For those in the Drupal community, DrupalCon is simply DrupalCon. For the rest of you: DrupalCon is a bi-annual Drupal conference put on by the Drupal Association. It’s a world-class tech conference, it is THE place for Drupal news and it’s happening this week in Munich, Germany.
Lowering the Learning Curve with Drupal 8
Drupal is considered one of the most powerful Web CMSs available, but one of the biggest complaints about the open-source Web infrastructure is its overwhelming complexity. This is especially heard from non-technical users like copywriters, designers and marketers. In an effort to address this, the project founder and lead Dries Buytaert announced earlier this year that Drupal will be adopting the open-source PHP framework Symfony into its next major release, Drupal 8.
Initially, this announcement left many wondering why such a dramatic shift was necessary or what benefit it would bring to Drupal users. Since then, the Drupal core programmers have been busy and at Drupalcon Munich, a series of significant usability and feature upgrades in the works for Drupal 8 have been demonstrated. These improvements are sure to please CMOs and CTOs alike.
Content creation in Drupal 8 will be greatly simplified for less technical users. Drupal 8 will provide easier layout control and facilitate gorgeous designs with practically no coding. All of these features will greatly lower the learning curve for new developers.
Mobile and Beyond
Drupal’s next core iteration is poised to conquer mobile. With a friendlier admin in mind, a new and simplified pullout menu will leverage one toolbar that works on all devices enabling complete mobile Web administration. Drupal 8 is going to implement responsive design out of the box, even differentiating between phones and tablets. A responsive layout builder was showcased and it’s pretty revolutionary. Entirely new layouts can be created with drag and drop.
Authoring improvements were also on display. The form looked cleaner with most options moved to a sidebar. Inline editing with True Wysiwyg will eliminate the separation of focus between editing and preview modes. And staying in-sync with the responsive/mobile motif, viewport previews will allow you to see what your page will look like on different devices.
Drupal 8 is currently in early development and is expected to ship in 2013. There are more exciting new features planned for than can fit in one post. The key takeaway from Dries at Drupalcon Munich is that Drupal is gearing up to be more accessible and to address the Internet’s latest and greatest challenges. As the Web continues to evolve, Drupal is taking major steps to ensure its place as a leading CMS today and in the future.