Drupal is open source software; it is developed and maintained by a community of tens of thousands of developers, and is used worldwide by hundreds of thousands of websites . Distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public Licence (or “GPL”), it is free to download and share with others.
Drupal is becoming the leading open source web content management system. Previously we have used Drupal in projects like the North West Cambridge Development website and Cambridge Live Trust build, and getting ahead of the game we’ve already completed our first Drupal 8 project, which was for the Cambridge Film Festival.
We think it is one of the best CMS options on the market, with the fact that it is developed and maintained by a community online being one of its main benefits. Since its inception in 1999, initially as a message board, Drupal has evolved to become an industry standard and one of the most innovative platforms to work with.
So what’s new?
Accessibility: Drupal 8 developers have worked hard to update the default themes, making extensive use of HTML5, and accessibility technologies including WAI-ARIA, ARIA live announcements API and TabManager. Not only does this offer (obvious) accessibility benefits, it can also offer SEO benefits.
Authoring: Drupal 8 has CKEditor included in Core, this is a vast improvement over Drupal 7 which included no built in text editor and simply used large empty textareas by default. Drupal 8 also features an improved edit page and in-page editing, making authoring a real breeze.
Configuration Management: The brand new configuration management system makes it easy to transport configuration changes like: new content types, fields, or views from development to production. This even allows use of version control to track changes in site configuration. In addition, it keeps config data in files (this is separate for production data and is the best way for content management to function).
Drupal 8 also features:
- Editing content in place without having to use the full edit form.
- WYSYWYG configuration made easy with web security in mind.
- Saving drafts is made much easier.
Mobile first: Drupal 8’s themes are now completely responsive, even admin pages now have improved usability on mobile devices. The administration experience has been improved with a mobile-first back to site button, which leads to the last front end page.
Multilingual Capabilities: Now with Drupal 8 you can translate anything that is in the system using built-in user interfaces. The system for translating has become more streamlined. You can even build new pages with views language filtering and block visibility.
Better Markup with HTML5: Drupal 8 now includes the industry standard HTML5, this plays a key role in marketing, creating fully functional mobile websites. Drupal now also includes native input tools on mobile for fields like date, email and phone.
Fun and Fast Theming: Drupal 8 includes Twig, a fast and secure templating engine for PHP. Twig templates are written in an easy to learn syntax, meaning much cleaner (and potentially easier to understand) template files.
More Field Power: Drupal 8 reaches beyond the usual content structuring system by including more field types in its core, it also allows you to attach more fields to more types of content. These new types include: entity reference, link, date, email, telephone, etc. Comments are now available as a field; comments on products has also been enabled.
Views: Views are now built deeply into the core of the CMS, the front page listing is now a view, as with several other admin pages. This means that the front page is now customisable, as are listing blocks plus more. Custom admin pages can be created, you can even customise filters and actions.
Industry Standard Approach: The new release is a much more geared towards object oriented code (classes, interfaces etc) embracing the latest PHP standards (e.g PSR-4, PSR-3, namespaces, traits). Also leveraging external libraries: Composer, PHPUnit, Guzzle, Zend Feed Component, Assetic and more.
According to Dries Buytaert, this first release of Drupal 8 has reached zero release-blocking bugs and is now ready for take off as of 7th Oct 2015. We are all very excited to see what we can make and what the Drupal using community come up with using the new update.
If you want to Tweet use the #drupal8rc hashtag. To mention and find conversations about work already made with Drupal 8, use #madewithd8. We can’t wait to see what you make with Drupal 8!