What's new in Drupal 8

What's New In Drupal 8

Drupal is a popular open source software (OSS)  for website development and design, which undergoes frequent version upgrades and is on its way to Drupal 8.

According to the official Drupal 8 initiatives page, the main areas being upgraded are web services, configuration management, website design, multilingual capabilities, HTML 5 integration, and enhanced mobile access.  For the average site owner, the enhanced design techniques, multilingual capabilities, and mobile access will probably be the most important. 

The Design Initiative

The goal of this project is to make it easier to manage and post content on a website.  One of its biggest undertakings is the Blocks and Layouts initiative, known as SCOTCH.

A Drupal page consists of a main content block with theme layers and sidebar blocks on the outside.  Currently, the main area is built first with the outside pieces added afterword.  The outside pieces do not contain any contextual information, meaning that they do not know what the main area is showing.  This reduces the effectiveness of the layout scheme.

Drupal 8 aims to reverse this process, building the outside pieces first and giving them contextual information about the main content.  Everything on a Drupal page will become part of one block, and newly integrated layouts will be able to be mixed-and-matched by the site owner.

New Multilingual Capabilities

While Drupal currently has great multilingual access, it requires the download and integration of many additional projects like Variable and Entity Translation, and Internalization.  Drupal 8 will have a strong multilingual capability built in to the Drupal core.

The new initiative will enable Drupal to download needed translations on the fly, without needing to go to a different website.  Content translation will be available for data that is in a field as well as data that is not yet in a field, such as authors, status, and node titles.  In the final product, all menus, taxonomies, and nodes will be fully translatable.

Mobile Use and Access

Drupal 8 will be completely mobile-friendly, right out of the box.

There are three major projects going on in this initiative.  The first is to optimize front-end performance for the needs of mobile devices, so images and content load more efficiently.  Administrative tools, which did not work so well on small mobile screens, are also being revamped for mobile access.  And last, the default themes are now responsive, so they will look like they should when loaded on any size screen.

Drupal is already used in a number of high-profile academic, government, and nonprofit associations, and with these upgrades Drupal 8 is sure to be one of the world's premier content management systems.