More than four years of waiting for the new release of the world’s second largest open source web content management systems (CMS) is winding to a close.

The team at Drupal plan to release long awaited, much discussed Drupal 8 in less than a month — Aug. 9, to be precise. Already, the preview edition is drawing plenty of buzz, both good and bad. 

Mobile, Multilingual

For Sam Wendel, content marketing officer for Vardot, a Drupal development firm, Drupal 8’s mobile-first approach and multilingual support enhancements are reasons for excitement.

Mobile websites and apps are the new reality,” Wendel blogged about Drupal 8, “and so for the first time Drupal is addressing this comprehensively. All built-in themes in Drupal 8 are responsive, making it easier to administer on a mobile device.”

He added that Drupal 8 emphasizes “improved multilingual support” and prioritized globalization support “to deliver improved web experiences for both users and developers. There are improvements to language maintenance options, site translations and easier-to-customize settings. This bodes well for developers and site users everywhere.”

While there is enthusiasm about the Drupal 8 release, there are critics, too. Some users complain the platform should have evolved more in the past several years — and that the new release offers little innovation.

'Still Drupal'

Some changes are seamless -- like moving the tags box below the body field. But others include a WYSIWYG addition to the top of the body field.

“An important thing to remember is that Drupal 8 is still Drupal,” Drupal officials said on the Drupal site. “The open source content management system is so flexible that it is used by everyone from hobbyists and small non-profit organizations to large government entities and Fortune 500 companies. Drupal 8 has more than 200 improvements that will bring new capabilities and efficiencies to virtually any type of implementation, large or small.”

Learning Opportunities

Drupal officials also promised “a new standard for ease of use” through “customize data structures, listings and pages, and … new capabilities for displaying data on mobile devices, building APIs and adapting to multilingual needs.” 

Vendors Take Stage

Meanwhile, vendors are jumping on the Drupal bandwagon. Boston digital experience vendor Acquia announced Drupal 8 availability on the Acquia Platform, a cloud platform officials said unifies content, community and commerce.

Dries Buytaert, chief technology officer for Acquia and the founder and lead developer for Drupal, noted in a blog post the list of release blockers is dwindling closer to zero, and a beta-to-beta upgrade path will soon be provided in core.

“In the process of working with customers on their Drupal 8 projects, we will contribute Drupal 8 core patches, port modules, help improve Drupal 8's performance and more,” he said.

Buytaert said architectural enhancements strongly position Drupal 8 for what I've called the big reverse of the web. For the web to reach its full potential, it will go through a massive re-platforming. From Flipboard to the upcoming release of Apple News, it's clear that the web is advancing into the 'post-browser' era, where more and more content is 'pushed' to you by smart aggregators.”

Another vendor, Virginia Beach, Va.’s InMotion Hosting, announced today the release of 200 Drupal 8 training videos, available free on YouTube by OSTraining. The videos are to be posted mid-September.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  Title image by Robert Kocher.

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