When it comes to open source CMS, Drupal holds a strong position in the market. Since decade it has been the preferred name in CMS for designing high traffic websites. With websites like Twitter built on this platform, Drupal has ample proof of its robustness. In terms of statistics, nearly 1.5 million of the websites which are currently online are built on Drupal. Out of all the websites built on some open source CMS, Drupal has been used to design 8% of them. Drupal has been a winner in the CMS arena for quite some time now. Drupal 8 is also expected to continue the winning streak.
Drupal has long been renowned for their innovation in technology and its been observed that each of Drupals new releases has been taken well by the market. About 56% of the websites built on Drupal uses Drupal 7. In such a scenario, the news that Drupal is releasing its newest version in the coming months has caught a lot of attention fromall circles of Web related technologies and businesses alike. The newest version, better known as Drupal 8 is the successor of Drupal 7 which was released in 2011. Anticipations are rising and people want to know all about the upgrades and changes made. Though not launched yet, a sneak peek into its features has been provided by the Drupal Organization for all Drupal lovers.
Though there are a lot of changes, we will discuss a few important ones here to give you a glance.
Drupal 7 users have for long faced the problem in migration from the development server to the production server. This was primarily because in Drupal, content and configurations are both stored in database tables. So once you make a change in the configurations and try to push it to the production server, the content is bound to be overridden.
To tackle this problem, Drupal 8 has introduced a new configuration management system. The new system provides you with the flexibility to see and control what changes you are making and publishing to the production server. We also now have a ‘compare’ feature to see the changes made to each module.
With Drupal 8, the Drupal developers shall be able to work on an object oriented approach. “Most of the parts of the system” shall now be based on Object Oriented Programming paradigm. This change is more a reflection of the result of long existing internal debate in the Drupal community on Procedural Programming vs. Object Oriented programming. Though a concern to a few, this move has actually made life easy for the developers because now they can easily incorporate customized module and change the behavior of Drupal as per their convenience.
More Libraries and New Highly Improved APIs
Drupal 8 comes loaded with new frontend libraries like Backbone, which is integrated with core Drupal. Drupal 8 also incorporates majority of its components from the larger PHP community which in turn means greater flexibility and power for the developers to create their own modules with greater robustness. A few examples worth counting are Symphony 2 components, Guzzle, Assetic etc. Drupal 8 also brings with itself a simpler, unified API for entities and fields. Now the developers need to refer to just one API for designing Menu items and contact form fields. Besides this, Drupal 8 also has a simple text to message API.
PHP Unit Tests
This is yet another important feature update of Drupal 8. Many of the tests are rewritten or converted in PHPUnit. This helps developers to perform their tests more quickly and in a more focused manner, thus saving a lot of testing time and taking load off the developers.
Apart from all these goodies, Drupal 8 also makes it possible for the developers to expose the data in JSON and XML formats. Some other important features integrated in this newer version are:
Hypertext Application Language
Client Authentication with HTTP
Configuration under vision control
Generate lists as services
With so many functionalities, one starts worrying about the problem one has to overcome while migrating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. To Drupal developers delight, the brand new Drupal 8 comes with content import tools which helps you migrate from Drupal 6 and 7 to Drupal 8.