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The long wait for Drupal 8

Posted in Tech on November 20th 2015

Two years after its supposed launch date, Drupal 8 has finally arrived today. Dries Buytaert, Drupal founder, who announced Drupal 8 back in 2012, has always had high confidence for the software. According to him, "Drupal 8 breaks the mold for dated content management models and liberates content from the page for the post-browser era. Now we have the power to deliver the right content, to the right audience, at the right time, on the right device."


Features and Bugs Reportedly

Drupal has over 200 new features and enhancements, especially as it aligns itself with responsive mobile design. But along with these improvements came critical bugs and security issues that were progressively resolved as alpha versions, beta versions and release candidates went live. Thankfully, the Drupal community is ever so proactive in contributing to the development.

So just to reiterate, what's in store for us in Drupal 8? Well, a lot of improvements for the developer and user experience (nice), better architecture, and a more responsive interface to name a few.


Symfony2 Framework

The Symfony2 framework overhauls the architecture with a completely new routing and context system. The result is a Drupal 8 that improves on object-oriented programming, as well as allowing it to adapt to modern PHP concepts.


Multilingual

Localization is key for websites to effectively reach out to their target audience, so Drupal 8 lets developers create multilingual sites with better support in core. Improvements include a better translation interface, language maintenance options, site translations and customizations.


Twig

Drupal 8 relies on the PHP template engine called Twig, which lends to a faster, more flexible, and more secure performance. Twig ties in nicely with Symfony's class-based approach, while also being friendly to first-time users with its use of familiar syntax.


Mobile-ready

Mobile isn't going away, it's here to stay, which is why Drupal 8 makes sure it's as mobile-ready as can be. Optimizing core themes and modules, Drupal 8 makes it a breeze to create a mobile experience that's responsive and intuitive regardless of the device being used. Of course there are other nifty features and brilliant tweaks to our beloved CMS software. All those years of delay and uncertainty are certainly worth it; better release a polished product, than something half-baked.


Should You Upgrade to Drupal 8 Now?

In all of these, the big question is should projects upgrade to Drupal 8? It really depends.

  • For those under Drupal 7, you still have several years more as key modules will continue to be updated.
  • For Drupal 6, it will go into unsupported status three months after Drupal 8 is out. So it’s really in your best interest to make sure your website administrator is all geared up for Drupal 8.

But don't jump in just yet. Right now, Acquia (the other company founded by Dries Buytaert, providing technical support for Drupal) has the advantage of being in the forefront of Drupal 8's development, and they're in a better position than anyone to provide support for their clients. For the rest of us, it's wiser to give Drupal 8 a few more weeks or even a couple of months more. By then all the crucial security bugs would have been squashed already, making it a lot more stable and preventing any expensive inconveniences in the future.


Yes, Drupal 8 is an altogether brave and new refresh with a steep learning curve, but no worries, the Drupal community is always ready to help out. And with all these good things coming along with Drupal 8, we might see Drupal taking the second place of the most used CMS worldwide in 2016.


Meanwhile, at IT Consultis, we have been working with Drupal since the beginning of our agency. For 4 happy years, we have been advocates and experts of Drupal - and that counts for more than 70 Drupal projects. The official launch of Drupal 8 is just like a Christmas gift, so stay tuned to see what great projects we will make out of Drupal 8 in 2016.

We are also really looking forward to see how Drupal Commerce for Drupal 8 will compete against Magento on small scale websites. The older version of Drupal Commerce was showing a lot of unfortunate restrictions and turned out to be a not so good e-Commerce CMS. Anyway, we'll test Drupal Commerce and let you know our feedback in a few months.