Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Drupal

Drupal is an open source content management system (CMS) that became open in 2001. With its ever gaining popularity, Drupal is the backbone for millions of websites and applications that we see online today.

Drupal is open source software maintained and developed by a community of over 1,000,000 users and developers. It's distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (or "GPL"), which means that anyone is free to download it and share it with others. This open development model means that people are constantly working to ensure that Drupal is a cutting-edge platform that supports the latest technologies that the Web has to offer. The Drupal project's principles encourage modularity, standards, collaboration, ease-of-use, and more.

Unlike Wordpress, Drupal was a CMS right from birth. Drupal puts a lot of power into the hands of developers and site builders. Wordpress - out of the box - is more of a single-point system, focusing on a single application. Drupal, on the other hand, is a multi-faceted system that is focused on multiple applications and uses. Learn more about our Wordpress Development and Drupal Development.

Yes, if you are installing security updates for both the core and modules, your Drupal 6 site is secure. The community behind Drupal has a policy that they will support and release security updates for both the current and stable versions of Drupal. However, Drupal 6 and its modules will stop receiving updates three months after Drupal 8 is released. This window of time gives Drupal site maintainers options: upgrade to Drupal 7 or 8, or find an organization that will support Drupal 6.

Drupal 8 is currently in beta. The official release date is still TBD.

Any Drupal 8 upgrade should be done post Drupal 8 release. You should never build a production site on a beta version. If your current website is Drupal 7, we would recommend doing a free site audit to determine if all contributed and custom modules have stable Drupal 8 versions. If some do not, the audit will help determine if the functionality in those modules can be recreated using other stable Drupal 8 modules. With the information that the audit will provide you, you will be able to set out on creating a Drupal 8 upgrade timeline.

If your current site is Drupal 6, you will want to upgrade to Drupal 7 or 8 within the three months following the Drupal 8 release date. Determining whether to upgrade to Drupal 7 or 8 should also be done after doing a site audit, so that you can determine which contributed and custom modules have stable Drupal 7 and 8 versions. The information gleaned from a site audit will assist you in your decision on which version would best fit your website's functionality which will ultimately benefit overall user experience.

Drupal core security updates should be installed as they are released. Module security updates should also be installed as they are released. This is not always practical, so it is recommended to at least check for and install both core and module security updates monthly. Always install and test security updates on a non-production site before installing them on your live production website.

Millions of users are currently using Drupal for both websites and applications. Drupal is used across a vast array of industries, including entertainment, news outlets, government, educational institutions, non-profits, eCommerce websites, and local mom and pop sites. 

Some notable Drupal sites:
The Mises Institute
The Whitehouse
The International Center For Reiki Training
The Economist
NBC

A node contains the main text of the web page. Therefore, a node is a piece of content on your website that consist of at least a title, and generally contains a description or body field. Nodes can be pages (an 'about' page or 'contact' page), a post (a blog post on the latest fad diet), articles (news articles), and so on.

A content type is a group of fields and settings used to create the nodes on your website. The fields and settings that make up each content type can be unique to each type of node you will need to create on the website. Content types can be pages, blog posts, news articles, products, and so on.

WordPress

Wordpress is an open source content management system (CMS). In its early days, Wordpress was a blogging system - thanks to the open source community, it has since evolved into a content management system that powers over 60 millions websites. 

WordPress is a trusted content management system CMS for millions of users and websites for a variety of reasons.  Some of the key factors contributing to its popularity are:

  • Since Wordpress is open source, it can be very inexpensive to set-up. The cost is dependent upon what you are looking at achieving with your website.  The cost associated with a WordPress site begins with the cost of hosting, domain name registration, and premium themes/plugins (if you need them). Should the need for custom development arise, the cost will increase further.  Custom development costs typically involve custom themes/plugins, and building/setting up the WordPress site for you.
  • WordPress is easy and quick to learn! The act of updating content, adding new posts and articles is very intuitive. It's as simple as creating a new Word document.
  • WordPress has a massive following. The WordPress community is expansive, which means that the amount of quality free plugins and themes is almost endless. Additionally, the WordPress community also provides support for plugins and themes at wordpress.org.
  • WordPress is flexible. The WordPress platform can be used for any type of website, from an 'About Us' site, to a forum, to an eCommerce site...the possibilities are almost endless.

Yes, WordPress is secure!  WordPress core and WordPress plugins updates are frequently released.  These updates to WordPress core and WordPress plugins are not always feature updates, but are often security updates.  WordPress core updates are released every month or so, and even more frequently when required.  To keep a site secure, Wordpress core updates should always be installed - if not as they are released, at least once a month.  Remember to always backup your site's code and database before installing updates.  Best practice is to install and test updates on a development environment prior to installing them on a live website.

 

Best practice would be to install plugin updates once a month.  Remember to always backup your site's code and database before installing any updates.  We always recommend installing and testing plugin updates on a development environment before installing them on a live website.

WordPress is the CMS used throughout a diverse mix of industries and uses. It's used by bloggers, corporations, big brands and everything in-between.

Some notable WordPress sites:
The New Yorker
The Goldman Prize
Orange Slicon Valley
BBC America
TechCrunch

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails, often called 'Rails' for short, is an open source framework written with the Ruby programming language. Rails is used to create reliable, dynamic and feature-rich web applications. Since many aspects of software development are redundant from one project to another, Rails saves development time by implementing those common features automatically. As a result, Rails is the go-to framework for custom web applications which require continuous feature development at a sustainable pace. It has also become a popular option for companies that require quick prototyping of new features.

Since Ruby on Rails is open source, the project has thousands of contributors, all of whom may audit the software at any time. When a security vulnerability is uncovered, the community is notified and patches are available to address the issue. Additionally, Ruby on Rails encourages many best practices which help mitigate the risk of common security attacks such Cross Site Request Forgery, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and SQL Injections.

Spree Commerce is an open source platform built on top of Ruby on Rails that helps developers create complex e-commerce applications. It handles the common features that most online store requires — such as product management, stock levels, and payment processing — while allowing for custom features via the use of extensions. Spree has been downloaded over 350,000 times, and is actively maintained by a network of passionate open source contributors who have also written hundreds of extensions for the platform.

The restaurant chain Chipotle, as well as the online apparel company Bonobos, both rely on Spree to power their online stores.

Test Driven Development, or TDD for short, is a software development process that is based on the philosophy that any new features in an application must be tested prior to being written. 

Some of the benefits of TDD are:

  • Requires a solid understanding of new feature specifications and requirements before any code is written.
  • Encourages the use of good design principles such as the 'Separation of Concern' which simplifies new development and project maintenance.
  • Ensures that all features are properly tested.

While TDD may require more time at the beginning of the project life cycle, it will invariably save time on project maintenance due to better code quality, architecture and faster resolution of application bugs and glitches.

Ruby on Rails is extremely popular among startups, both small and large.

Companies who use Ruby on Rails include:
Groupon
Basecamp
IndieGogo
AirBnB
SoundCloud
Hulu
Couchsurfing
Fiverr

SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) is the act of improving a website in order to supply Google and other search engines with a website that fits their guidelines. 

Google cares mostly about trust and authority. Websites seen by Google to be the most authoritative and trustworthy source on their topic will gain top rankings.

Black hat SEO is the act of gaming the system. As Google and other search engines are algorithm based, many webmasters can be a step ahead of their detection process and gain short-term top rankings. White hat is the act of building up trust and authority within Google’s guidelines and results in long-term top rankings.

 

PPC is pay-per-click advertising. It is a form of online advertising in which you are only charged when your ad is clicked on. There are multiple platforms including Google AdWords, Facebook, Taboola and many more that run the pay-per-click model. Since organic SEO takes time and effort, PPC can be a great strategy to gain traffic immediately.

User Experience Design

User Experience Design is the organization of content and structure of site / applications to make them easier for real people to use.

UX Design improves and optimizes a user's experience with a website / product, which ultimately improves satisfaction and conversion rates.

Improving workflow on a site reduces the risk of frustrating users by making it easy for them to complete desired tasks.  Easy site navigation and task completion reduces abandonment, and increases conversion and retention rates.

UX describes how a user feels when interacting with the site/product.

CX describes the interactions a customer has a with a brand - not just on a website, but across all touch points of the brand (physical and digital environments).  CX evaluates a customer’s experience in all channels; bricks and mortar location, mobile site browsing, social media activity, customer service, advertising and beyond.

Usability refers to the ability to accomplish desired site tasks / actions, easily and intuitively.  It measures the success a user experiences when working through the website’s desired call(s)-to action.

The ISO 9241 standard defines website usability as the “effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specified users achieve specified goals in particular environments.” Good usability is essential to a positive user experience but does not alone guarantee it. It is important that sites comply with recommended guidelines / best practices so that users can complete their / your desired call(s) to action.  

Simply put - to save MONEY!  Testing Usability allows us to assess users' ability to complete critical tasks and use site features without difficulty.

Obstacles = Time = $ MONEY $

A good User Experience (UX) on your website is directly related a customer’s positive overall experience with your brand.
 

The look and feel, along with visual communication such as hover feedback, contributes to the overall User Experience. Research shows that users like to ‘skim’ online content - images, graphics and visual cues help them scan content and branding more effectively. A layout designed for optimal usablity will have a visual flow that allows the user to intuitively understand where to click next to continue with their desired task. 

Information Architecture (IA)’ refers to the structure, organization and labelling of information with the goal of more efficient browsing, navigating and searching.  Online consumption habits are very different than offline consumption habits - as a result, offline organizational schemes and structures need to be restructured and reorganized to meet online needs.

Interaction Design’ refers to the layout, task flow and interaction that a user has with a website/product.  Best practices are always the first place to start, as ease of use is critical for project success.  Many people believe that ultra creative websites will impress visitors - unfortunately, this creativity can ultimately interfere with user expectation and intuition.
 

Content Strategy’ is the optimization of website copy and images in an effort to optimize communication, user satisfaction and ease of use.  Does your copy meet the scanning needs of online users?  Does your copy use language and vocabulary that your users may not be familiar with?

Accessibility refers to the ease of use for people with disabilities.  The goal of accessible design is to ensure both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” (compatibility with a person’s assistive technology, for example, computer screen readers).

The user experience is measured by a variety of methods which could include: analytics review, heuristic evaluation, cognitive walkthrough, stakeholder surveys, user observation, and usability testing.  These methods of measurement allow us to generate actionable recommendations that will improve user experience and satisfaction.

UX professionals focus on the design and development of user interfaces, while also thinking about how content is organized and presented. They analyze the interactions that customers have at each stage of their user journey, resulting in a list of recommended improvements. Kanopi Studios has a robust UX Process that can make data driven recommendations on how to significantly improve how the website supports organizational activities.