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Drupal 8: Where Features meet Functionality

By vburley
Aug. 15, 2016

Drupal 8 is here.

We know that developers and users alike are full of praise for Drupal 8, but what, if anything, is so desirable about it, so ‘must-have’?

What new features make it so ‘superior’ to, let’s say, Drupal 6 or 7?

Of course, those earlier iterations are still entirely workable, and can still be enhanced without the migration, but Drupal 8 is definitely something worth considering…for many reasons.

With over 3,000 contributors, and having been in development (in one way or another) since 2011, it’s certainly something of an open technologies magnum opus, that’s for sure.

But, in terms of what Drupal 8 does for you, that depends on who you are: a developer, a designer, a site-architect, a content writer...it’s many things to many people.

So, in honour of this premier piece of open source kit, and our dedication to promoting all things Drupal 8, we’ve taken time out of our hectic development diaries, and decided to share some of our favourite features with you….and here’s what we’ve come up with…(*drumroll*)

Drupal 8: Features and Favourites

SemVer

Drupal 8 now uses semantic versioning, and that’s a big deal. That means that, with every major, minor, and patch release, we know if there are bug fixes, new features, or API breaking changes. What’s not to like about that?

Release Cycle

A new minor release is launched every 6 months. This means that we don't have to wait 5 years to get new features into core, so Drupal becomes more time efficient and developer friendly…not to mention better for users, of course.

“Getting Off the Island”

(Term comes from this blog post http://www.garfieldtech.com/blog/off-the-island-2013)

In a departure from earlier versions, Drupal 8 uses a significant amount of code that was not invented/written for Drupal…it’s just good, standard code, produced directly from, and by, the wider PHP community.

Object Orientated

Much of the code is now object orientated. Much of this is due to "getting off the island" as mentioned in our previous point.

Views in Core

Views is the most used Drupal module. It’s that simple. Now, within Drupal 8, it has been moved into core, meaning it can be used “out of the box”. As developers will tell you, this is a major shift forward for Drupal users.

Plugins, Events, and Services

These are all new concepts in Drupal 8. When writing modules, it gives a whole new scope of how to build things. Another significant step forward for Drupal, not to be undervalued.

Configuration Management

In my opinion, shared by others, this is one of the most important new features of Drupal 8. Drupal has always suffered from configuration living in the database alongside content, configuration can now live in YAML files and be managed along side code.

Big Pipe

This is one of those features that could have been added in a minor release, and was eventually added in 8.1.0. Big Pipe is a concept ‘borrowed’ from (or used by, if you prefer) Facebook (designed, specifically, to build faster loading pages…and who doesn’t love a fast loading page?)

Migrate

To help people move seamlessly, from Drupal 6 or Drupal 7, this feature adds basic migration. It may seem small to some, but it’s an important feature with enormous value, and everyone loves a seamless transition, right?

Twig Templates

Previously the front end was written in PHP front-enders don't like PHP. Twig is a lot better. http://twig.sensiolabs.org/

 

Even though this list is fairly impressive, in terms of Drupal 8 features and functions, it's only the tip of the technological iceberg. 

As our most senior Drupal developers are all telling me, Drupal 8 represents a major shift, in a positive sense, in terms of Drupal capabilities, features and functions. 

 

 

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