State of Drupal presentation (October 2019)

Last week, many Drupalists came together for Drupalcon Amsterdam.

As a matter of tradition, I presented my State of Drupal keynote. You can watch a recording of my keynote (starting at 20:44 minutes), or download a copy of my slides (149 MB).

Drupal 8 innovation update

I kicked off my keynote with an update on Drupal 8. Drupal 8.8 is expected to ship on December 4th, and will come with many exciting improvements.

Drupal 8.7 shipped with a Media Library to allow editors to reuse images, videos and other media assets. In Drupal 8.8, Media Library has been marked as stable, and features a way to easily embed media assets using a WYSIWYG text editor.

I'm even more proud to say that Drupal has never looked better, nor been more accessible. I showed our progress on Claro, a new administration UI for Drupal. Once Claro is stable, Drupal will look more modern and appealing out-of-the-box.

The Composer Initiative has also made significant progress. Drupal 8.8 will be the first Drupal release with proper, official support for Composer out-of-the-box. Composer helps solve the problem of Drupal being difficult to install and update. With Composer, developers can update Drupal in one step, as Composer will take care of updating all the dependencies (e.g. third party code).

What is better than one-step updates? Zero-step updates. We also showed progress on the Automated Updates Initiative.

Finally, Drupal 8.8 marks significant progress with our API-first Initiative, with several new improvements to JSON:API support in the contributed space, including an interactive query builder called JSON:API Explorer. This work solidifies Drupal's leadership position as a leading headless or decoupled solution.

Drupal 9 will be the easiest major update

Next, I gave an update on Drupal 9, as we're just eight months from the target release date. We have been working hard to make Drupal 9 the easiest major update in the last decade. In my keynote at 42:25, I showed how to upgrade your site to Drupal 9.0.0's development release.

Drupal 9 product strategy

I am proud of all the progress we made on Drupal 8. Nevertheless, it's also time to start thinking about our strategic priorities for Drupal 9. With that in mind, I proposed four strategic tracks for Drupal 9 (and three initial initiatives):

Strategic track 1: reduce cost and effort

Users want site development to be low-cost and zero-maintenance. As a result, we'll need to continue to focus on initiatives such as automated updates, configuration management, and more.

Strategic track 2: prioritizing the beginner experience

As we saw in a survey Acqua's UX team conducted, most people have a relatively poor initial impression of Drupal, though if they stick with Drupal long enough, their impression of Drupal grows significantly over time. This unlike any of its competitors, whose impression decreases as experience is gained. Drupal 9 should focus on attracting new users, and decreasing beginners' barriers to entry so they can fall in love with Drupal much sooner.

Beginners struggle with Drupal while experts love Drupal.Drupal's sentiment curve goes in the opposite direction of WordPress', AEM's and Sitecore's. This presents both a big challenge and opportunity for Drupal.
We also officially launched the first initiative on this track; a new front-end theme for Drupal called "Olivero". This new default theme will give new users a much better first impression of Drupal, as well as reflect the modern backend that Drupal sports under the hood.

Strategic track 3: drive the Open Web

As you may know, 1 out of 40 websites run on Drupal. With that comes a responsibility to help drive the future of the Open Web. By 2022-2025, 4 billion new people will join the internet. We want all people to have access to the open web, and as a result should focus on accessibility, inclusiveness, security, privacy, and interoperability.

Strategic track 4: be the best structured data engine

We've already seen the beginnings of a content explosion, and will experience 300 billion new devices coming online by 2030. By continuing to make Drupal a better and better content repository with a flexible API, we'll be ready for a future with more content, more integrations, more devices, and more channels.

Over the next six months, we'll be opening up these proposed tracks to the community for discussion, and introducing surveys to define the 10 inaugural initiatives for Drupal 9. So far the feedback at DrupalCon Amsterdam has been very positive, but I'm looking forward to much more feedback!

Growing sponsored contributions

In a previous blog post, Balancing Makers and Takers to scale and sustain Open Source, I covered a number of topics related to organizational contribution. Around 1:19:44, my keynote goes into more details, including interviews with several prominent business owners and corporate contributors in the Drupal community.

You can find the different interview snippet belows:

Baddy Sonja Breidert, co-founder of 1xINTERNET, on why it is important to help convert Takers become Makers.
Tiffany Farriss, CEO of Palantir, on what it would take for her organization to contribute substantially more to Drupal.
Mike Lamb, Vice President of Global Digital Platforms at Pfizer, announcing that we are establishing the Contribution Recognition Committee to govern and improve Drupal's contribution credit system.
Thank you

Thank you to everyone who attended Drupalcon Amsterdam and contributed to the event's success. I'm always amazed by the vibrant community that makes Drupal so unique. I'm proud to showcase the impressive work of contributors in my presentations, and congratulate all of the hardworking people that are crucial to building Drupal 8 and 9 behind the scenes. I'm excited to continue to celebrate our work and friendships at future events.

Thanks to the 641 individuals who worked on Drupal 8.8 so far.Thanks to the 243 different individuals who contributed to Drupal 8.8 to date.
Source: Dries Buytaert www.buytaert.net


Low-code and no-code tools continue to drive the web forward

A version of this article was originally published on Devops.com.

Twelve years ago, I wrote a post called Drupal and Eliminating Middlemen. For years, it was one of the most-read pieces on my blog. Later, I followed that up with a blog post called The Assembled Web, which remains one of the most read posts to date.

The point of both blog posts was the same: I believed that the web would move toward a model where non-technical users could assemble their own sites with little to no coding experience of their own.

This idea isn't new; no-code and low-code tools on the web have been on a 25-year long rise, starting with the first web content management systems in the early 1990s. Since then no-code and low-code solutions have had an increasing impact on the web. Examples include:

WYSIWYG site-builders like Wix and Squarespace
WordPress' Gutenberg
Drupal's new Layout Builder
While this has been a long-run trend, I believe we're only at the beginning.

Trends driving the low-code and no-code movements

According to Forrester Wave: Low-Code Development Platforms for AD&D Professionals, Q1 2019, In our survey of global developers, 23% reported using low-code platforms in 2018, and another 22% planned to do so within a year..

Major market forces driving this trend include a talent shortage among developers, with an estimated one million computer programming jobs expected to remain unfilled by 2020 in the United States alone.

What is more, the developers who are employed are often overloaded with work and struggle with how to prioritize it all. Some of this burden could be removed by low-code and no-code tools.

In addition, the fact that technology has permeated every aspect of our lives — from our smartphones to our smart homes — has driven a desire for more people to become creators. As the founder of Product Hunt Ryan Hoover said in a blog post: As creating things on the internet becomes more accessible, more people will become makers..

But this does not only apply to individuals. Consider this: the typical large organization has to build and maintain hundreds of websites. They need to build, launch and customize these sites in days or weeks, not months. Today and in the future, marketers can embrace no-code and low-code tools to rapidly develop websites.

Abstraction drives innovation

As discussed in my middleman blog post, developers won't go away. Just as the role of the original webmaster has evolved with the advent of web content management systems, the role of web developers is changing with the rise of low-code and no-code tools.

Successful no-code approaches abstract away complexity for web development. This enables less technical people to do things that previously could only by done by developers. And when those abstractions happen, developers often move on to the next area of innovation.

When everyone is a builder, more good things will happen on the web. I was excited about this trend more than 12 years ago, and remain excited today. I'm eager to see the progress no-code and low-code solutions will bring to the web in the next decade.
Source: Dries Buytaert www.buytaert.net


Increasing Drupal speaker diversity

At Drupalcon Seattle, I spoke about some of the challenges Open Source communities like Drupal often have with increasing contributor diversity. We want our contributor base to look like everyone in the world who uses Drupal's technology on the internet, and unfortunately, that is not quite the reality today.

One way to step up is to help more people from underrepresented groups speak at Drupal conferences and workshops. Seeing and hearing from a more diverse group of people can inspire new contributors from all races, ethnicities, gender identities, geographies, religious groups, and more.

To help with this effort, the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion group is hosting a speaker diversity training workshop on September 21 and 28 with Jill Binder, whose expertise has also driven major speaker diversity improvements within the WordPress community.

I'd encourage you to either sign up for this session yourself or send the information to someone in a marginalized group who has knowledge to share, but may be hesitant to speak up. Helping someone see that their expertise is valuable is the kind of support we need to drive meaningful change.
Source: Dries Buytaert www.buytaert.net


Drupal helps rescue ultra marathon runner

I'm frequently sent examples of how Drupal has changed the lives of developers, business owners and end users. Recently, I received a very different story of how Drupal had helped in a rescue operation that saved a man's life.

The Snowdonia Ultra Marathon website

In early 2018, Race Director Mike Jones was looking to build a new website for the Ultra-Trail Snowdonia ultra marathon. He reached out to a good friend and developer, Rob Edwards, to lead the development of the website.

© Ultra-trail Snowdonia and No Limits Photography

Rob chose Drupal for its flexibility and extensibility. As an organization supported heavily by volunteers, open source also fit the Snowdonia team's belief in community.

The resulting website, https://apexrunning.co/, included a custom-built timing module. This module allowed volunteers to register each runner and their time at every aid stop.

A runner goes missing

Rob attended the first day of Ultra-Trail Snowdonia to ensure the website ran smoothly. He also monitored the runners at the end of the race to certify they were all accounted for.

Monitoring the system into the early hours of the morning, Rob noticed one runner, after successfully completing checkpoints one and two, hadn't passed through the third checkpoint.

© Ultra-trail Snowdonia and No Limits Photography

Each runner carried a mobile phone with them for emergencies. Mike attempted to make contact with the runner via phone to ensure he was safe. However, this specific area was known for its poor signal and the connection was too weak to get through.

After some more time eagerly watching the live updates, it was clear the runner hadn't reached checkpoint four and more likely hadn't ever made it past checkpoint three. The Ogwen Mountain Rescue were called to action.

Due to the terrain and temperature, searching for the lost runner on foot would be too slow. Instead, the mountain rescue volunteers used a helicopter to scan the area and locate the runner.

How Drupal came to rescue

The area covered by runners in an ultra marathon like this one is vast. The custom-built timing module helped rescuers narrow down the search area; they knew the runner passed the second checkpoint but never made it to the third.

After following the fluorescent orange markers in the area pinpointed by the Drupal website, the team quickly found the individual. He had fallen and become too injured to carry on. A mild case of hypothermia had set in. The runner was airlifted to the hospital for appropriate care. The good news: the runner survived.

Without Drupal, it might have taken much longer to notify anyone that a runner had gone missing, and there would have been no way to tell when he had dropped off.

NFC and GPS devices are now being explored for these ultra marathon runners to carry with them to provide location data as an extra safety precaution. The Drupal system will be used alongside these devices for more accurate time readings, and Rob is looking into an API to pull this additional data into the Drupal website.

Stories about Drupal having an impact on organizations and individuals, or even helping out in emergencies, drive my sense of purpose. Feel free to keep sending them my way!

Special thanks to Rob Edwards, Poppy Heap (CTI Digital) and Paul Johnson (CTI Digital) for their help with this blog post.
Source: Dries Buytaert www.buytaert.net


It's the most 'Wonderfund' time of year

Every December, Acquia organizes a gift drive on behalf of the Wonderfund. The gift drive supports children that otherwise wouldn't be receiving gifts this holiday season. This year, more than 120 Acquians collected presents for 205 children in Massachusetts.

Acquia's annual gift drive always stands out as a heart warming and meaningful effort. It's a wonderful example of how Acquia is committed to "Give back more". Thank you to every Acquian who participated and for Wonderfund's continued partnership. Happy Holidays!
Source: Dries Buytaert www.buytaert.net


Acquia highway billboards

If you're driving into Boston, you might notice something new on I-90. Acquia has placed ads on two local billboards; more than 120,000 cars drive past these billboards everyday. This is the first time in Acquia's eleven years that we've taken out a highway billboard, and dipped our toes in more traditional media advertising. Personally, I find that exciting, because it means that more and more people will be introduced to Acquia. If you find yourself on the Mass Pike, keep an eye out!


Source: Dries Buytaert www.buytaert.net


Who sponsors Drupal development? (2017-2018 edition)

For the past two years, I've examined Drupal.org's commit data to understand who develops Drupal, how much of that work is sponsored, and where that sponsorship comes from.

I have now reported on this data for three years in a row, which means I can start to better compare year-over-year data. Understanding how an open-source project works is important because it establishes a benchmark for project health and scalability.

I would also recommend taking a look at the 2016 report or the 2017 report. Each report looks at data collected in the 12-month period between July 1st and June 30th.

This year's report affirms that Drupal has a large and diverse community of contributors. In the 12-month period between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, 7,287 different individuals and 1,002 different organizations contributed code to Drupal.org. This include contributions to Drupal core and all contributed projects on Drupal.org.

In comparison to last year's report, both the number of contributors and contributions has increased. Our community of contributors (including both individuals and organizations) is also becoming more diverse. This is an important area of growth, but there is still work to do.

For this report, we looked at all of the issues marked "closed" or "fixed" in our ticketing system in the 12-month period from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. This includes Drupal core and all of the contributed projects on Drupal.org, across all major versions of Drupal. This year, 24,447 issues were marked "closed" or "fixed", a 5% increase from the 23,238 issues in the 2016-2017 period. This averages out to 67 feature improvements or bug fixes a day.

In total, we captured 49,793 issue credits across all 24,447 issues. This marks a 17% increase from the 42,449 issue credits recorded in the previous year. Of the 49,793 issue credits reported this year, 18% (8,822 credits) were for Drupal core, while 82% (40,971 credits) went to contributed projects.

"Closed" or "fixed" issues are often the result of multiple people working on the issue. We try to capture who contributes through Drupal.org's unique credit system. We used the data from the credit system for this analysis. There are a few limitations with this approach, which we'll address at the end of this report.

What is the Drupal.org credit system?

In the spring of 2015, after proposing ideas for giving credit and discussing various approaches at length, Drupal.org added the ability for people to attribute their work to an organization or customer in the Drupal.org issue queues. Maintainers of Drupal modules, themes, and distributions can award issue credits to people who help resolve issues with code, translations, documentation, design and more.

A screenshot of an issue comment on Drupal.org. You can see that jamadar worked on this patch as a volunteer, but also as part of his day job working for TATA Consultancy Services on behalf of their customer, Pfizer.
Credits are a powerful motivator for both individuals and organizations. Accumulating credits provides individuals with a way to showcase their expertise. Organizations can utilize credits to help recruit developers, to increase their visibility within the Drupal.org marketplace, or to showcase their Drupal expertise.

Who is working on Drupal?

In the 12-month period between July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, 24,447, Drupal.org received code contributions from 7,287 different individuals and 1,002 different organizations.

While the number of individual contributors rose, a relatively small number of individuals still do the majority of the work. Approximately 48% of individual contributors received just one credit. Meanwhile, the top 30 contributors (the top 0.4%) account for more than 24% of the total credits. These individuals put an incredible amount of time and effort in developing Drupal and its contributed projects:

RankUsernameIssues1RenatoG8512RajabNatshah7453jrockowitz7004adriancid5295bojanz5156Berdir4327alexpott4148mglaman4149Wim Leers39510larowlan36011DamienMcKenna35312dawehner34013catch33914heddn32715xjm30316pifagor28417quietone26118borisson_25519adci_contributor25520volkswagenchick25421drunken monkey23122amateescu22523joachim19924mkalkbrenner19525chr.fritsch18526gaurav.kapoor17827phenaproxima17728mikeytown217329joelpittet17030timmillwood169Out of the top 30 contributors featured, 15 were also recognized as top contributors in our 2017 report. These Drupalists' dedication and continued contribution to the project has been crucial to Drupal's development. It's also exciting to see 15 new names on the list. This mobility is a testament to the community's evolution and growth. It's also important to recognize that a majority of the 15 repeat top contributors are at least partially sponsored by an organization. We value the organizations that sponsor these remarkable individuals, because without their support, it could be more challenging to be in the top 30 year over year.

How diverse is Drupal?

Next, we looked at both the gender and geographic diversity of Drupal.org code contributors. While these are only two examples of diversity, this is the only available data that contributors can currently choose to share on their Drupal.org profiles. The reported data shows that only 7% of the recorded contributions were made by contributors that do not identify as male, which continues to indicates a steep gender gap. This is a one percent increase compared to last year. The gender imbalance in Drupal is profound and underscores the need to continue fostering diversity and inclusion in our community.

To address this gender gap, in addition to advancing representation across various demographics, the Drupal community is supporting two important initiatives. The first is to adopt more inclusive user demographic forms on Drupal.org. Adopting Open Demographics on Drupal.org will also allow us to improve reporting on diversity and inclusion, which in turn will help us better support initiatives that advance diversity and inclusion. The second initiative is supporting the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion Contribution Team, which works to better include underrepresented groups to increase code and community contributions. The DDI Contribution Team recruits team members from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups, and provides support and mentorship to help them contribute to Drupal.

It's important to reiterate that supporting diversity and inclusion within Drupal is essential to the health and success of the project. The people who work on Drupal should reflect the diversity of people who use and work with the software. While there is still a lot of work to do, I'm excited about the impact these various initiatives will have on future reports.

When measuring geographic diversity, we saw individual contributors from 6 different continents and 123 different countries:

The top 20 countries from which contributions originate. The data is compiled by aggregating the countries of all individual contributors behind each commit. Note that the geographical location of contributors doesn't always correspond with the origin of their sponsorship. Wim Leers, for example, works from Belgium, but his funding comes from Acquia, which has the majority of its customers in North America.
123 different countries is seven more compared to the 2017 report. The new countries include Rwanda, Namibia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Swaziland, Zambia. Seeing contributions from more African countries is certainly a highlight.

How much of the work is sponsored?

Issue credits can be marked as "volunteer" and "sponsored" simultaneously (shown in jamadar's screenshot near the top of this post). This could be the case when a contributor does the minimum required work to satisfy the customer's need, in addition to using their spare time to add extra functionality.

While Drupal started out as a 100% volunteer-driven project, today the majority of the code on Drupal.org is sponsored by organizations. Only 12% of the commit credits that we examined in 2017-2018 were "purely volunteer" credits (6,007 credits), in stark contrast to the 49% that were "purely sponsored". In other words, there were four times as many "purely sponsored" credits as "purely volunteer" credits.

A few comparisons between the 2017-2018 and the 2016-2017 data:

The credit system is being used more frequently. In total, we captured 49,793 issue credits across all 24,447 issues in the 2017-2018 period. This marks a 17% increase from the 42,449 issue credits recorded in the previous year. Between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, 28% of all credits had no attribution while in the period between July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, only 25% of credits lacked attribution. More people have become aware of the credit system, the attribution options, and their benefits.
Sponsored credits are growing faster than volunteer credits. Both "purely volunteer" and "purely sponsored" credits grew, but "purely sponsored" credits grew faster. There are two reasons why this could be the case: (1) more contributions are sponsored and (2) organizations are more likely to use the credit system compared to volunteers.
No data is perfect, but it feels safe to conclude that most of the work on Drupal is sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal. Maybe most importantly, while the number of volunteers and sponsors has grown year over year in absolute terms, sponsored contributions appear to be growing faster than volunteer contributions. This is consistent with how open source projects grow and scale.

Who is sponsoring the work?

Now that we've established a majority of contributions to Drupal are sponsored, we want to study which organizations contribute to Drupal. While 1,002 different organizations contributed to Drupal, approximately 50% of them received four credits or less. The top 30 organizations (roughly the top 3%) account for approximately 48% of the total credits, which implies that the top 30 companies play a crucial role in the health of the Drupal project. The graph below shows the top 30 organizations and the number of credits they received between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018:

The top 30 contributing organizations based on the number of Drupal.org commit credits.
While not immediately obvious from the graph above, a variety of different types of companies are active in Drupal's ecosystem:

Category
Description
Traditional Drupal businesses
Small-to-medium-sized professional services companies that primarily make money using Drupal. They typically employ fewer than 100 employees, and because they specialize in Drupal, many of these professional services companies contribute frequently and are a huge part of our community. Examples are Chapter Three and Lullabot (both shown on graph).
Digital marketing agencies
Larger full-service agencies that have marketing-led practices using a variety of tools, typically including Drupal, Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, WordPress, etc. They tend to be larger, with the larger agencies employing thousands of people. Examples are Wunderman and Mirum.
System integrators
Larger companies that specialize in bringing together different technologies into one solution. Example system agencies are Accenture, TATA Consultancy Services, Capgemini and CI&T (shown on graph).
Technology and infrastructure companies
Examples are Acquia (shown on graph), Lingotek, BlackMesh, Rackspace, Pantheon and Platform.sh.
End-users
Examples are Pfizer (shown on graph) or NBCUniversal.
A few observations:

Almost all of the sponsors in the top 30 are traditional Drupal businesses. Companies like MD Systems (12 employees), Valuebound (58 employees), Chapter Three (33 employees), Commerce Guys (13 employees) and PreviousNext (22 employees) are, despite their size, critical to Drupal's success.
Compared to these traditional Drupal businesses, Acquia has nearly 800 employees and at least ten full-time Drupal contributors. Acquia works to resolve some of the most complex issues on Drupal.org, many of which are not recognized by the credit system (e.g. release management, communication, sprint organizing, and project coordination). Acquia added several full-time contributors compared to last year, however, I believe that Acquia should contribute even more due to its comparative size.
No digital marketing agencies show up in the top 30, though some of them are starting to contribute. It's exciting that an increasing number of digital marketing agencies are delivering beautiful experiences using Drupal. As a community, we need to work to ensure that each of these firms are contributing back to the project with the same commitment that we see from firms like Commerce Guys, CI&T or Acro Media. Compared to last year, we have not made meaningful progress on growing contributions from digital marketing agencies. It would be interesting to see what would happen if more large organizations mandated contributions from their partners. Pfizer, for example, only works with agencies and vendors that contribute back to Drupal, and requires that its agency partners contribute to open source. If more organizations took this stance, it could have a big impact on the number of digital agencies that contribute to Drupal
The only system integrator in the top 30 is CI&T, which ranked 3rd with 959 credits. As far as system integrators are concerned, CI&T is a smaller player with approximately 2,500 employees. However, we do see various system integrators outside of the top 30, including Globant, Capgemini, Sapient and TATA Consultancy Services. Each of these system integrators reported 30 to 85 credits in the past year. The top contributor is TATA with 85 credits.
Infrastructure and software companies also play an important role in our community, yet only Acquia appears in the top 30. While Acquia has a professional services division, more than 75% of the contributions come from the product organization. Other infrastructure companies include Pantheon and Platform.sh, which are both venture-backed, platform-as-a-service companies that were born from the Drupal community. Pantheon has 6 credits and Platform.sh has 47 credits. Amazee Labs, a company that is building an infrastructure business, reported 40 credits. Compared to last year, Acquia and Rackspace have slightly more credits, while Pantheon, Platform.sh and Amazee contributed less. Lingotek, a vendor that offers cloud-based translation management software has 84 credits.
We also saw three end-users in the top 30 as corporate sponsors: Pfizer (491 credits, up from 251 credits the year before), Thunder (432 credits), and the German company, bio.logis (319 credits, up from 212 credits the year before). Other notable customers outside of the top 30, include Workday, Wolters Kluwer, Burda Media, YMCA and OpenY, CARD.com and NBCUniversal. We also saw contributions from many universities, including University of Colorado Boulder, University of Waterloo, Princeton University, University of Adelaide, University of Sydney, University of Edinburgh, McGill University and more.
We can conclude that technology and infrastructure companies, digital marketing agencies, system integrators and end-users are not making significant code contributions to Drupal.org today. How can we explain this disparity in comparison to the traditional Drupal businesses that contribute the most? We believe the biggest reasons are:

Drupal's strategic importance. A variety of the traditional Drupal agencies almost entirely depend on Drupal to support their businesses. Given both their expertise and dependence on Drupal, they are most likely to look after Drupal's development and well-being. Contrast this with most of the digital marketing agencies and system integrators who work with a diversified portfolio of content management platforms. Their well-being is less dependent on Drupal's success.
The level of experience with Drupal and open source. Drupal aside, many organizations have little or no experience with open source, so it is important that we motivate and teach them to contribute.
Legal reservations. We recognize that some organizations are not legally permitted to contribute, let alone attribute their customers. We hope that will change as open source continues to get adopted.
Tools barriers. Drupal contribution still involves a patch-based workflow on Drupal.org's unique issue queue system. This presents a fairly steep learning curve to most developers, who primarily work with more modern and common tools such as GitHub. We hope to lower some of these barriers through our collaboration with GitLab.
Process barriers. Getting code changes accepted into a Drupal project — especially Drupal core — is hard work. Peer reviews, gates such as automated testing and documentation, required sign-offs from maintainers and committers, knowledge of best practices and other community norms are a few of the challenges a contributor must face to get code accepted into Drupal. Collaborating with thousands of people on a project as large and widely-used as Drupal requires such processes, but new contributors often don't know that these processes exist, or don't understand why they exist.
We should do more to entice contribution

Drupal is used by more than one million websites. Everyone who uses Drupal benefits from work that thousands of other individuals and organizations have contributed. Drupal is great because it is continuously improved by a diverse community of contributors who are enthusiastic to give back.

However, the vast majority of the individuals and organizations behind these Drupal websites never participate in the development of the project. They might use the software as it is or don't feel the need to help drive its development. We have to provide more incentive for these individuals and organizations to contribute back to the project.

Consequently, this data shows that the Drupal community can do more to entice companies to contribute code to Drupal.org. The Drupal community has a long tradition of encouraging organizations to share code rather than keep it behind firewalls. While the spirit of the Drupal project cannot be reduced to any single ideology — not every organization can or will share their code — we would like to see organizations continue to prioritize collaboration over individual ownership.

We understand and respect that some can give more than others and that some might not be able to give back at all. Our goal is not to foster an environment that demands what and how others should give back. Our aim is not to criticize those who do not contribute, but rather to help foster an environment worthy of contribution. This is clearly laid out in Drupal's Values and Principles.

Given the vast amount of Drupal users, we believe continuing to encourage organizations and end-users to contribute is still a big opportunity. From my own conversations, it's clear that organizations still need need education, training and help. They ask questions like: "Where can we contribute?", "How can we convince our legal department?", and more.

There are substantial benefits and business drivers for organizations that contribute: (1) it improves their ability to sell and win deals and (2) it improves their ability to hire. Companies that contribute to Drupal tend to promote their contributions in RFPs and sales pitches. Contributing to Drupal also results in being recognized as a great place to work for Drupal experts.

What projects have sponsors?

To understand where the organizations sponsoring Drupal put their money, I've listed the top 20 most sponsored projects:

RankProject nameIssues1Drupal core59192Webform9053Drupal Commerce6074Varbase: The Ultimate Drupal 8 CMS Starter Kit (Bootstrap Ready)5515Commerce Point of Sale (POS)3246Views3187Commerce Migrate3078JSON API3049Paragraphs27210Open Social22211Search API Solr Search21212Drupal Connector for Janrain Identity Cloud19713Drupal.org security advisory coverage applications18914Facets17115Open Y16216Metatag16217Web Page Archive15418Drupal core - JavaScript Modernization Initiative14519Thunder14420XML sitemap120Who is sponsoring the top 30 contributors?

Rank
Username
Issues
Volunteer
Sponsored
Not specified
Sponsors
1
RenatoG
851
0%
100%
0%
CI&T (850), Johnson & Johnson (23)
2
RajabNatshah
745
14%
100%
0%
Vardot (653), Webship (90)
3
jrockowitz
700
94%
97%
1%
The Big Blue House (680), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (7), Rosewood Marketing (2), Kennesaw State University (1)
4
adriancid
529
99%
19%
0%
Ville de Montréal (98)
5
bojanz
515
0%
98%
2%
Commerce Guys (503), Torchbox (17), Adapt (6), Acro Media (4), Bluespark (1)
6
Berdir
432
0%
92%
8%
MD Systems (396), Translations.com (10), Acquia (2)
7
alexpott
414
13%
84%
10%
Chapter Three (123), Thunder (120), Acro Media (103)
8
mglaman
414
5%
96%
1%
Commerce Guys (393), Impactiv (17), Circle Web Foundry (16), Rosewood Marketing (14), LivePerson (13), Bluespark (4), Acro Media (4), Gaggle.net (3), Thinkbean (2), Matsmart (2)
9
Wim Leers
395
8%
94%
0%
Acquia (371)
10
larowlan
360
13%
97%
1%
PreviousNext (350), University of Technology, Sydney (24), Charles Darwin University (10), Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) (1), Department of Justice & Regulation, Victoria (1)
11
DamienMcKenna
353
1%
95%
5%
Mediacurrent (334)
12
dawehner
340
48%
86%
4%
Chapter Three (279), Torchbox (10), Drupal Association (5), Tag1 Consulting (3), Acquia (2), TES Global (1)
13
catch
339
1%
97%
3%
Third and Grove (320), Tag1 Consulting (8)
14
heddn
327
2%
99%
1%
MTech (325)
15
xjm
303
0%
97%
3%
Acquia (293)
16
pifagor
284
32%
99%
1%
GOLEMS GABB (423), Drupal Ukraine Community (73)
17
quietone
261
48%
55%
5%
Acro Media (143)
18
borisson_
255
93%
55%
3%
Dazzle (136), Intracto digital agency (1), Acquia (1), DUG BE vzw (Drupal User Group Belgium) (1)
19
adci_contributor
255
0%
100%
0%
ADCI Solutions (255)
20
volkswagenchick
254
1%
100%
0%
Hook 42 (253)
21
drunken monkey
231
91%
22%
0%
DBC (24), Vizala (20), Sunlime Web Innovations GmbH (4), Wunder Group (1), epiqo (1), Zebralog (1)
22
amateescu
225
3%
95%
3%
Pfizer (211), Drupal Association (1), Chapter Three (1)
23
joachim
199
56%
44%
19%
Torchbox (88)
24
mkalkbrenner
195
0%
99%
1%
bio.logis (193), OSCE: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (119)
25
chr.fritsch
185
0%
99%
1%
Thunder (183)
26
gaurav.kapoor
178
0%
81%
19%
OpenSense Labs (144), DrupalFit (55)
27
phenaproxima
177
0%
99%
1%
Acquia (176)
28
mikeytown2
173
0%
0%
100%

29
joelpittet
170
28%
74%
16%
The University of British Columbia (125)
30
timmillwood
169
1%
100%
0%
Pfizer (169), Appnovation (163), Millwood Online (6)
We observe that the top 30 contributors are sponsored by 58 organizations. This kind of diversity is aligned with our desire to make sure that Drupal is not controlled by a single organization. These top contributors and organizations are from many different parts of the world, and work with customers large and small. Nonetheless, we will continue to benefit from an increased distribution of contribution.

Limitations of the credit system and the data

While the benefits are evident, it is important to note a few of the limitations in Drupal.org's current credit system:

Contributing to issues on Drupal.org is not the only way to contribute. Other activities, such as sponsoring events, promoting Drupal, and providing help and mentorship are also important to the long-term health of the Drupal project. Many of these activities are not currently captured by the credit system. For this post, we chose to only look at code contributions.
We acknowledge that parts of Drupal are developed on GitHub and therefore aren't fully credited on Drupal.org. The actual number of contributions and contributors could be significantly higher than what we report. The Drupal Association is working to integrate GitLab with Drupal.org. GitLab will provide support for "merge requests", which means contributing to Drupal will feel more familiar to the broader audience of open source contributors who learned their skills in the post-patch era. Some of GitLab's tools, such as inline editing and web-based code review, will also lower the barrier to contribution, and should help us grow both the number of contributions and contributors on Drupal.org.
Even when development is done on Drupal.org, the credit system is not used consistently. As using the credit system is optional, a lot of code committed on Drupal.org has no or incomplete contribution credits.
Not all code credits are the same. We currently don't have a way to account for the complexity and quality of contributions; one person might have worked several weeks for just one credit, while another person might receive a credit for ten minutes of work. In the future, we should consider issuing credit data in conjunction with issue priority, patch size, etc. This could help incentivize people to work on larger and more important problems and save coding standards improvements for new contributor sprints. Implementing a scoring system that ranks the complexity of an issue would also allow us to develop more accurate reports of contributed work.
Like Drupal itself, the Drupal.org credit system needs to continue to evolve. Ultimately, the credit system will only be useful when the community uses it, understands its shortcomings, and suggests constructive improvements.

Conclusion

Our data confirms that Drupal is a vibrant community full of contributors who are constantly evolving and improving the software. While we have amazing geographic diversity, we still need greater gender diversity, in addition to better representation across various demographic groups. Our analysis of the Drupal.org credit data concludes that most contributions to Drupal are sponsored. At the same time, the data shows that volunteer contribution remains very important to Drupal.

As a community, we need to understand that a healthy open source ecosystem includes more than the traditional Drupal businesses that contribute the most. We still don't see a lot of contribution from the larger digital marketing agencies, system integrators, technology companies, or end-users of Drupal — we believe that might come as these organizations build out their Drupal practices and Drupal becomes more strategic for them.

To grow and sustain Drupal, we should support those that contribute to Drupal and find ways to get those that are not contributing involved in our community. We invite you to help us continue to strengthen our ecosystem.
Source: Dries Buytaert www.buytaert.net


Drupal 8.6.0 released

Last night, we shipped Drupal 8.6.0! I firmly believe this is the most significant Drupal 8 release to date. It is significant because we made a lot of progress on all twelve of Drupal 8 core's strategic initiatives. As a result, Drupal 8.6 delivers a large number of improvements for content authors, evaluators, site builders and developers.

What is new for content authors?

For content authors, Drupal 8.6 adds support for "remote media types". This means you can now easily embed YouTube or Vimeo videos in your content.

The Media Library in Drupal 8.6Content authors want Drupal to be easy to use. We made incredible progress on a variety of features that will help to achieve that: we've delivered an experimental media library, added the Workspaces module as experimental, providing sophisticated content staging capabilities, and made great strides on the upcoming Layout Builder. The Layout Builder is shaping up to be a very powerful tool that solves a lot of authoring challenges, and is something many are looking forward to.

Each initiative related to content authoring is making disciplined and steady progress. These features not only solve for the most requested authoring improvements, but provide a solid foundation on which we can continue to innovate. This means we can provide better compatibility and upgradability for contributed modules.

The top 10 requested features for content creators according to the 2016 State of Drupal survey.What is new for evaluators?

Evaluators want an out-of-the-box experience that allows them to install and test drive Drupal in minutes. With Drupal 8.6, we have finally delivered on this need.

Prior to Drupal 8.6, downloading and installing Drupal was a complex and lengthy process that ended with an underwhelming "blank slate".

Now, you can install Drupal with the new "Umami demo profile". The Umami demo profile showcases some of Drupal's most powerful capabilities by providing a beautiful website filled with content right out of the box. A demo profile will not only help to onboard new users, but it can also be used by Drupal professionals and digital agencies to showcase Drupal to potential customers.

In addition to a new installation profile, we added a "quick-start" command that allows you to launch a Drupal site in one command using only one dependency, PHP. If you want to try Drupal, you no longer have to setup a webserver, a database, containers, etc.

Last but not least, the download experience and evaluator documentation on Drupal.org has been vastly improved.

With Drupal 8.6, you can download and install a fully functional Drupal demo application in less than two minutes. That is something to be very excited about.

The new Umami demo profile together with the Layout Builder.What is new for developers?

You can now upgrade a single-language Drupal 6 or Drupal 7 site to Drupal 8 using the built-in user interface. While we saw good progress on multilingual migrations, they will remain experimental as we work on the final gaps.

I recently wrote about our progress in making Drupal an API-first platform, including an overview of REST improvements in Drupal 8.6, an update on JSON API, and the reasons why JSON API didn't make it into this release. I'm looking forward to JSON API being added in Drupal 8.7. Other decoupled efforts, including a React-based administration application and GraphQL support are still under heavy development, but making rapid progress.

We also converted almost all of our tests from SimpleTest to PHPUnit; and we've added Nightwatch.js and Prettier for JavaScript developers. While Drupal 8 has extensive back-end test coverage, using PHPUnit and Nightwatch.js provides a more modern platform that will make Drupal more familiar to PHP and JavaScript developers.

Drupal 8 continues to hit its stride

These are just some of the highlights that I'm most excited about. If you'd like to read more about Drupal 8.6.0, check out the official release announcement and important update information from the release notes. The next couple of months, I will write up more detailed progress reports on initiatives that I didn't touch upon in this blog post.

In my Drupal 8.5.0 announcement, I talked about how Drupal is hitting its stride, consistently delivering improvements and new features:

In future releases, we plan to add a media library, support for remote media types like YouTube videos, support for content staging, a layout builder, JSON API support, GraphQL support, a React-based administration application and a better out-of-the-box experience for evaluators.

As you can see from this blog post, Drupal 8.6 delivered on a number of these plans and made meaningful progress on many others.

In future releases we plan to:
Stabilize more of the features targeting content authors
Add JSON API, allowing developers to more easily and rapidly create decoupled applications
Provide stable multilingual migrations
Make big improvements for developers with Composer and configuration management changes
Continually improve the evaluator experience
Iterate towards an entirely new decoupled administrative experience
... and more
Releases like Drupal 8.6.0 only happen with the help of hundreds of contributors and organizations. Thank you to everyone that contributed to this release. Whether you filed issues, wrote code, tested patches, funded a contributor, tested pre-release versions, or cheered for the team from the sidelines, you made this release happen. Thank you!
Source: Dries Buytaert www.buytaert.net


Copywriting Q&A: Tax Deductions for Copywriters

Taxes aren’t anyone’s favorite task—and I think I could probably include accountants in that group! But as a copywriting professional who likely takes on some amount of freelance work, it’s important that you take your taxes seriously. Today, we’re going to talk about what kinds of deductions your copywriting career can net you.
Today’s question comes from Aandre H., who asks, “I’m starting to pull together my tax stuff for last year and I was wondering: Are there any special deductions for copywriters?”
Before I answer this question, let me be clear: I am not a tax preparation or accounting professional. Before you utilize any of the following deductions, please contact a licensed tax preparation professional.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, the answer is, unequivocally, yes! Once you’ve figured out how much you’ve earned for the year, it’s time to think about how to offset some of the taxes you’ll pay on that.
Here are a few tax deductions for copywriters you should look into:
Home Office. If you’ve done any freelance work at home and you have a dedicated area for it (a desk area or even a full office), you can likely deduct that. Generally, this is figured out by calculating the square footage of your office and comparing it to the overall square footage of your home, and then calculating how much rent or mortgage you’re paying for just that office square footage.
Office Supplies. You need paper and pens and paper clips and staples and all of that to run your business. Well, good news: All of that is deductible!
Home Office Furniture. This is a one-time deduction of course, but when you buy a desk or chair or filing cabinet for your home office, you can deduct those, too.
Computers and Big-Ticket Equipment. For expensive items like these, you can choose to deduct them all at once or deduct the depreciation over a series of years.
The Cost of Your Portfolio Site. The hosting costs, domain name costs, and any other costs associated with the maintenance of your online portfolio site (including the cost of hiring someone to build it, should you choose to do so) are deductible.
Software Programs. Any other software programs you use to run or build your business (Dropbox, Quicken Accounting, Samcart for checkout pages, Interact for quizzes, etc.) are deductible.
Advertising. Did you dip your toe in Facebook or Google ads for your business this year? Or did you even take out an ad in the local town circular? The cost of advertising your business is deductible.
Professional Development. Did you take any courses to improve your business or copywriting skills? (Ahem, ahem.) You can deduct the cost of professional integrationtraining.
Subscriptions. If you subscribe to Ad Age, Writers Digest, Entrepreneur or other such periodicals to keep your writing and business skills sharp, you can deduct these subscriptions.
Legal and Professional Services. If you hired a lawyer to help you incorporate (generally not necessary for a copywriter, but still), an accountant to do your taxes, or another similar professional to help you with your business, you can deduct those costs.
Business Travel. If you’ve had to hop in your car to drive to meetings with clients, you can deduct the cost of that travel. Sure, you can figure out what you paid for gas for just those trips, but most people tend to just use standard mileage: You track the miles you drive for business and then multiply them by a certain amount to see how much you can deduct. Standard mileage is 54.5 cents for every business mile driven. That may not seem like a lot, but if you’re driving a lot to get to client meetings (or driving daily to get to your contract gig), it can really add up.
Your turn! Have you been tracking your deductions this year? Is there anything you’re surprised you can deduct? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: http://filthyrichwriter.com/feed/


Acquia retrospective 2017


The entrance to Acquia's headquarters in Boston.For the past nine years, I've sat down every January to write an Acquia retrospective. It's always a rewarding blog post to write as it gives me an opportunity to reflect on what Acquia has accomplished over the past 12 months. If you'd like to read my previous annual retrospectives, they can be found here: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009. When read together, they provide insight to what has shaped Acquia into the company it is today.

This year's retrospective is especially meaningful because 2017 marked Acquia's 10th year as a company. Over the course of Acquia's first decade, our long-term investment in open source and cloud has made us the leader in web content management. 2017 was one of our most transformative years to date; not only did we have to manage leadership changes, but we also broadened our horizons beyond website management to data-driven customer journeys.

The next phase of Acquia leadership

Tom Erickson joined Acquia as CEO in 2009 and worked side-by-side with me for the next eight years.In my first retrospective from 2009, I shared that Jay Batson and I had asked Tom Erickson to come aboard as Acquia's new CEO. For the next eight years, Tom and I worked side-by-side to build and grow Acquia. Tom's expertise in taking young companies to the next level was a natural complement to my technical strength. His leadership was an example that enabled me to develop my own business building skills. When Tom announced last spring that he would be stepping down as Acquia's CEO, I assumed more responsibility to help guide the company through the transition. My priorities for 2017 were centered around three objectives: (1) the search for a new CEO, (2) expanding our product strategy through a stronger focus on innovation, and (3) running our operations more efficiently.

The search for a new CEO consumed a great deal of my time in 2017. After screening over 140 candidates and interviewing ten of them in-depth, we asked Mike Sullivan to join Acquia as CEO. Mike has been on the job for three weeks and I couldn't be more excited.

Mike Sullivan joins Acquia as CEO with 25 years of senior leadership in SaaS, enterprise content management and content governance.Market trends

I see three major market trends that I believe are important to highlight and that help inform our strategy.

Trend #1: Customers are driven by time-to-value and low cost of maintenance

Time-to-value and low maintenance costs are emerging as two of the most important differentiators in the market. This is consistent with a post I wrote eleven years ago, in regards to The Ockham's Razor Principle of Content Management Systems. The principle states that given two functionally equivalent content management systems, the simplest one should be selected. Across both the low and the high ends of the market, time-to-value and total cost of ownership matter a great deal. Simplicity wins.

In the low end of the market simple sites, such as single blogs and brochure sites, are now best served by SaaS tools such as Squarespace and Wix. Over the past five years, SaaS solutions have been rising in prominence because their templated approach to simple site building makes them very easy to use. The total cost of ownership is also low as users don't have to update and maintain the software and infrastructure themselves. Today, I believe that DrupalCoin is no longer ideal for most simple sites and instead is best suited for more ambitious use cases. Not everyone likes that statement, but I believe it to be true.

In the mid-market, SaaS tools don't offer the flexibility and customizability required to support sites with more complexity. Often mid-market companies need more customizable solutions like DrupalCoin or WordPress. Time-to-value and total maintenance costs still matter; people don't want to spend a lot of time installing or upgrading their websites. Within the scope of Ockham's Razor Principle, WordPress does better than DrupalCoin in this regard. WordPress is growing faster than DrupalCoin for websites with medium complexity because ease of use and maintenance often precede functionality. However, when superior flexibility and architecture are critical to the success of building a site, DrupalCoin will be selected.

In the enterprise, a growing emphasis on time-to-value means that customers are less interested in boil-the-ocean projects that cost hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars. Customers still want to do large and ambitious projects, but they want to start small, see results quickly, and measure their ROI every step along the way. Open source and cloud provide this agility by reducing time-to-market, cost and risk. This establishes a competitive advantage for Acquia compared to traditional enterprise vendors like Adobe and Sitecore.

At Acquia, understanding how we can make our products easier to use by enhancing self-service and reducing complexity will be a major focus of 2018. For DrupalCoin, it means we have to stay focused on the initiatives that will improve usability and time to value. In addition to adopting a JavaScript framework in core to facilitate the building of a better administration experience, work needs to continue on Workspaces (content staging), Layout Builder (drag-and-drop blocks), and the Media, Outside-in and Out-of-the-box initiatives. Finally, I anticipate that a DrupalCoin initiative around automated upgrades will kick off in 2018. I'm proud to say that Acquia has been a prominent contributor to many of these initiatives, by either sponsoring developers, contributing code, or providing development support and coordination.

Trend #2: Frictionless user experiences require greater platform complexity

For the past ten years, I've observed one significant factor that continues to influence the trajectory of digital: the internet's continuous drive to mitigate friction in user experience and business models. The history of the web dictates that lower-friction solutions will surpass what came before them because they eliminate inefficiencies from the customer experience.

This not only applies to how technology is adopted, but how customer experiences are created. Mirroring Ockham's Razor Principle, end users and consumers also crave simplicity. End users are choosing to build relationships with brands that guarantee contextual, personalized and frictionless interactions. However, simplicity for end users does not translate into simplicity for CMS owners. Organizations need to be able to manage more data, channels and integrations to deliver the engaging experiences that end users now expect. This desire on the part of end users creates greater platform complexity for CMS owners.

For example, cross-channel experiences are starting to remove certain inefficiencies around traditional websites. In order to optimize the customer experience, enterprise vendors must now expand their digital capabilities beyond web content management and invest in both systems of engagement (various front-end solutions such as conversational interfaces, chatbots, and AR/VR) and systems of intelligence (marketing tools for personalization and predictive analytics).

This year, Acquia Labs built a demo to explore how augmented reality can improve shopping experiences.These trends give organizations the opportunity to reimagine their customer experience. By taking advantage of more channels and more data (e.g. being more intelligent, personalized, and contextualized), we can leapfrog existing customer experiences. However, these ambitious experiences require a platform that prioritizes customization and functionality.

Trend #3: The decoupled CMS market is taking the world by storm

In the web development world, few trends are spreading more rapidly than decoupled content management systems. The momentum is staggering as some decoupled CMS vendors are growing at a rate of 150% year over year. This trend has a significant influence on the technology landscape surrounding DrupalCoin, as a growing number of DrupalCoin agencies have also started using modern JavaScript technologies. For example, more than 50% of DrupalCoin agencies are also using Node.js to support the needs of their customers.

The DrupalCoin community's emphasis on making DrupalCoin API-first, in addition to supporting tools such as Waterwheel and DrupalCoin distributions such as Reservoir, Contenta and Lightning, means that DrupalCoin 8 is well-prepared to support decoupled CMS strategies. For years, including in 2017, Acquia has been a very prominent contributor to a variety of API-first initiatives.

Product milestones

In addition to my focus on finding a new CEO, driving innovation to expand our product offering was another primary focus in 2017.

Throughout Acquia's first decade, we've been focused primarily on providing our customers with the tools and services necessary to scale and succeed with DrupalCoin. We've been very successful with this mission. However, many of our customers need more than content management to be digital winners. The ability to orchestrate customer experiences across different channels is increasingly important to our customers' success. We need to be able to support these efforts on the Acquia platform.

We kicked off our new product strategy by adding new products to our portfolio, and by extending our existing products with new capabilities that align with our customers' evolving needs.

Acquia Cloud: A "continuous integration" and "continuous delivery" service for developers was our #1 requested feature, so we delivered Acquia Cloud CD early in 2017. Later in the year, we expanded Acquia Cloud to support Node.js, the popular open-source JavaScript runtime. This was the first time we expanded our cloud beyond DrupalCoin. Previously, if an organization wanted to build a decoupled DrupalCoin architecture with Node.js, it was not able to host the Node.js application on Acquia Cloud. Finally, in order to make Acquia Cloud easier to use, we started to focus more on self-service. We saw rapid customer adoption of our new Stack Metrics feature, which gives customers valuable insight into performance and utilization. We also introduced a new Cloud Service Management model, which empowers our customer to scale their Acquia Cloud infrastructure on the fly.
Acquia Lift: In order to best support our customers as they embed personalization into their digital strategies, we have continued to add product enhancements to the new version of Acquia Lift. This included improving Acquia Lift's content authoring capabilities, enhanced content recommendations, and advanced analytics and reporting. The Acquia Lift team grew, as we also founded a machine learning and artificial intelligence team, which will lead to new features and products in 2018. In 2017, Acquia Lift has added over 200 new features, tracks 200% more profiles than in 2016, and has grown 45% in revenue.
Next, we added two new products to support our evolution from content management to data-driven customer journeys: Acquia Journey and Acquia Digital Asset Manager (DAM).

Acquia Journey allows marketers to easily map, assemble, orchestrate and manage customer experiences across different channels. One of the strengths of Acquia Journey is that it allows technical teams to integrate many different technologies, from marketing and advertising technologies to CRM tools and commerce platforms. Acquia Journey unifies these various interaction points within a single user interface, making it possible to quickly assemble powerful and complex customer journeys. In turn, marketers can take advantage of a flowchart-style journey mapping tool with unified customer profiles and an automated decision engine to determine the best-next action for engaging customers.
Acquia DAM: Many organizations lack a single-source of truth when it comes to managing digital assets. This challenge has been amplified as the number of assets has rapidly increased in a world with more devices, more channels, more campaigns, and more personalized and contextualized experiences In addition to journey orchestration, it became clear that large organizations are seeking a digital asset management solution that centralizes control of creative assets for the entire company. With Acquia DAM, our customers can rely on one dedicated application to gather requirements, share drafts, consolidate feedback and collect approvals for high-value marketing assets.
Acquia's new product strategy is very ambitious. I'm proud of our stronger focus on innovation and the new features and products that we launched in 2017. Launching this many products and features is hard work and requires tactical coordination across every part of the company. The transition from a single-product company to a multi-product company is challenging, and I hope to share more lessons learned in future blog posts.

While each new product we announced was well-received, there is still a lot of work to be done: we need to continue to drive end-user demand for our new products and help our digital agency partners build practices around them.

Leading by example

At Acquia, our mission is to deliver "the universal platform for the greatest digital experiences", and we want to lead by example. In an effort to become a thought-leader in our field, the Office of the CTO launched Acquia Labs, our research and innovation lab. Acquia Labs aims to link together the new realities in our market, our customers' needs in coming years, and the goals of Acquia's products and open-source efforts in the long term.

Finally, we rounded out the year by redesigning Acquia.com on DrupalCoin 8. The new site places a greater emphasis on taking advantage of our own products. We wanted to show (not tell) the power of the Acquia platform. For example, Acquia Lift delivers visitors personalized content throughout the site. The new site represents a bolder and more innovative Acquia, aligned with the evolution of our product strategy.

Business momentum

We continued to grow at a steady pace in 2017 and hired a lot of new people. We focused on the growth of our recurring revenue, which includes new customers and the renewal and expansion of our work with existing customers. We also focused on our bottom line.

In 2017, the top industry analysts published very positive reviews based on their independent research. I'm proud that Acquia was recognized by Forrester Research as the leader for strategy and vision, ahead of every other vendor including Adobe and Sitecore, in The Forrester Wave: Web Content Management Systems, Q1 2017. Acquia was also named a leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management, marking our placement as a leader for the fourth year in a row. In addition to being the only leader that is open-source or has a cloud-first strategy, Acquia was hailed by analysts for our investments in open APIs across all our products.

Over the course of 2017 Acquia welcomed an impressive roster of new customers who included Astella Pharma, Glanbia, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Bayer GmbH. As we enter 2018, Acquia can count 26 of the Fortune 100 among its customers, up from 16 at the beginning of 2017.

This year was also an incredible growth period for our Asia Pacific business, which is growing ARR at a rate of 80% year over year. We have secured new business in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and India. When we started our business in Australia in 2012, 70% of the pipeline came from govCMS, the platform offered by the Australian government to all national, territorial and local agencies. Today, our business is much more diverse, with 50% of the region's pipeline coming from outside of Australia.

Jeannie Finks, Director of Global Support Systems & Programs, accepting a Gold Stevie for Customer Service Team of the Year. Go team Acquia!Customer success continues to be the most important driver of the evolution of Acquia's strategy. This commitment was reflected in 2017 customer satisfaction levels, which remains extremely high at 94 percent. Acquia's global support team also received top honors from the American Business Awards and won a Gold Stevie for Customer Service Team of the Year.

This year, we also saw our annual customer conference, Acquia Engage, grow. We welcomed over 650 people to Boston and saw presentations from over twenty customers, including Johnson & Johnson, NBC Sports, Whole Foods, AMD, the YMCA and many more. It was inspiring to hear our customers explain why Acquia and DrupalCoin are essential to their business.
Finally, our partner ecosystem continues to advance. In 2016, we achieved a significant milestone as numerous global systems integrators repeatedly recommended Acquia to their clients. One year later, these partners are building large centers of excellence to scale their Acquia and DrupalCoin practices. Digital agencies and DrupalCoin companies also continue to extend their investments in Acquia, and are excited about the opportunity presented in our expanded product portfolio. In some markets, over 50 percent of our new subscriptions originate from our partner ecosystem.

The growth and performance of the partner community is validation of our strategy. For example, in 2017 we saw multiple agencies and integrators that were entirely committed to Adobe or Sitecore, join our program and begin to do business with us.

Opportunities for Acquia in 2018

When thinking about how Acquia has evolved its product strategy, I like to consider it in terms of Greylocks' Jerry Chen's take on the stack of enterprise systems. I've modified his thesis to fit the context of Acquia and our long-term strategy to help organizations with their digital transformation.
Chen's thesis begins with "systems of record", which are sticky and defensible not only because of their data, but also based on the core business process they own. Jerry identifies three major systems of record today; your customers, your employees and your assets. CRM owns your customers (i.e. Salesforce), HCM owns your employees (i.e. Workday), and ERP/Financials owns your assets. Other applications can be built around a system of record but are usually not as valuable as the actual system of record. For example, marketing automation companies like Marketo and Responsys built big businesses around CRM, but never became as strategic or as valuable as Salesforce. We call these "secondary systems of record". We believe that a "content repository" (API-first DrupalCoin) and a "user profile repository" (Acquia Lift) are secondary systems of record. We will continue our efforts to improve DrupalCoin's content repository and Lift's user profile repository to become stronger systems of record.

"Systems of engagement" are the interface between users and the systems of record. They control the end-user interactions. DrupalCoin and Lift are great examples of systems of engagement as they allow for the rapid creation of end-user experiences.

Jerry Chen further suggests that "systems of intelligence" will be a third component. Systems of intelligence will be of critical importance for determining the optimal customer journey across various applications. Personalization (Acquia Lift), recommendations (Acquia Lift) and customer journey building (Acquia Journey) are systems of intelligence. They are very important initiatives for our future.

While Chen does not include "systems of delivery" in his thesis, I believe it is an important component. Systems of delivery not only dictate how content is delivered to users, but how organizations build projects faster and more efficiently for their stakeholders and users. This includes multi-site management (Acquia Cloud Site Factory) and continuous delivery services (Acquia Cloud CD), which extend the benefits of PaaS beyond scalability and reliability to include high-productivity and faster time-to-value for our customers. As organizations increase their investments in cross-channel experiences, they must manage more complexity and orchestrate the testing, integration and deployment of different technologies. Systems of delivery, such as Acquia Cloud and Acquia Site Factory, remove complexity from building and managing modern digital experiences.

This is all consistent with the diagram I've been using for a few years now where "user profile" and "content repository" represent two systems of record, getBestNextExperience() is the system of intelligence, and DrupalCoin is the system of engagement to build the customer experience:

We are confident in the market shift towards "intelligent connected experiences" or "data-driven customer journeys" and the opportunity it provides to Acquia. Every team at Acquia has demonstrated both commitment and focus as we have initiated a shift to make our vision relevant in the market for years to come. I believe we have strong investments across systems of record, intelligence, delivery and engagement that will continue to put us at the center of our customers' technology and digital strategies in 2027.

Thank you

Of course, none of these 2017 results and milestones would be possible without the hard work of the Acquia team, our customers, partners, the DrupalCoin community, and our many friends. Thank you for your support in 2017 and over the past ten years – I can't wait to see what the next decade will bring!
Source: Dries Buytaert www.buytaert.net


A More Data-Informed, Action-Prone Culture

According to SoDA’s recent study, “acting on the data” was the most common data challenge — ahead of “getting the data I need,” “accuracy,” “timeliness,” and “interpreting the data that I have.” If an organization has necessary, accurate, timely, and understandable data, shouldn’t acting on it be the easiest step? And if an agency can’t act on its own data, can it credibly guide clients to do so?
The “actionability” challenge seemingly occurs at the end of the data collection and analysis process, but the underlying issues often happen earlier.
Three upfront factors, described below, must be in place before people can take action on data.
1. Prioritized goals that clarify assumptions
Stakeholder feedback should focus on asking: will this approach best achieve our target outcomes, compared to other possible approaches? Instead, stakeholders’ differing assumptions about goals and priorities often cause conflicting feedback — each person may be solving for a different outcome. 
Establishing upfront consensus on project goals — before they’re discussed in the context of a specific deliverable — will set up your team to receive more productive feedback in the future. Ahead of a project kickoff, we survey stakeholders about all known goals: from the RFP, sales discussions, or otherwise. Stakeholders force-rank the goals ahead of the kickoff. We prefer Surveygizmo because it provides results visualizations like this:

Each color represents the number of people who ranked a goal first (dark orange), last (gray), and in-between. As the image shows, even for the highest- and lowest-priority items, people almost never unanimously agree.
When presenting these findings, we use a tool such as Trello to have a live reprioritization discussion. Later, we formalize the Trello board into a document inspired by analytics evangelist Avinash Kaushik’s Digital Marketing and Measurement Model:

Target improvements are based on past experience and assumptions we agree are reasonable. The stakeholder team then approves this framework.
2. Candid upfront conversations about ends, means, and tradeoffs
We encourage upfront conversations about these topics because almost no decision can improve every goal. For example:
Is total traffic a goal, or a means to another goal? If you could get twice as many signups, but at the expense of half your traffic, would you do it?

Why improve navigability? Is the goal purely altruistic for the user, or do you expect that improved navigability will drive other goals?

Why more organic search traffic? If the traffic came from referrals or sharing, would you be equally satisfied? Is new awareness the underlying goal?
3. An “AHA” (ask-hypothesis-action) approach to using the data
There are two types of data:
indicators that serve as a health-check of the organizationanswers that inform a decision
Indicators, while more common, can’t help people take action. A dashboard number that’s up or down won’t tell stakeholders what to do next. Many people look at data and expect insights to emerge, but in reality, the process must be flipped.  
Enter the (kitschy, but hopefully memorable) AHA framework, which uses answers to spur action:
The ask: What question do you need to answer? The hypothesis: What do you think is the answer? The action: What will you do if your hypothesis proves true? If false, what will you do differently?
Before setting foot in a data set, one should be able to answer these three questions. They help people analyze in search of an answer, rather than waiting for the answer to reveal itself.
In Summary
With these three factors in place, organizations will be primed to efficiently act on their data. Good luck!
This article was originally published in the SoDA Report on Agency Metrics that Matter.


Source: VigetInspire


Social Advocacy: Why Your Business Needs It & How to Get Started by @Jasmine_Sandler

Social advocacy programs can help drive employee retention and customer acquisition. Here's how you can do it.The post Social Advocacy: Why Your Business Needs It & How to Get Started by @Jasmine_Sandler appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/feed/


Save 15% or More on Car Insurance by Switching to Plain JavaScript

Satire disclaimer: This article is as much satire as it is serious insight if there is even any of that at all. Don’t take it too seriously, but do tell all your friends. Also, the bit about Taco Bell is 100% true. I wouldn’t joke about something like that.

My day usually begins like this: I wake up at 6:15 a.m. (kill me) to get the kids ready for school. They’re mad. I’m mad. Everyone is on the brink of an emotional breakdown because it's 6:15 in the morning.
Usually the first thing that I do when I wake up is roll out of bed and start hammering out pushups like Christian Bale.

BWAHAHAHA. No.
Before I’m even fully awake and out of bed, I grab my phone and look at Twitter. It’s a sickness, I know. I’m not proud of it but at least I’m out here admitting that I have a problem and I believe according to the rules of science that fully negates my problem and makes me better than you.
One morning a few weeks ago I wake up to this tweet…

Removing client-side React.js (but keeping it on the server) resulted in a 50% performance improvement on our landing page pic.twitter.com/vM7JhWhYKu
— Netflix UI Engineers (@NetflixUIE) October 26, 2017
The wonderful thing about Twitter is that there is essentially zero context for anything you see, which means your crazy brain gets to fill in all the holes and, in my case, that’s a recipe for utter disaster.
Here is how I read this tweet….
Heavily doctored by me. My Photoshop skills are a huge embarrassing failure.
I believe my brain read it that way because that’s literally what the original tweet says. My brain just adds the “Your whole life is a lie” part to pretty much everything I read or hear.
Your Whole Life is a Lie
This immediately dumped me into an existential crisis.
To be fair, I’m almost constantly in a state of crisis so it’s not like this was a big leap for me. Just last night at Taco Bell I had to choose between the Beefy 5-layer Burrito and the Cheesy Gordita Crunch and I almost came apart in the drive through. You can’t force decisions like that on people and expect an immediate response! And why do I need 50 packets of Fire sauce!?!
The point is that I’m kind of emotionally fragile as it is, so you can’t suggest to me that you got rid of React because all of a sudden people just don’t need it anymore.
I had so, so, so many. questions like:

What about binding?
What about components?
What about state?
What about templates?

You’re telling me that all of a sudden you just don’t need any of that stuff anymore? One does not simply “move to plain JavaScript” by removing React from their project. If you actually did that you would just be moving from React to your own version of React. Facebook could say that their site is built in “plain JavaScript” too. They just decided to name some of that JavaScript “React" in the process.
It was nonsensical. You might as well have said that you saved 15% on car insurance by moving to plain JavaScript. Thankfully, I only had to wait 6 agonizing days before Jake Archibald took to the blogs to clear everything up.

📝 Netflix "removed" React and improved performance.➡️ Despite appearances, this reflects well on React.https://t.co/R8SohrLX6q
— Jake Archibald (@jaffathecake) October 31, 2017

THIS IS NOT HELPING, JAKE! I’M LOSING IT OVER HERE!
The post goes on to explain that Netflix is actually deferring client-side React until it’s needed and going with server rendered React in the meantime. He also points out that it’s only logical that it would be faster because the browser is doing less work. Netflix is apparently loading client-side React in the background. It’s there when you need it, but you don’t have to parse it if you don’t.
I decided to check this out and see for myself what is going on.
Netflix Login
One of the places Jake mentions that server-side React is appropriate is on the login screen. So let’s start there. I loaded the login screen and it looks to me like client-side React is still every much in effect here.

As an aside, Netflix is great at naming things. I mean, look at these components—AkiraLayout, JawboneLinkProvider, FreezedWrapper? OK, FreezedWrapper isn’t that exciting but you can’t take AkiraLayout from me.

So I can’t find where React has been removed. The login page itself comes in at around 194KB and that’s before it loads the loginController.jsx file which bumps it up another 204KB.
I then did what I should have done the first time which is to watch the video from Netflix that was responsible for this descent into the depths of my insecurity and I noticed that they only mentioned the splash page.
The splash page is just netflix.com. No login. No videos. The splash page. That slide? The one that made it’s way all over the internet and into my therapy sessions? That slide is referring only to the splash page. Netflix did remove React from their splash page and replace the few interactions they had with plain JavaScript.
And there is your context. So let’s fix the slide again…

That is the actual story here.
It’s unfortunate that we latch on to a single slide taken completely out of context. This is not the fault of Netflix. Or maybe it is. I mean, they did tweet it out but, look, this is really the fault of 2017. This is how all of the news in our lives plays out.
What’s super unfortunate here, and what Jake was trying to convey in his post, is that we completely missed some actual cool things that Netflix is doing. Mainly the combination of server-side React and Prefetching. Or rather the idea that more complex code can be downloaded and parsed in the background instead of when the page loads.
Prefetching is Not a Solved Problem
We tend to forget that things like prefetching are not necessarily a solved problem. While Service Workers are awesome, Netflix can’t use them because the support is too sparse. Beyond that, the browser Prefetching API is flaky. In that same presentation, Netflix reports that the API (which is just the link tag) has a success rate as low as a 30%. That means your prefetch will only work about a third of the time in some cases. 😳

The reason for this is that the API is trying to make a bunch of decisions about whether or not it should prefetch depending on your device and resources. It’s not a guarantee that your resources will be loaded at all.
What’s most remarkable to me is that Netflix hit on another solution that is so simple it hurts: just make an AJAX call and don’t do anything with the result; the browser will cache that resource.
MY GOODNESS I LOVE THE WEB!
You Uh, Still Need React
So yes, you still need React on the client-side. Netflix is still using it and never said that they were not.
What they did say was that they had figured out some creative ways to make the experience better for the user and had combined that with their current React implementation. This should be exciting to you if you’re a React developer.
Maybe Netflix will open source some library for prefetching with a way cool name. Is "fakenews.js” taken?
Special Thanks to Brian Holt who reviewed this article and was still willing to be my friend.

Save 15% or More on Car Insurance by Switching to Plain JavaScript is a post from CSS-Tricks
Source: CssTricks


HTML Email and Accessibility

You love HTML emails, don't you?
As a developer, probably not... but subscribers absolutely do. They devour them, consume them on every device known to man, and drive a hell of a lot of revenue for companies that take their email marketing seriously.
But most web developers tasked with building HTML emails merely want to get them out the door as quickly as possible and move on to more interesting assignments. Despite email's perennial value for subscribers, tight timelines, and a general loathing of the work result in things falling by the wayside; and, just like in the web world, one of the first things to be set aside in email is accessibility.

I think we all agree that accessibility is a vital topic. Unfortunately, it's one that's ignored in the email marketing world even more than on the web.
Accessibility in email doesn't have to consume a lot of time, though. There are a few simple practices you can build into your own campaigns that will make your emails more accessible and your subscribers even happier.
Accessible Tables?
One of the main reasons that web developers hate building emails is that we're still stuck using tables for layout in email. Although there are a few different ways to get around using HTML tables, most emails still rely on them to ensure that emails look good in Microsoft Outlook, which doesn't support more traditional CSS positioning, let alone newer CSS layout techniques like Grid (although that's possible in email, too).
But HTML tables present a hurdle for users relying on screen readers for consuming their emails. This is made clear when you hear the output of a screen reader working through the typical HTML email campaign. Mark Robbins of Rebel posted an excellent example of this behavior a while back.
The screen reader is doing it's job: it sees a table, assumes that it contains tabular data, and reads it appropriately.
However, since we're using tables purely for structural purposes, we need screen readers to ignore those tables. This is where ARIA roles can help us out. By applying the role="presentation" attribute to a table, we can instruct the screen reader to skip over those elements and move straight into the content.
See the Pen Accessible Emails - Tables ARIA Presentation by Jason Rodriguez (@rodriguezcommaj) on CodePen.
With that one simple addition, our emails are much more accessible. It should be noted that nested tables don't inherit this behavior, so you will have to apply role="presentation" individually to every table in your campaign. Creating a snippet or building this into your email boilerplate is a good way to ensure accessibility without having to even think about it.
Out of the Image and Into the Code
A common practice in email marketing is to use images for everything in the email: graphics, illustrations, copy, links, and buttons. Although this can be efficient (slice, dice, and send it on its way), it's another huge problem for subscribers relying on screen readers. The typical image-based email has a lot of information that can't be parsed by a machine. What's more is that a lot of email clients disable images by default, too. Ever see something like this?
An example of image-blocking behavior in Microsoft Outlook.
We want to avoid or improve situations where content can't be seen by users or content can't be read by a screen reader. There are two ways to do this.
The first is to rely less on images and more on HTML to convey your message. Pull copy out of your images and put it into your email as real, live text.
HTML text vs. image-blocking. Lyft does this really well.
HTML text isn't susceptible to image blocking in email clients, so it will always be shown. Further, most copy that's typically found within an email can be converted to HTML text. You can style that text however you want, even using web fonts, and your content can be seen by users and understood by screen readers.
This is especially important when it comes to links and buttons in emails. A lot of designers will rely on images for buttons since they can style those buttons however they want. However, those image-based buttons are victims of the same image-blocking behavior as any other image. Using HTML, CSS, and, in some cases, Microsoft's proprietary VML language, you can create code-based buttons that display everywhere and still fit in with your design.
See the Pen Accessible Emails - Bulletproof Buttons by Jason Rodriguez (@rodriguezcommaj) on CodePen.
The second is to rely on alternative text for images. By adding the alt attribute, we can describe the content of images for screen readers so that users get some context and a better understanding of the email.
The same rules apply in email as on the web:

All images should have an alt attribute
Alternative text should present the content and function of an image
Alternative text should never be redundant
Alternative text relies heavily on the context provided by the content surrounding an image
Decorative images should use an empty alt attribute

A simple example of alternative text in an email would be for something like a retail sale.
See the Pen Accessible Emails - Styled ALT Text by Jason Rodriguez (@rodriguezcommaj) on CodePen.
On top of making our emails more accessible, we can actually style that alternative text so that it better fits in with the rest of our email design when images are disabled. Using things like color, font-family, font-size, font-weight, and line-height allows you to style alternative text in largely the same way you would any other text in the email. Combined with something like background-color on the image, these styles make it possible to have highly-optimized—and accessible—emails for when images are disabled.
Styled alternative text keeps emails accessible and on-brand.
It's All Semantics
Despite what some email marketers and developers will tell you, semantics in email do matter. Not only do they provide accessible hooks for navigating an email, they can provide fallback styles that help maintain the hierarchy of emails in the unfortunate event CSS isn't loaded or supported.
It used to be that all text styling was done on table cells within a campaign, with any copy being a direct descendant of that table cell.
See the Pen Accessible Emails - Old Text Approach by Jason Rodriguez (@rodriguezcommaj) on CodePen.
Email developers would avoid using semantic elements like headings and paragraphs because email clients (correctly) displayed their own default styling of those elements, which sometimes resulted in broken layouts or unintended designs. I don't know if it was sheer laziness or something else, but very few developers would use semantic elements with simple overrides to keep their designs accessible and consistent across clients.
Adding the margin property on block-level semantic elements—and relying on style inheritance from the table cell—can create more accessible emails that display properly nearly everywhere.
See the Pen Accessible Emails - Semantic Text Approach by Jason Rodriguez (@rodriguezcommaj) on CodePen.
You don't have to stop at simple headings or paragraphs, either. You can use sectioning elements like main, header, footer, article and more to provide extra semantic value to your emails. I would caution you to use them on top of your existing table-based structure, though. Not all email clients support styles being applied to those elements, so something like this is a good approach:
See the Pen Accessible Emails - Semantic Article by Jason Rodriguez (@rodriguezcommaj) on CodePen.
Designing for Subscribers
The last technique I want to discuss—although not the last technique available to us—is adhering to tried-and-true design principles within our campaigns to keep them accessible.
Accessibility isn't all about screen readers. Subscribers can have visual impairments as well as physical or cognitive disabilities that make consuming emails difficult, especially when an email's design hasn't been updated in years. By relying on design principles like hierarchy, space, pattern, proximity, type size, and contrast, we can ensure that a broad spectrum of subscribers can understand and enjoy our email campaigns.
This is especially apparent when it comes to viewing emails on mobile devices. If you're not taking the mobile view into account from the outset, or using responsive email design, then your desktop-first email campaigns can be a pain to use when scaled down on most mobile email clients.
Trello uses large visuals, type, and buttons to keep things readable and usable across all device sizes.
Simply revisiting your designs with mobile and disabled users in mind can go a long way to keeping your emails accessible. Using larger type that's legible for a wide variety of users, combined with proper heading styles and a hierarchy that is easy to scan is a great baseline. Adding in repeatable patterns within your emails that further aid scanning and understanding, along with plenty of white space and properly contrasting colors take your emails even further.
I encourage you to use tools like Chrome Lighthouse and Accessible-Colors.com to check the accessibility of your HTML email designs. It's all HTML and CSS, so the same tools that work on the web work on email as well. Use them!
Have Your Own Tips?
Although a lot of email integrationis stuck in the past, that doesn't mean we can't modernize our campaigns right along with our websites. Many of these tips can be baked right into your email boilerplate or code snippets, allowing you to create more accessible HTML emails without too much thought.
At the same time, don't let that stop you from putting that extra thought into your emails. This article merely scrapes the surface of what's possible in HTML email development. I'd love to hear about your tips for building accessible emails in the comments below.

HTML Email and Accessibility is a post from CSS-Tricks
Source: CssTricks


31 Call To Action Examples (And How to Write the Perfect One)

Let’s talk about the call to action. Want more email subscribers? Contest entries? Conversions? You won’t get them without the right call to action. Almost all of your marketing content should have well-crafted call to actions designed to drive action. It’s an essential part of copywriting that doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves. Read more
Source: https://adespresso.com/feed/


Twitter Doubles Character Limit to 280, Says Longer Tweets Drive More Engagement by @MattGSouthern

Twitter has officially doubled its character limit, following a short test which showed longer tweets receive more engagement.The post Twitter Doubles Character Limit to 280, Says Longer Tweets Drive More Engagement by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/feed/


So you need to parse an email?

Say you have a website with users who have accounts. Those users email you sometimes. What if you could parse that email for more context about that user, their account, and what they might want?

There are email parsing services out there. For example, Zapier offers Parser, which is free, with the idea being that you use Zapier itself to interconnect that data with other apps.
You teach it about your emails and then get programatic access to those data bits.
mailparser.io is another service just for this.

Same deal, you send the emails to them, and from within that app you set up parsers and do all the processing you need to do.
That might not be exactly what you need.
Perhaps your goal in parsing an email is to extend the data available to you right in your email client.
Gmail is a pretty huge email client. I just noticed that they have released and official way to make "Gmail Add-ons":
Gmail add-ons are developed using Apps Script, a scripting language based on JavaScript that serves as a connective platform between Google products like Docs, Sheets, Drive, and Gmail. Every Gmail add-on has a corresponding Apps Script project where you define your add-on's appearance and behavior.
That might be just the ticket for those of you looking to get your hands on email data, do stuff with it, and have a UI for doing stuff right within Gmail. There is a marketplace to check out with existing apps. The Trello one seemed pretty compelling to me.

Plus:
The contextual cards you create for your add-ons work for both web and mobile versions of Gmail. This means that you don't need to create separate web and mobile versions of the add-on—the same code works everywhere!
Personally, I make pretty heavy use of Front, which is like a shared team inbox superapp.
Front offers a plugin system as well, which adds your own custom panel right into the app itself and gives you all that programatic parsing stuff you need to get into emails (or tweets or whatnot).

We use it at CodePen to figure out who's emailing us (from the perspective of our own app) and show some contextual information about them, as well as provide some quick common actions that we might need.

Another thing to consider is how the emails are being generated at all. For example, do you offer customer support by just saying "email us at xxx@yyy.com", or do you have them fill out a form which generates an email? If it's a form, that's, in a sense, parsing an email before it's even sent, meaning it has structure and potentially programattic access to individual fields.
An example of that might be using a Wufoo form for your support and then using the API to access the data as needed. Maybe you can skip email parsing entirely.

So you need to parse an email? is a post from CSS-Tricks
Source: CssTricks


How Visual Listening Can Turn Selfies Into Sales by @jes_scholz

Learn how you can use visual listening to find influencers, leverage user-generated content, and drive conversions.The post How Visual Listening Can Turn Selfies Into Sales by @jes_scholz appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/feed/


How to Be Good at Being New

Starting a new job is hard. You have to get to know new people, follow new processes, and learn new tools all within an unfamiliar environment. You have to learn what is expected of you, how expectations are communicated, and how to gauge your progress. On top of all the other stress, there is the challenge of navigating the dynamic of simply being new. I’ve noticed some people are more comfortable than others in this dynamic. I think it’s a skillset worth considering more closely.
Being good at being new isn’t the same as being a great teammate, or being great at your specific discipline.  If you’re good at being new, you can accelerate the pace at which you build trust and connect to the team. You bring positive, inspiring energy to the people around you (which we love). You solidify your reputation faster and, by extension, get to ditch that awkward feeling of being new sooner. 
Here are some ideas for the next time you’re new:
Connect through difference.As a new hire, your perspective is valuable, in part, because it’s different from everyone else’s. When we’re out of ideas for how to approach something, you might see a path forward. When we’re on autopilot, you can wake us up to opportunities for improvement.
At the same time, don’t just share, but connect through your different experiences and perspectives. Whatever new idea, opinion, or approach you’re offering, try to frame it as something that could ultimately strengthen the team. While sharing something like, “that’s not how I’ve done it,” look for ways to add the sentiment, “I want to understand why you do it your way,” or “I wonder which way makes sense in this situation.”
Even feelings of inexperience can be chances to build connections and a stronger team. Seek out the person who joined most recently before you and catalog your shared lessons learned. Ask peers who have a particular expertise that you lack to tell you how they got to that level of expertise. Or document questions you have (and answers you find), so that the next new person can benefit. 
Find ways to show that the differences in your background can be understood and used to the advantage of the whole team.
Think tiny.You want to prove you’re awesome, and that you’re capable of doing big things. We want that too. But in the early days, the best place to show that you’re awesome might be in tiny ways. RSVP to meeting invites swiftly. Arrive to meetings early. Ask a question when presenters invite questions. Take notes. Push your chair in as you leave. Put your glass in the dishwasher. Follow up with someone the next day, asking more about some nugget of insight they said in the meeting. Reference that nugget days later to someone else entirely.
All these tiny behaviors are manifestations of someone being thoughtful, conscientious, self-aware, invested, curious, optimistic. A single one of these actions doesn’t mean much, but when seen in combination, they add up.
We wouldn’t have hired you if we didn’t think you were capable of doing big things. But when you’re new, find tiny ways to reflect your potential. The big stuff will come with time.
Give us something to talk about.People talk about you when you’re new. On the People Team, we’re focused on doing everything we can to make your onboarding experience positive. “How is she doing?” we ask each other. “Does she seem happy?” Your manager and teammates are also eager to see you engaged. “Do you think she’s feeling challenged?” they might ask. Be proactive about building your reputation. Do your part to influence these conversations.
What do you want your reputation to be? Maybe you want us to say, “I think she’s finding the onboarding sessions engaging.” Come to those sessions prepared to engage. Ask questions or share observations; show you’re listening and interested. 
Maybe you want us to say, “She seems focused on ramping up as quickly as possible.” Be deliberate about getting exposure to people, processes, tools, and knowledge. You could start a training log for yourself and share it with others. Or you could ask for project retrospective documents or team meeting recap notes, so you can catch up on recent lessons learned.
If you simply show up, do as you’re asked, and don’t say much, I predict we’ll be saying, “I’m not sure how she’s doing, it’s hard to tell,” which isn’t bad, but could be so much better.
Err on the side of caring too much.When you’re new, you might notice that your coworkers are impressive, talented, and smart … but they may also be quite laid-back. It might seem like they’re doing awesome work without trying all that hard. You may not have immediate opportunities to show how smart and capable you are, so you may be tempted to show that you fit in by asserting your casualness.
Resist the temptation. Instead, show that you care very much about doing great work, even if it means revealing some stress. Acknowledging your drive to perform well isn’t a contradiction to our casual culture. I believe most successful professionals are much more protective of their commitment to high quality work than they care about the appearance of being nonchalant. The new person who admits feeling nervous about a presentation makes a stronger impression than one who acts aloof and above it.
As Viget alum Anna Lewis wrote, “Our casual environment is effective only because, at our core, we maintain high standards of professionalism in our interactions with each other and in our work.” When you’re new, you may need to demonstrate those high standards for professionalism overtly until we have a chance to seem them evident in your daily work. Don’t worry; nobody will ding you for caring too much. 
Be curious.This is the most important one: be curious. Study up on case studies; dig back into old threads; read old proposals (ones we won as well as ones we didn’t); sit in on all kinds of meetings. Don’t just be curious about the things directly related to you or your role, be curious about the whole company. Don’t just focus on right now, try to gain perspective on our past and our future. Ask questions. Follow up on things you hear or notice that don’t make sense. Ask for clarification on why things are the way they are. 
When we welcome a new person to the team, we’re hoping he or she will make a mark and, over time, influence the company. It takes time to have that kind of impact, of course, and it’s wise to get solid footing before you start rocking the boat. By being curious you’re telling us that you’re seeking that footing. Time will tell whether your curiosity leads you to being a champion of upending the status quo, or a champion of fine-tuning existing processes. Either way, we’re encouraged by your desire to know our work and all the thought behind it. A new person’s lack of curiosity is easily mistaken as indifference, apathy, or even arrogance.

Being new is hard no matter how good you might be at the dynamic. By acknowledging the circumstances, being self-aware, and attempting a deliberate approach to being new, I expect you’ll do great. I really do! 
We are excited to get to know you and to see how your contributions will make us stronger.


Source: VigetInspire


Google Analytics Metrics: How To Boost Return Visits to your Website

If you’ve been using Google Analytics for a while now, you’ve probably become acquainted with some of the popular features of this nifty web analytics tool. I love how it gives me an accurate picture of how popular my sites are, based on the number of visits and number of unique visitors.
Data on Returning Visitors
If you’re fairly new to Google Analytics – or if you’ve been monitoring the number of page visits only – then there’s a big chance that you’re missing out on an amazing set of data: returning visitors.
To view this piece of data, log in to Google Analytics, then go to Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning. You should see a line graph of the total number of sessions per day, and a table of returning visitors and new visitors at the bottom of the page.

Wondering what this particular Google Analytics data means for your website? In a nutshell, the New vs Returning data allows you to check on two essential areas of user experience:

The level of engagement that your website has
The probability that first-time site visitors will return to your site for more content

These two areas alone are more than enough for you to start monitoring the ratio of new to returning site visitors. If you’re looking to increase user engagement, you will find this information extremely useful.
Tips To Improve The Rate of Returning Visitors on Google Analytics
Here are some techniques that you can use, in order to amp up the number of returning visitors to your website (as measured by Google Analytics):
1. Start an email subscription list

This strategy has been around for decades, but hasn’t seen much decline since its inception. Maintaining an email list for your website is a convenient and ultra-effective technique to keep tabs with your site visitors, and give them opportunities to come back for more interesting content on your website.
Some of the best ways to make sure that casual visitors subscribe to your email list include the following:

Offering a free downloadable product or discount coupon
Sending a free whitepaper or how-to tips
Reminding them about their last visit to your site

If your website runs on WordPress, you can use email opt-in plugins to make things easier for you to set up email lists.
2. Point them to your social media pages

Integrating social media to your website is another great technique to inform your followers about updates on your site. What’s great about social media is that your followers can share your website links through their timeline or newsfeed, so that their friends get referred to your site.
Here are some quick tips on how to effectively use social media to drive more returning visitors to your site:

Avoid posting too many ads or obvious promotions. Mix it up by posting a single promotional entry for every 4 or 5 non-promotional posts.
Steer clear of auto-likes, and avoid setting up fake accounts for the sole purpose of jacking up the number of likes and followers. Always rely on organic following.
Use social media to engage with your target audience, rather than blasting them with too many promotional posts.

On top of this, you may also want to consider using sponsored posts or promoted posts on the social media channels that you operate on. These services may cost a bit of money, but they allow your website links to get exposed to more online users. Just don’t overdo it, because nobody wants to get flooded with your sponsored content.
3. Offer freebies and incentives for returnees

Who doesn’t like to get free stuff? I know I do! I’ve seen a lot of e-commerce websites displaying a welcome banner for returning customers, and offering them an exclusive discount just for returning to the site. You may also use this kind of strategy for your site, but you will have to use plugins or apps to generate this kind of functionality.
Another strategy is by gamifying the browsing experience in your site. For example, you can encourage them to visit more often by giving away points for their visits. As they accumulate these points, they can exchange the points for special rewards or tokens.
Other Google Analytics Metrics To Monitor

Website owners who use Google Analytics can find advice on how to improve their website following, by monitoring the data available in the interface. Here are some of the best and most helpful analytics metrics that you might have missed out on, aside from returning visitors:

Audience > Demographics: You can get an overview of the profile of the people who visit your pages, based on age and gender. This is helpful if you want to either target a specific age group or customize your site to favor a particular gender more than the other.
Audience > Geo > Location: If your website is focused on a particular local area, then this data could be helpful to check if you’re reaching the right location. Otherwise, there might be a need to either change your content or shift to another target location.
Audience > Mobile: Ever wonder what kind of device your site visitors are using to browse through your pages? By checking this data, you can custom-fit your web design and content to a specific device preference. Better yet, make your web design responsive or mobile-friendly to accommodate just about any screen size.
Acquisition > Channels: This section of Google Analytics shows which channels refer online users to your site. Whether it’s through organic search, social media, direct domain access, or other referrals, knowing the acquisition source lets you zero in on strategies to boost your visibility in referring channels.
Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages: The importance of this data lies on the fact that online users will arrive at your website through these landing pages. If you know which pages serve as the most popular landing areas of your site visitors, you can enhance these pages in terms of navigation, advertising, or marketing.
Behavior > Site Speed: Everybody wants to wait for the page to load… said no one ever! At this day and age when internet speeds are blazingly fast, your pages should load quickly. This information from Google Analytics helps you to check the average page loading time. From this, you can troubleshoot problem areas in terms of page loading speed.

Final Word
Resting on your laurels is never a good idea when you want to stay on top of the competition. By making use of Google Analytics data – and now that you know the importance of the data on returning visitors – you can maximize the potential of your website to reach more people. You may also find your website slowly inching its way to the top of search results.
The post Google Analytics Metrics: How To Boost Return Visits to your Website appeared first on Web Designer Hub.
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