This month, the Drupal community is celebrating the application’s 20th anniversary since its first release on May 18th, 2000. This is a huge accomplishment because the Web has mutated a lot during these 20 years and the developers, contributors, and all the people behind Drupal have learned how to adapt the software to the latest tech trends.
In Drupal 8’s release, big changes have been made to the core, changes that were necessary to catch up with the current state of the art, and thus keep this old CMS relevant today, which is very good. However, there’s an important drawback: upgrading from older versions is not smooth nor easy. For this reason, there are many old Drupal site owners and administrators that refuse to update and I can understand why, it is a bit traumatic. There will be components that will not work properly on version 8, some configuration issues might appear as well. I know it can be painful for complex sites, but please be mindful that Drupal 7 will cease official updates in November 2021. So, If you are planning to keep your website online for a long time, I recommend doing the upgrade ASAP.
Drupal 8’s end-of-life will be in November 2021 also because Drupal 9 is across the street but as Dries Buytaert said:
“Moving from Drupal 8 to 9 will be far easier than previous major version upgrades. The first release of Drupal 9 will be very similar to the last minor release of Drupal 8, as the primary goal of the Drupal 9.0.0 release will be to remove deprecated code and update third-party dependencies.”Dries Buytaert (Drupal founder)
Now, let’s dive into some of the new D8’s features and enhancements that I think are very important to stand out in this release.
There are 5 new field types: Date, Email, Link, Reference, and Telephone. And fields can be used in more places like blocks, comments, contact forms, users, and on every object of the new Entity API.
Built-in Text Editor
CKEditor was the weapon of choice, one of the most popular WYSIWYG out there.
New Template Engine
Twig component was added to the Themes, it is a flexible, fast, and easy to use template system that you can use in your theme files.
There are 4 new core modules to help you with translations and manage languages.
Views In Core
In Drupal 8’s views are available by default, unlike older versions. And now many admin screens use Views which makes them easier to customize.
This core module has been improved vastly. The migration of contents is much more intuitive.
This module is not turned on by default as it is in the experimental phase still, but it is worth a mention because soon enough it will come activated. It is a visual drag and drop interface similar to the popular Panelizer module. In the tests that I did, I can say I had a cool experience; the UI is intuitive, there are many useful blocks that you can arrange as you like, you can also have multiple columns and much more.
The Drupal community is working really hard to keep this project alive, Drupal is not dead like some say, not even close. I believe these large adjustments to the Drupal core will make an impact on the market sooner than later. So be prepared, upgrade your old Drupal sites and enjoy the awesome new experience of Drupal 8 and what’s coming in version 9 that will be released this year.
Do you think the best days of Drupal are yet to come? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 👇
Thanks for reading!