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Do Drupal Right

Josh Estep's picture
Josh Estep  | Senior Drupal Developer, Themer
Feb
06
2013

Now that features are frozen, let's take a look at what to expect in Drupal 8, both front and back-end.

Behind the scenes, Symfony2, an object-oriented application framework, will be part of Core and will provide multiple benefits:

  • Partial page caching
  • Higher performance and efficiency  
  • Easier to maintain Drupal Core as custom code is reduced
  • Improved Multi-lingual support

Universal Unique IDs (UUIDs)

Drupal 8 will also add more uniformity to data structures.  In previous versions of drupal you’d have IDs for nodequeue, taxonomy terms, and many other units of content.  With universal unique IDs (UUIDs) assigned to multiple types of content, development will be more streamlined, particularly during migrations.

Web Services and Context Core Initiative (Whiskey)

Typically, a site receives an HTTP request from a user browser and then returns HTML; however, there are cases where data must be sent and received between sites.  In Drupal 8, Drupal will become a "RESTful" interface, with the following attributes:

  • Machine to machine communication - A common use-case for this is sharing feeds between Drupal Sites.
  • Stateless - There is no need to define a context for the data.  Data is requested the same way each time.  
  • Multiple HTTP methods are used depending on the activity - POST for creating, PUT for updating, GET for requesting data, and DELETE for removing it.
  • Caching - Frequently requested data can be cacheable for efficiency and scalability.

Views in Core

Another great feature of D8 is Views in Drupal Core. This and a great and long-awaited change. This simplifies things when clients need to customize things like the content list page.  Instead of making a fresh view or modifying it a more invasive way, developers can simply modify the view. 

Configuration Management 

With the Configuration Management Initiative, Developers will be able to take a snapshot of overall Drupal configuration at a specific point in time. This will be an invaluable tool, similar to featurization, that will help streamline development, deployments, and migrations. When a setting is changed it will be saved in a config file as well as the DB. Allowing configuration to live in the file system This allows changes to be deployed via version control.

Theming and Presentation Changes

Drupal's mobile support is improved with the Mobile Initiative.  With the growing popularity of mobile devices it is essential for Drupal to improve its support of this medium. To this end, the default Stark, Bartik, and Seven themes are expected to become responsive, meaning that their presentation changes based on the browser width.

Twig framework Theming engine - This will replace PHPTemplate and will be fast, secure, and flexible. It allows templates to be compiled down to PHP code which is stored in RAM for superior performance as it reduces disk access. 

Improved Content Authoring Experience

Using the Spark project, D8 will support inline editing.  This will allow content updates directly on the page via AJAX rather than the traditional edit form workflow.  Furthermore, the Media module is expected to be moved to core which should make image and video development easier. Note that the conventional “edit page” workflow will still be possible.

With these upcoming changes, Drupal sites will become easier to use, build, support, and migrate.

What do you think?

Additional Resources

Inline WYSIWYG Editing in Drupal

Responsive Design: Mobile Menu Options

Display Suite - A Themers Perspective



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