Drupal 9 is coming soon

Drupal 8.7: Build Rich and Ambitious Digital Experiences Easier

At its best, a content management system allows users to accomplish work in an intuitive and efficient way as they seek to build richer and more engaging digital experiences. Released on May 1, the newest version of Drupal, V8.7, accomplishes this task, making page layouts, media management and decoupled web experiences easier to manage and deliver, conserving production time and effort.

Layout Builder Makes Creating Layouts Simple

Drupal’s Layout Builder puts power into the hands of non-technical content managers and experience builders the ability to create, via drag and drop interface, page layouts, making it  simple to build engaging, media-rich page layouts without coding. You can quickly add text, video and images as well as stage the page for review. Additionally, once the page is sent through workflow approval, the publishing steps are built right in.

Previously, Layout Builder was a component in Acquia Lightning, our Drupal distribution to support developers and empower enterprise authoring teams. Lightning, which is open source, is a starting point for many capabilities that are refined and supported in Drupal core. Lightning reflects Acquia’s expertise and leadership by investing in the Drupal project and supporting cutting-edge capabilities that benefit all Drupal users.

Layout Builder in 8.7 also allows users to modify existing layouts, such as including columns and blocks, adding new images and videos across a collection of similar pages. The aim is to help organizations become more efficient by avoiding the need to enlist developers to create and modify pages.

Notably, Layout Builder is the only fully accessible layout builder in the market. Accessibility features enable page builders to use on-screen arrows and commands to build and modify page layouts. It’s also mobile friendly.  A demo of these new capabilities can be viewed here.

Media Module Makes for Richer Web Experiences

The Media Module in Drupal 8.7 facilitates workflow by streamlining the process to add assets such as images and videos from an integrated library to content fields, including remote, i.e., third-party, videos that may exist on sites such as Vimeo. As a previous component in Acquia Lightning, the Media Module also has been moved into Drupal core.

The Media Module capabilities make it simple to add images and rich media to pages by navigating through an intuitive media library; select images and videos; and use drag-and-drop techniques to place the media on the page. A demo can be viewed here for additional information.

JSON:API Increased Support for Decoupled Initiatives

JSON:API in version 8.7 enhances Drupal’s API-first initiative. As an increasing number of organizations seek to build decoupled sites and applications, JSON:API in Drupal core facilitates the creation of headless, or decoupled, applications.

JSON:API in core provides relevant capabilities that support organizations for the evolving web. It allows you to get content, like articles, in and out of Drupal in programmatic way, through web services. This is highly useful when building a mobile app or single page JavaScript app, or when pushing content to a kiosk, screen or any other platform or device. It is considered to be one of the most complete and user-friendly implementations of JSON:API in the world. Drupal has also long supported GraphQL and REST  — innovations which other content management systems have only begun to include in their offerings.

Get Started in Minutes With Drupal’s Out-of-the-Box Improvements  

It is also now easier for first-time Drupal users to get started quickly when they begin using Drupal. It’s all part of a Drupal initiative to make it easier and more intuitive to evaluate and adopt. Drupal’s out-of-the-box improvements now include:

  • A welcome tour upon the installation of Drupal
  • Spanish translation in the CMS that ships with Drupal
  • Improved accessibility

This makes it easier for people and organizations to approach, learn and experience quick success with Drupal. With these out-of-the-box improvements, users can get begin working in Drupal in minutes.

Drupal 9 Readiness

Although Drupal 9 will not be released until June 2020, there are already efforts underway to prepare the CMS core for the next release. With the new features in 8.7, the following elements are being removed in incremental steps in the preparation for the next major release:

  • PHP 5.5 and 5.6 are no longer supported; PHP 7.1 is the recommended version.
  • IE9 is no longer supported and previous work-arounds remaining from 8.4+ have been removed in this version.
  • Automatic Entity Updates have been removed to increase stability.

To view a demo or read about these and other interesting updates that were launched in 8.7, click here.

How can users move to 8.7? Check out the documentation on Drupal.org.

David Aponovich

David Aponovich

Sr. Director, Product Marketing Acquia, Inc.

David Aponovich is senior director of product marketing at Acquia, where he helps articulate the benefits of Acquia solutions including Acquia Journey, the company’s customer journey orchestration solution, and trends in digital experience.

Prior to joining Acquia, he was a senior analyst at Forrester Research, where he researched web content management and digital experience technology and consulted to Forrester’s global clients on their digital transformation initiatives. He also spent six years as web content management strategy consultant at agency Connective DX, and previously was marketing director at a WCM software vendor.