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Insights and advice to help you keep up with the increasingly fast pace of change in social and digital media marketing.

Drupal 8 website design

We've just launched a new site for a new company - AS CAD Services Limited - experts in Autodesk® Advance Steel technical, offering specialist training, consultation and draughting services. 

https://ascadservices.co.uk/

We took them from logo design to site programming. The site is built using Drupal 8 with its advanced caching features and improved media handling. It's mobile friendly including content managed, responsive background images.

CiviCRM Upgrades and Security Patches

Here is a simple step by step guide to upgrading CiviCRM with Drupal 7. The full details are here - https://wiki.civicrm.org/confluence/display/CRMDOC/Upgrading+CiviCRM+for... - but we find it handy to have a quick guide without too many unnecessary details 

  • Backup CiviCRM and Drupal databases using Backup and Migrate 3.x dev version - NOT 3.1 as this does not have the necessary patch
  • Disable CiviCRM logging - this can interfere with database writes
  • Put the site into maintenance mode
  • Disable all none essential CiviCRM modules - not CiviCRM itself
  • Backup CiviCRM module code and delete original
  • Expand new module code in it's place
  • Clear /sites/default/files/civicrm/templates_c
  • Run the upgrade script - /?q=civicrm/upgrade&reset=1
  • Do a victory dance / curse profusely depending on how that went
  • Re...
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Drupal 8 Developer Verdict

We've been working with Drupal 8 for a while now and I think it's a good time to reflect on way we've learned. Good and bad points - but mainly good.

The Good Points

  • Drupal 8 is more refined and has better workflows. Using it is faster, more intuitive and more user friendly with a better design to the whole system. In lots of ways that you can't specifically put your finger on, it just seems to work better.
  • Drupal 8 is faster - one of the problems of Drupal 7 is that for logged in users it can be sluggish. With Drupal 8 though, we think it is a bit more zippy. The admin side also benefits from efficiency improvements as part of PHP 7. The front end benefits from the introduction of "big pipe" a module originally developed by Facebook, which delivers content in a way which appears faster to the end user. The end result is that even complex sites are limber and speedy.
  • Media handling is improving, it's been a long running criticism of Drupal...
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Drupal Commerce Discounts & Coupons
Peak times of demand such as Christmas and Easter can put strain on E-commerce sites physical resources. Encouraging customers to buy ahead of time might help to ease this - and e-commerce discounts can be a good way to do this. Here is a quick round up of the discount and coupon offers available through our Drupal Commerce based systems:

Types of offer

  • £ off - fixed amount off total order
  • % off - fixed percentage off total order
  • free shipping
  • % off shipping - applied to each shipping method individually - i.e. 10% off standard UK delivery
  • shipping service upgrade - upgrade to next day delivery
  • add free bonus products - free box of chocolates with every order

Conditions

Also, these can be applied only with certain conditions being met:
  • total amount - over £x get a free x
  • user - only give offer to particular...
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Drupal Website Backup Strategy

Backups are vital, but just having a backup isn't enough, what's needed is a backup strategy, which means thinking about what you are protecting against, setting up a system and testing that it actually works.

Code

A Drupal website installation has two elements, database and code. The codebase should be running under some kind of version control which gives you great layer of protection when it's hosted in a private repository on GitHub or BitBucket. The repository contains all of the code that runs the site - and also a record of every change made to it. We use this system to push code changes made on our local development server to the staging and live versions of sites. This allows us to test thoroughly and get changes approved before going live. It also means that if you make a change to the code that doesn't function correctly, you can easily roll the site back to the previous version.

Database...

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Web site security

It's a common mis-conception among website owners that hackers would not be interested in their website because it doesn't contain any information worth stealing, or that hackers wouldn't be interested in attacking their friendly helpful site. The truth is that hackers can benefit from gaining control of any site - so you need to be secure.

So, how exactly can hackers benefit from taking over your site?

SEO Spam

The most common use of a hijacked site is SEO spam - injecting links into your site which point to other sites, commonly, counterfeit trainers. This can increase the SEO ranking of a website being linked to by using the trust that Google has in the user's site. At the same time it has a very damaging effect on the attacked site's ranking. Once the hacker has managed to gain access to your site he will put in a "backdoor", some code hidden amongst the genuine files,...

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drupal git workflow

One of the biggest changes in the way we work over the last few years has been the introduction of version control into our workflow. As systems get ever more complex, we need better tools to manage them and this has led to using something called "Git". Git is great because it allows us to easily manage our workflow of "dev", "staging" and "live". Let's break that all down a bit and explain what it means.

Many web design companies, particularly at the low end of the price range, will make a website that sits on a server - and leave it at that. If you want anything adding to it, they add the code to that server and there it is on the site. This is fine - up to a point, and once you get to that point, you will wish you had a different system. Having just one version of a site and relying on one server is a big opportunity for failure.

Here at Turtlereality we always have at least 2...

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