5 key features to be excited about in Drupal 8
by Tim Tufts
It’s been about 3 years since the last major release of Drupal and with over 1,700 contributors who are hard at work building the next iteration, Drupal 8 will be upon us before we know it. Are you excited about Drupal 8? Here are five key features we’re very excited to get our hands on and get into the hands of our clients.
1. Manage your site’s content...from your phone.
Anyone that’s ever administered a website knows that it’s best done while using a desktop or laptop. Much of the backend functionality simply doesn’t work, or doesn’t support mobile platforms. The Drupal 8 Mobile Initiative is a group effort to make Drupal 8 a great platform for tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices. Not only will administration go mobile but themes that are available for Drupal 8, will be responsive. This means a better experience for not only administrators, but also mobile visitors to your site.
2. Take your website around the world.
Drupal 7 supports multi-lingual functionality, but not at the level that Drupal 8 will. Imagine translating your site’s content to any one of the 110 different support languages. You’ll be able to not only translate a page’s content for a specific language, but also build views and determine what blocks should appear for that language. Translation updates will also be pushed to the site automatically to make sure your site has the latest dictionary.
3. HTML5 takes the stage.
HTML5 is a big improvement over the current XHTML that Drupal 7 uses. HTML5 represents a giant step forward in how content is structured and presented on the web. As Dries Buytaert explains, "simply put, it (HTML 5) can provide a much better user experience on both desktop and mobile devices, and could lead to a convergence between native applications and the mobile web.”
4. Change the parameters for your views without a developer.
Views are a set of parameters which determine what content is shown on a page, what field
should be shown, in what order etc. In Drupal 7, the Views module is separate from Drupal Core and has a dependency on the CT Tools Suite. The VDC initiative has built Views into Drupal 8 core so it is available with a fresh install. This means better integration. Drupal 8 also promises to make the application of Views much easier, meaning site administrators can take control rather than relying on a more technical development team.
5. Less modules for faster page loads and reduced server load.
Each time a page loads on a Drupal 7 site, all of the enabled modules are loaded as well
while Drupal determines which ones implement a required “hook”. Every module may not be needed for each page, and this can lead to longer load time while the user peruses the site. As part of the overall transition to the Symfony framework, Drupal 8 will load only the modules which a page needs, and not more. This will mean faster page loads for your visitors, as well as a likely decrease in the amount of run time memory required for smooth performance.
These are just a few of the many changes which are coming with Drupal 8. Lastly, for those of you who are on Drupal 6 or 7 now, have no fear; Drupal 8 will support content import tools to make your migration much more smooth.