Web event at Campus North (not Ecommerce North East!)

Proud to be organising North East Ecommerce

Peacock Carter are really proud to be the new organisers of the North East Ecommerce meetup group.

Tony, the previous organiser of the group, did a superb job of organising the group, providing plenty of food for thought for ecommerce store owners. Both Peacock Carter and Alex Goodacre, our meetup co-organiser and long term member of the group, are keen to do the same!

What is North East Ecommerce?

The North East Ecommerce group is a free-to-attend meetup held on a monthly basis in Newcastle upon Tyne. The aim of the group is to help share knowledge and experience for merchants running online stores. Previous talk topics at North East Ecommerce have included:

  • Optimising eBay listings
  • FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)
  • Search engine marketing for your ecommerce website
  • An introduction to Magento – by us!

We will be keeping the event free of charge, of course – partially thanks to the brilliant Campus North. The timing of the event will also remain as it was, in the first Wednesday of each month evening slot.

As a leading ecommerce agency in the North East, we feel very lucky to be able to support the meet up and bring our experience of running other website events such as WordPress North East and Magento North East. Organising North East Ecommerce will also be a fantastic opportunity from us to hear from owners of ecommerce websites of all sizes and fine tune our knowledge to be able to best help them.

If you have any suggestions of topics you would like to see covered at a future event, please let us know via hello@peacockcarter.com, and we’ll do our best to find a suitable speaker.

 

Magento ecommerce training in Glasgow

Speaking on Magento and ecommerce at Darlington Expo

We’re really pleased to be speaking at DLExpo this week on Smashing Your Competition Online. The talk is full of tips and tricks to help your website succeed online, developed from our years of experience.

As a leading North East ecommerce agency, we’ve been working with clients throughout the world to develop profitable, successful websites since 2006, and our talk will reflect this, from our experience in optimising small business websites to building high performance ecommerce websites using Magento.

Learn from web design and Magento specialist Richard Carter

Web design and Magento consultant Richard Carter

The speaker for our DLExpo seminar is our director Richard Carter, who has over 10 years of experience in the web design field, and has been working with leading ecommerce platform Magento (and its paid, licensed sister, Magento Enterprise) since its launch 2008.

Attendees will benefit from our years of experience applicable to every business with an online presence, as well as a chance to ask us questions they have about their own websites. We’ll also have an exhibition stand at the event to allow you to pop in and ask your queries to our web experts, and undertake a free audit of your existing website.

DLExpo is on Thursday, 14th April, at the Northern Echo Arena in Darlington.

Drupal 8 launch party, 2015, at the Drupal Hub

What’s new in Drupal 8

There’s a big change coming in Drupal, and we’re here to guide you through what’s new in Drupal 8.

We attended the Drupal 8 launch party at the Drupal Hub in Sunderland Software Centre recently, and saw Adam Hill speak on the changes and additions to Drupal 8 at Drupal North East here in Newcastle’s Campus North last week.

So, what’s new and important for Drupal website owners and users at the moment? Our guide to Drupal 8 takes you through the changes to Drupal, and advice on migrating to Drupal’s newer version.

So long, Drupal 6!

The first thing to note is that Drupal 6’s long term support ends on 24th Feburary 2016. That means no security advisory notes and updates from next February – time to upgrade if you haven’t already!

There’s a post on Drupal.org on Drupal 6’s end of life if you’re after a little more information on Drupal 6’s demise.

The administrator interface in Drupal 8

If you were expecting a huge visual change for Drupal 8: you’re about to be disappointed! Whilst the structure that supports Drupal has changed vastly for this version, the administration panel and default Drupal theme feel very familiar!

Drupal 8 website administration panel

There has been a change to editing screens, though: the options previously below the main content field are not situated alongside it. A little like (dare we say it? Oh, go on then) WordPressThis small change should make a big difference to those who work on Drupal website content on a regular basis. It’s also worth noting that the rich text editor tool is installed and enabled by default: a big bug-bear for many in Drupal 7! And many of you will be glad to hear the overlay feature in Drupal 7 is no longer there!

Another small change which makes life a lot easier for Drupal website editors is the addition of inline editing: you can now hover over certain blocks as an administrator and click the pencil icon to edit without loading the full administration panel:

Drupal 8 inline editing demo

Better language support

Drupal’s multilingual support was already very good, and it’s been hugely improved in Drupal 8 with:

  • the addition of 4 language related modules in to core, supporting multilingual sites from the ground up
  • 100 language translation files for the administration interface
  • language independence for Drupal administrators: this was previously a little messy and sometimes meant administrators would edit pages in a non-natural language and be presented with form labels in their non-natural language too

Usability improvements in Drupal 8

A lot of effort from the Drupal development community has gone in to usability improvements for administrators, including:

  • The inclusion of CK Editor by default as a rich text editor
  • Improved administration navigation toolbar: so much better, by default!
  • The inclusion of key modules such as Views in to core Drupal 8: this is Drupal 7’s most popular module and with good reason, so having it included in core is very convenient
  • Keyboard navigation shortcuts for key options in the Drupal admin panel
  • Improved management for blocks (see screenshot below): this was previously quite fiddly!

Drupal 8 blocks administration

Better documentation

It’s not just functionality that has improved: Drupal have surpassed themselves in providing detailed documentation early on.

This improved documentation should mean less of a headache for those pioneering web developers and website administrators looking to use Drupal 8 early on!

Better Drupal cache, better performance

One of the things that caught our eye was the new caching system in Drupal 8, which is improved on two fronts:

  • Better default caching to improve performance of all new Drupal 8 websites
  • More control over caching and where it’s applied in Drupal 8: especially for logged in users

This should mean that Drupal 8 is speedier out of the box, which can only be a good thing!

New platform sounds like a Symfony

The biggest change (for Drupal developers, at least!) is that Drupal 8 is built on the Symfony framework. This means that other web developers with no prior Drupal experience can now contribute to Drupal more easily. This should see the Drupal community grow even larger and stronger: excellent news for everyone all round!

When should you upgrade to Drupal 8?

As you read above, Drupal 6 support is withdrawn in February 2016, but Drupal 7 still has a long while before it is withdrawn. In our opinion, Drupal 8 is ready for use of small scale brochure websites which only require pages and news/blog functionality.

In time, the modules for added functionality that made Drupal so successful to date will arrive in Drupal 8. Until then, it’s worth considering holding off on building anything other than simple websites in Drupal 8.

And we can’t wait to do just that when the time is right. We hope you’ll agree Drupal 8 looks fantastic!

Drupal 8 launch party, 2015, at the Drupal Hub

Celebrating Drupal style: Drupal 8 launch party

What better way to celebrate a new version of Drupal than joining other Drupal developers for free cake and beer?

It’s been a busy week! Magento 2 officially launched for merchants earlier this week, and a new version of our favourite ecommerce systems is joined by a new version of one of our favourite content management platforms. Drupal North East members and North East Drupal developers from across the region met last night at the Drupal Hub in Sunderland Software Centre to celebrate the official launch of Drupal 8.

The event was one of four Drupal 8 celebration events in the UK, so many thanks to the team behind the Drupal Hub for organising (and the beer and cake, of course!).

What’s new in Drupal 8?

With a talk on what to expect from Drupal 8, and a night of discussion on Drupal, the excitement around the new version of Drupal was contagious! We saw a high level of what’s new in Drupal 8, including:

  • 200 new features in Drupal core functionality
  • Better internationalisation for websites in multiple languages – this is exciting as Drupal’s multilingual tools were among the best we’ve seen!
  • Improved accessibility tools, so that everyone can enjoy Drupal and your website

If you’d like more information on Drupal 8, there’s a talk next week at the Drupal North East user group at Campus North in Newcastle.

We’re Drupal Association members!

We’re happy to announce that we’ve updated our Drupal Association membership to organisation member.

Peacock Carter are very proud Drupal Association members

Membership is a yearly cost, and helps Drupal – a content management system largely built by volunteers and available to use for free – to fund improvements in the project and its community, too. The Drupal Association has a number of functions, including:

  • the organisation and promotion of Drupal events worldwide
  • funding legal protection for the Drupal project
  • communicating the advantages of using the Drupal system

You can view the Drupal.org profile for Peacock Carter Ltd; as and co-founders of the Drupal North East event, and long-standing Drupal agency in the North East, Peacock Carter are proud to support the Drupal Association’s work.

Drupal Commerce book by Richard Carter published

Another year, another book: our very own Richard Carter has had his fifth book published this month!

Drupal Commerce book by Richard Carter

Building E-commerce Sites with Drupal Commerce Cookbook is a guide for beginners with Drupal Commerce, a suite of modules designed to help you create flexible ecommerce websites in the Drupal content management system.

The book covers topics from installing and configuring Drupal Commerce to changing your online store’s look and feel, to search engine optimisation tips to help your website flourish online.

And, of course, if you’d rather we built your website for you, get in touch!