support and community within the Webform module's issue queue.

Types of nudges

There are three types of nudges within most issue queues - they can be categorized as:

  • Welcome and thank you

  • Values and principles

  • Guidance and directions

Welcome and thank you

Saying a proper welcome and thank you helps set the overall tone of our collaboration. The act of saying "welcome" to a new contributor establishes that we are an inclusive community where everyone is welcome to join. Saying 'Hi' (aka nudges) to new users also reminds other members of the community to be understanding and supportive of someone entering a new community.

Following up someone's contribution with a thank you comment or even handshake (aka nudges), acknowledges and values their hard work and encourages them to keep...Read More

AddWeb Solution: AddWeb, Answers the ‘What’ & ‘Why’ of govCMS!

3 weeks 3 days ago

Drupal has been the choice of the world’s multiple large and top-notch organisations, across various fields. The royal family of the UK, the Greenpeace Greenwire, Oxford University, Warner Music Group, Tesla, Red Cross, and now the Australian Government - everyone is using Drupal. Security and the scope of customisation are two of the major reasons behind the selection of Drupal over other CMS platforms. In fact, the govCMS was also formed using Drupal to resolve the multiple issues faced by Government agencies viz. Security, cost, extraordinaire functionalities, flexibility, smooth process of procurement, et al.
 

As a dedicated Drupal-er for more than 6 years, AddWeb has worked on multiple enterprises and large-sized Drupal projects. And hence, we are cognizant of all the strengths that Drupal contains. This is exactly why we confirm with the Australian Government’s decision of choosing Drupal for creating govCMS.
 

There are multiple reasons that make govCMS an apt choice for Government organisations. govCMS is well-equipped to meet all the requirements of the Government organisation, along with following their guidelines of the web world.
 

, ,

Advantages of govCMS:

The Australian Government created the govCMS distribution by combining Drupal Core and a specific set of Drupal modules. So that uniformity is maintained across all the Australian Government’s websites and it the creation of the same also becomes easy. Let us how else does this, govCMS distribution proves to be advantageous:

 

Cost-Effective

Individual web hosting and creation of the sites demand time and money. The higher the security and quality of these sites, the higher the costing. govCMS saves on both of these factors and simplifies the entire process by choosing a single provider and hosting platform on Acquia Cloud Site Factory PaaS Service. In fact, whenever there’s an increase in resource usage, one can always upgrade the platform, which is eventually beneficial to all the other govCMS sites also.

 

Government Standards Compliance

The entire govCMS is created in a way that it perfectly complies with the standards of the Federal Government. Hence, this makes the further process quite smooth and sorted. Security being one of the major concerns while creating a website for such Government organisations. And hence, govCMS has complied with their guideline by completing the program process of Information Security Registered Accessors. Plus, every issue that is found and rectified in govCMS will also automatically be implemented to other govCMS sites too.

 

Software Maintenance

Drupal is one of the largest open-source platform available today and hence it has a large team of 600 expert community members, who work on making govCMS a consistently growing and highly efficient product. This is taken care by Acquia, which also provides 24x7 assistance for govCMS at application and hardware level.   

 

Security Compliance

One constantly needs to confirm that there are no issues with the govCMS sites, for which a continuous process of testing, bug-fixing and other such process is required to be followed. This is very well taken care of, when it comes to govCMS and hence the security of this platform is kept intact. In fact, an automated testing process has also been set across the entire network by using Behat.

 

Responsive

In today’s day and age, a website that is not responsive is outdated. Fortunately, govCMS has been created with a base-theme that is responsive by default. This provides the developers in quick-creation of custom themes. This also helps in the creation of a standard look and feel of the Australian Government’s website, which converts into a user-friendly experience.

 

Accessibility Compliance

Every single Government website needs to be in compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) AA 2.0. And hence, WCAG AA 2.0 has been at the base of creating the base-theme and hence it’s in complete compliance with the Government standards. This also helps in elevating the user-friendliness of the website. govCMS also provides a list of the accessible elements either via the content pages or the WYSIWYG editor.

 

Data Retention

Backups are a very critical and significant part of any website. So when it is a Government website, the stakes are even higher. The creation of govCMS is done in complete compliance with the National Archives of Australia Standards. This includes about 7 years of data retention on backups, which is a highly beneficial factor that works in the favour of these govCMS-based Australian Government’s websites.  

 

govCMS is a pool of perfection when it comes to a platform meant for Government - highly secure, affordable and effective! AddWeb is glad to have worked on the creation of the govCMS website with all our expertise and experience over Drupal. We’ll be delighted to share more about it in our future blogs. If there’s anything specific in your mind that you wish to learn about govCMS then feel free to write to us in here. Also, we’re looking forward to creating and contributing more towards govCMS projects.

Web Omelette: Ajax events on entity reference (autocomplete) form elements in Drupal 8

3 weeks 3 days ago

In this short article I will show you something that amazed me when I discovered it. You’ll maybe say: boh, I already knew this from way back or really, that amazed you? But nonetheless, I found it cool because it really fit my needs. And like many many other things, I had no clue about this.

We all know how we can easily ajaxify our forms for quite a lot of uses cases. I talk about some of them in this Sitepoint article for example. But the other day I had a few entity autocomplete elements that needed to trigger an Ajax callback using the regular form API when the user made a selection. So I started with the regular “change” event like you normally have on other elements such as select. And it did the job…but not really. I mean, the user would look for the entity, select it, get the box filled, but no Ajax request. Only after the focus left the input would the callback kick in. This can work, maybe, but you are relying on the user’s intuition to unfocus from that form element. And that’s a nono.

Then I realised that the entity autocomplete element uses the jQuery UI autocomplete widget for finding entities. And this widget fires some events of its own. Enter autocompleteclose. This event is fired when the user has made the selection, the autocomplete closed, the selection was made and the element populated. Exactly what I needed and I guess many people need. So my form element #ajax definition now looks like this:

'#ajax' => [ 'callback' => '::ajaxRebuild', 'event' => 'autocompleteclose', 'wrapper' => 'form-container', ],

And this did the trick royally. The user would find the entity, click on it, the event would fire and my form rebuild with all the values available. Super.

Some hours of totally unrelated development later, I tried clearing the value of the element once selected. Oops, nothing would happen. But it should, at least in my case. The Ajax callback should be triggered to update stuff based on the (un)selected value. Hm…the change event would do that. Now what?!

Turns out you can use multiple events in one single Ajax definition. So I could use both of them which would trigger the same Ajax callback. Another freebie. So with the new element definition like this:

'#ajax' => [ 'callback' => '::ajaxRebuild', 'event' => 'autocompleteclose change', 'wrapper' => 'form-container', ],

Everything was peachy. Working seamlessly as the user would select something or erase the selection.

I hope this helps you as well, discovering it maybe a bit faster than it took me. Because you have it right here! :)

OpenSense Labs: Best Security Focussed CMS - Drupal 8

3 weeks 4 days ago
Best Security Focussed CMS - Drupal 8 Shankar Sun, 04/28/2019 - 18:05

One of the most significant terms used on this planet is ‘Security’. You get to read about nutrition security in reports like the UN’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World in 2017 that laid out pointers to bring in nutrition policy reform. Or, you get to hear about cybersecurity which needs to be integrated into every aspect of policy and planning in this age of digitisation. Often, you also get to see the emphasis being put on national security, an integral part of every country, and surveillance becomes important to ensure the safety of citizens.


Security also plays a key role in the web development arena. Website security is one of the most significant aspects that every business considers to thrive on and dominate the internet space. Vulnerabilities in your sites can give hackers the upper hand in finding a key to the safety vault. Drupal 8 stands out as the most secure Content Management System (CMS) which comes bundled with a plenitude of advantages over other leading content management frameworks.

Security Features

With a proven track record of being the most secure CMS, Drupal has been performing much better than its competitors in the CMS market. It has stood resilient to critical internet vulnerabilities. Thanks to Drupal Security Team for actively validating and responding to security issues.

Drupal Security Team is a force to reckon with when it comes to finding out anomalies and fixing them. The goals of the Security Team are to resolve reported issues in a Security Advisory. They provide help for contributed module maintainers. They document these identifications and modifications to make sure that developers don’t find themselves tied in knots. They assist the infrastructure team to keep the Drupal.org infrastructure secure.
 
Moreover, you can allow safe access to your Drupal site as it has the in-built support for salting and repeatedly hashing account passwords when they are stored in the database. It also enforces strong password policies. Furthermore, it offers essential security modules, industry-standard authentication practices, session limits and single sign-on systems. And, by providing granular user access control, Drupal gives administrators full authority over who gets to see and who gets to modify different parts of a site.
 
Database encryption can be done efficaciously with the help of Drupal. It is configurable to encrypt your complete website or just a part of it like content types, nodes, and taxonomy terms.
 
Further, Drupal’s Form API assists in validating data in order to avoid XSS, CSRF and other malicious data entry. It also limits the number of times login attempts are made from a single IP address over a predefined period of time which enables you to brute-force password attacks.
 
Drupal limits the number of times login attempts are made from a single IP address over a predefined time period. This helps in preventing brute-force password attacks.

The multi-layered cache architecture helps in minimising Denial of Service (DoS) attacks and makes it the most preferred CMS for some of the world’s highest traffic websites; thus proving its immense scalability.
 
As a not-for-profit charitable organization, OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) focuses on improving the security of software. Drupal conforms to the OWASP standards and its community is committed towards prevention of safety hazards.


Major Technical Improvements Drupal 8 has closed down many glitches and bugs reported in Drupal 7.

Ever since Drupal 8 came into the scene, it has emerged as the most technically improved CMS in terms of security. Some of the most important modifications that have taken shape in Drupal 8:
 
Removing the PHP input format in the core is probably the most important advancement which has removed code execution vulnerability. That means administrator login does not have to be executed with arbitrary PHP code or shell commands anymore.
 
Twig templates, which is used for HTML generation, is considered one of the most important improvements. This has resulted in better validation of 3rd party themes.
 
Twig auto-escaping has also prevented most frequently found Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in the custom site themes and custom and contributed modules.
 
Tracking configuration in code has been streamlined with an auditable history of changes through Configuration Management Initiative. Also, it helps in avoiding mistakes that creep in during manual configuration. Configuration changes in the production server can be completely blocked.
 
Use of filtered HTML format for content entry has prevented the execution of XSS attacks on other site users.
 
User session and session ID management has also been fortified in Drupal 8.

Statistics are on Drupal's side

Statistically, Drupal performs much better than leading CMS platforms for preventing safety hazards.

Sucuri, security platform for websites, compiled the ‘Hacked Website report’. It analyzed more than 34,000 infected websites. Among the statistics that it shared, one of the parameters was to compare the affected open-source CMS applications.

Wordpress, Joomla, and Magento suffered the most. The infection crept in due to improper deployment, configuration, and the maintenance.

Source: Sucuri

The infection rate of major content management frameworks had a varied change. While Wordpress had a significant increase from 74 percent in 2016 Q3 to 84 percent in 2017, Magento had a slight rise from 6 percent in 2016 Q3 to 6.5 percent in 2017.

Joomla had a considerable drop from 17 percent in 2016 Q3 to 13.1 percent in 2017. Drupal bettered its rate from 2 percent in 2016 Q3 to 1.6 percent in 2017.

Source: Sucuri

MDPI, which pioneers in open access publishing, prepared a report called ‘A Comparative Study of Web Content Management Systems’. They used Acunetix software for auditing the website. They compared Drupal and Joomla in terms of most commonly occurring vulnerabilities - SQL injection and XSS. Drupal came out as the clear winner.

Moreover, in the Cloud Security Report by Alert Logic, Drupal was reported for the least number of web application attacks.

Source: Alert LogicSummary

Website security is the most important constraint to survive without any existential threats. Drupal has been the frontrunner when it comes to choosing the security focussed CMS.
 
Being an open source platform and Drupal Security Team’s efforts in providing essential features and timely updates in Drupal 8 has helped in making it the most reliable and secure CMS.
 
The transition from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 has seen a tremendous advancement in blocking the vulnerabilities.
 
Statistically proven, Drupal is the best CMS in terms of security among the major CMS platforms.

Contact us at hello@opensenselabs.com to get the best out of Drupal 8 and its security features.

blog banner blog image Security Modules Security Drupal 8 Secure CMS drupal security CMS Security Blog Type Articles Is it a good read ? On

Vardot: 4 Digital News Media Trends 2019

3 weeks 4 days ago
Firas Ghunaim April 28, 2019

From Donald Trump's consistent accusations to lack of ad revenue caused by the shift in media consumption behaviors, the digital disruption that hit the media industry left the majority of media outlets considering their next steps knowing that being left behind in the digital age meant the end for them.

Focus shifted from simply reporting the news to delivering the most engaging and comprehensive digital experience possible for their readers.

 

Al Bawaba News - The Largest Independent News Platform in the Middle East (Built by Vardot)

 

News and media platforms need to remain vigilant and embrace the tech trends that impact content publishing in the near future. Here are the trends that are expected to impact the digital news and journalism industry:

 

1. Contextual Experiences

We are more likely to be doing more than one thing at the same time and news media outlets should have that in mind when considering how to develop their UX.

For example, you are taking a run on the gym treadmill and a relevant news article was just published; would you interrupt your routine to read a long-form article? The most likely answer is no. The desire to read the article would fade as the minutes' pass.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could listen to published news articles as we run, work out, cook or even drive? That is now possible thanks to progress made in Natural Language Generation (NLG) technology.

Natural language generation (NLG) is a software process that automatically transforms data into written narrative whilst keeping in mind SEO related factors such as keywords and users reading proficiency levels which makes it a powerful tool for news media outlets who seek to create contextual experiences for their readers.

 

"By 2020, natural language generation and artificial intelligence will be a standard feature of 90% of modern BI and analytics platforms." - Gartner

 

According to the Future Today Institute; various major news media outlets have been utilizing Automated Insights; which mines data for them and is capable of writing more than 2,000 stories per second using natural language generation to produce stories.

 

As voice search is increasingly becoming the norm, users will begin to ask for general content with specific conditions: 
 
  • “Alexa, I am running late, please give me the headlines only.”
  • “Siri, please provide me with news articles that are less than 2 minutes long.”   

 

Users are always looking for the most convenient and personalized experience; the news media platform that delivers contextual experiences are sure to gain a lead over their competition.

Such a digital experience could grow an audience possibly become a subscription service in the near future.

 

2. Fact Checking – In Real Time

Promoted by a president, championed by biased political views and powered by algorithms; ‘fake news’ is a trend that has become an unfortunate reality.

 

 

What is real and what isn’t?

People have either become proudly misinformed in the bubble they live in, or fatigued to the point of apathy towards real journalism. This phenomenon is arguably the biggest immediate threat to the profession and what’s worse is that generating ‘fake news’ has become easier than ever.

Enhanced algorithms for voice, video, and sound are being generated. Researchers at MIT CSAIL have been studying how children learn new words in order to train computers how to recognize speech. Computers are also being trained to watch videos and predict corresponding sounds in the real world.

Whilst this progress will enable AI to provide richer and better user experiences, there have been examples of malpractice too.

In 2017, researchers at the University of Washington developed a model that convincingly showed President Barack Obama giving a speech—that he never actually gave in real life.

 

 

 

Algorithms provide you with news based on your likes, online behavior, and interactions. While this does enable news platforms to generate more traffic, but at what cost?

 

3. Bots

Most journalism is simply about reporting the news and bots have done that efficiently so far.

Bots have proven to be effective when it comes to receiving instant alerts regarding trade warnings, natural disasters and etc. Bots will continue to be refined and improved to automate news related tasks freeing up time to allow reporters to devote time to more important tasks.

The major risk associated with bots is that they are only as reliable as the people who build them. People or groups with nefarious interests can use bots to distribute false information.

 

Important:
 
  • Ensure that your bot clearly explains its purpose and specific functions are.
  • Your bot must be able to showcase from where the answers it provides are coming from without any bias towards an idea or people.
  • The bot must represent your news and media platform’s values. What happens if your bot interacts with another bot or person whose values counter those of your organization?

 

Bots will continue to play a key role in journalism and other fields heavily reliant on content publishing as they utilize a combination of bots and AI to create new content. 

With elections taking place around the world, misinformation bots will continue to play a big role on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can expect to see more tech-based solutions being proposed to address the issue; your news platform must follow suit to ensure the credibility of your journalism.

 

4. Digital Frailty

Digital frailty refers to the loss of digital assets such as published content and articles. Typically, a news agency would lose it's content when attempting to upgrade their website.

In reality, this issue is easily avoided and usually caused due to poor IT practices and vendor selection.

A simple way to protect your archives and preserve digital assets is to build your platform using a CMS that is flexible, structured and features a revision process. 

 

Varbase - Drupal Distribution Revision Comparison - Source: Drupal.org

 

Drupal is a great CMS for digital news and media businesses as it delivers on the aforementioned and more.

Mergers and acquisitions are another reason why specific content goes missing. This is increasingly alarming as the number of media outlet owners are becoming more and more involved in politics.

News outlets sometimes are forced to delete content that is not aligned with the new ownership’s politics. A recent example of this scenario that made headlines around the world is when the Trump administration deleted all climate change related content from government websites in favor of the new administration’s agenda.

These tech trends and disruptions are but a mere sample of what impacts the digital news media industry. They present challenges but also tons of opportunities to create an engaging digital media experience for readers. 

From global media titans to independent content publishing platforms; Vardot specializes in developing personalized digital experiences for the news and media industry. 

Contact us to discuss how you can transform your news and media platform into a state-of-the-art digital news experience.

DrupalEasy: DrupalEasy Podcast 218 - Michael Hess - Drupal Security Working Group

3 weeks 4 days ago

Direct .mp3 file download.

Michael Hess, (mlhess), Senior Technologist and Adjunct Lecturer at University of Michigan and member of Drupal's Security Working Group joins Mike Anello to talk about recent Drupal core security updates, security release processes, Drupal 7's future end-of-life, and the new Drupal Steward program.

Interview DrupalEasy News Upcoming events
  • DrupalCamp Chattanooga - June 7 and 8, 2019.
  • DrupalCamp Asheville - July 12-14, 2019.
  • Midwest Drupal Summit - August 8-11, 2019 - Michael is the primary organizer - for more info, go to #mwds in the Drupal Slack workspace.
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If you'd like to leave us a voicemail, call 321-396-2340. Please keep in mind that we might play your voicemail during one of our future podcasts. Feel free to call in with suggestions, rants, questions, or corrections. If you'd rather just send us an email, please use our contact page.

OPTASY: What Are Some of the Best Drupal Blog Posts this Month? Here Is Our Top 5

3 weeks 5 days ago
What Are Some of the Best Drupal Blog Posts this Month? Here Is Our Top 5 adriana.cacoveanu Fri, 04/26/2019 - 13:55

April's been unexpectedly generous with us. It has spoiled us with plenty of high-quality content on Drupal. From “enlightening” tutorials to articles raising awareness of certain limitations, to useful tips and actionable advice, to blog posts announcing life-saving module releases... reading our way through the pile of Drupal blog posts this month has been a true dare.

Then, trimming down our bulky list to just 5 posts has been an even bigger challenge...

Nevertheless, we did manage to make our selection. Here's what we kept:
 

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