Development News

WPTavern: GitHub’s 2020 State of the Octoverse Report Highlights: Developers are Working More Hours but Turning to Open Source Projects for Creative Outlets

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 12/30/2020 - 07:08

GitHub has published its annual Octoverse report for 2020. The code hosting platform currently serves more than 56 million developers who created 60+ million new repositories this past year. The volume of work pumping through GitHub’s pipes and its preeminence as the world’s largest developer platform gives the company access to a trove of data on how people have been working during the pandemic.

The Productivity report shows that developers have been putting in longer hours as compared to the previous year. It includes data on what time of day people seem to be more productive, as well as minute changes in the volume of work across various time zones and countries with different COVID-19 responses. The graph below tracks the US Pacific Time Zone, showing a spike in the push window and work volume beginning in mid-March with lockdowns. The volume of work remained consistently higher than the previous year.

GitHub recorded 35% more repositories created than last year and 7.5 hours faster pull request merge times in teams’ most productive and collaborative weeks.

Developers seem to be getting more done and GitHub attributes this to people using automation to accelerate their work, improved development practices, and the flexibility of blurring the lines between work and life. The report also cautions that this high volume of work may not be sustainable long-term should be tempered with regular breaks and conscious energy management practices.

This collection of reports also highlights a few trends in the wider open source community. Alongside a general jump in work volume, GitHub tracked an increase in open source activity on weekends and holidays, at the same time that Enterprise developer activity dropped. Open source project creation is also up by 25% year over year since April 2020.

The data suggests that even when developers conclude their regular work, they are turning to open source projects for creative outlets. These projects often provide meaningful connections and community while the world is stuck at home.

Based on these findings, GitHub recommends that organizations recognize the importance open source projects hold for employee wellbeing and enrichment when they are contributing outside of work.

The State of the Octoverse also includes reports on Community and Security. GitHub found that 17% of the vulnerabilities hosted on its platform were explicitly malicious but triggered just 0.2% of alerts. The remaining 83% of vulnerabilities were the result of mistakes. The company found that vulnerabilities are fixed 1.4x faster when repositories are set up to automatically generate a pull request when a patch is available.

In 2020, the average time for vulnerabilities to go undetected before being identified is four years for GitHub-hosted repositories. On average, it takes 4.4 weeks for the community to code and release a fix, and 10 weeks to alert the community on the availability of a security update. Once notified, users generally apply the update within one week.

GitHub reports that its community is becoming more diverse as those who identify as developers have decreased from 60% in 2016 to 54% in 2020. Profiles related to education are growing (up from 17% in 2016 to 23% in 2020), followed by users working in data. The platform is becoming more approachable for collaborators who do not come from a development background.

WPTavern: GitHub’s 2020 State of the Octoverse Report Highlights: Developers are Working More Hours but Turning to Open Source Projects for Creative Outlets

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 12/30/2020 - 07:08

GitHub has published its annual Octoverse report for 2020. The code hosting platform currently serves more than 56 million developers who created 60+ million new repositories this past year. The volume of work pumping through GitHub’s pipes and its preeminence as the world’s largest developer platform gives the company access to a trove of data on how people have been working during the pandemic.

The Productivity report shows that developers have been putting in longer hours as compared to the previous year. It includes data on what time of day people seem to be more productive, as well as minute changes in the volume of work across various time zones and countries with different COVID-19 responses. The graph below tracks the US Pacific Time Zone, showing a spike in the push window and work volume beginning in mid-March with lockdowns. The volume of work remained consistently higher than the previous year.

GitHub recorded 35% more repositories created than last year and 7.5 hours faster pull request merge times in teams’ most productive and collaborative weeks.

Developers seem to be getting more done and GitHub attributes this to people using automation to accelerate their work, improved development practices, and the flexibility of blurring the lines between work and life. The report also cautions that this high volume of work may not be sustainable long-term should be tempered with regular breaks and conscious energy management practices.

This collection of reports also highlights a few trends in the wider open source community. Alongside a general jump in work volume, GitHub tracked an increase in open source activity on weekends and holidays, at the same time that Enterprise developer activity dropped. Open source project creation is also up by 25% year over year since April 2020.

The data suggests that even when developers conclude their regular work, they are turning to open source projects for creative outlets. These projects often provide meaningful connections and community while the world is stuck at home.

Based on these findings, GitHub recommends that organizations recognize the importance open source projects hold for employee wellbeing and enrichment when they are contributing outside of work.

The State of the Octoverse also includes reports on Community and Security. GitHub found that 17% of the vulnerabilities hosted on its platform were explicitly malicious but triggered just 0.2% of alerts. The remaining 83% of vulnerabilities were the result of mistakes. The company found that vulnerabilities are fixed 1.4x faster when repositories are set up to automatically generate a pull request when a patch is available.

In 2020, the average time for vulnerabilities to go undetected before being identified is four years for GitHub-hosted repositories. On average, it takes 4.4 weeks for the community to code and release a fix, and 10 weeks to alert the community on the availability of a security update. Once notified, users generally apply the update within one week.

GitHub reports that its community is becoming more diverse as those who identify as developers have decreased from 60% in 2016 to 54% in 2020. Profiles related to education are growing (up from 17% in 2016 to 23% in 2020), followed by users working in data. The platform is becoming more approachable for collaborators who do not come from a development background.

WPTavern: Armando WordPress Theme Provides Insight Into the Current State of Full Site Editing

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 22:37

As we inch closer to a year in which WordPress’s primary focus will be on Full Site Editing, it is fortunate timing that Themes Team representative Carolina Nymark publicly announced her latest theme, Armando. It is a blogging theme that makes use of the latest features from the Gutenberg plugin.

The theme is currently awaiting review for the WordPress theme directory. It is also available via GitHub.

The news of Armando came moments after Nymark announced a redesign of her Full Site Editing website. The site is a resource for WordPress users and developers to learn more about upcoming features. It is built entirely out of blocks. It is also one of the few sites in the wild running a block-based theme in production.

Armando is one of the better themes for testing Full Site Editing. This should come as no surprise. Nymark is a veteran of the Themes Team. She tends to cover all the bases and has done so with this theme. There are even notes in the code where she intends to change things as site editing improves.

The theme is a solid starting point for theme authors who have yet to dip their toes into block-based theme development. It is also usable enough for end-users who want to experience the current state of Full Site Editing.

Editing a single post template in the site editor.

The theme does not have a particular artistic flair. It is simple. It is a basic blogging theme that showcases each element the Gutenberg team has covered thus far in its journey toward the new block-based design system.

Armando also uncovers some of the current problems with the system. As Nymark noted in her stylesheet, “Date and categories are all block elements, we need to adjust them to align them better next to each other.” On the front end, the theme’s CSS adjusts these block-level elements to correctly line up with each other. However, as seen in the site editor view, they are separated as blocks. Post metadata like the author, date, and category often need to be inline. This choice for aligning basic elements of theme design also needs to exist in the site editor. That is if we ever want theme authors to adopt it. And, we haven’t even gotten to the complicated stuff yet.

Armando is one of the first block-based themes I have seen to include a 404 template. This is important because it is one reason the site editor needs to exist in WordPress. Throughout all of the platform’s history, there was no standard way for users to edit their 404 page, which is the page visitors see when they travel to an invalid URL on a site.

Editing the 404 template

Landing on a 404 page on most WordPress sites is one of the worst user experiences a site visitor can have on the web. Traditionally, themes might have added some unhelpful text, a search box, and maybe a list of recent posts. But, most users had no control over it unless they directly edited their theme’s code. They could not add a bit of pizzazz, personalized messages, or more meaningful directions for the visitor who stumbled upon the page through no fault of their own. Some themes have provided workarounds for this over the years. Such solutions have included allowing users to assign a private page or adding customizer options. However, changing themes meant losing that 404-page customization because it was a non-standard solution.

Full Site Editing changes that. Users will have direct access to creating a custom 404 page that best suits their site. It is nice that the Armando theme already includes a template to start from.

The Armando theme also includes three different header templates for users to switch between. This could offer some insight into how theme authors may tackle design choices in the future. Traditional themes often have numerous checkboxes, input fields, and dropdowns for changing such design elements. Selectable template parts could be the alternative.

Switching the header template part.

I lean more toward seeing theme authors using block patterns rather than templates for this. However, WordPress needs to add a method for designating patterns on specific editing screens (e.g., post editor vs. site editor). In the long run, the patterns UI feels like it will be a better place. That is assuming it ever receives an expanded view or overlay option. There may be solutions where patterns and template parts merge as well.

Either way, this type of experimentation is what we need to see in the WordPress theme development world at the moment. I welcome more of it.

Specbee: Drupal VS Proprietary CMS - A Detailed Comparison

Main Drupal Feed - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:44
Drupal VS Proprietary CMS - A Detailed Comparison Shefali Shetty 29 Dec, 2020 Top 10 best practices for designing a perfect UX for your mobile app

As I sit down to write this piece, I can only think of Coco Chanel’s quote, which will give you a gist of this article. “The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive”. In this article, we are going to compare Drupal - the powerful free and open-source content management framework, with other proprietary CMSs like AEM, Oracle WebCenter, and SiteCore.

The choice between a proprietary CMS and an open-source CMS usually depends on the organization's requirements for features, budget for technology spend, traffic, and support expectations. While there are tons of advantages and disadvantages of each of these CMSs, take a look at the below table for a few of their features.

           
                Proprietary CMS            
              Open-source CMS Built and maintained by a single company Developed and maintained by a community Source code is private Publicly available source code Acquired by paying a license fee. Pay per customization and additional users Zero license fee. Pay per resource/agency for customizations. Slower support and new updates  Fast and easy support and frequently updated releases because of the large community. Closed development and lack of clarity on the code Transparency in terms of code quality and bug fixes


If you have been assigned the arduous task of choosing a good CMS that can meet all your business needs, it might be hard to convince into a free, open-source CMS like Drupal. Mid to enterprise-level organizations normally believe that quality comes with a huge price tag. But that is not always true and absolutely invalid with a CMS like Drupal. 

Ease of use and customization

Choosing a CMS just because it is popular isn’t a great idea. You will need to find a CMS platform that is able to conform to your business model and grow with it. It should be tailored to support the business needs of your organization and also easy to use. One of the most important reasons for going with a CMS is to ensure easy updating of content.

AEM – Is a Web Content Management System that lets you build and manage multiple websites with ease. For content authors and web administrators, it is very helpful as the interface is similar to MS Word. It has some cool drag-and-drop features that make it easy to use even for a non-technical person. The authoring experience is very intuitive and slick. Installation and setup tend to get a bit tedious and finding a developer to help you out with it is comparatively difficult and expensive. AEM is based on Java and hence any customizations will need highly experienced developers.

Oracle WebCenter Sites – Lets you easily create and manage targeted and interactive online experiences while optimizing customer engagement. Content editors have the capabilities of previewing the content without leaving the platform. With very limited drag-and-drop capabilities, the admin user interface does not provide many options for configurations and seems very outdated. Customization possibilities are immense if you have skilled engineers with substantial experience in application server, ADF, and of course Java and the web. Managing the code in the JSP files can seem to get a bit difficult as the tags and scriptlets are blended together.

SiteCore – Is a .NET based Web Content Management System with which you can store, manage, analyze, and update your website content in a single platform. Comes loaded with tons of features for organizations looking for personalization, analytics, A/B testing, marketing webforms and more. It allows multiple content authors to edit and authorize content at the same time. The user interface for content authors and admins is very user-friendly and lets you drag and drop various reusable elements onto a page including JS widgets, images, text, and videos. It is very customizable too which is great for businesses with unique requirements. However, finding a certified Sitecore developer is not an easy task and also very expensive.

Drupal – Drupal is an open-source content management framework that lets you create and manage powerful websites. It has great features to use out-of-the-box itself or can be easily customized with thousands of freely available modules to suit every business requirement. There's tons of room for scaling and customizing a Drupal website. The learning curve is a bit steep and finding Drupal talent was not very easy. However, this has changed since Drupal 8 and its adoption of continuous innovation and modern frameworks like Symfony and object-oriented programming structure. Drupal 8 also provides a very clean and user-friendly content authoring experience with its WYSIWYG and drag-and-drop interfaces. There are a plethora of free themes to choose from that are easily customizable.

Features and Integrations

Your ideal CMS should provide you with everything your business needs out-of-the-box but that’s wishing for a little too much. Look for a CMS that can provide you with maximum features where you don’t need much third party integrations to do your job. Or a CMS that can easily integrate with external modules and integrations needed for your business.

AEM – AEM has some exciting features like a drag-and-drop UI for content authoring, a well arranged visual site-map, layout manager, calendar views for projects and tasks, re-usable content via Experience fragments, Touch UI, template editor, publication management, activity map integration, side-by-side page preview, assets search functionality, exclusive check-in check-out, user-profile integration, online revision clean-up, Mobile content services, etc. For extensive customizations, AEM allows for easy integrations with Adobe Marketing Cloud’s components like Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target (continuous assessment of content to be more relevant for more conversions), Adobe Scene7 (media management, web publishing, and enhanced web experiences made easy), Adobe Dynamic Tag Management (an intuitive tool for marketers), Adobe Search & Promote (to control and optimize search results) and Adobe Campaign (easily manage email delivery content). In addition to this you can also integrate AEM with third-parties like Amazon web services, Salesforce, Silverpop engage, Youtube, Facebook, ExactTarget, etc. However, AEM is not as tightly integrated with other third-party modules as it is with Adobe products.

Oracle WebCenter Sites – With features like Document management (Document preview, version control, image editing, watermarking, video editing, document collaboration, etc.), records management, file sharing, searching abilities (by metadata and keyword), workflow management, create-customize-extract forms, advanced security features (audit trails, role-based access, 259- bit encryptions, etc.) Oracle WebCenter Sites also allows for integrations with Wordpress, Outlook, Sharepoint, MS Office, CRM, ERP, Social media, Calendar Apps, etc. However, integration with other components is not very simple and needs skilled developers for the same.

SiteCore – Some of SiteCore’s features are made for sales and marketing executives, like Advanced editorial experiences, multilingual websites, personalization, AB testing, highly configurable security features, search engine optimization, analytics, print experience manager, web forms for marketers, marketing automation, social media marketing tools, etc. Sitecore’s Connectors ensure that your website integrates with third-party solutions easily and fast. Like SiteCore commerce connect, SalesForce, MS Dynamics 365, MS Dynamics CRM, Adobe In- Design, Google +, Visual Studio, FaceBook, Twitter, Brightcove and many more. All in all, SiteCore is a great tool when businesses need tons of integrations.

Drupal – A powerful set of out-of-the-box features and access to countless freely available add-on modules, makes Drupal the most preferred CMS. It comes with out of-the-box features like intuitive content authoring, rich text editor, easy approval routing process, storage and management of assets, search functionality, granular security features, thousands of templates to choose from, mobile-first approach, search engine optimization functionality, flexible taxonomies, multilingual, user role management, dashboards & reports, API integrations and much more. Some add-on modules that are almost absolutely necessary for most Drupal websites are CTools (set of APIs that assist other modules), Views (organizes Drupal content), Token (creates re-usable patters across your website), PathAuto (helps generate SEO keyword rich URLs), Webform (used for accepting any kind of forms), CKEditor (provides a WYSIWYG editor), etc.

Drupal also seamlessly integrates with almost any third-party solution available like CivicCRM, Salesforce, Marketo, Sharepoint, Alfresco, Magento, Ubercart, Payment gateways, Disqus, Wepay, HER/EMR systems, Google analytics and apps, LDAP, Opigno, Mailchimp, Wordpress, Joomla, Surveymonkey and the list can just go on. Being an open-source content management framework having over a lakh of active contributors, there really isn’t a feature or integration that Drupal does not already have. For extremely unique and specific business functionalities, of course, you can easily hire a Drupal developer.

Pricing and Support

Robert Genn, a renowned Canadian artist once quoted "A high price may be part of the mystique in selling difficult art". You should be able to get true value for the price you pay for a CMS. Being expensive doesn't make it fit for "enterprises".

AEM – According to Gartner Inc., AEM is one of the more expensive CMSs in the market, almost twice the price of its closest competitor. The total implementation cost comes close to $2m including licensing. There is a lack of experts who can implement and support AEM for your website while the Adobe support team pushes you into buying more service contracts or products to be able to help you further.

Oracle WebCenter Sites – The power and flexibility of Oracle WebCenter Sites does not come cheap. According to Oracle, the licensing costs is currently $100,000 per processor. Additionally, the first year of Oracle support is about $20,000. Having an excellent support with experienced staff and 24/7 support is great but covers only the core product. Any customizations or extensions will not be covered by support and you will need to hire not-so-easily-available developers.

SiteCore – SiteCore’s licensing fees starts at $40,000 with $8000 fee for every additional year. Implementing costs starts at $65,000 while support and other fees cost about $10,000 per year. SiteCore users have had issues with technical support for the CMS lately.

Drupal – The best and the most notable feature of Drupal is that it is Free! There are absolutely no setup costs or licensing fees and is free to download and use. Being an open- source content management system, you have full access to documentation and support forums that is provided by a community of volunteers. Most of the contributed modules are free too! Of course there are development costs if you need customizations for your business requirements and hosting charges. Drupal’s network of dedicated and helpful contributors are continuously working on issues and improvements that can help users immensely. Drupal developers are not difficult to find and hire either if you need customized support capabilities

Popularity with customers

Yes, popularity does not always guarantee quality but it is enough proof that there is a heavy demand for the product and it is selling very well. The below figures are based on a latest report by BuiltWith as of December 2017.

AEM – AEM has powered over 6,397 websites.

Oracle WebCenter Sites – About 1,030 websites currently use Oracle WebCenter Sites.

SiteCore – 11,719 websites are powered by SiteCore CMS.

Drupal – Drupal hands down wins in the popularity category by powering 647,479 websites till date.

Every CMS comes with its share of pros and cons and choosing a CMS that suits individual business requirements is the wisest. You might think that comparing Drupal, a free open-source content management system, to large scale web CMSs like AEM, SiteCore or Oracle WebCenter is like comparing apples to oranges. For a long time, open source content management systems were excluded from the list of CMSs for mid to large “enterprises” as it was misunderstood as being incapable of supporting enterprises and large amounts of content. Truth is, open source CMSs like Drupal solutions, are now the most popular and sought after CMSs today (even by the biggies) because it is a more robust, flexible, scalable, secure and most supported content management system having the largest community of developers to tackle an issue at the drop of a hat. Indeed, the big guns like AEM, Oracle WebCenter, SiteCore, etc. are great solutions but Drupal can do everything the big guns claim to do and do it even better. And for FREE!

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Agiledrop.com Blog: 5 trends in digital experience to look out for in 2021

Main Drupal Feed - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 08:45

In this article, we go through 5 digital experience trends for 2021 that we expect to act as the basis for the “new normal”.

READ MORE

WPTavern: AMP Under Fire in New Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 05:43

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), an open source initiative that originated with Google, is coming under greater scrutiny at the tail end of 2020, as the company is facing a rash of antitrust lawsuits beginning October. The second suit is the one most pertinent to the AMP project. (A third suit brought by 38 state attorneys general alleges that Google is operating an illegal monopoly for online search and search advertising.)

The second suit is led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state attorneys general. It alleges that AMP was created for the purpose of pushing publishers away from “header bidding,” an advertising mechanism that allows sites to route their ad inventory through several ad exchanges and sell the space to the highest bidder. Header bidding requires JavaScript and therefore doesn’t play well with AMP.

The complaint claims that “Google’s program secretly let its own
exchange win, even when another exchange submitted a higher bid.” It also alleges that “Google ad server employees met with AMP employees to strategize about using AMP to impede header bidding, and how much pressure publishers and advertisers would tolerate:”

First, Google restricted the code to prohibit publishers from routing their bids to or sharing their user data with more than a few exchanges a time, which limited AMP compatibility with header bidding. At the same time, Google made AMP fully compatible with routing to exchanges through Google. Google also designed AMP to force publishers to route rival exchange bids through Google’s ad server so that Google could continue to peek at rivals’ bids and trade on inside information. Third, Google designed AMP so that users loading AMP pages would make direct communication with Google servers, rather than publishers’ servers. This enabled Google’s access to publishers’ inside and non-public user data. AMP pages also limit the number of ads on a page, the types of ads publishers can sell, as well as enriched content that publishers can have on their pages.

There are many more claims about collusion with Facebook and other anti-competitive practices, but the section regarding AMP may be of particular interest to publishers who are considering implementing it:

Google falsely told publishers that adopting AMP would enhance load times, but Google employees knew that AMP only improves the [redacted] and AMP pages can actually [redacted] [redacted] [redacted]. In other words, the ostensible benefits of faster load times for cached AMP version of webpages were not true for publishers that designed their web pages for speed. Some publishers did not adopt AMP because they knew their pages actually loaded faster than AMP pages.

Google also [redacted] of non-AMP ads by giving them artificial one second delays in order to give Google AMP a [redacted] [redacted] slows down header bidding, which Google uses to turn around and denigrate header bidding for being too slow.

The complaint references internal documents that demonstrate how AMP is an inferior product when compared to the options previously available to publishers:

Google gave publishers a Faustian bargain: (1) publishers could lose more money by using header bidding because Google Search would suppress their search rankings and send traffic to competing AMP-compatible publishers; or (2) publishers could lose less money by using AMP pages and forgoing exchange competition in header bidding. Either option was far inferior to the options available to publishers before AMP was introduced. Just how inferior? [redacted] [redacted] [redacted] according to internal Google documents.

Just 48 hours after this lawsuit was filed, AMP Advisory Committee member Terence Eden resigned from his position as a non-corporate representative.

The goal of the AMP AC is to “Make AMP a great web citizen,” but Eden declined to nominate a replacement candidate, because he is concerned that “Google has limited interest in that goal.”

“Google’s thesis is that the mobile-web is dying and people prefer to use apps – therefore making the web faster and more app-like will retain users,” Eden wrote. “Google doesn’t publish data about this, so I can’t directly criticize their motives. But I do not think AMP, in its current implementation, helps make the web better.

“I remain convinced that AMP is poorly implemented, hostile to the interests of both users and publishers, and a proprietary and unnecessary incursion into the open web.”

In a follow-up email to The Register, Eden said, “I don’t know what Google’s motives are. But AMP has not been responsive to the needs of users, publishers, or the web community. We need an open, standards based approach to the web.”

Where will AMP go in 2021? Publishers have already invested a lot of resources in order to comply with its proprietary subset of HTML. Smaller sites often lack the resources to support AMP, which may be one reason why Google began investing heavily in developing WordPress plugins that make its products easier to use. More than 500,000 WordPress site are now using the official AMP plugin.

Google has spent years clawing for greater AMP adoption, despite widespread criticism that the project is a threat to the open web. Every last bit of that effort is now in jeopardy if the complaints in the antitrust lawsuits and their supporting documents are found to be true.

WPTavern: Navigate the Content Canvas With the Block Editor Outline WordPress Plugin

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 21:05

Last week, Kalimah Apps released its Editor Block Outline plugin to the WordPress plugin repository. The idea is simple. The plugin adds a bordered outline to each block in the document along with their associated labels. For some users, this will help them navigate more complex layouts.

There is little information available about Kalimah Apps through the usual WordPress-related channels. However, this is its second plugin in the directory. Its first plugin, which has not been updated in four years, was a massive library of over 40 shortcodes, 1,000s of icons, and dozens of animations. Editor Block Outline is much more scaled back and lean.

The plugin adds a new sidebar panel to the editor. Its icon, located in the upper right of the screen, looks like a picture frame. It has several options to allow users to personalize the experience, such as what contexts to show the outline and whether to show the block name. The latter option is sometimes best disabled when inserting blocks with many inner blocks. Otherwise, the interface may look a bit cluttered.

Users can also select an outline color, border style, and opacity. I recommend knocking opacity down below 50% for more of a guideline look, something that is visible but does not feel like it is a part of the content.

Selecting outline options for Editor Block Outline.

All of the settings are stored as user metadata. Using this data storage method means that each user can decide how they want to use this plugin. Or, they can even disable it altogether. Because it is stored this way, settings will carry over from one post to the next.

“Do you want to know the feeling of driving while drunk, or to move around with blinders on? Then use Gutenberg without this plugin!!!” That is how one user reviewed this plugin. While I may not describe the default editor quite so — ahem — eloquently, this plugin does solve some problems, particularly when you need to more easily click around the interface.

As Brian Gardner joked on Twitter, selecting some blocks like Columns is tedious work or a fun game of whack-a-mole:

Live footage of me trying to select the main Columns block in WordPress to increase the number. pic.twitter.com/Fud3DLQ4VH

— Brian Gardner (@bgardner) November 19, 2020

Of course, there are ways around that, such as using the navigation tree, breadcrumbs, or keyboard commands. However, the block editor is meant to be a visual interface that allows end-users to simply point and click on the elements they wish to edit. Selecting specific blocks has generally improved over time, but users still run into issues. Editor Block Outline makes it a much simpler affair.

Selecting the Columns block.

In Full Site Editing (FSE) mode with the Gutenberg plugin enabled, the plugin did not hold up quite as well. Depending on the theme in use, the blocks’ text labels were sometimes huge or did not match across the canvas. The plugin’s icon was also not available on the site editor screen.

FSE is still in beta. The plugin cannot be expected to work with it yet. However, this is where I imagine the plugin will make the most sense for many users. In the post editor, it would get in the way of writing long-form posts. However, the plugin could become an invaluable tool for navigating complex layouts in both the post and site editors.

More than anything, the reason I like Editor Block Outline is its dedication to a singular purpose. It adds a simple feature that enhances the editor without taking on too large of a role.

Mediacurrent: Decoupled Drupal with Gatsby: A Business Case Evaluation

Main Drupal Feed - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 15:36

If you are deciding between a standard Drupal architecture vs. a decoupled one with a GatsbyJS front end (which I’ll call “Gatsby” from here on out), certainly the latter approach offers some compelling advantages. Decoupling Drupal may be easier than you think. A Gatsby front end offers a more flexible and compelling user experience across multiple channels, as well as excellent performance, security, and scalability. 

However, in developing an independent front end and back end, one must factor in the additional costs and financial benefits of doing so vs a traditional standalone approach. As described in our introductory blog post, Building a Business Case, a business case exercise can clarify costs and benefits, both in terms of initial cost, ongoing costs, and revenues of each. 

In this blog post we’ll perform this exercise for standalone vs. decoupled Drupal with Gatsby, performing the following steps: 

  1. Determine the costs of each option
  2. Determine the benefits for each option
  3. Recommend an option based on cost and benefits
Determine the Costs of Each Option

Two different types of costs need to be considered when evaluating options, the cost of the initial implementation, and the ongoing and operating costs once the implementation is complete. The following two tables approximate these costs. Note: these costs are highly theoretical approximations, only to be used as an illustration. Actual costs can only be calculated once detailed requirements are considered. 

Implementation Costs

The following table summarizes theoretical implementation costs for each of the two options. These entail the licensing and build estimates for each option. This illustration (again, theoretical numbers) assumes a simple implementation with little to no customization. 

Cost

Standalone Drupal

Decoupled Drupal with Gatsby

Initial License

$0

$0

Build

$100K

$180K

Hosting (average)

$30K

$45K

Total

$130K

$240K

A few things stand out in this comparison:

  • Freedom from Licensing Fees: Of course, Drupal has no licensing fee, but if you use an open source front end technology like Gatsby, the licensing fee will be free for that as well.
  • Time and Effort Up Front: The initial effort for the decoupled build is greater than that for the standalone Drupal build. This is because front end technologies like Gatsby are newer, and in our experience, there are bumps in the road when working with them in an initial build.
  • The Stability of Drupal 8 and Drupal 9: Drupal 8 is stable and mature, having been release level since 2016, and Drupal 9 is architecturally similar.  With a standalone solution, there are fewer bumps in the road. 
  • Hosting: Hosting costs are greater with a decoupled solution as well. The cost of hosting services vary greatly and the figures we’re stating here are an illustration. Your actual hosting costs will certainly differ. That said, you will be paying for two hosting services with a decoupled solution, one to host the back end and another to host the front end, whereas a standalone solution requires just one.
Ongoing/Operating Costs

After implementation, each option incurs recurring costs. This is a critical consideration in evaluating options that often gets overlooked, and we recommend you always factor in these costs in your decision. For our example, the following table summarizes those costs (again, they are theoretical):

Cost

Standalone Drupal

Decoupled Drupal with Gatsby

Ongoing License

$0

$0

Maintenance and Support

$40K

$20K

Hosting

$30K

$15K

Total

$70K

$80K

 

As with the initial cost, the ongoing costs of the decoupled option are higher, albeit by less. In our example, they’re almost equal. While hosting costs are again higher for the decoupled option, maintenance and support costs are less. Although there are initial bumps in the road for a decoupled solution, our experience has also taught us that once those obstacles are overcome, it is a lower effort to maintain the solution because Gatsby, and the React framework it’s built upon, are simpler than that of Drupal’s front end engine. It is easier to learn, and developers skilled in it are easier to find. 

Determine the Benefits of Each Option

For investment in any of these options, a benefit is expected, particularly in expenses saved or new revenue earned. Focusing on annual revenue, the following table summarizes the theoretical benefits of each option based on an assumption that the standalone Drupal solution would generate $1000 a day in revenue, or $365K per year:

 

Standalone Drupal

Decoupled Drupal With Gatsby

Annual revenue

$365K

$416K

 

In this example, and in many real-world circumstances, a decoupled option slightly improves a site’s revenue, all other things being equal. This is because, in addition to having a more powerful and flexible user interface, a decoupled solution is more performant for the end-user. Further, a Gatsby front end typically runs as a static site on a CDN, with little to no database fetching occurring during a page load. According to sources like DomainRacer and MachMetrics, companies like Myntra, Amazon, Yahoo, Flipkart, and Mozilla experienced a boost in business by increasing the page load speed of the website with less than 2 seconds. Estimated revenue decreases conversions by 7% with a one-second delay, and a whopping 17% with a five-second delay. Further, page load time affects SEO rankings in Google, and slower websites have higher bounce rates. All of this impacts an organization’s reputation and customer loyalty.

Recommend an Option 

When we combine costs with benefits as described above, we are left with the following comparison: 

A scenario for Standalone Drupal vs. Decoupled Drupal With Gatsby

In year 1, for example, the net amount earned by the standalone option is $365K - $130K, or $235K. In year 2, the cost is reduced to $70K, bringing the net amount to $295K. The above graph plots net revenue for the standalone option, in blue, and the decoupled with Gatsby option, in tan, over five years.

So, in this example scenario, we can draw the following conclusions:

  • If your organization is prioritizing short term results, the standalone option is more attractive due to the stability and maturity of the Drupal platform. There are fewer early bumps in the road. 
  • If your organization is willing to make a greater up-front investment for greater long-term benefit, consider the decoupled option with Gatsby by virtue of its low long-term maintenance costs and revenue-boosting performance improvements. 

As in our previous blog post on building your CMS business case, our example scenario is overly simplistic. In reality, detailed requirements can radically alter both the costs and benefits of any option one considers. We at Mediacurrent have performed this type of analysis for some of our clients to help them with their technology investment decisions and can do the same for you. Please contact us to learn more!

Sooper Drupal Themes: Drupal community survey: 2021 Browser and Device support

Main Drupal Feed - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 09:59
Take the Drupal Community 2021 Browser Support Survey

What better time for a browser support survey than the turn of the year!

I thought that certainly in 2021 we would not have to support Internet Explorer anymore. I was proven wrong by our clients. We have clients in some of the most profitable verticals who indicated to us that they had a significant group of users who were still dependent on Internet Explorer. This may be a small group but if this group happens to make up one of the most profitable verticals in our target audience we cannot ignore them.

Ask the Drupal community

If other members of the Drupal community share with us what frontend environments they will support in 2021, based on our collective knowledge we can all make better informed decisions next year. Please take 5 minutes to fill out this short Google Form and we will publish the results of our survey in a free report:


Take the Drupal Community 2021 Browser Support Survey

We expect to publish the results in the second week of 2021. Keep an eye on our Blog or subscribe to our newsleter to get notified!

Matt: State of the Word 2020

Wordpress Planet - Sun, 12/27/2020 - 22:55

This tumultuous year, two things really helped me get through it: my colleagues at Automattic and the community of WordPress.

At the end of the year I usually deliver a speech to the WP community we call the State of the Word, that celebrates what we accomplished the previous year and shines a light on what we could focus on in the coming year. There’s always a great energy in the room and I love mixing with the audience before and after the talk. This year we did it online, which meant we could produce the talk a little more, and we made extra time for the Q&A afterward with answers not just from me but folks across the community.

One thing I’ll call out WordPress 5.6 had an all women and non-binary release squad of over 50 people, a first for WordPress and probably any large open source project. Also the market share of WordPress grew more in 2020 than it has in any year since it started being tracked!

If you’re curious about what’s next for WordPress, check it out:

joshics.in blog: Drupal 8 Multi site configurations

Main Drupal Feed - Fri, 12/25/2020 - 05:57
Drupal 8 Multi site configurations

Do you want to achieve multi site architecture for your Drupal 8 websites? Here is a simple, step-by-step guide to achieve multi site architecture using Drupal 8 in a few minutes.

Acro Media: The Case of reCAPTCHA Session Validation Errors | Acro Media

Main Drupal Feed - Thu, 12/24/2020 - 15:00

Happy holidays everyone. We’ve had three sites in the last two weeks that have reported reCAPTCHA problems. A captcha is the funny little thing at the end of forms that tries to prove you’re not a robot by having you spell out letters, or pick pictures with traffic lights. They’re annoying, but without them, many “contact us” forms and user registration forms can be hit with a crippling amount of spam submissions.

Newly discovered reCAPTCHA session validation errors (TL;DR)

One of our clients even recently called in for holiday support on this bug, so we’re pretty sure there are others dealing with this situation as well. They all have the same JS error and/or symptom:

CAPTCHA validation error: unknown CAPTCHA session ID. Contact the site administrator if the problem persists.

Diagnosing the session validation error

The root of this error, at least for one of our sites using simple_reCAPTCHA, is pretty straightforward (but took us days to diagnose initially). There are two parts to the issue. A typical contact us page has 2-3 forms on the page: Search, Email Sign Up, and the contact form. The submit button for each one has the same HTML ID. That's not valid HTML; IDs have to be unique. There's code in the reCAPTCHA, captcha, and simple_reCAPTCHA modules that get tripped up because of caching.

Each part (block) on the page is cached separately, so when someone visits the homepage and that gets cached, Drupal also just pulls the search form from its cache for other pages instead of rendering it from scratch.

If rendering the whole page from scratch, Drupal uses unique IDs in every form. One's submit button has the id #edit-submit, another gets #edit-submit--2, the other #edit-submit--3. But due to the caching behaviour with reusing existing blocks, we end up with:

  1. If you visit the homepage, which just has the search form, its button gets #edit-submit.
  2. When you visit the contact page, which has 2 forms that need to be rendered, the Sign-Up and contact form, Drupal uses ids #edit-submit and #edit-submit--2. But the cached search form also ends up in the header with an id of #edit-submit too.

The simple_recaptcha module does something quirky. When you click the submit button it runs some javascript to get a token from the reCAPTCHA service, which is fine, but then it has to re-click the submit button, and it does that by looking up the button by ID again. Looking up by ID gives the first element with that ID, the search form's submit button.

Similarly, the captcha and reCAPTCHA module loads the token, but it gets stored in the cache and it causes the same or similar error that simple_recaptcha does.

Helping reCAPTCHA modules deal with Drupal caching

The real bug is challenging and not fixable within our support scope of practice. More on the accessibility concerns and other issues below.

  • The fix for the simple_captcha module is to modify the javascript as described in this bug write up.
  • If you’re using the captcha module, we recommend reviewing the discussion and various patches in #3089263.
  • For the reCAPTCHA module, perhaps consider using one of the other two modules instead.
Accessibility concerns

Even if you’re not using the reCAPTCHA module, your site may still have an adverse effect on accessibility as well as confusing any Javascript that is written. Here’s a quote from the linked accessibility issue:

“It may sound minor, but it's a major issue, as it is associating the search autocomplete functionality in the header with the views filters elements in the content. The end result is that JAWS thinks a regular select element in the views filters, is a combobox, which it is not, so it's pretty confusing to users.”

So it’s not just captcha related and is definitely going to need some real consideration from the caching experts that work on that piece of Drupal. Let us know on Twitter if you’re having the same issues and how you fixed them.

WPTavern: Google to Migrate Structured Data Testing Tool to New Domain after Backlash from Deprecation Announcement

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 12/23/2020 - 23:56

Google’s Rich Results Test came out of beta in July with support for all Google Search rich result features like carousels, images, or other non-textual elements. At that time, Google announced it would be deprecating the Structured Data Testing Tool, which SEOs, developers, and site owners have relied on for testing structured markup and troubleshooting schema issues.

The SEO community reacted strongly to this change, because the Rich Results Test only validates structured data that is supported by Google. It also does not provide much useful feedback on errors.

“This is awful,” SEO consultant Barry Adams said in response to the change. “The SDTT is a tool that validates ALL schemas and helps make the web a semantically richer place. The RR test only supports a tiny narrow subset of Google-approved schemas. You’re downgrading the web with this move.”

When Google announced the Structured Data Testing Tool’s deprecation on Twitter, comments from various web professions indicated widespread disappointment in the decision.

“The new tool is painfully slow,” digital marketing consultant Ian Lurie said. “The old tool showed a structured data result for the URL tested above. It provided useful feedback and supported industry-wide standardization. The truth is, you’re replacing a great structured data tool for an inferior Google-specific one.”

After taking note of all the negative feedback, Google announced last week that it will no longer be deprecating the tool. Instead, the company plans to migrate it to a new domain:

To better support open standards and development experience, we’re refocusing the Structured Data Testing Tool and migrating it to a new domain serving the schema.org community by April 2021. The main purpose of the tool will be to check syntax and compliance of markup with schema.org standards. 

Google is making some changes to the tool to differentiate it from the Rich Results Test. The Structured Data Testing tool will not be able to check for Google Search rich result types. It will be refocused to validate only schema.org properties, and is recommended for validating types that Google Search doesn’t yet consume.

WPTavern: Learn WordPress Launches Trac Introductory Workshop

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 12/23/2020 - 21:38

Jonathan Desrosiers, a WordPress core committer and software engineer at Bluehost, has published a new workshop titled “How to Use Trac” on the Learn WordPress platform. The 20-minute video offers a crash course on the ticket tracking software that WordPress relies on to manage core development. Trac is also used for contributing to WordPress’ meta component, which includes WordPress.org sites and API, directories, support areas, and other projects.

Trac’s antiquated UI can be intimidating for newcomers, posing another barrier to contribution. Even experienced WordPress contributors are eager to move core development to GitHub or some other platform. It can get confusing since bugs related to the editor need to be reported on GitHub instead of Trac. Until WordPress adopts another platform, the ability to navigate Trac remains an important skill.

Desrosiers’ workshop covers topics like searching for pre-existing tickets before reporting a new issue, how to write a good bug report or feature request, how to identify component maintainers, attaching patches, and how proper classification of the ticket can help other teams get involved. He also helps workshop students understand ticket resolutions so they can frame their expectations accordingly. This video includes a full walkthrough of creating a new ticket where Desrosiers explains each field on the form.

Once you get up to speed on learning Trac and start contributing, you may also want to follow the WordPress Trac on Twitter. New contributors may also want to explore WPTracSearch, an unofficial project that provides an alternative Elasticsearch-powered interface for searching WordPress Trac tickets. WPTracSearch delivers more accurate results, even for basic queries, that can be filtered based on milestone, component, focuses, usernames, and more criteria.

WPTavern: Gutenberg 9.6 Introduces Drag-and-Drop Blocks and Global Inheritance for the Query Block

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 12/23/2020 - 20:16

For some people, Christmas arrived a couple of days early. Gutenberg 9.6 launched with its first iteration of drag-and-drop blocks from the inserter. There are some other enhancements like vertical buttons, heaps of bug fixes, new APIs, and other improvements. But, let’s be real. The ability to drag blocks from the inserter into the content canvas is the highlight of this release.

Another key feature is that the Query block, which is only available when Full Site Editing is enabled, now inherits from the global query arguments. As has been usual as of late, much of the work in the Gutenberg plugin has focused on improving the site editor.

Drag Blocks Into the Content Canvas Dragging a block from the inserter and dropping it between paragraphs.

Perhaps the Gutenberg development team has seen your comments and your other comments. If there is one common thread among the comments on our Gutenberg-related posts, it is that a segment of the WordPress user base wants more drag-and-drop capabilities.

The new feature only works with blocks right now. Users cannot yet drag and drop patterns from the inserter.

After several tests since Gutenberg 9.6 Release Candidate 1 landed last week, I have had no issues with it. For the most part, the experience felt smooth and easy to use.

I have never seen the allure of drag-and-drop features in a content editor. If I am not typing in Markdown, I am in the WordPress editor and using keyboard shortcuts. Throughout my career, I have either been writing code or writing words daily. Picking up my fingers from the keyboard only serves to waste time.

Sometimes I forget that the block editor already has some drag-and-drop capabilities available, which allow end-users to move blocks from one position to another in the canvas. I tend to work with the top toolbar enabled, so I rarely see the feature.

Nevertheless, I do see how dragging and dropping blocks could be useful to some users. I use them in other types of editors, such as Gimp or Photoshop, at times. The one thing I like about those is the toolset is always available in the sidebar. This is not the case with the block inserter. While it will stay open for users to drag multiple elements into their content, it disappears once users begin working elsewhere. That could become irritating if the user is in more of a visual-design workflow instead of a content-editing mode.

Dragging blocks from the inserter would make more sense for my workflow in the upcoming site editor rather than the post editor. The feature works great in that context too.

Query Block Supports Inheriting the Global Query Arguments Inheriting the Query block’s options from the URL.

The low-key star of this release is an update to the Query block, which is only available when using a block-based theme. The update is one of the most important breakthroughs for Full Site Editing, a pivotal moment in the history of the Gutenberg project.

In previous iterations, the Query block required that themes via their block templates or end-users via the site editor define which posts to display. While that is a necessary function of the block, the missing piece was the global query support.

In the simplest terms, whatever URL a visitor lands upon tells WordPress which posts to load. The data for loading these posts is all stored in a global set of query arguments. Themes can then loop through these posts to display them.

In Gutenberg 9.6, the Query block can now inherit these query arguments. This means that things like the blog posts page, category archives, search results, and more will display the correct posts when someone visits one of those specific URLs.

On the surface, this change merely adds a single option to the interface. However, under the hood, it is a achievement that clears a gaping path for developing block-based themes.

mark.ie: Create View Mode Component and Views List in PatternLab and Drupal

Main Drupal Feed - Wed, 12/23/2020 - 10:15
Create View Mode Component and Views List in PatternLab and Drupal

Here's two short, related videos demoing how I create a view mode component, use that view mode in a views list in Patternlab, and then integrate both with Drupal.

markconroy Wed, 12/23/2020 - 10:15

joshics.in blog: Drupal 8: Writing your first Drupal 8 custom module -- info file

Main Drupal Feed - Wed, 12/23/2020 - 07:17
Drupal 8: Writing your first Drupal 8 custom module -- info file

Drupal 8 has been rewritten from scratch and it heavily uses OOP. And this affects all the way we write code for Drupal 8, be it a custom module for your project or a contributed module that you want to publish on drupal.org

Matt Glaman: JSON:API Resources is Drupal 9.1 compatible

Main Drupal Feed - Wed, 12/23/2020 - 05:24

JSON:API Resources is now Drupal 9.0 and 9.1 compatible with the 8.x-1.0-beta4 release! If you are not familiar with this module, it is essentially the sandbox contributed project for building the extensibility layer for Drupal's JSON:API implementation. That is a fancy way of saying it lets you define custom endpoints that leverage the JSON:API specification.

We shipped the module with a requirement of drupal/core:^8.8@alpha as we required some code that would ship in Drupal 8.8.0. Howevever, we never released the fix for the composer.json file to allow installation of th module with Drupal 9!

WPTavern: Exploring Photo Blocks, an Experimental FSE-Ready Photoblogging Theme

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 12/23/2020 - 00:35

Kjell Reigstad announced the Photo Blocks theme on December 9. It is a part of an ongoing set of experimental work from the WordPress Theme Experiments repository on GitHub. It is essentially a testbed of ideas that are helping to propel the upcoming block-based theming era.

In the past few months, I have covered the repository’s Carrd-like landing page theme, Twenty Twenty-One Blocks, and the Full Site Editing (FSE) Theme Generator. There is a lot of movement happening in the repository that theme developers would be remiss to overlook.

“I built a new block-based photoblog theme in the experiments repo,” Reigstad tweeted just a couple of weeks ago. “It’s refreshing to see how well this works just with existing FSE tools.”

Like most FSE-capable themes currently making the rounds, it is simple. There are miles left before block-based themes and the upcoming site editor reach maturity. Photo Blocks showcases yet another step in the evolution of the system.

Posts page view of Photo Blocks in the site editor.

The theme uses the Query block’s new grid view, which was added in Gutenberg 9.5. The Query block is one of the most important pieces of the Full Site Editing system. Like in traditional themes, the query and “the loop” output posts on the front end.

The addition of the grid view allows themes to output their posts in columns. This is a nice addition for Photo Blocks and other photoblogging or portfolio themes. Currently, the Query block supports only a second type of view, the default list of posts. It all seems to limit design possibilities right now, but the grid option does provide some hope that more robust tools are coming.

The Query block is undoubtedly one of the most complex features the Gutenberg team is building, and it is a crucial block for the upcoming site editor.

There is also no posts pagination or navigation at the moment. That is because the Gutenberg team is still ironing out the details of such a block. This is another Herculean task given the near-limitless variations on designing posts navigation. The block will need to provide theme authors the flexibility they are accustomed to when writing code.

Why Testing and Building Experimental Themes Matters

The development of Photo Blocks exposed some missing features in Gutenberg. Without community feedback from building and testing block-based themes, it is tough for the development team to identify such issues.

Currently, the only way to have same-height images in the Photo Blocks theme’s post grid is to manually crop and upload images with the same aspect ratio. Reigstad opened a ticket to set a consistent crop for the Post Featured Image block. I would also recommend an image-size option similar to how it is handled in the Image block.

Traditionally, themes that output a grid of featured images would fall back to a default image or use the first image from the post content if one was not set. There is currently no way to do this with the Post Featured Image block — another missing key feature. Reigstad opened a new ticket that proposed taking the idea further.

“In the past, the featured image was a single image, added and managed separately from the rest of the post content,” he wrote. “For block-based sites however, that restriction is largely unnecessary. Rather than just an image, we should consider making it possible to set a video or audio embed as the ‘Featured’ block. Also, since posts are made up of structured data, it’s theoretically possible to signify any block from within post content as a ‘Featured’ block.”

The idea of featured media is not new. Many themes have had featured audio and video in the past. However, the concept of marking any type of block as featured is worth exploring. Even if not every block lends itself well to this, surely some do beyond images.

WPTavern: Shutterstock Launches Official WordPress Plugin

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 12/22/2020 - 23:32

Shutterstock has released an official plugin for WordPress. The 17-year old company is as old as WordPress itself but this is the first time it has provided convenient access to its library inside the admin.

Seven years ago, Shutterstock released a plugin for affiliates using a third-party development company, but it failed to gain much traction and is no longer updated. The new block-based plugin applies more broadly to WordPress site owners looking for commercial stock photography. It provides a block that allows users to search Shutterstock’s library of 340 million images and get suggestions based on the text content. Users can place preview images on pages and posts, license with one click, download, and publish images and editorial content.

Shutterstock’s plugin respects WordPress’ user roles and permissions system, so organizations can restrict image licensing to editors and administrators while still allowing authors to insert image previews. The plugin also has access to the user’s license history so they can download any content that has been previously licensed on Shutterstock.

A couple weeks after launching, the plugin is active on fewer than 10 WordPress sites. It’s not clear if that is due to its customers not knowing about it or the endless variety of free images that WordPress users have access to through other services. Since the plugin only offers access to a limited library by default, it is primarily aimed at Shutterstock customers who have an existing subscription to connect for the full collection.

Along with the official plugin release, Shutterstock also announced a new partnership with WordPress.com VIP. It is now one of the service’s “Featured Technology Partners,” streamlining the publishing workflow for Automattic’s enterprise customers.

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