My Six Favourite Things in Drupal 8

by Hayley Bayliss MMT Digital

Robert Yardy, Head of New Business and Marketing at MMT Digital, examines some of the new features in Drupal 8.

 

Why should I care about Drupal 8?

I am sure that you were all as excited as us here at MMT Digital about the release of Drupal 8 at the end of last year. We have already started to use it for a number of projects and have seen some of the awesome platform improvements first-hand.

In later releases of Drupal, and particularly in Drupal 7, the emphasis was on making Drupal approachable for less technical users, providing user interfaces for foundational tasks (installation, data modelling, information architecture, landing pages, and so on).

Drupal 8, has belatedly, built upon the success of Drupal 7 by incorporating more out-of-the box functionality, such as authoring experience improvements, complete multilingual functionality, and numerous site builder features.

This latest release brings Drupal in-line with today’s web-landscape as a result of its mobile first approach and significantly improved front-end experience and tools. It’s built in future proof philosophy ensures that it will be a solid platform for projects no matter what technologies and devices are released in the future.

Drupal 8 has been positively received from developers and content editors.

This article isn’t technical as I am not a developer but from what I have seen so far, here are my 6 favourite things in Drupal 8:

1. In-place editing

MMT1In-place editing allows editors to click into any field within a piece of content and edit it right on the front-end of the site, without ever visiting the back-end form. Drupal 8 has this feature as part of the core product. Drupal 7 did have in-place editing but it was an additional module that needed to be installed.

 

 

 

2. Redesigned Content Creation page

MMT2Much easier to use interface. A community-led effort from Drupal’s Usability team has resulted in a redesigned content creation page in Drupal 8. It contains two columns: one for the main fields (the actual “content” part of your content) and another for the “extras”—optional settings that are used less often.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Mobile Improvements

MMT3Drupal 8 has been designed with mobile in mind. It incorporates responsive design for all core themes and automatically reflows elements such as menus, blocks, images and tables. It even has a responsive tool bar.

The front end performance on mobile has significantly improved. Native JavaScript replaced jQuery, and out-of-the box Drupal 8 loads zero JavaScript files for anonymous visitors. Additionally, lighter-weight alternatives that are mobile friendly replaced JavaScript Intensive features, such as the Overlay module.

 

 

 

 

4. Multi-lingual

MMT4Drupal 8 auto-detects the language from your browser and then auto-selects that option in the drop-down for your convenience.

Also, if you install Drupal in a non-English language (or later add a new language to your site), Drupal 8 automatically downloads the latest interface translations from https://localize.drupal.org, so you can perform your entire site installation and setup in your native language. This works for right-to-left languages, such as Arabic, too.

 

 

 

5. Improved search functionality

MMT5Drupal 8’s RDFa module now outputs schema.org mark-up. This makes the task much easier for search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and Yandex to extract data, such as who the author of a given piece of content is, in order to add meaning behind the content.

 

 

 

 

6. Improved accessibility

MMT6Drupal 8 extensively uses WAI-ARIA attributes to provide meaning on rich, front-end applications, such as the in-place editor and responsive toolbar. On the back-end, Drupal 8 provides a variety of new Accessibility tools for JavaScript (JS), which allows module developers to create accessible applications easily.

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

You’ll probably have your own favourite things in Drupal 8 that differ from those listed and the above list of 6 is certainly not to suggest that they are the best features. They are just pretty cool.

There are a number of expert Drupal developers within the internal Drupal team, “Drupability”, and without exception, they are all very impressed (and happy) with Drupal 8.

Drupal 7 was (and still is) an excellent platform, but Drupal 8 now offers many features that previously needed to be installed, as part of the core product.

It is not only us that are pleased with Drupal 8, the feedback from our clients has been really positive, especially from content editors.

 

Penned by Robert Yardy – Head of New Business and Marketing

This article originally appeared on the MMT Digital website.