Farez’s Update, Issue 3

Hello <<First Name>>!

Welcome to another edition, where I provide you with the latest technical intelligence that you can apply to your digital projects.

This month:
🙅🏼‍♂️ Why Drupal is an ideal no-code platform and how to harness it (2 - 3 minute read).
🔎 Get ready for Google’s June algorithm update (1 minute read).
💻 Recent work (1 minute read).

🙅🏼‍♂️ Drupal and No-code


Yes, Drupal can be your no-code application platform too.

If you’re not familiar with “no-code”, it’s a term that refers to a set of online web apps that lets you build custom applications without any code. It’s a powerful concept that can save you a significant amount of development cost, especially when building bespoke solutions.

Examples of things you can build with no-code:

  • A form for residents to apply for recycling bins.

  • A page that lists the latest tweets from councillors.

  • User feedback form that goes straight into a Jira ticket that you can track.


Some of those should sound familiar, because you can already build forms and lists in Drupal. But to harness Drupal's no-code ability, we need to stop treating it as a website but start treating it as a platform.

To achieve this, stop asking developers to build specific solutions to problems. Instead, train site administrators with the technical ability to build solutions (without code), and task developers with creating the building blocks required for that to happen.

For example, don't ask the developer to build a specific form for requesting recycling bins, because this "hard codes" the form and does not make it flexible. Instead, the developer should just enable Drupal's Webforms module and any other relevant add-ons, style the front-end according to brand guidelines, and train admins on how to build any form on it.

Drupal comes with various modules that helps you build sophisticated features without code, like:

  • Webforms module for form building.

  • Views module for building various kinds of lists.

  • Token module for remixing content.

  • Rules module for triggering an action when certain Drupal events happen.

  • Responsive Image module for displaying images on various different screen sizes.

Imagine the benefits

There are many benefits to using Drupal as a no-code platform, but the 3 biggest ones are:

Agility: Admins can not only create forms or custom pages themselves, but make changes to it any time the business requirement changes. Need a new field or a new destination for the form submission? The admin makes that change. No developer needed.

Cost-efficiency: Hundreds and thousands of pounds can be saved by not regularly hiring a developer to make small changes (and trust me, developers would rather do more challenging work).

Empowerment: Teams can quickly test out ideas, by simply building and tying together Drupal features to solve new challenges. There is no need to go through the lengthy process of estimating and procuring developer time. The power to build is now in your hands.

Integrate with over 3000 apps!

And if that's not enough, consider that Drupal already has automation integrations with Zapier (and soon on, which means you can integrate your Drupal website with over 3000 other apps, including Google Docs, Saleforce and Mailchimp.

Here's an example integration that an admin can build in one day: build a complaints form in Drupal, that submits an entry into Microsoft Dynamics, and schedules an on-site visit with Calendly.

How to do it

Drupal is a powerful platform that has been built with the end user benefit in mind.

We should let most of the coding happen within the open source code by the Drupal community. There should be minimal custom builds required post-installation.

To make this happen, think of Drupal as a platform that site admins can build on, instead of websites for admins to manage.

🔎 Google’s June algorithm update

Sometime in mid-June 2021, Google will be releasing an update to its algorithm which will impact how pages are ranked.

Also called the "Page Experience" update, the level of a user's "experience" of a particular page will contribute to its overall page ranking score, and therefore, on which page of Google's search results it appears on.

Page experience is measured along 5 "signals":

I recommend using the Google Search Console to carry out the tasks above as it gives you a dashboard where you can easily review and tick off all the errors that come up.

Doing all this now will ensure that your pages are still discoverable when Google's algorithm updates sometime next month.

💻 Recent work

A few months ago I built and launched Markfolder, a browser extension for easily bookmarking and categorising interesting tweets you find on Twitter. It has grown steadily, with about 400 users and almost 50,000 bookmarks created.

The browser extension itself was created in plain Javascript. It works on both Chrome and Firefox. When a user bookmarks a tweet, the tweet's URL is sent to Markfolder's own API which then saves it into the user's account.

The website is where users can browse and search their saved bookmarks. It also contains the API that communicates with the browser extensions. It was built with the Laravel framework for the backend, and Bootstrap 4 for the frontend.

If you're not familiar with Laravel, it is similar to the Symfony framework, which is what Drupal is currently built on.

While I tend to build larger enterprise-grade websites and web services with Drupal, I prefer Laravel for smaller bespoke projects, as it is quick to build with and, on smaller projects, much faster in performance than Drupal.

Let me know…

What would you like to see next? A deeper dive into one of the topics above? Or would you like to chat a bit more about something you’ve just read? Just reply and let me know.

I am also currently available for Drupal development and consultancy. How can I help?


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