With over 200 new features, Drupal 8 is officially here! Drupal is one of the world’s favorite open source content management platform.. and it just got even better. Here are some of the ways that Drupal 8 will benefit various groups of people.
- Configuration management – In prior versions of Drupal, most of the configuration was stored in the database. The problem with this is that it is very difficult to keep track of versions of the configuration when it changes. The only way to get configuration out of the database was to use a combination of modules such as strongarm and features to export things from the database into code. This was often time-consuming and error prone. Now with Drupal 8, configuration management is built-in so that carrying over configuration from development to production is a breeze.
- Web services – Drupal 8 can now be used as a data source to output content as structured data such as XML or JSON. This means that Drupal 8 can strictly be used as a back-end while the front-end could be developed completely separate with a framework such as AngularJS or Ember. In other words “Headless Drupal” capabilities are now built-in instead of requiring various addon modules and lots of custom development.
- Bundled WYSIWYG editor – Drupal 8 is the first version of Drupal to come with a bundled WYSIWYG editor. Previously it was possible to add one of many different editors into Drupal but the setup was often time consuming and confusing. Additionally there were so many choices that some users felt lost about which one to choose. Over time CKEditor has become the most popular WYSIWYG editor for Drupal and now it is included out of the box.
- In place editing – In addition to having CKEditor bundled in with Drupal 8, the Spark initiative is taking WYSIWYG concept a step further with true in place editing. This would give editors the ability to change content, menus, etc. directly from the front-end view of the site without having to navigate to an admin page on the back end. More info about the Spark initiative can be found here: http://buytaert.net/spark-update-in-line-editing-in-drupal
- Mobile First – Previous versions of Drupal allowed developers to create responsive themes. However some modules were not 100% compatible with responsive layouts. Now with Drupal 8 all themes are mobile first which means that all community modules will be compatible with responsive layouts. Additionally the default Drupal admin theme will be mobile friendly which should improve the experience for editors who want to author content from mobile devices.
Accessibility and Languages – Drupal 8 now has extensive support for accessibility standards including the adoption of many WAI-ARIA practices. This will make content structures easier to understand for people with disabilities. In addition to the accessibility improvements Drupal 8 now has multi-lingual support included. Drupal 8 has the capability to reach more users than any previous version of Drupal.