6 Healthy Drupal Practices
Drupal- an open source CMS is used by only 2.2% of total back-end framework worldwide, but its features and modules ensure it is liked by those who use it. It’s technically advanced and ahead of many of its competitors. Recently launched Drupal 8 further gives it an edge. This blog focuses on Drupal 8 development modules and how you can use them to enhance your website and wear a proud badge of a Drupal development company.
When building websites great digital/user experience is as much a necessity as content of your website. Creativity isn’t alone when it comes to considering, there are many other factors which can influence your reputation in online market.
In this blog we will talk about the best practices which will help you enhance your user experience from good to better and how Drupal 8 can be a game changer in this quest.
SEO:Starting with search, it is very important that the user gets the best results in her first search. Now, as a user you must have tried different keywords in an attempt to connect to the content of your website. Here comes the art(and science) of SEO. SEO is that hermit of the village who people know exists, and yet only few know how to get to him.
Through SEO, content on your site aligns with what search engines believe people are searching for. The soul of SEO lies in practicing certain set of principles which would result in determining that, “yes”, your site is what people are using search engines to find. The Drupal SEO Tools module seamlessly integrates a sophisticated all-in-one suite of search engine reporting, analysis and optimization tools into your website.
Following Drupal 8 SEO architectural enhancement modules can help you achieve your target:
- Page titles- This module gives you control over the page title. It gives you the chance to provide patterns for how the title should be structured, and on node pages. It gives you the chance to specify the page title rather than defaulting it to the node title.
- Meta tags- The Metatag module allows you to automatically provide structured metadata, aka "meta tags", about a website. In this context, when people refer to meta tags they are usually referring to the meta description tag and the meta keywords tag that may help improve the rankings and display of a site in search engine results.
- Path & Pathauto- The Pathauto module automatically generates URL/path aliases for various kinds of content (nodes, taxonomy terms, users) without requiring the user to manually specify the path alias. This allows you to have URL aliases.
- Global redirect- It checks the current URL for an alias and does a 301 redirect to it if it is not being used, current URL for a trailing slash, removes it if present and repeats check 1 with the new request.
- Path redirect- It specifies the redirect path, which helps you in redirecting to external path. It uses HTTP Redirection which is W3C Compliant way of redirection
- XML sitemap- Every web page needs an automatic XML sitemap generator. It allows webmasters to include additional information about each URL. It also allows search engines to crawl the site more intelligently.
- Apart from all this Drupal supports the popular web analytics platform, Google Analytics- which provides you the best results.
FRONT-END: For a slightly better user experience it is important for you to know that themes make websites beautiful – and themer are the connectors between the science of coding and the art of designing. While Drupal markup might not come as the best in market, it’s very flexible in how you alter it. Drupal’s theme will show off all the best aspects of your website through its exclusive style guide and component library, while simultaneously maintaining all the speed and flexibility. And not just this, it provides you with more than 20k themes so you have a wide variety to choose from and be unique in more ways.
QUALITY ASSURANCE: It is very important to keep the quality of your website an utmost priority before you move on to more technical stuff. While this might feel like a lot of work for your lot to do, this can make an actual difference. A review by your peers(is a must) will help you get additional idea on how things should work. It is also very important that you keep an eye over previous things while adding new stuff. Successful regression testing gives you the much needed confidence. The testing framework PHP unit was added to Drupal 8. By setting up testing environment, websites can be tested easily as samples of test cases which have been written by the community are already available. Drupal has a very active community support. With almost 1,00,000 active developers who write test cases(which are later merged into Drupal ) and submit solutions, Drupal provides quick solutions to your problems.
ARCHITECTURE: From architecture standpoint, there are certain important points to ensure the successful performance of your website.
Plan your content structures, including fields and content types. Clear content architecture helps ensure good performance, a better user experience, and easier maintenance.
Don’t choose too many content types and keep on adding new fields for every content type. This will confuse content creators. Instead you can reuse resources and standardize content type. Drupal is a powerful tool for displaying content in different regions, formats, language and displays and can be used very effectively to add the ease of changing look and feel of your website.
SECURITY: When it comes to security, Drupal gives you the best of it. The reason why Drupal gives you best security lies in its:
- Security Working Group: Drupal’s Open-source basics give it a possibility that it is updated frequently with more and better security modules. It’s team ‘Security Working Group’ (SecWG) ensures that Drupal core and Drupal's contributed project ecosystem provides you world-class security.The SecWG acts as a group to review objective and subjective measures of the Security Team, maintaining processes focused on resolution and communication of security issues in an efficient manner.
- Security Extensions: There are a number of security extensions for Drupal to make your content more secure. Even though the core Drupal is secure but constant threat by brute hackers might make it vulnerable. Thus, it is very important to have a proper testing of website to check what kind of security vulnerabilities are there in the application.
Following are a number of modules you can use to further strengthen your security from brute hacking:
- Login Security - Lets you secure the login forms. You can set limit and block an IP address temporarily or permanent.
- Password Policy - It sets the policy for passwords. This module can also prevent the reuse of passwords. You can also set password expiry time in this module. These things can be set either for all users or only for a specific role.
- Flood Control - Strong password can also be cracked by Bruteforcing. It lets you limit failed login by IP, limit failed login by username and also limit sending emails. Flood control can also prevent against small DOS attacks
- Secure Pages Hijack Prevention - Adds an extra layer of security to secure pages. It prevents hijack sessions from accessing SSL pages.
- XFS (cross frame scripting) - It adds security against various security threats. It handles original HTTP request header to prevent cross-site request forgery attack in application. Prevents clickjacking in the application too.
- Concurrent Sessions - Allows only one session per user. So, you can set it to logout previous session if user starts a new one or ask user to logout previous one to start a new session. It will add an extra layer of security in user accounts.
- ACL- Access Control Lists offers API for other modules to create list of users and their roles. It has no UI, but has just APIs, which other modules can use to provide role-based services.
- Two-factor Authentication - Lets you enable two factor authentications in your Drupal website. Therefore, adding an extra layer of security in the login of your Drupal website. This module asks users to enter the mobile number at the time of account creation. For every login user has to enter verification code sent to their mobile number. If user is unsuccessful, he will not be allowed to enter. It protects user account even if the password of the user is stolen.
CODING: We all know how good coding helps improve quality and get better results. Basics should be to start with simple codes. Remember, it is always difficult to modify complicated codes in future. Thus, you should keep your coding simple for longer run.
Drupal coding standards are version-independent and "always-current". All new codes follow the current standards, regardless of (core) version. Existing code in older versions may be updated, but doesn't necessarily have to be, thus saving a lot of time and energy required in update.
Drupal offers you number of modules which you can be used to modify and add features. Don’t keep on adding every module you can get your hands on, as this will only complicate things.
Following modules can help you get better coding and improve standard:
- Dreditor - a browser plug-in for reviewing patches and more
- PAReview - a set of scripts for reviewing project applications, which runs some coding tests
- Coder Sniffer- runs coding standards validation without loading drupal
- The Grammar Parser- This module provides an automated way of rewriting code files in compliance with code standards. You'll probably also need the Grammar Parser UI module.
Drupal followers love drupal for the very essence of its modules and updates. Its quick helpline and large Drupal community only helps better your digital experience. What’s added sugar in this coffee is, Drupal is absolutely free. So upgrade to Drupal today and enjoy the various benefits it provides you. Drupal is not Low Fee CMS, it is No Fee CMS.