Just yesterday the much-anticipated version 5.0 of the popular Drupal open-source Web CMS was released. It's generating considerable buzz in the blogosphere.
This release is the result of a broad-based community development effort. According to founder Dries Buytaert, 5.0 represents the work of 492 contributors who submitted 1173 patches.
In the past, Drupal has attracted complaints for being confusing and convoluted to use. Hence, usability was a big focus of this far-reaching development effort.
Drupal 5.0 usability enhancements include:
* Administration page: This has been completely retooled, with a default task view and an option to hide descriptions. It also offers a "by module" view that includes links to configuration options.
* Settings pages: These have been divided into smaller pages, making it easier to find options.
* Tables: The process of selecting content, user and comment lists has been streamlined.
* Style consistency: Across Drupal, labels and text are now consistently capitalized and formatted.
New Drupal 5.0 features include:
* Status page and requirement checking
* Web-based installer
* New default core theme, Garland, which uses Drupal's new color picker module to change the theme's entire color scheme on the fly.
* Custom content types: core now includes part of the Content Construction Kit and allows you to set up arbitrary types out of the box.
* URL filter, which causes web and e-mail addressed to be automatically hyperlinked.
* More support for user profiles, such as form auto-complete and optional email verification of user accounts.
* More intuitive module administration.
* Additional logging reports for search terms, 'page not found' and 'access denied' errors.
* CSS preprocessor: All cacheable stylesheets are now aggregated into one compressed file, which speeds site loading (especially for first-time visitors).
* Performance tuning: Key parts such as Drupal's session and access mechanism have been optimized for faster page loading across the board.
Another common criticism of Drupal has been that it's a "resource hog," requiring excessive processing capacity and loading times. It'll be interesting to see before-and-after comparisons of Drupal 5.0 to the performance of previous versions. See more: Lullabot, a leading Drupal development firm, created several videocasts demonstrating and explaining some of the main points of the new release: what's new, installation, and upgrading.
Those of you who are ready to dig straight in may download the 5.0 release here.