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Drupal 8 Preview: What’s new in store for you?

  • June 18th 2013

Drupal 8 is coming soon. With plenty of fresh ideas and innovation, it is under a very active state of development and promises to deliver an improved and much stronger core. Every major addition to the Drupal family brings along loads of new and advanced features such as better flexibility, improved architecture, higher efficiency and freedom from some complex outmoded code, thereby increasing its popularity and usability. However, this new and much-awaited Drupal release is expected to be the most profound and significant upgrade ever.

The upgrade boasts of a huge number of innovative and improved features especially Drupal’s enhanced design, web services, mobile, HTML5 and multi-lingual capabilities for the front-end site developers. While for those working at the back-end, Drupal 8 aims to improve web services and staging organization. Let’s sneak a peek into the core initiatives or the highly focused areas of Drupal 8 and discover what we can expect from the upgrade.

Web Services and Context Core Initiative

Traditionally, the HTTP request was mostly directed to return HTML pages but in the modern web era, the HTTP request may deliver any type of information which may not necessarily be HTML, and this is especially true for mobile applications. WSCCI, The Web Services and Context Core Initiative is a crucial initiative which is designed to alleviate Drupal from being a top-notch content management system to the ultimate REST server. Drupal 8 will become a more restful interface. To live up to its envisioned dream, Drupal needs a unified and powerful context system that supports smarter, easily cacheable block centric layouts and non-page responses.

Multilingual Initiative

In Drupal 8, the first prominent step in the installer is to choose a language of your choice from the list of languages. It will automatically download and import the translations to your system appropriately and without much manual intervention. The best thing is that when you chose a foreign language for your website, English won’t show up at any place in the website. The Multilingual Initiative covers a wide range of issues such as language translation, negotiation and associated APIs which need improvement.

Mobile Initiative

The Drupal 8 Mobile Initiative aims to make Drupal a first-class mobile CMS platform by improving its mobile support system. However, to reach that mobile friendly CMS status, there is a broad spectrum of goals that still need to be worked on along with the core functionalities. Drupal 8 themes will have to be converted into responsive ones, mobile-friendly administrative forms will have to be developed and the front-end performance on a mobile has to be improved so as to enable Drupal 8 to emerge as a truly successful mobile platform.

HTML5 Initiative

The latest Drupal upgrade will make Drupal 8 fully HTML5 ready. Today Drupal uses XHTML doctype but Drupal 8 is going to have HTML5 as its default “doctype”. The HTML5 Initiative endeavors to deliver maximum benefit to the end users and allow the contributed themes and modules to evolve using HTML5. Other critical goals would be to simplify the style and script elements, do away with all the old CSS bits by refactoring Drupal’s existing CSS, add new semantics in core templates in the right way, improve accessibility by adding ARIA roles to markup and ensure that the input functions and filters accept the HTML5 elements.

Configuration Management Initiative

Sorting issues such as maintaining, storing and deploying configuration of Drupal are the primary concerns of the Configuration Management Initiative. Presently, the complete configuration of a Drupal site is stored in a database and it is very difficult to deploy. Moreover, any change in the settings that can break the functionality cannot simply be reversed. This initiative will transfer all the configuration from a database to disk in a standard format that can be easily deployed and used for multiple sites.

Design Initiative and Usability

The Design Initiative is believed to transform the look of Drupal and adorn it with a beautifully designed and fully responsive design. The new design is intended to be more intuitive and extremely easy to use.

With the upcoming changes through the core initiatives, the Drupal community is working very hard to make Drupal sites easier to use, support, build and migrate.