Drupal 8.0 was officially announced in March, 2011. And we’re almost into the second month of 2015 - so it’s been 4 long years.
The expectations are obviously huge!
Drupal 8.0 promises a whole new suite of features and enhancements spanning across several important areas:
blogging/content creation, site development, design and more.
Now that the Beta release is out, it’s time to find out if Drupal 8.0 is worth the wait.
1. Drupal has gone mobile
Well, it’s mobile first, that’s what you read on Drupal’s official blog. Drupal 8.0 ships with responsive themes only - so you can rest assured that your content will display beautifully and comfortably on almost any device that the user is accessing it from. The admin panel, too, has been revamped for easy management using mobile and tablet devices.
This enhancement treats both, the end Drupal user who uses mobile and tablet devices for viewing sites and also the Drupal admins - as they can now use their smartphones to manage their websites.
Thumbs up for this one!
2. Drupal now speaks your language
If you’re using Drupal 8.0, then language can never be a barrier for you, literally!
Norvegian, Swahili, Catalan or any other language, Drupal 8.0 is available and translatable to every language. Built-in interfaces will help you bring about the translation. Almost all the elements are translatable.
You can choose to translate full pages or specific elements. There’s an automatic update feature in place to ensure that your site is always running the most updated dictionary.
3. Drupal finally gets a WYSIWYG editor
For those of you who didn’t get this one, Drupal 8.0 comes with a “What you see is what you get” editor built into the core.
This feature alone makes content creation a breeze.
Also, with its in-place editing feature, you don’t have to go through endless cycles of editing and previewing.
Another improvement includes a two-column display while creating content. The right panel contains meta information about the post while the left panel remains purely for creating content.
4. Drupal is now powered by HTML5
Well, I’m going to avoid all the technical jargon and come directly to how this will make a difference to you.
Whenever you build a website, you never really use a single technology - it’s always a handful of them. But no matter what choices you pick, an indispensable technology for building a website is HTML.
And Drupal 8 uses HTML5 (earlier version used XHTML)which is the most recent and most powerful HTML version. HTML5, for you, means cleaner code, neater interfaces, faster loading times, better compatibility and so on. Naturally, this feature also comes across as a very welcome one.
With this release, all the core themes and components will use HTML5 markup. This also means enhanced user experiences across all devices.
If you want to explore a full list of HTML5 features,don’t miss this post.
5. Drupal 8.0 makes a move to Symfony
Getting to what this means for you in just a minute, but a little about Symfony first.
Symfony is a framework for creating web projects. It works with a set of reusable Symfony components that are put together to form PHP applications (like Drupal). Symfony uses the latest PHP version with high coding standards and these factors bring a lot of performance improvements onboard. Faster page loading is one of the most important effects to look forward to.
This feature will mean more for developers, but you too will experience several reasons to be happy. If you want to take a deeper dive into Symfony, visit their official blog.
6. Drupal 8.0 comes with the Twig twist
What’s Twig? Well, Twig is a PHP template engine. Now, before you start wondering what a template engine is, here’s what it is: a template engine is used to design templates. And templates decide how the content on your site is rendered to the users.
If you want to contrast it with a theme, you can say that a theme defines how your site (or your content) looks and a template decides how the content is served.
A light template engine ensures that templates are created using an optimized and secure code. This automatically reflects in the performance of your site.
If you come across the term Twig (of course in context of coding), you will quickly see these 3 words following it: fast, secure and flexible.
And it is so. It brings about lots of improvements over the original PHP template engine.
Drupal is using this advanced template engine to power its templates with this latest 8.0 release.
If you want to explore this theme engine further, here’s a link to its official site.
7. Drupal 8.0 pushes the envelope in web services
Drupal version 8.0 clearly outdoes all the earlier versions of the CMS, but one more thing that it manages to do is to open a whole new set of possibilities for creating web, mobile and tablet applications.
Version 8.0 tries to make a big leap to moving from a Content Management System to a Content Management Framework.
This feature is HUGE and it has already got lots of wows from across the community.
So, if you are running a website based on Drupal, you can use now easily extend it to create mobile and tablet applications to suit your business needs.
What does this release mean to you?
If you’re a content creator, this release will make editing and previewing a breeze for you. You can create content while on the go!
If you’re a marketer, this release can help you go both mobile and global. With responsiveness built right into the core and multi-language support, you can now reach out to newer previously untapped markets.
If you’re a designer, this release lets you design themes more simply with the introduction of the Twig template engine.
If you’re a developer, this release promises convenient creation of APIs, easy configuration and migration settings, in-built app development scope and more.
The countdown to the actual release has begun but if you want to take the beta version up for a spin, you can grab your copy here.
Which features were you looking for in Drupal that still remain in your wishlist for the upcoming release? Please share in the comments below.