What do Tesla, Green Peace and the White House have in common? (…and no, they ‘probably’ aren’t part of the New World Order!). They might not seem like they have much overlap, but each of the above share one, crucial similarity. That is – they built their websites in Drupal.
Now, the free content management system – used by 2.1% of the world’s websites - is releasing a new version. When Drupal 7 launched, it placed the CMS head-to-head against Wordpress. Now Drupal 8, released in November 2015, is the latest version. But what makes it so god darned special? We take a look at the exciting new features that are set to have Drupal steamrolling the competition.
Responsive on all devices
Yep. ‘Mobile’ has been on the tip of people’s tongues since yesteryear. But with good reason. With over 50% of both our Google searches and our time spent on mobile devices, having a mobile-ready website isn’t simply a trendy, tech-savvy feature. It’s a necessity. With Drupal, full mobile accessibility has been planned since 2011:
“If I were to start Drupal from scratch today, I’d build it for mobile experiences first, and desktop experience second.” Dries Buytaert (Founder of Drupal)
With the Drupal 8 mobile initiative, that plan has become reality. From a revamped, simplified admin layer through to responsive, flexible core themes powered by the new Twig theming engine, Drupal 8 is set to achieve their goal of becoming the 'leading mobile CMS platform of the world'.
Handling content is simpler
One of the biggest criticisms of Drupal is the awkwardness of editing content. While competitors – namely Wordpress – use simple, user-friendly editors – Drupal just…doesn’t. All content needs to be edited in the backend, sometimes even needing to contact your Drupal Development Agency. With Drupal 8, all of that is changing. It’s using CKEditor (a WYSIWYG or ‘what-you-see-is-what-you…*deep breath* …get’ editor), a quick edit module, and responsive image handling. All of these are set to make the content manipulating process a breeze.
Content can be altered instantly without needing to delve into the back-end (stop laughing!). A live preview of content also makes everyone’s lives easier – whether you’re a developer or web administrator. When it comes to convenience, Drupal 8 is quickly levelling the playing field with its competition.
It’s the polyglot of CMS’
With nearly 100 languages and a host of ridiculously useful language features, Drupal 8 isn’t simply an English CMS with optional linguistic alternatives. It’s positioning itself as a global platform for content management – no matter who you are, what you speak, or where you are in the world. Languages can be applied to every element – from content down to menus themselves.
Where Drupal 7 featured multi-lingual capabilities, Drupal 8 brings those into its core. And with the pace of online adoption in countries across the world – Drupal is setting itself up as the go-to content management system on a global scale.
Transitioning is seamless
With 90% of Drupal sites using version 7, Drupal understands how important it is to make the migration process as easy as possible. When customers from competitors come knocking, it’s also important to make their transition smooth. With Drupal 8, that’s exactly what they've done.
Featuring core migration modules – Migrate and Migrate Drupal – the new CMS is far more robust and flexible in the migration of content and configurations than previous iterations. With Drupal 8, a host of useful features are brought to developers, designers and site-builders alike. Luckily, with how easy it is to transition, taking advance of these features is a piece of cake.
Developing is a breeze
Drupal 7 is complex – especially for beginners. Drupal 8 is adopting Symfony2 – a PHP framework. Instead of having to ‘reinvent the wheel’, developers and Drupal Development Agencies can now use tools and PHP components to save both time and effort. Instead of spending hours trying to figure out complex ‘Drupalisms’ or learning Drupal, you can now build powerful applications far quicker with a lot less Drupal knowledge.
And – like Drupal – Symfony has a highly-active community of developers (one of the largest PHP communities in the world). With Drupal 8’s adoption of Symfony2, not only is the development process easier because of the shallower learning curve but far more Drupal developers, theme-builders and designers will be available, lowering both the costs and expanding the potential of Drupal and its community.
Ready to move to Drupal 8?
Using Drupal 6 or earlier? With zero community support after a few months, it’s probably a good idea to migrate to Drupal 8. Using Drupal 7? Don’t panic! You have a few years of security support left. But the host of benefits from migrating to 8 are reason enough (Drupalize provide a pretty good overview of the process). And because of Drupal 8’s migration modules, doing so will be easier than before. Way easier.
So, whether you’re a developer, site-builder or simply looking for a good website, Drupal 8 – with a ton of new features – is sure to be a great place to hedge your bets. It’s also sure to give its competition – Wordpress and Joomla – a run for their money in the years to come.
Interested in adopting Drupal 8 but still not sure on where to start? A Drupal Development Agency might be the right way to go. Feel free to leave a comment below or contact us for some more information and advice.