Drupal is used by world's 2.2% websites, is quite a bit complicated (too), but its features and modules ensure it is loved by the developers who've used it. Recently launched Drupal 8 brings with it new features, modules, and distributions which make created content look a lot better giving Drupal an edge.
This blog focuses on best Drupal practices of 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 a website ensuring great digital/user experience is as much important as the content of your website. Creativity isn’t alone when it comes to considering, there are many other factors which can influence your reputation in the online market.
Here, we will also talk about the best practices which will help enhance your user experience from good to better and know how Drupal 8 can be a game changer in the quest for the best CMS.
Search Engine Optimization Practices
Starting with the search itself, it is very important that your user gets the best results in her first search. Like your user, you also try different keywords in an attempt to connect to the best content. Here comes the art(and science) of SEO. It is that hermit of the village who people know exists, and yet only a few know how to get to him.
Through SEO, content on your site aligns with what search engine/s believe people are searching for. The quintessential part of the search lies in following the virtue of originality or uniqueness of the content. The more unique your content is, the better is its rank. Apart from this, SEO relies on the AI of the search engines which determines if your content is what user is searching for.
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 are some of the Drupal 8 SEO architectural enhancement modules which can help you achieve your target.
And you can read more about how you can enhance the SEO of your Drupal website on our blog A Comprehensive SEO Guide For Your Drupal Website.
- Page titles- As the name suggests this module gives you control over the page title. In a unique way, it gives you a chance on how the title of your page should be structured. With 'Page Title' you can specify the page title rather than default it to the node title.
- Meta tags- Drupal 8 brings with it inbuilt schema(which was not the case with v.6 and v.7). The Meta tag module allows you to structure your data, aka "meta tags" for every page oft he website. These meta-tags help you improve the ranking of your page and improves the display in the 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 which makes every page unique and susceptible to better ranking.
- Global redirect- It checks the current URL for an alias and does a 301 redirect to it if it is not working fine. It checks and re-directs the user from the URL which is broken or is not working to the URL which is working fine(already configured by the admin).
- Path redirects- It specifies the redirect path, which helps you in redirecting to an external path. It uses HTTP redirection which is W3C Compliant by 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 also supports the popular web analytics platform, Google Analytics which provides you the best results.
For an excellent user experience, it is important that the theme of your website resonates with the content. Unique and eccentric themes add beauty to the website – it is the science of coding and the art of designing which needs to integrate with the idea of your business.
While Drupal markup might not come as the best in the market, it’s very flexible in how you alter it.
Drupal also offers a wide range of themes with almost 2k options in hand. It helps you show off the best aspects of your website through its unique and exclusive style guide and component library, while simultaneously maintaining the speed and flexibility.
It is very important to keep the quality of your website an utmost priority before you move on to other technical stuff. While this might feel like a lot of work for your lot to do, it can make an actual difference. A review by your peers(is a must) will help you get an additional idea of how things look and should work.
Successful regression testing gives you the much-needed confidence.
It is also very important that you keep an eye on previous things while adding new stuff. The testing framework PHP unit is inbuilt in Drupal 8. By setting up the 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. With this, you can say that Drupal is quick in providing you with solutions to your problems.
From your business point of view, it is important that your website reverberates the basic qualities and presents the important points. In other words, your website's architecture needs to be collateral to that of business goals to deliver a great user experience. You need to know your content structures, including fields and content types and present them in the best way. Presentation matters.
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.
When it comes to security, Drupal gives you the best of it. The reason why I am saying is world’s best organizations, educational institutes, and government websites trust Drupal. Its case studies involve, WhiteHouse.gov, NASA, CERN, colleges of Ivy league, UK government, UN.org, L’Oreal, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer and many more. One reason for its strong security is its Security Working Group which ensures Drupal provides world-class, military grade security.
Drupal’s open-source basics give it a possibility that it is updated frequently with more and better security modules.
Drupal provides a number of security extensions to make your content more secure. Even though the core is said to be secure, constant hacking can make any design vulnerable. It is, therefore, very important to have proper testing of the website to keep the vulnerabilities at bay.
You can also check this list of must-have Drupal 8 security modules for your website which will help prevent you from becoming the next victim of a potential cyber-attack.
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 a 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 - As mentioned above, brute force can make any system vulnerable, Drupal limits failed login by IP, by username and also limits sending emails. Flood control also acts against small DOS attacks.
- Secure Pages Hijack Prevention - This add-on ensures an extra layer of security. 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 the application. Prevents clickjacking in the application too.
- Concurrent Sessions - Allows only one session per user. So, you can set it to log out the previous session if a user starts a new one or ask the user to log out 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 by creating a list of users and their roles. Even though it adds nothing to the UI and has just APIs 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 the verification code sent to their mobile number.
If a user is unsuccessful, he will not be allowed to enter. It protects user account even if the password of the user is stolen.
The life cycle of a website begins from initial plans and extends to the end of the site. The site exists in three different phases: development, deployment, and maintenance. After the site is launched, your website lifecycle practices become critical to the success of changing and maintaining your site.
- Keep your code under version control.
- Maintain separate environments for the different stages of the site, and keep them up to date.
- Restrict access to the production site for all but the most trusted users.
- Review all logs periodically, including Apache, Drupal, and MySQL.
- Review and assess your architecture periodically, and plan for the future.
Infrastructure covers the stack your website lives on, including the server, the database, and any software layers, such as Varnish or Memcached, which ensure your visitors have a snappy experience. Planning the infrastructure from the start and developing in the same environment can greatly reduce variables and risk at launch time.
Having reliable multiple environment configurations and a solid disaster recovery plan shouldn’t be left to last-minute decisions. When it is, mistakes start arising. Here are a few tips to avoid the most common errors.
- Size your stack correctly, not too large, not too small. This can ensure you’re economically prepared for anything.
- Bottlenecks can arise from the hardware or from processes hogging memory.
- Check logs for errors and prepare for growth and spikes. Your stack is only as fast as the slowest component. Focus your efforts there; you’ll probably find low hanging fruit.
- In terms of security, it’s crucial to configure to protect from internal attacks as well as external attacks
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 the 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 for an update.
Drupal offers you a 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.
Drupal followers love Drupal for the very essence of its modules, distribution and security updates. Its quick helpline and large Drupal community only help improve your digital experience. Following these Drupal practices ensures that you have a smooth time with your website as well as with Drupal.