Previewing Drupal 8

Work on the next major release of Drupal is well under way and new features have been set

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Now that the new feature set has (essentially) been defined, at this point, I’m sure the casual Drupal user is asking what goodies Drupal 8 will bring? Seven major core initiatives have been identified:

  1. Views in core - The most significant enhancement is pulling the popular (many would say, essential) add-on module that allows users to query and display content from the database without having to write SQL into core Drupal.
  2. Support for HTML5 - Drupal's default doctype will switch from XHTML to HTML5; input filters, functions and forms will all accept HTML5 elements.
  3. Configuration management - This initiative is about making site configuration versionable and manageable through code and generally “improving the deployment process for Drupal,” as Moshe Weitzman, longtime Drupalist and current Director of Research and Development at Acquia told me.
  4. Web services - This should result in improving Drupal’s ability to deliver non-HTML output formats, such as XML and JSON, based on REST-style architecture using Symfony components.
  5. Layouts – This initiative is focussed on cleaning up and standardizing the methods for creating output and placing content on a page; it will lead to things like context-aware blocks and allow for nested layouts.
  6. Mobile – With the explosion of tablets and smartphones, this initiative is focussing on making admin screens more usable on mobile devices, via native app integration, HTML5, and responsive design.
  7. Multilingual – Some of the key tools and modules currently used to build multilingual sites will be pulled into core and the interface design will be improved to make it easier to build and support multilingual sites.

Weitzman also pointed out that there will be improvements in Drupal’s Entity API (the way in which content is modelled and stored) supported by new field types in Drupal core for email addresses, links and (possibly) dates.

Is your site on Drupal 7 (or an even older version)? Are you already dreaming of Drupal 8? Or are you a Drupal 8 contributor? Let us know in the comments.

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