The launch of Drupal 8 has started a mixed wave of enthusiasm and skepticism in the development community. In a nutshell, the switch from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 is a new chapter that brings many uncertainties but provides a promising perspective. There are many implications to be considered but it’s the start of a new era that transforms Drupal into a more standard-compliant technology and widens its applicability.
Why Drupal 8?
To begin with, Drupal 8 brings major improvements in developer experience and the Drupal community is continuously trying to improve upon best practices. In itself, this translates in even more benefits for clients in terms of website performance.
One of the most expected improvement is the Decoupled Drupal architectural practice which separates the back-end and theming components of Drupal. Handling the CMS this way for data entry and retrieval, and using other frontend frameworks for rendering web pages makes Drupal 8 the ideal environment to build rich internet applications, mobile applications and more.
One example in this line of enhancements is Twig, the templating layer which not only organises the theme system in Drupal better, but also requires developers to write sleeker code. Another example in this area are the Object-Oriented coding principles of Drupal 8 which also provide the basis for a more organised and logical approach to writing code.
As far as quality assurance is concerned, Drupal’s new testing infrastructure supports PHPUnit and many other tools that have been updated to work with Drupal 8 deployment and testing. We consider this a very important improvement as in the long run this approach provides the basis for a maintainable project that’s easier to develop, clean and fix when needed.
In addition, Drupal 8 can scale much better and provides a better user experience in page rendering. Most of these perks are possible thanks to the overall redesign of the caching system and page build pipeline. The redesign also includes a major catalyst module, Big Pipe, a technique first used by Facebook that allows different sections of a page to be loaded asynchronous.
Moreover, with Drupal 8’s RESTful APIs and the new plugin system, building enterprise tools and extensions is easier than ever. You can add extended usability to your website and integrate almost any type of external system. Features like this transform the new Drupal into a (even more) versatile CMS, capable to power websites regardless of their scale.
Our confidence in the Drupal community grew stronger with each event we attended in the past 4 years: annual Drupal Dev Days, Drupal Camps and Sprints. While navigating each stage from attendee, to speakers and eventually event organizers, we grabbed each opportunity to learn, contribute and share our knowledge with the community.
Being active contributors to Drupal 8 for more than 3 years, we felt confident enough to start the first Drupal 8 project almost an year ago. While we know that many contributed modules are not yet stable, we have the experience to mitigate their shortcomings. For this reason we made a pledge to build all future projects on Drupal 8.
So far we have already completed four Drupal 8 projects summing well over 1500 development hours and we’re eager to see these numbers grow.
Are you ready to build your next project in Drupal 8?