For 2019, I've set up three main goals: improve my English, find a "real" Drupal Team to work with and launch this website. So, I've reached one of my goals. Checked! To be honest, I think it was the easiest one. Improving my English and finding a community-oriented Drupal agency will be harder. But I'm working on it!
This blog has been re-posted and edited with permission from Dries Buytaert's blog.
DrupalCon Seattle Driesnote presentation
Last week, many Drupalists gathered in Seattle for DrupalCon North America, for what was the largest DrupalCon in history.
DrupalCon Seattle was not only the largest, but also had the most diverse speakers. Nearly 50% of the DrupalCon speakers were from underrepresented groups. This number has been growing year over year, and is something to be proud of.
I actually started my keynote by talking about how we can make Drupal more diverse and inclusive. As one of the largest and most thriving Open Source communities, I believe that Drupal has an obligation to set a positive example.
I talked about how Open Source communities often incorrectly believe that everyone can contribute. Unfortunately, not everyone has equal amounts of free time to contribute. In my keynote, I encouraged individuals and organizations in the Drupal community to strongly consider giving time to underrepresented groups.
Improving diversity is not only good for Drupal and its ecosystem, it's good for people, and it's the right thing to do. Because this topic is so important, I wrote a dedicated blog post about it.Drupal 8 innovation update
I dedicated a significant portion of my keynote to Drupal 8. In the past year alone, there have been 35% more sites and 48% more stable modules in Drupal 8. Our pace of innovation is increasing, and we've seen important progress in several key areas.
With the release of Drupal 8.7, the Layout Builder will become stable. Drupal's new Layout Builder makes it much easier to build and change one-off page layouts, templated layouts and layout workflows. Best of all, the Layout Builder will be accessible.
Drupal 8.7 also brings a lot of improvements to the Media Library.
We also continue to innovate on headless or decoupled Drupal. The JSON:API module will ship with Drupal 8.7. I believe this not only advances Drupal's leadership in API-first, but sets Drupal up for long-term success.
These are just a few of the new capabilities that will ship with Drupal 8.7. For the complete list of new features, keep an eye out for the release announcement in a few weeks.Drupal 7 end of life
If you're still on Drupal 7, there is no need to panic. The Drupal community will support Drupal 7 until November 2021 — two years and 10 months from today.
After the community support ends, there will be extended commercial support for a minimum of three additional years. This means that Drupal 7 will be supported for at least five more years, or until 2024.Upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8
Upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 can be a lot of work, especially for large sites, but the benefits outweigh the challenges.
As announced a few months ago, Drupal 9 is targeted for June 2020. June 2020 is only 14 months away, so I dedicated a significant amount of my keynote to Drupal 9.
Making Drupal updates easier is a huge, ongoing priority for the community. Thanks to those efforts, the upgrade path to Drupal 9 will be radically easier than the upgrade path to Drupal 8.
In my keynote, I talked about how site owners, Drupal developers and Drupal module maintainers can start preparing for Drupal 9 today. I showed several tools that make Drupal 9 preparation easier. Check out my post on how to prepare for Drupal 9 for details.Thank you
I'm grateful to be a part of a community that takes such pride in its work. At each DrupalCon, we get to see the tireless efforts of many volunteers that add up to one amazing event. It makes me proud to showcase the work of so many people and organizations in my presentations.
Thank you to all who have made this year's DrupalCon North America memorable. I look forward to celebrating our work and friendships at future events!
You've got less than one week to get your session proposals in, so submit your ideas today. Get a sneak peek at next year's DrupalCon location, or come back to the camp you know and love.Why Twin Cities Drupal Camp? Great speakers – we've hosted nine years of keynotes and sessions from well-known Drupal contributors all over the country Great location – located in downtown Minneapolis in a beautiful, modern college campus, with a tall sunny atrium, comfortable classrooms and professional setups Great weather – summer in Minneapolis is not to be missed, and June has always been a beautiful month. Sidewalk cafes, rooftop bars, food trucks, music, lakes, and sun Great socials – outdoor parties with food trucks and karaoke, board game parties with free food and drink, and a welcome gathering with a little of everything Great (free) trainings - each year we host 3-5 trainings from some of the best groups in the country, free for all conference attendees Great networking - we bring 200 to 300 people each year, from universities and colleges, nonprofits, businesses, government, arts, and agencies of all kinds Great reputation - ask a friend or co-worker who's attended in the past, they will surely tell you why to attend.
As always, all accepted presenters get a free ticket to Camp. We'd sure love for you to come see us this June, and that's made a heck of a lot easier by getting your free ticket once your session is accepted. So, please send your sessions to us and we'll let you know first thing in May if we found a place for your talk.
In March, Gabriele Maira Manifesto’s Lead Drupal Engineer, and I, gave a talk at DrupalCamp London’s CxO day on how to build a successful Drupal agency. It was a highly-calorific meal with plenty to chew over for anyone looking to improve their agency’s ability to win new Drupal work and successfully deliver projects. Here, the. Continue reading...
Recent Aaron Winborn Award winner, Leslie Glynn, talks about what keeps her coming back to DrupalCon, her love for illuminating people, and when the heck will Tom Brady retire?
This blog has been re-posted and edited with permission from Dries Buytaert's blog.
Upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 should be easy if you regularly check for and remove the use of deprecated code.
With Drupal 9 targeted to be released in June of 2020, many people are wondering what they need to do to prepare.
The good and important news is that upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 should be really easy — radically easier than upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8.
The only caveat is that you need to manage "deprecated code" well.
If your site doesn't use deprecated code that is scheduled for removal in Drupal 9, your upgrade to Drupal 9 will be easy. In fact, it should be as easy as a minor version upgrade (like upgrading from Drupal 8.6 to Drupal 8.7).What is deprecated code?
Code in Drupal is marked as "deprecated" when it should no longer be used. Typically, code is deprecated because there is a better alternative that should be used instead.
For example, in Drupal 8.0.0, we deprecated \Drupal::l($text, $url). Instead of using \Drupal::l(), you should use Link::fromTextAndUrl($text, $url). The \Drupal::l() function was marked for removal as part of some clean-up work; Drupal 8 had too many ways to generate links.
Deprecated code will continue to work for some time before it gets removed. For example, \Drupal::l() continues to work in Drupal 8.7 despite the fact that it was deprecated in Drupal 8.0.0 more than three years ago. This gives module maintainers ample time to update their code.
When we release Drupal 9, we will "drop" most deprecated code. In our example, this means that \Drupal::l() will not be available anymore in Drupal 9.
In other words:
- Any Drupal 8 module that does not use deprecated code will continue to work with Drupal 9.
- Any Drupal 8 module that uses deprecated code needs to be updated before Drupal 9 is released, or it will stop working with Drupal 9.
If you're interested, you can read more about Drupal's deprecation policy at https://www.drupal.org/core/deprecation.How do I know if my site uses deprecated code?
There are a few ways to check if your site is using deprecated code.
If you work on a Drupal site as a developer, run drupal-check. Matt Glaman(Centarro) developed a static PHP analysis tool called drupal-check, which you can run against your codebase to check for deprecated code. I recommend running drupal-check in an automated fashion as part of your development workflow.
If you are a site owner, install the Upgrade Status module. This module was built by Acquia. The module provides a graphical user interface on top of drupal-check. The goal is to provide an easy-to-use readiness assessment for your site's migration to Drupal 9.
If you maintain a project on Drupal.org, enable Drupal.org's testing infrastructure to detect the use of deprecated code. There are two complementary ways to do so: you can run a static deprecation analysis and/or configure your existing tests to fail when calling deprecated code. Both can be set up in your drupalci.yml configuration file.
If you find deprecated code in a contributed module used on your site, consider filing an issue in the module's issue queue on Drupal.org (after having checked no issue has been created yet). If you can, provide a patch to fix the deprecation and engage with the maintainer to get it committed.How hard is it to update my code?
While there are some deprecations that require more detailed refactoring, many are a simple matter of search-and-replace.
You can check the API documentation for instructions on how to remedy the deprecation.When can I start updating my code?
I encourage you to start today. When you update your Drupal 8 code to use the latest and greatest APIs, you can benefit from those improvements immediately. There is no reason to wait until Drupal 9 is released.
Drupal 8.8.0 will be the last release to deprecate for Drupal 9. Today, we don't know the full set of deprecations yet.How much time do I have to update my code?
Contributed module maintainers are encouraged to remove the use of deprecated code by June of 2020 so everyone can upgrade to Drupal 9 the day it is released.
Drupal.org project maintainers should keep the extended security coverage policy in mind, which means that Drupal 8.8 will still be supported until Drupal 9.1 is released. Contributed projects looking to support both Drupal 8.8 and Drupal 9.0 might need to use two branches.How ready are the contributed modules?
As it stands today, 44% of the modules have no deprecation warnings. The remaining 56% of the modules need to be updated, but the majority have less than three deprecation warnings.
Another amazing DrupalCon has passed, and Kanopi had a great time collaborating with the community. Kanopians gave three talks, hosted one summit, participated in two others, led first-time contributor workshops, hosted three BOFs, and two of our engineers (Sean and Jim) passed their Acquia certifications. Our boss Anne even made her first commit.
If you missed our talks, fear not. The recordings are below:Deep Cleaning: Creating Franchise Model Efficiencies with Drupal 8
COIT offers cleaning services and 24/7 emergency restoration services and their 100+ locations serve more than 12 million homes & businesses across the United States and Canada. But their own website was a huge mess. In this case study we will cover the more technical parts of this Drupal 8 implementation.How to Work Remotely and Foster a Happy, Balanced Life
Presenters: Anne Stefanyk
In this session, we talk about how to be the best remote employee, and provide strategies and ideas if you are a leader of a remote team. We talk about key tactics to keep you (and all other staff) inspired, creative, productive and most importantly, happy!
Long, long ago, before we had indoor plumbing, penicillin or `civix generate:module`, a humble drupal module was born.
It tried its best to be helpful by employing an (at the time) cutting edge technique known as CRM_Utils_Migrate_Import to dump a motley collection of custom fields, profiles and options into your CiviCRM database.
Along with other cutting edge techniques (such as lobotomies), the process of automatically adding custom fields, profiles and options has been improved and now can be done with managed entities and our lovely api.
The Progressive Technology Project helped bring about civicrm_engage, and has now prepared a series of much more sane alternatives that provide the same functionality, but are implemented using CiviCRM-native extensions that employ the CiviCRM API.
The replacement extensions are described below.
In addition civicrm_engage provided a few demographic fields and then did some magical foo on the display of the custom demographics fields so that they would appear on the summary page in the same box as the core demographics fields. This is pretty, but alas, we decided it was not worth the extra work of maintaining said magical foo so we have not tried to re-implement that feature.
So, with this blog post, we are starting the process of deprecating civicrm_engage.
NOTE: If you are currently using civicrm_engage, you can simply disable and uninstall the module and your custom fields, profiles and options will remain. Your custom demographic fields will suddenly appear as a Tab instead of being available in your core demographics box, but otherwise, everything will work the same. Disabling and uninstalling civicrm_engage is the recommended course of action for existing installations.
For new installations, please see the replacement extensions below.
Feedback and questions are welcome from anyone (but especially people that actually have civicrm_engage enabled, if any of you exist).
- Contstituent Fields: Provides a custom data group for both individuals and organizations that includes a contstituent type multi-select for both individuals and organizations. It also includes a handful of useful custom fields for organizing purposes, such as "Staff resopnsible", "Date started", "Languages known" and others.
- Participant Fields: Provides common fields for organizing events that extend the participant records, such as "Dietary Preferences" and "Child care needed."
- Media Fields: Provides both a media outlet and media contact sub types (extending Organization and Individual) along with fields for tracking such sub types.
- Voter Fields: Provides a set of fields for tracking voter engagement, including "Party Registration," "VAN Id" and others.
- Foundation Fields: Creates a Foundation Organization sub type along with useful fields for tracking Foundations. In addition, provides a "letter of inquiry," "proposal," and "report" activity types and custom activity fields to help you track proposals.
- Turnout: Provides extra fields that extend the participant records that are used for tracking turnout efforts. These fields (and a profile) provide a turnout workflow allowing organizers to make up to three calls to propsective event participants and track what their responses to the calls are.
Another DrupalCon is in the books and our team had a fantastic time gathering with so many members of the worldwide Drupal community in Seattle. Getting together in person with a large portion of our team is always a treat, but it makes it all the sweeter when our team has the chance to share their expertise by presenting at DrupalCon.
On the evolution of web content approaches and technology perspectives
Change is in the air!
In more ways than one, our world is in the throes of change. We live in an era where politics and governance, economy and international relations as also business and technology are all careening through an edge-of-the-seat roller coaster ride, from one ‘cutting edge’ to another.
Ideas, values, systems, processes, frameworks - what held good yesterday is today up in the air. We see this in our lives - professional and personal. We seek the new constantly, be it a new Mar-Tech platform every few months for our businesses, or a new Soc-Med channel to post our holiday pictures on, discarding the one that was ‘trusted’ till yesterday.
Not surprisingly, this affects both organizations and individuals - the changes in our experience of institutional frameworks, business models, corporate ethics, interpersonal relationships, the way we shop, eat, dress, travel, even our experiences of climate change.
It was easy!
Ok - I did have help from cafuego, so there's some bits of the process that were just magic to me. But once I had access to the environments, I enabled the migrate modules, and followed instructions on drupal.org and hey presto it was done!
I did need to do manual clean up - re position blocks into differently named regions, and recreate some menu items for taxonomy.
I also got stumped for a bit about why I could no longer free tag, but that turned out to be a simple setting change.
There's still some tweaking to do, and I know that the path to files has changed, so there's lots of broken images I need to tidy up, but other than that, all seems well.
During his keynote at DrupalCon a couple of weeks back, Dries said the time to move to D8 is now.
The award is named after a long-time Drupal contributor who lost his battle with ALS in 2015. This award recognizes an individual who, like Aaron, demonstrates personal integrity, kindness, and an above-and-beyond commitment to the Drupal project and community. Previous winners of the award are Cathy Theys, Gabór Hojtsy, Nikki Stevens, and Kevin Thull. Current CWG members, along with previous winners, selected the winner based on nominations submitted by Drupal community members.
This year, there were 18 individuals nominated for the award. In the coming weeks, the CWG will be contacting all nominees to let them know of their nomination and thank them for their continued work in the community.
In addition to the physical award presented to Leslie during the announcement, Leslie was also provided with a free ticket to DrupalCon Seattle as well as travel expenses.
Leslie has over 30 years experience in the software development field and has been working with Drupal since 2011. She has been involved in Drupal project management, site building, and client support. She has organized and mentored Drupal sprints, has offered trainings at Drupal camps and DrupalCons, and has volunteered at - as well as help organize - many camps across the United States especially in New England.
Multiple people nominated Leslie for this award. One of them wrote, “If you have ever attended a North American Drupalcon, BADCamp, NYCCamp, NEDCamp, Design4Drupal, or any other major North American Drupal event, then you have seen Leslie. She is a constant inspiration of how our community, and each one of us, should work and act."
Another one of her nominators wrote, “Leslie is a dependable, passionate, kind, and giving individual and the Drupal community is extremely fortunate to have her."
Nominations for the 2020 award will open in early 2020.
On April 7th, our team packed up our bags and headed off to Seattle for one of the bigger can’t miss learning events of the year, DrupalCon.“Whether you’re C-level, a developer, a content strategist, or a marketer — there’s something for you at DrupalCon.” -https://events.drupal.org/
As you may have read in one of our more recent posts, we had a lot of sessions that we couldn’t wait to attend! We were very excited to find new ideas that we could bring back to improve our services for constituents or the agencies we work with to make digital interactions with government fast, easy, and wicked awesome. DrupalCon surpassed our already high expectations.GovSummit
At the Government Summit, we were excited to speak with other state employees who are interested in sharing knowledge, including collaborating on open-source projects. We wanted to see how other states are working on problems we’ve tried to solve and to learn from their solutions to improve constituents’ digital interactions with government.
One of the best outcomes of the Government Summit was an amazing “birds of a feather” (BOF) talk later in the week. North Carolina’s Digital Services Director Billy Hylton led the charge for digital teams across state governments to choose a concrete next step toward collaboration. At the BOF, more than a dozen Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and Arizona digital team members discussed, debated, and chose a content type (“event”) to explore. Even better, we left with a meeting date to discuss specific next steps on what collaborating together could do for our constituents.Session Highlights
The learning experience did not stop at the GovSummit. Together, our team members attended dozens of sessions. For example, I attended a session called “Stanford and FFW — Defaulting to Open” since we are starting to explore what open-sourcing will look like for Mass.gov. The Stanford team’s main takeaway was the tremendous value they’ve found in building with and contributing to Drupal. Quirky fact: their team discovered during user testing among high-school students that “FAQ” is completely mysterious to younger people: they expect the much more straightforward “Questions” or “Help.”
Another session I really enjoyed was called “Pattern Lab: The Definitive How-to.” It was exciting to hear that Pattern Lab, a tool for creating design systems, has officially merged its two separate cores into a single one that supports all existing rendering engines. This means simplifying the technical foundation to allow more focus on extending Pattern Lab in new and useful ways (and less just keeping it up and running). We used Pattern Lab to build Mayflower, the design system created for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and implemented first on Mass.gov. We are now looking at the best ways to offer the benefits of Mayflower — user-centeredness, accessibility, and consistent look and feel — to more Commonwealth digital properties. Some team members had a chance to talk later to Evan Lovely, the speaker and one of the maintainers of Pattern Lab, and were excited by the possibility of further collaboration to implement Mayflower in more places.
There were a variety of other informative topics. Here are some that my peers and I enjoyed, just to name a few:
- Database Query Optimization in Drupal
- Personalizing the Teach for America applicant journey
- DevOps: Why, How, and What
- Introduction to Decoupled Drupal with Gatsby and React (and Gatsby & Drupal)
- Why will JSON:API go into core?
- Improved Drupal dev workflow via Log Driven Development + ELK (Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana)
- Getting to 99.99% Uptime: Disaster Recovery and Pantheon
- What’s next for the Layout Initiative
- Drupal Core Auto-Update Architecture
On Thursday we started bright and early to unfurl our Massachusetts Digital Service banner and prepare to greet fellow Drupalists at our booth! We couldn’t have done it without our designer, who put all of our signs together for our first time exhibiting at DrupalCon (Thanks Eva!)
It was remarkable to be able to talk with so many bright minds in one day. Our one-on-one conversations took us on several deep dives into the work other organizations are doing to improve their digital assets. Meeting so many brilliant Drupalists made us all the more excited to share some opportunities we currently have to work with them, such as the ITS74 contract to work with us as a vendor, or our job opening for a technical architect.
We left our table briefly to attend Mass.gov: A Guide to Data-Informed Content Optimization, where team members Julia Gutierrez and Nathan James shared how government agencies in Massachusetts are now making data-driven content decisions. Watch their presentation to learn:
- How we define wicked awesome content
- How we translate indicators into actionable metrics
- The technology stack we use to empower content authors
To cap it off, Mass.gov, with partners Last Call Media and Mediacurrent, won Best Theme for our custom admin theme at the first-ever Global Splash awards (established to “recognize the best Drupal projects on the web”)! An admin theme is the look and feel that users see when they log in. The success of Mass.gov rests in the hands of all of its 600+ authors and editors. We’ve known from the start of the project that making it easy and efficient to add or edit content in Mass.gov was key to the ultimate goal: a site that serves constituents as well as possible. To accomplish this, we decided to create a custom admin theme, launched in May 2018.A before-and-after view of our admin theme
Our goal was not just a nicer looker and feel (though it is that!), but a more usable experience. For example, we wanted authors to see help text before filling out a field, so we brought it up above the input box. And we wanted to help them keep their place when navigating complicated page types with multiple levels of nested information, so we added vertical lines to tie together items at each level.Last Call Media founder Kelly Albrecht crosses the stage to accept the Splash award for Best Theme on behalf of the Mass.gov Team.All the Splash award winners!
It was a truly enriching experience to attend DrupalCon and learn from the work of other great minds. Our team has already started brainstorming how we can improve our products and services for our partner agencies and constituents. Come back to our blog weekly to check out updates on how we are putting our DrupalCon lessons to use for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!
We snagged this photo on our second day in the pacific northwest.
Mike and Matt gather a random group of Drupalers in Seattle, drag them back to a hotel room, and record a podcast.
In the Drupal community, the annual DrupalCon show is the biggest event of the year. Held in a different city each year, the event brings Drupal users together for a week of sessions and networking.
With so many people and agencies committed to Drupal in attendance, DrupalCon is the perfect opportunity to provide training and guidance. This year’s show, DrupalCon Seattle, dedicated its first two days to community summits and full-day training sessions. One of these summits tackled one of the most prevalent issues of the year for Drupal: Accessibility. Through a combination of keynotes, panels and breakout sessions, the summit’s organizers gave attendees actionable insights and new perspectives on front-end accessibility.
The day kicked off with a keynote from OpenConcept’s Mike Gifford, who spoke about his agency’s work with the Canadian National Institute of the Blind (CNIB). For the organization’s 100-year anniversary, the CNIB sought a rebrand and redesign with an emphasis on making their site’s content more accessible. As OpenConcept learned, creating an accessible platform is easier said than done. To illustrate how difficult the process can be, Gifford wryly offered this Donald Rumsfeld quote:
There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know.
In the context of web development, accessibility is often an “unknown unknown.” Without extensive testing, programmers won’t know that any given element won’t limit access for certain users. As such, one of the major lessons that Gifford shared was the importance of manual testing.
“Automated accessibility testing will only get you 25 percent of the way there,” Gifford said. “Manual testing is essential, and this mostly comes down to getting rid of your mouse and tabbing through a site."
As Gifford and speakers from subsequent panels noted, the best method for testing a site’s accessibility is to actually use it. While a lot of problems can be found by, as Gifford said, unplugging your mouse and using the “tab” key to navigate, this approach can still miss blind spots that able-bodied users wouldn’t consider. Alternatively, hiring disabled users to perform QA testing on a given site is often the best solution.
This ethos is especially true when building mobile sites. Another keynote speaker, Gian Wild of AccessibilityOz, covered the mobile accessibility testing process in detail. Manual testing on real devices can root out common traps, like if a site’s buttons are too small to be navigated with a finger or if links aren’t underlined. For more common errors, Wild’s slide deck can be found here.
As important as manual testing is, though, automated accessibility tools are a vital element of the accessible design arsenal. Though pervasive and subtle errors still require hands-on QA testing, automated solutions will identify many more thousands of minor issues in a fraction of the time. As such, using these tools in coordination with manual testing will ensure that your site is as accessible as can be.
During the final breakout session of the summit, attendees shared which tools they think work best for rooting out accessibility issues, many of which conveniently come in the form of browser extensions. Some commonly mentioned tools included:
We’ve previously profiled several accessibility tools, and you see which one is best for you here.
As challenging as accessibility testing can be, the reward of expanding your audience is well worth it. Fortunately, the Drupal platform helps ensure out-of-the-box accessibility features. During his keynote, Gifford pointed out that Drupal design patterns have already been tested, known bugs are listed transparently, and the development community actually cares about the issue. In fact, OpenConcept’s work for CNIB produced several fixes and modules that can now be utilized by any Drupal user. These contributions and further info about the CNIB redesign can be found on Gifford’s slide deck here.
With a senior-level team of designer and developers, Duo can apply these lessons to sites across industries. Our commitment to accessibility means that every site we build will be open to all users. To learn more about our process and values, reach out to our team today!
Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are opening up a plenitude of possibilities in different industries. Efforts like Robotics at Google, for instance, are showing the world the way forward. Google is working on machines that may not be as eye-catching as humanoid robots but will have subtly more advanced technology inside them. The idea is to let them learn skills on their own and sort through a bin of unfamiliar objects or navigate a warehouse that is filled with unexpected obstacles. And in the healthcare sector, while the doctors are already using AI for diagnosing and treating medical conditions, Dr. Eric Topol, in his book called Deep Medicine, says that AI can do much more than that. AI can save doctors from performing tasks like jotting down notes and reading scans and allow them to spend more time connecting with their patients. The AI’s influence in different fields will make for an endless list.
It is true that AI is growing at a fast clip. But, currently, it is still dependable on human intelligence. Nevertheless, AI is here to stay and will only get better with time.
In the web landscape, too, AI has the provision for a superabundance of use cases. Drupal, as one of the leading content management frameworks, has been a pioneer when it comes to giving a push to digital innovation. Drupal, replete with modules for implementing AI, can lay the groundwork for a more AI-centric future for your digital business.Unwrapping artificial intelligence
The term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ was coined by Dartmouth professor John McCarthy in the summer of 1956 when he invited a small group to spend some weeks musing on how to enable machines to do things like use language. He pinned high hopes on the breakthrough of human-level machines. Since then, artificial intelligence has come a long way and will undergo a lot of research and development in the coming years.AI can emulate human performance by learning from it.
Gartner states that “AI applies advanced analysis and logic-based techniques, including machine learning, to interpret events, support and automate decisions, and take actions”. Commonly, definitions of AI emphasise on automation. But AI can emulate human performance by learning from it. This can come very handy as it gives a plethora of opportunities to IT and business leaders.Adopting AI in businesses
When it comes to adoption of AI in the business workflow, organisations need a well-planned strategy to measure their firm against the AI maturity model, states Gartner.Source: Gartner
AI maturity model can help in identifying where your firm is on the potential growth curve and decide what steps should be taken by discussing it with the management. Some organisations can be doing conversations about AI and are in an Awareness stage. There can be firms in the Active stage who may be including AI in proofs of concept and pilot projects. Organisations can be termed to be in the Operational stage when at least one of their AI projects has moved to production. Business organisations can be said to be in the Systematic stage when they, at least, start considering AI for all of their new digital projects. Once you figure out what stage you are in, you can aim for reaching the Transformational stage and make AI a part of your DNA with the help of top-notch, adaptive strategy and by giving more room for experimentation.
As you start implementing AI in your business, it is important to identify the right use cases i.e. the key business hurdles that can be resolved by the capabilities of AI. And there is no dearth of what AI has to offer as can be seen in the figure below.
A combo of AI and Drupal
AI has made its foray into different industries and has opened up new opportunities for improving business workflow. Web development is one of the areas where artificial intelligence can be leveraged to a great extent. Some of the examples of how Drupal can be of great use to leverage artificial intelligence are:Chatbots
Artificial intelligence can be of great help in imbibing cognitive computing abilities, that simulates human thought processes in a computerised model, in a website. This can be done in the form of chatbots. Drupal’s Chatbot API module can offer fantastic conversational experiences. Chatbot API gives you a common flexible additional layer that comes in between Drupal, your Natural Language Processing (NLP) and your several chatbots and personal assistants thereby making your website chatbot-friendly. This assists in avoiding the need for writing new code whenever you have to translate conversational experience from one interface to another.Web personalisation
Personalisation of the web content is done on the basis of a person’s digital persona. Content can be recommended to the users based on their profile or past activities. For instance, if they are searching for a blue shirt, something like this would work - “Here are more blue shirts”. Or, if a user is reading about futuristic technologies, then something like this may work - “Read more articles like this”. Artificial intelligence can improve even further.
A session at DrupalCon Baltimore 2017 talked about personalising web content using machine learning (a subset of AI). They demonstrated Deep Feeling, a proof-of-concept project, that leverages machine learning techniques to enhance content recommendations to the users. They utilised Instagram API for accessing a user’s stream-of-consciousness and filtered their feeds via a computer vision API. This was, then, used to detect and learn subtle themes about the user’s predilections. On getting a notion about the sort of experiences the user thinks are worth sharing, user’s characteristics were matched against their own databases. The proof-of-concept involved Acquia lift service and Drupal 8.
“In keeping with our deep integrations to Web Content Management, Content Management Systems, and Marketing Automation platforms, our Drupal 8 connector is the latest example of Cloudwords building integrations that speed and scale a company’s global marketing engagements with personalized experiences in any language”, said Richard Harpham, former CEO at Cloudwords Inc.
Cloudwords for Multilingual Drupal module offers a superfast and efficacious way of governing the process of making your site multilingual. On installing this module, your content can be served in multiple languages to the market. Its powerful workflow automation and project management capabilities enable you to choose the content that you want to localise and the rest of the process is taken care of by Cloudwords. Its CAT tool utilises artificial intelligence and machine learning for enhancing productivity.
Google’s artificial intelligence capabilities can be applied for solving the obstacles of content management at scale. A session held at Badcamp 2018 exhibited how can content editors keep up with reviews during a continuous stream of content submissions.
For this, Google Cloud Vision API was utilised. Google Vision API offers image labelling as it detects an object automatically and even provides data about objects such as its position within the image. It can also detect text within the images. It can assess your image and identify if it contains adult content, violence and so on. Google Cloud Vision API can be configured with Drupal via the Drupal module. This enables you o automatically add metadata to uploaded media and allow explicit content detection on image fields.
We can do so much with artificial intelligence just as there is much that we have done with the wheel. But to consider AI as an outright replacement for human intelligence is not the right thing to do. AI can improve our lives and it is important to figure how to leverage it for our betterment.
Drupal, a catalyst giving importance to digital innovation and emerging technologies, can be used in combination with AI to build futuristic solutions.
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