Fall in love with Drupal: Drupal 8 in Higher Education
BY Bipasha Baijulal
3 years ago
comments comment

From schools to prestigious universities; Drupal is the preferred content management system for many higher educational institutions across the world. In fact, today, almost 71 out of 100 top universities in the world including Harvard University, Stanford University, and Cambridge run on Drupal.

The increasing popularity of Drupal in education sector is mainly because Drupal provides all the necessary features and tools to meet the extensive requirements of students, faculties, administrators and communities and makes content management more efficient and precise. A powerful CMS like Drupal can be extremely advantageous while building a university website. Drupal 8, the newest version of Drupal, has even more modules and tools to satisfy the growing demands of the higher educational sector.

Here are 8 reasons why you will need Drupal 8 to revolutionize your educational institution’s online presence:

Mobile Responsive Design: Today, every college student and teacher owns a smartphone or a mobile device; with Drupal 8's mobile-friendly, responsive design, academic institutions can use Drupal in higher education to stay updated, informed, and relevant to users by delivering smoother and innovative experiences. In Drupal 8, all the built-in themes are responsive. It also has an admin theme which adjusts to different screen sizes. The tables can adopt into any screen size smoothly, and the latest admin toolbar functions well on smart devices.

Better content editing & management: Universities have to publish a lot of data and content frequently. With WYSIWYG CKEditor set in the core, editors get a lot of easy editing options. They can edit the content on any page without having to change into the full edit form.

Web Service Integration: Drupal 8 can function as a data source, and can transmit content as JSON or XML. Hypertext Application Language (HAL) is provided in Drupal 8 which makes leveraging of web service resources a simple process. Academic institutions can use these web services to deliver content to various apps.

Improved loading Speed: Drupal 8 reserves all units and only loads JavaScript when required. Once a page is viewed, it's content does not have to be reloaded again. This allows educational institutions to provide a better experience to its online users.

Multi-lingual Features: Drupal 8 has an array of multilingual features which enables in-built translations. With this feature, institutions can make their content interpretable to foreign students.

Workflow Modules: The latest workflow modules allow institutions to control and manage not only the content but also the publishing procedure. Since university websites are operated by multiple persons, managing the workflow and access is very important. There are tools available in Drupal 8 that helps you get control over the content processes.

E-learning and social media tools: Higher educational institutions encourage E-learning and interact with students through the social media. Being a content focused platform, Drupal 8 makes it an effortless process to associate your website with social sites that support online learning.

Flexibility: what works for one department in a university will not work for the other. And this is precisely the reason why colleges have multifaceted websites that serve different kinds of purposes. Drupal 8’s multi-site functionality ensures extensive tools and assets for students, faculties and others through a central repository.This multi-site capability allows greater control and ownership to each of the departments, thus considerably reducing administrative overhead from the IT office.

Do you need a Drupal 8 powered website for your School/College/Higher Ed institution?

Look no further. Zyxware provides the best Drupal web solutions to market your services and to broaden your online reach. To know more about our Drupal development services, give us a call today.


Why Drupal is Dominating the Higher Education Sector

Resource Guide: Drupal for Educational Institutions



on 21st May 2013 / by Anoop John
Drupal 6 will be maintained till the release of Drupal 8. Drupal 8 release is expected to happen towards the end of 2013. The current stable branch Drupal 7 will be maintained till the release of Drupal 9 (probably 2015). If you are running a production site on Drupal 6 then you will probably have to start looking at upgrading the site by the end of this year. There are couple of different options open in front of you if you are looking to upgrade your Drupal 6 site soon. If the site does not use a lot of custom functionalities and uses minimal contributed module functionalities and you are not really interested in contributing towards migrating Drupal 7 modules to Drupal 8 then you could just go ahead and upgrade your Drupal 6 site to Drupal 7. This could be done anytime you have the budget to do this. If you are interested in contributing towards migrating Drupal 7 contrib modules to Drupal 8 then you could wait a bit and then migrate your Drupal 6 site into Drupal 8 by the time Drupal 8 is released. You could start on the work a few months before the release date of Drupal 8. If the site does have a lot of custom functionalities as opposed to contributed module functionalities then you should really be looking to migrate to Drupal 8. Work on this could be started as soon as we have an RC version of Drupal 8. You will however have to be prepared to contribute towards migrating some of the Drupal 7 modules to Drupal 8 as it would take a while before top 100 contributed modules have Drupal 8 versions. If you are not sure about which version of Drupal you should upgrade your site to do get in touch with us and we can help you make that decision for you. Do note that this is a time sensitive article written in May 2013 and the opinions cited in this article may not be relevant after a few months from writing this article. The concepts would still hold though. Contact us to get our recommendation on what version of Drupal should you be upgrading your site to. Drupal Drupal 6 Drupal Upgrade Drupal 7 Drupal 8 Leave a reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marker *

on 26th December 2014 / by abhai.sasidharan
YAML is a data serialization language which is easily readable to both humans and computers. It is for this very reason that YAML is being used in Drupal 8. YAML stands for YAML Ain't Markup Language. This is what a Drupal 8 module.info.yml file would look like : name: Zyx Module description: Zyx Module description. ;This is how you comment. Description field is mandatory. package: Custom type: module version: 1.0 core: 8.x dependencies: - node This is how a theme is defined in theme.info.yml file : name: Zyx type: theme description: 'A zyx theme.' package: Custom core: 8.x stylesheets: all: - css/layout.css print: - css/print.css stylesheets-remove: - normalize.css regions: header: Header content: Content sidebar_first: 'Sidebar first' footer: Footer This is how permissions are set in Drupal 8 YAML : # In views.permissions.yml file. access all views: title: 'Bypass views access control' description: 'Bypass access control when accessing views.' restrict access: TRUE This is how routing is set in Drupal 8 YAML : demo.page: path: /demo defaults: _title: 'Demo' _content: '\Drupal\demo\Controller\DefaultController::demo' requirements: _permission: 'access demo content' YAML files are parsed by Yaml.php in Drupal 8. It is a symfony component. Another reason to use YAML is because, .info files are Drupal specific and YAML is a created to provide data serialization. In Drupal 8, not just info files but permissions, routing and settings configuration are also defined in YAML format now. Earlies this was accomplished in the .module file. This makes the code more lean. To describe it in two words, compartmentalization and delegating. Drupal Drupal 8 Leave a reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marker *

on 29th December 2014 / by abhai.sasidharan
Drupal, up until now a PAC (Presentation Abstraction Control) architecture, has taken a step closer to MVC (Model View Controller) architecture. Although nowhere have they mentioned about MVC, the new Drupal 8 is strictly object oriented. Another feature in Drupal 8, that is different from the existing versions of Drupal is that it is not entirely Drupal. Drupal 8 uses many components in symfony like it's ClassLoader, YAML file structure, twig and so on. For a detailed description please visit the Drupal 8 home page. In this article, I will explain how to convert an existing Drupal 7 module to Drupal 8. In Drupal 7, the first steps you follow to create a module is Create a <module name>.info file Create a <module name>.module file Create a <module name>.install file if a schema is required These are the basic steps for a simple module creation. Plugins, css, images, etc can be added as required. This is basically the same in Drupal 8 except we have to follow a yaml file structure in Drupal 8. The <module name>.info file should be renamed as <module name>.info.yml. Say, for a module zyx, if the zyx.info file in Drupal 7 was : name = ZYX description = Some module to something. package = ZYX core = 7.x files[] = zyx.module files[] = zyx.install ; Information added by Drupal.org packaging script on 2013-12-12 version = "7.x-3.0" core = "7.x" project = "zyx" datestamp = "1386880109" In Drupal 8, the zyx.info.yml would be : name: ZYX description: 'Some module to something.' package: ZYX core: 8.x version: 7.x-3.0 project: zyx datestamp: '1386880109' type: module After the <module name>.info.yml file has been defined, you can go to the extend page in your Drupal site and see that the module has appeared in Drupal 8. The <module name>.install and <module name>.module files remain where they are. The schema definition remains unchanged in Drupal 8. The .module file has many changes which we will discuss now. Firstly, hook_menu has been replaced in Drupal 8 by another yml file called <module name>.routing.yml. This is also a requisite for Drupal 8 module. Clear the hook_menu and move it with corresponding yml syntax to the <module name>.routing.yml file in the root of the module folder : In Drupal 7 : <?php function zyx_menu() { $items = array(); $items['zyx/one'] = array( 'title' => 'Zyx entry', 'description' => 'Enter zyx info into database', 'page callback' => 'Drupal_get_form', 'page arguments' => array('zyx_form'), 'access arguments' => array('access zyx content'), 'type' => MENU_NORMAL_ITEM, ); } In Drupal 8 : zyx.routing.yml zyx.form: path: /zyx/one defaults: _title: 'Zyx entry' _form: \Drupal\zyx\Form\ZyxForm requirements: _permission: 'access zyx content' As you can see in the yml file, the path to the form is defined and we notice another difference, which is the form definition has been moved from the .module file to a class in the form folder. We have to create a folder structure in the module folder to implement the MVC part of Drupal 8 i.e., module/ src/ Controller/ Form/ !-- Each form should be in a separate ClassName.php file. If any. Plugin/ Block/ !-- If any. <module name>.module <module name>.routing.yml <module name>.menu.links.yml <module name>.info.yml <module name>.permissions.yml <module name>.install This is standard for all Drupal modules. This is the PSR-4 compatible folder structure (Confer with PSR documentation). The form should be defined in a php file in the Form folder. This is the controller for the form. An example would be, in this case, "ZyxForm.php". Delete the form definition in <module name>.module file and copy it into the controller class definition in the form folder making the changes like below. The form definition for this would be : <?php /** * @file * Contains \Drupal\zyx\Form\ZyxForm. */ namespace Drupal\zyx\Form; use Drupal\Core\Form\FormBase; use Drupal\Core\Form\FormStateInterface; use Drupal\Core\Render\Element; class Zyx extends FormBase { /** * {@inheritdoc} */ public function getFormId() { return 'zyx_form'; } public function buildForm(array $form, FormStateInterface $form_state) { $form['zyx_data'] = array( '#type' => 'textfield', '#title' => t('Data'), '#size' => 30, '#maxlength' => 200, '#description' => t('Zyx data.'), '#required' => TRUE, ); $form['submit'] = array( '#type' => 'submit', '#value' => t($submit), ); return $form; } public function validateForm(array &$form, FormStateInterface $form_state) { //Code to validate here. Same as Drupal 7. } public function submitForm(array &$form, FormStateInterface $form_state) { //Code to submit here. Same as Drupal 7. } } Secondly, permissions are no longer set inside the .module file itself. You have to include a .permissions.yml file. In Drupal 7 : <?php /** * Implements hook_permission(). * * Access and view content defined. */ function zyx_permission() { return array( 'access zyx content' => array( 'title' => t('Access content for the Zyx module'), ), ); } In Drupal 8 : zyx.permissions.yml 'access zyx content': title: 'Access content for the Address book module' Thirdly, menu links are a separate file named <module name>.lniks.menu.yml unlike Drupal 8 which included it in the hook_menu itself. It is as follows : zyx.form: route_name: zyx.form title: 'Zyx Entry' description: 'Enter zyx info into database' parent: zyx.page Fourthly, any custom page defined in the <module name>.module will also have to be removed from the <module name>.module file. This will have to be moved to the controller folder as a Controller class similar to how form was done only difference is the class to extend : <?php /** * @file * Contains \Drupal\zyx\Controller\DefaultController. */ namespace Drupal\zyx\Controller; use Drupal\Core\Controller\ControllerBase; use Drupal\Core\Url; /** * Default controller for the zyx module. */ class ZyxController extends ControllerBase { //Custom page function(s) here. Copy the functions and from <module name>.module and place it here. } Finally, blocks are implemented as plugins in Drupal 8. If you look at the folder structure mentioned above, you can see that in the plugin folder there is block folder. This is because blocks are no longer defined in the conventional style; hook_block_info(), hook_block_view() have been deprecated. Your block definitions should be in another controller class similar to form. An example : ZyxChow.php <?php /** * @file * Contains \Drupal\zyx\Plugin\Block\ZyxChow. */ namespace Drupal\zyx\Plugin\Block; use Drupal\Core\Block\BlockBase; /** * Provides the ZyxChow block. * * @Block( * id = "zyx_chow", * admin_label = @Translation("Zyx's Chow") * ) */ class ZyxChow extends BlockBase { /** * {@inheritdoc} */ public function build() { // Code to create a block. Just like Drupal 7. //Return a renderable array; } } Here, the @block part in the comment section is a mandatory. It defines the machine name and name of the block. These are the basic things to be changed in a Drupal 7 module to make it work in a Drupal 8 installation. A few key things to remember while migrating to Drupal 8 are the PSR-4 folder compatibility, YAML file and correct syntax to use, all paths should be defined in routing YAML file. Migrating a module to Drupal 8 can be very long and tedious due to the vast differences from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. There is another way to migrate modules to Drupal 8, which is using a Drupal 8 module called Drupal module upgrader. This module is in its development stages and does the converting fine for modules with a simple file structure, although it is found to be buggy when migrating projects with more than one modules like the coder or devel module. Resources: Drupal 7 to 8 Drupal Drupal 8 Leave a reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marker *
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