Drupal 8 to Take Open Source CMS 'to the Consequent Level'

22 January 2014

Detroit: Drupal’s project guide, Dries Buytaert, previously this month sketched the criteria for a beta release of the subsequent version of the open source CMS: Drupal 8. D8 hit alpha in mid-2013.

Version 8 of Drupal includes striking changes for many of features the CMS, with developments ranging from integrated WYSIWYG content creation and in-line editing, to sustain for responsive design ‘out of the box’ and multi-language support.

“I would love to see Drupal 8 in the middle of next year,” Buytaert told Computerworld Australia.

“We've been saying 'it's ready when it's ready',” he added. “So what that means for us is when there are no critical bugs left. I track the number of incoming critical bugs versus the number of outgoing critical bugs. Basically how many new critical bugs are reported versus how many we fixed — and the number's pretty steady, meaning we do a good job fixing them but there's still some bugs coming in as people download the alphas and try things.”

“They try to upgrade a module, for example. And sometimes it's not just bugs but also when people try to implement against one of the new APIs. Sometimes they'll say 'What the hell is this?' or 'It could be made easier this way.'”

Buytaert said that his description of ‘critical bug’ is a fairly expansive one. In addition to streamlining and simplifying content creation, site building and site administration, Drupal 8 has centered a lot on making life easier for developers.

"These things — sort of developer experience improvements as we call them, usability for developers — these things can be considered critical bugs because we want to build a platform that wins the hearts and minds of developers," Buytaert said.

“A critical bug doesn't mean [Drupal] just completely doesn't work,” Buytaert added. “In fact, it works pretty well. We run tens of thousands of tests against Drupal 8 many times a day, continuously, on a cluster of hardware and all the tests pass. So the stability of Drupal 8 alpha is actually pretty high, but we're still doing polish on the APIs and the user interfaces to make it a very high quality product.”

“It's hard to say how long we want to do that for; to be honest that's way it's a little hard to predict when Drupal 8 will be ready.”

Version 8 has engaged a huge re-architecture of Drupal’s internals, incorporating drawing on other open source projects, particularly the Symfony2 framework. One of the causes for the radical overhaul of Drupal’s design is so that D8 can make more utilization of object orientation and modern design patters.

“We've brought Drupal more in line with modern projects,” Buytaert said. This implies work requires to be done to guarantee that developers who are used to previous version of Drupal have help adjusting to D8. “It's going to be a really great release, but there are a lot of changes and some people will have to relearn Drupal,” Buytaert said.

“It's not the Drupal that they used to know, so that's a challenge. A lot of people absolutely love that and we have a lot of validation around 'Yep we're doing the right thing for Drupal'. It's going to attract many more people to Drupal and we've already started to see that.”

“But then there's also a group of people that find it difficult to come along and right now that's not a surprise because we haven't really done much to bring them along.”

“I think almost all people are excited by Drupal 8,” Buytaert said. “But then when they look at it, it's a little like ‘Whoa there's a lot of things have changed here’ and it takes them a bit of time to come along.

“I think we're in good shape. I feel confident in what we're doing with Drupal 8 and I have no doubt it will be an awesome release and will take Drupal to the next level in terms of adoption...”

“It's a necessary change. We kind of have to re-invent ourselves once in a while; I think every technology goes through that.”

Read more: Drupal Web Development Detroit

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