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October 06, 2015

Drupal 8: The Easiest, Most Powerful, Friendliest Platform Ever

Thought by Ray Saltini, Director, FFW Center of Excellence
Drupal 8 - The Easiest, Most Powerful, Friendliest Platform Ever

Drupal has always been powerful, and in many cases even easy. But it has never really been friendly. Drupal 8 changes that completely. 

There isn’t a single group or market segment for which Drupal 8 isn't more friendly. Drupal 8 is now the easiest and most powerful web platform ever built. Drupal 8 will be more friendly to everyone - easier and more accessible to designers, themers, developers, site builders, content managers, content creators, dev ops, project managers, product owners, marketing and sales units, NGOs, public agencies, SMBEs, enterprise organizations, digital agencies, system integrators and, well just everyone.

Don’t believe me? Put aside all the fear, uncertainty and doubt inherent in any new product launch and take a quick look at some of the actual changes that have taken place. I’ll do my best to translate from Drupal to english.

End User & Client Happiness

outstanding authoring
mobile first

Drupal 7 required a lot of jumping around to add, preview and edit content. Sure it was an improvement over D6 but that never made a difference to new or casual users. There were too many ways to get lost in the process of adding and maintaining content. D8 revamps the content authoring experience in a way that helps existing users become more proficient and new users become proficient faster. This means faster workflows and more throughput for all your content management. There's even a built in WYSIWYG editor. It’s so easy it might actually make you smile and say ‘wow’. And Drupal 8 is mobile out of the box. That’s huge for end users because they don’t have to worry that their content will not be responsive. D8 is responsive through and through.

The Drupal 8 authoring experience is now the exemplar among content management systems. It can exponentially increase adoption of web-based workflows within organizations. This one change alone gives organizations a huge advantage as they race toward digital transformation.

Site Builder Joy

better data modeling
customizable data entry forms
views in core
new admin interface 

Site builders and architects are the keystone of any scalable project. Better site building tools and infrastructure in Drupal 8 means better more scalable web sites and web applications. Drupal 8 ships with more and better support for data types like phone numbers, dates, links, emails and even comments. This is the thing dynamic websites are made of. Drupal 8’s ability to create relationships between many more and many different types of content enables site builders and developers to create destinations that are more relevant to target audiences and much better formed to take advantage of personalization and other data intensive services. 

A web destination is only going to be as good as the data entry experience is for content authors and managers. Managing the customization of data entry forms in Drupal 7 was not a joyful experience. In Drupal 8 you can do it in the UI like never before. Site builders can eliminate clutter and help authors focus on data and content with few fat finger mistakes.

Because Views, Drupal’s native query and display builder, has been baked into Drupal 8’s core, every administrative page can now be easily customized by site builders in the UI without developers having to generate and manage complex custom templates. This is a huge potential cost savings for organizations that have different people in different roles managing different types of content. There’s also improved styling for the entire administrative interface. Things just make more sense.

Multilingual Bliss

language downloads
more data tracking
more translation

Drupal 8 takes multilingual needs seriously from literally the very first page of its installation. With more language downloads available sooner in the development process and more language data tracking than ever built in, Drupal 8 sites have the ability to manage more translated content with more precision than ever before. For global organizations this means significant gains in managing and scaling properties across regions with greater efficiencies and opportunities than ever previously possible or practical.

Designer & Themer Love

HTML 5 and HTML 5 Form Elements
more frontend libraries
twig
native schema.org output
good riddance IE 6, 7 and mostly 8

HTML5 in Drupal 8 helps web destinations become more interactive especially on mobile devices where it can support geolocation, video and audio. HTML5 capability built straight into Drupal 8 also help improve SEO and use of APIs that can strengthen context and relevance for end users. HTML5 form elements give developers more features to make forms better forms for users that are more consistent across platforms and devices and give feedback to users as they enter data. This is huge for UX and that is truly something to love.

By including frontend libraries like like Modernizr, Underscore, Backbone and jQuery, Drupal 8 makes it possible to develop faster and do more. By moving to the Twig tempting engine designers who know HTML and CSS don’t have to become PHP experts. Because Drupal 8 outputs schema.org markup SEO just got a lot better - search engines can now more easily extract relevant content because your site’s data is structured according to accepted standards and vocabularies. One of the most friendly things about fronted development in Drupal 8? Something we took out - support for IE 6,7 and 8. Which means now developers can make more use of modern technologies like the included jQuery 2.0 and other HTML5/CSS3 compatible technologies. Don’t feel too bad though - for anyone stuck with these older technologies Drupal 8 includes a polyfill that will help sites degrade gracefully.

Developer Cheer

configuration mangement
symfony
drupal console
drush integration for automation
web services
migration

There are really too many exciting reasons to be cheerful in Drupal 8 to even summarize in an article of this kind.

A strong API, entities as objects and improved caching are just a start.

A new configuration management initiative streamlines deployment between different development and production environments by enabling configuration data to be handled as a separate entity and stored in file. A UI for single or full configuration portability is included and can also be accessed through the command line with a version control system like Git. The system will take care of all the files you don’t want copied over too. As a result of these changes there is less reason than ever to create or have to manage database tables by hand in Drupal 8.

By incorporating Symfony components into Drupal 8’s DNA product owners and developers will be able to leverage the best PHP development framework available. It’s also the best documented framework and more fully standards compliant than any other alternative. This enables developers with backgrounds in object oriented programming to quickly ramp up and begin extending Drupal. And that means lots more potential Drupal developers and far fewer Drupalisms to slow down learning and development.

Web services capability in Drupal 8 has been vastly increased by building a RESTful API and other services modules into core in Drupal 8. That means you get data in and out of Drupal much more efficiently which means Drupal is even better at powering other applications and services including mobile apps. By including the Guzzle library Drupal becomes even better at ingesting data from other services such as Twitter or Github.

Even with these exciting improvements Drupal 8 won’t be perfect - we’ll need to work with it in the wild to improve it and make it even stronger and friendlier. That will begin to happen faster than ever before because so many more people put in so much more effort and time into building Drupal 8.


Drupal 8 is the friendliest platform ever because more than any other system in existence it now leverages the power of clear transparent free standards based open source projects more than ever. With the planning and development of Drupal 8 we have embraced and integrated with other best of breed systems rather than look to build our own. With the release of Drupal 8 Drupal will also become known not just as the most powerful CMS available, not just as an optimal solution platform for so many challenges, but especially as the friendliest platform from which you can rapidly advance your goals and dreams.

Free, powerful, easy, friendly - that’s the new Drupal 8 Way - and the cure for expensive unfriendly unsustainable closed source proprietary licensing lock ins and sunsets. 

Read more about it here: https://drupal.org/list-changes

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I don't usually use beta versions but after reading this I decided that maybe I'll give Drupal 8 a try. Then I saw that the official release is scheduled for 19 November so I won't have to use the beta. Perfect!

Anonymous (not verified)Wed, 11/11/2015 - 19:32

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