New Year, New Drupal: The Release of Drupal 8

A picture of three team members working in front of a screen.

Disclaimer: Before I go into detail about the benefits of Drupal 8, I do want to point out that the platform should be evaluated for all projects. The nature of each website is different, and certain projects may depend on specific modules that do not yet have a stable release. It is important to spend the necessary time considering all of the various pieces of functionality that a site requires before landing on Drupal 8 as your final choice. 

The release of Drupal 8 represents the most significant increase in functionality and capability in the history of Drupal. We in the Drupal community have been waiting a long time, and have been discussing the many features of this new version at great length. However, most companies evaluating Drupal as their platform may not know much about what this release offers them and how it could benefit their organization. In this article, I will discuss just a few of the key benefits of Drupal 8 and how they provide advantages to clients. 

Long-Term Cost 

One of the major benefits of Drupal 8 is that it incorporates a number of tools and best practices that were not part of 7. Ease of use and efficiency were key when constructing the new framework. Over 3,000 developers participated in the building of Drupal 8. The final product is, by no means, the result of a small team making assumptions about how people will use the CMS. The process of creating Drupal 8 was predicated on giving a voice to the developer community so that they could make changes that would improve their productivity.

Drupal 8 was built by the community and for the community. The fact that so many individuals played a role in development means that this new release is representative of real feedback and input from the people who will be using Drupal. The CMS is now easier to configure, more consistent, precise and efficient. Many of the new features are centered around developers and the principles that will allow them to work faster. The bottom line is that the total cost of ownership for websites built in Drupal 8 will be less because the new release improves standard development processes and improves efficiency. Developers can do more in less time and that savings will translate into less money spent by clients in the long term.     

Easier Than Ever 

In the past, one of the knocks against Drupal was that it is hard for clients to use. Many developers do not take the time to customize the admin experience to reflect the needs and requirements of the people who will be responsible for managing content. This leaves clients unable to fully utilize their site and creates frustration. When a company invests in a new website they expect to be able to use it to its full capacity. With Drupal 8, the standard interface for admins is much more straightforward. It is also easier to customize components to fit the specifications of each project. The result is that managing content is now more simple and intuitive. 

The process for creating and managing content has evolved and responded to the frustrations around previous versions of Drupal.  Admins will now be able to better understand their Drupal 8 backend, and make edits faster and with much less hassle. 

Faster to Market 

A streamlined workflow and more tools included in Drupal core means that less time should be spent in development. Building an identical site in Drupal 7 requires additional time spent on configuring the CMS to incorporate functionality that 8 now offers out of the box. Using Drupal 8 means working faster and more efficiently, which will allow sites to get to market faster than with earlier releases. Companies can get their sites out the door in less time and start offering their users an improved digital experience. 

Bigger and Better 

Drupal is an incredibly versatile tool that can be used by everyone from small businesses with more basic needs to huge enterprise companies with dedicated development teams. Part of the process of building Drupal 8 was centered on meeting the needs of global enterprises. The Drupal community is now more focused on competing with large proprietary systems than ever before and this new release is a reflection of that mentality. The focus on performance, scalability, security and customization that is inherent to this new version is a direct attempt to go head-to-head with massive, and hugely expensive players in the pay-to-play space. 

With Drupal 8 you can now create experiences that were simply not possible with previous versions. The CMS can how handle bigger, better builds that can take clients’ websites to the next level.