The modern Web presents a large number of Web sites that, in fact, are based on even complex management systems. Among the many Content Management System (CMS) available on the Net, some have made their way more than others, such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. The latter is the subject of this article, in which we will analyze the main features that will be introduced with the next official release scheduled for November 19 next, Drupal 8 in a stable version.
Improved installation and configuration
One of the most frequent criticisms of Drupal was the difficulties in installation and configuration, sometimes due to the very restrictive security policies of some free hosting providers. Perhaps for this reason too, the new Drupal includes an updated and refined installation interface, as well as a more intuitive one, which aims at a better user experience. Among the new features introduced, there is also the possibility to choose between a large number of languages available for localization and internationalization (100).
The new interface also adds the possibility of “learning” to use Drupal through a link always visible in the upper right corner, called “Tour”. By clicking on it, different pop-ups are displayed which clarify the operation of the different modules.
The configuration of Drupal is now even easier, with the introduction of a module (“Configuration Manager”) that greatly simplifies the export and import of custom configurations.
With Drupal 8, several changes have been introduced to the page through which you can add and edit posts on your website or blog. The new layout is, in fact, two columns (it is more like that of WordPress), with a series of quick access features that are always available and easy to use.
The most significant innovation certainly concerns the (stable) introduction of CKEditor as a text editor: it is one of the best supported and most adopted WYSIWYG editors (acronym for What You See Is What You Get ) among those currently available on the Web, full of advanced features such as, for example, the possibility of retaining the formatting when copying text from a Ms Word document, its modular nature that allows easy expansion, or the functionality for dragging and dropping images.
A CkEditor (and what follows) adds a much more sophisticated preview functionality than previous versions, both for desktop and mobile browsers, with the possibility (in both cases) of modifying text portions directly in preview mode, such as shown in the image below:
We have already mentioned the possibility of choosing between 100 languages already during the installation of Drupal, but this is not the only news in terms of support for multilingual. While on Drupal 7 (and its predecessors) it was necessary to install several modules, on the new version of this CMS only 4 will be sufficient that, once enabled, will allow easy translation of the site.
Adaptive layout and responsive interface
On Drupal 8 the possibility of managing the sections of the site was modified, modeled as easily dragging blocks to reorganize the entire structure. The following image shows this type of design functionality:
Among the other novelties of Drupal 8, we should also mention a whole series of new data fields (such as dates, phone numbers, links, e-mails ..), associated with input type HTML5 useful for creating forms of data insertion more precise, rich and effective.
Following a significant current (and very current), the new version of Drupal offers a very effective responsive interface, suitable for all types of devices. But the attention to mobile devices is not only related to the backend: the image upload, for example, is followed by a resizing that automatically creates different versions of the same graphics component, suitable for the various form factor. In this way you can create websites or blogs with generally faster loading times, as well as adaptive layouts.
References for further information
Based on several components of the PHP Symfony framework, Drupal 8 will allow the application itself as a data source for mobile applications thanks to the use of HAL ( Hypertext Application Language ). Also worthy of note is the work carried out by developers to extend support for accessibility standards (WAI-ARIA, semantic elements of HTML5 ..).
All the other innovations of Drupal 8 can be detailed on the official website of the project. On this link, it is also possible to visualize a series of summary slides that describe in more detail the news.
To conclude, we report a video (actually a few years ago) that shows some of the most significant innovations introduced on Drupal 8.