It has been a long time coming. With over 200 new features developed during the last 5 years by more than 2,000 contributors, the most anticipated version of Drupal was finally announced November 19th, 2015. This new release of Drupal contains spectacular features worth upgrading for than any previous release. The improvements evident in Drupal 8 justify that this is one of the best and largest updates in Drupal history.
User Interface and Experience
Posts and Pages
Drupal 8 makes use of a library called CKEditor in the admin panel. This library allows you to edit new posts and pages in a rich WYSIWYG editor unlike before. Also, thanks to “Quick Edit”, content is now able to be changed right in the front-end when you are viewing the post.
As more and more websites are being accessed from mobile phones, it is necessary that websites are first made to support mobile and then desktop. This is exactly what Drupal 8 is doing. Drupal 8 is responsive both in the front-end and admin panel. Images and the site design will rearrange depending on device width. All themes including the defaults, Bartik and Seven, work seamlessly on mobile devices, tablets, and desktops.
Internationalization is now built into Drupal. This means that no contributed modules are needed for translation. All the modules are included in a fresh install of Drupal 8. Everything is translatable such as Content, Blocks, Menus, Views, Comments, Feeds and more. You can choose which language to use on your Drupal website on the first page of the installation process and the translations will be automatically downloaded.
Drupal 8 has switched its templating engine to Twig from PHPTemplate which has a more friendly syntax for designers. HTML5 Forms are also included which means mobile users can be displayed a variety of keyboards for different types of input. Some of the new fields include Date, Email, Link, Reference, and Telephone.
Object Oriented PHP
Drupal 8 has adopted the latest best practices for PHP. It uses PHP 5.4+, Classes and Interfaces, Namespaces, Traits, Dependency Injection, and conforms to the PSR-4 standards for file paths to autoload classes. Drupal 8 is built on top of several proven Symfony 2 modules and utilizes several other libraries such as PHPUnit, Composer, and jQuery. To create modules, themes, blocks and more you will now need to use classes and new info files in YAML.
There is now a central location to store and retrieve saved information and configurations. This will improve organization and simplify creating modules for Drupal 8. These configurations can be easily exported and imported into another Drupal 8 website.
Anyone running Drupal 6 or 7 is encouraged to update to Drupal 8, especially if you are running Drupal 6 because this will no longer be supported. Since no more updates will be provided, your website will be vulnerable to security risks in the future. Regardless of security risks, these spectacular features should be enough to convince you to upgrade to Drupal 8!
For more information about Drupal 8, Click Here. This post was created during Google Code-in 2015, an open source competition for high school students.