You may have heard of Drupal, one of the best content management systems (CMSs) powering websites on the Internet today. The recent buzz about Drupal is a result of the long anticipated and game-changing release of its latest version. The labor of love to create this ultimate version of Drupal started years ago, but reached its culmination on November 19, 2015, with the release of Drupal 8 (D8). The occasion was marked with many parties around the world.
Drupal 8 is a major milestone for the fifteen-year-old CMS, but what is different about it? Why should you be excited about this piece of software?
What’s so great about Drupal 8?
1. Improved content creation tools
Drupal 8’s improved content-creation tools elevates the content management experience with a less cluttered interface. The relevant bits for each content piece are placed front and center while editing content. All of the nerdy settings and options that impact your content are moved aside, letting you focus on what matters. Additionally, the text editor that Drupal includes (CKEditor) is well integrated with Drupal’s new live-editing features. The live-editing feature and robust rich text editor are important for making quick changes while viewing your site.
Improvements to the content creation and editing tools make life easier for both content creators and developers. Behind the scenes there are improvements to Drupal’s APIs for content management. This allows a greater degree of flexibility and simplicity for developers to create custom-tailored editing environments for site administrators.
2. Improved performance makes a real difference
Drupal now has built-in support for creating highly-performant web pages with ease. Using a critical rendering-path technique, Drupal renders important parts of your page immediately, then delivers the rest of the page when you’re ready. This will make your visitors happy as you deliver quickly loading web pages without messing with special configurations. This short video illustrates the power of this feature.
3. Mobile improvements
Drupal 8 provides responsive themes out-of-the-box, now sporting a responsive administrative panel too. By building upon these responsive theme foundations, it is easy to create custom mobile-ready themes tailored to your needs without re-inventing the wheel. Mobile-only and mobile-first websites really shine in Drupal 8.
Why is The Nerdery so excited about Drupal 8?
Drupal 8 is exciting to developers at The Nerdery because of the many changes in the plumbing of the system. One of the most significant changes to Drupal 8 is the underlying framework upon which Drupal 8 is built. The Drupal development team has embraced popular, well-proven PHP libraries and common coding patterns, including Composer, Symfony components, Guzzle, Zend Framework components, PHPUnit and more.
On the surface, Drupal 8 fulfills many of the same business requirements as some of the other CMSs we use here at The Nerdery. However, there are some key differentiators. Understanding Drupal’s community support and interoperability is crucial in understanding how it is aligned with The Nerdery at a fundamental level. Specifically, we have dozens of developers well-versed in Symfony already; the conventions and technologies used in Drupal 8 come naturally to us. Furthermore, the new Twig-based theming system allows our UX designers and front-end developers the flexibility they need to align site aesthetics with the brands of our clients.
There has never been a better time for organizations to utilize Drupal as their foundation; our Nerds are prepared and thrilled to drive these efforts. There are three areas for which we’re particularly excited about leveraging Drupal: custom development, commerce and internationalization.
Drupal Commerce and Custom Development
We’ve been providing ecommerce solutions to our clients for many years now. However, a common problem with these platforms is that they often lack the other needed capabilities – namely content management and custom development within a reliable underlying framework. In combination with the Drupal Commerce modules, Drupal 8 provides all three of these things under a single platform.
Internationalization has long been a source of issues in previous versions of Drupal (and other CMSs) – so much so that it was reason enough to rely on alternative platforms altogether for additional language support. However, this being a key focus of Drupal 8 allows us to not hesitate to use it for the common case in which English is not the only language we need to support.
This summary highlights a few of the great things going on in the newest version of Drupal and why this release is so exciting for the future of web development. A big thank you goes to the 3,000+ contributors who have made Drupal what it is today: a tool that can make a measurable impact for your organization and your users.