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Drupal 8: Lessons Learned So Far

By tim
Jul. 24, 2017

It's crazy to think that, after the release of Drupal 8 in November 2015, development of the 5th iteration (8.5.x) will be starting in August. The new semantic versioning and 6 month release cycle looks to be working wonders for Drupal Core, keeping it fresh, up to date, and current.

Are all these releases, however, making it hard for agencies such as ourselves to keep up? 

Well, let's see if we can answer that...

As the number of Drupal 7 projects decrease, and the number of Drupal 8 projects increase, we have seen the Drupal market become even more competitive. Every agency is now working to prove they're 'up to speed with Drupal 8', and show that they know why it's the right choice for the client. Appnovation have had Drupal 8 projects switch to Drupal 7 (or be pulled completely) because of the platform not being "ready".

This has helped us realise that even though the Drupal 8 admin UI is very similar to Drupal 7, it is a very different platform.

Drupal core has made some pretty big changes under the hood, including using external dependencies such as Symfony, and moving to generally object oriented code. Thankfully, these were pretty predictable, and we could plan for their coming.

That said, there are some aspects that have come as a bigger surprise:

  • New contrib modules that offer better / different approaches.
  • How we use configuration management in the real world.
  • How these changes integrate into our local development process and remote continuous integration systems.
  • Using composer to manage dependencies.
  • Modules like Default Content, Deploy, Workspaces, and Content Moderation provide better solutions content management solutions.

Those agencies who have been engaged with Drupal 8 since the start of development in 2011 are now in a much better position to deliver Drupal 8 based projects.

So what are we doing at Appnovation, to ensure that we step up and become a leading Drupal 8 vendor?

  • Holding company wide meetings every two weeks to share ideas, discuss pain points, and ask questions about Drupal 8.
  • Running our company site on Drupal 8, so we can learn as we go, and practice what we preach.
  • Give back where we can, working on many Drupal core and contrib issues during down time.
  • Working through potential client needs with practice sites.

We're firmly committed to Drupal 8 and the direction it is going.

There are many exciting things we see in the pipeline, which are a great fit for many of our existing clients.