New features in Drupal 8: Sitebuilder point of view

By Drupal, Web Design
Drupal developer washington dc northern virginia

Drupal is one of the most used and loved CMS in the world, more than a million of websites are Drupal powered.

Drupal 8 is the new version of this CMS, and although it is not yet ready, is nice to be ahead about its new features.

When is Drupal 8 being released?

Well, nobody can tell this; you can read the official message:

“The first release candidate for a new version of Drupal is created once the number of critical bugs and tasks is reduced to zero.”

You can track the number of issues here

So, what’s new in Drupal 8?

This new release of Drupal will have a ton of differences for developers (I will cover this in another post) and for sitebuilders. Let’s review some of them.

Installation

Installing Drupal 8 is exactly the same process than for previous releases.

  1. I’ll assume you have a development environment ready (Apache, PHP, MySQL or equivalent).
  2. Download the Drupal 8 release (heads up! Do this only for testing, Drupal 8 is not yet ready for production sites)
  3. Create a database
  4. Move the Drupal 8 folder to your webroot
  5. Open your web browser and type the address (usually http://localhost/your-drupal-8-folder for local environments) and follow the process (see the image below).

drupal 8 install process

Views is in the Core (finally)

Views is one of the most important and used modules in Drupal, it allows you to create sql querys and show the result without write a single line of code. Now, this great module is part of the Drupal Core, and has some improvements.

Some Administration pages are now Views (Content, People, and more), so now you can customize the fields you show, the filters and more. (You can have this functionality in Drupal 7 with the Administration Views module)

Responsive admin theme

responsive-layoutThe new Drupal admin theme is lightweight (forget about overlay and the long wait for it to load) and uses the “mobile first” approach. So every admin page in Drupal 8 is fully responsive.

The new toolbar is so easy to use in small devices, and some of the menu items have now new names (i.e. Modules is now Extend).

CKEditor and In-place content editing in the core

in-place-editingCKEditor is another popular module now added to the Core in Drupal 8, and with an extra bonus: In-place content editing! Now it’s going to be easier for non tech savvy users to edit content in Drupal without having to learn deeply how to manage the whole CMS.

Other new features

  • Better capabilities for multilingual sites
  • Manage configurations (now the configuration is managed by files, not at database level)*
  • Easily create restful APIs or Webservices with Views*
  • More fields directly in the Core
  • New ORM and Template engine*

*Stay tuned, we’ll cover this topics in another blog post

When should I start migrating everything to Drupal 8?

Hold your horses! Drupal 8 has no release date yet, and even if it had one, it will take some time to module’s developers to have a stable release for them; so, even if View is now in the core, there are more modules we need to build a site, and we should expect they have a stable release before install them in a production environment.

But I strong recommend you to start working with Drupal 8 in a testing environment, specially if you are a developer, because much things have changed (e.g Drupal 8 is built using Symfony and some components of Zend Framework).

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