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Impact - A Blog by INM

What’s New In Drupal 8?

January 8, 2014 by Daniel Obadia
Drupal 8

Drupal is one of the most popular open source web content management systems on the market today. It is used by more than 14% of the top 10,000 websites worldwide. The Drupal development community recently announced the upcoming release of its new version, Drupal 8.

This new release delivers many improvements to the author experience, which was one of the most critical pain points of previous versions. With the incorporation of Spark, a Drupal distribution aimed at finding solutions to authoring experience problems in the field, Drupal has really stepped up its game to provide authors with an improved interface and a better in-context author experience.

Drupal 8 will allow authors to edit content such as text and images directly on the page, giving the author an instantaneous rendering of the page as it will look like live. A new, reinvented content creation page, including a new WYSIWYG editor, will also be incorporated into this version.  

New editing environment

The new content creation page very much resembles WordPress’ editing window with its multi-column layout. This simplified interface allows authors to easily edit content and settings in a single window.

A few other interesting improvements to the author experience include the possibility to save changes within a page without directly publishing them. This will provide authors with more flexibility when creating new content, as changes can be saved and reviewed at a later time without putting the pages live. Finally, Drupal has worked hard to make the author experience more accessible to people with disabilities, making the author interface much easier to navigate with screen readers and allowing visually impaired authors to edit content directly on a page.

 

In more technical terms, page markups are also now HTML5 based so that each output template has simplified elements and classes. This will simplify the code as it will be neater and cleaner. It will also improve accessibility and allow the integration of animations and any other rich content elements without requiring plugins or third party programs.

Another major change with Drupal 8 is its improved support for mobile. Themes will, from now on, be responsive by default, thereby simplifying the design and development of Drupal websites optimized for various devices and screens.

Moreover, content authors will now be able to preview how their content looks on different devices thanks to the new responsive preview bar. 

In-context mobile previewing

At INM, we recognize the importance of the author experience in the success of a web project. As such, we are thrilled about these improvements within Drupal 8.  Overall, this new version will deliver a better, user-friendly administrator interface, providing content writers with a much needed, improved, author experience.

However, a caveat to this improvement is the fact that Spark does not come out of the box when downloading Drupal from the CMS’ main website. The Spark author experience improvements need to be downloaded separately from Drupal as a distribution package. The community also announced that Drupal 8 will no longer support Internet Explorer 6 and 7 and most of IE 8.

In terms of timeline, the community has not yet released an official launch date for Drupal 8, but there has been much buzz around its potential release in July 2014. The new version is currently in the alpha testing stage and promises to be a great improvement from Drupal 7. The company also promises a smooth transition from one version to the next, allowing users of Drupal 7 to easily migrate their sites over to the new version. However, as with any new version, it may take some time before the community updates individual modules to support the latest version. Clients looking to migrate should be cautious to ensure that all necessary modules support Drupal 8 before they plan to initiate an upgrade.

Contact us today to learn more about migrating your website or to find out we can help you with your next web project at 514-871-1333 or contact Andrea at andrea.simmons@INM.com.