Globalization as chance & challenge // Ela Meier
The pandemic has changed the world - most for the worse, but also some things for the better. We've seen remote work suddenly becoming possible in many places where it wasn't before, and we're happy about this development. We at Cocomore had a good start with colleagues working from all over Europe already pre-pandemic, but we learned a lot more in the past two years. Since working remotely is now the new reality, it's also easier to find talent around the world. And it's easier for the talent and experts to find companies who want to hire them, even though they live somewhere else.
This advantage comes with a big challenge: we see salary expectations rising (sharply). People now can work from everywhere, and often time zones are the only limitation. Naturally, they want to get a piece of the pie and not be fobbed off with the salary they might have received before, when their labour was limited to on-site assignments. On the other hand, companies are interested in keeping the status quo and make their profit with globalization. And service providers like us as an agency are somehow stuck in the middle. We have to find the right balance so that we don't get squashed between the two positions.
For 2022, I expect this to be one of our biggest challenges. Our mission is to communicate the value of IT work to customers, and putting a realistic price tag on our work. And to put together a team that is staffed differently for different tasks, so that we can remain flexible in our pricing. Personally, I’m happy to see IT work being valued, but I'm also aware that it won't be easy for us to find this required balance.
Drupal in the low-code/no-code world // Jesús Sánchez Balsera
During the last few years, we have seen the rise of low code and no-code platforms as a trend getting steamed up to the point where developers fear that they will lose their jobs, and stakeholders thinking about how to save some big bucks building their web platforms without hiring specialists or working with external agencies. But what is this movement about?
A no-code platform is a system that allows its users to build a website without writing a line of code. In principle, it is nothing new, back in the day people would use Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage to compose their sites, except that 20+ years of advancements have brought us smarter tools, better UIs, and new techniques, like the component-based approach that it's so common nowadays. Additionally, the state of third-party integrations and the ability to integrate them easily allows us to connect our no code site to external sources to show their data, while we make use of external services to offer newsletters or even shopping carts and checkout processes for e-commerce. To summarize, we have now a platform that enables their users to build sites using drag & drop systems and prebuilt components.
I would argue that this is not far away from what we build with Drupal as an agency: we take Drupal core, add a series of contributed extensions to build component-based structures with a nice UI (our tools of choice are the Paragraphs and Layout Paragraphs at this moment), and after distilling the requirements and needs from the client we create a no-code platform for them, where they can make real their vision of their site.
Long gone are the days when an agency will just deliver a mostly static site where the client could or could not edit some pieces of text in different places of the web, or just create clonic pages. We can also configure and extend the webform module, to allow the client to create their custom forms without reaching out to us for every single change. With literally thousands of modules compatible with Drupal 9, the possibilities are endless.
Then we have, of course, what we will build with custom code. Every single project comes with a twist with specially tailored features that fill a specific need from a client, and that can't be solved with pre-built components in any way. The less we need to waste on repeating problems already solved somewhere else, the more value we can provide to our clients, and this is where we expend most of our time as Drupal developers now.
As a final note, let me also discuss one last topic. We can't forget that having components and fancy tools will only take us to a point, but at the end of the day, a successful site will always be more than that: A strategy to engage with visitors, the knowledge to avoid performance difficulties or to get good SEO results and Lighthouse ratings. The right structure for a site, where to use components, and where to add fields that need to be part of a content type. If you just want to have a site, then any tool will do it. If you need to have success on the web, then having an expert solution architect, experienced project owners, skilled developers, mindful UX experts, and creative designers will make all the difference.