Over the last two years, we’ve been running a series called The State of Drupal 8.
With each post in the series, we aim to keep you up-to-date with the important new features and changes.
So, what’s new in Drupal? Quite a lot.
Since our last update, the Drupal team have re-designed the installation process, finished the multi-lingual improvements, improved the UI, removed two key modules and proposed a new release cycle.
Where is Drupal 8 Now?
As I write in November 2013, Drupal is at Alpha 6 which you can download from here https://drupal.org/node/2142291.
The Drupal team are releasing Alpha versions every month.
There are no upgrade paths betweeen Alpha versions so these can’t be used for an actual site. The Alpha phase is for testing and development.
Please note that this post will only go over what’s been added since our last “State of Drupal 8” update. Scroll to the bottom to see all previous blogs in this series.
New Installation Design
The Drupal 8 installation process is technically similar to Drupal 7, but there has been a slick re-design of the interface:
Multi-lingual improvements are Finished
The multi-lingual changes in Drupal 8 are now just about complete. All 4 core multi-lingual modules are now available. Click here for a quick introduction to translating Drupal 8 sites.
More UI Changes
If you navigate the latest Drupal 8 alpha, you’ll see that more work has gone into cleaning up and simplifying the interface.
There are very few major changes, but lots of small usability improvements. One of my favorites is the new block screen. If you’re familiar with WordPress, this is similar to the Widgets screen, but in reverse.
All of the available blocks are on the right-hand side and can be placed into regions on the left-hand side.
Overlay and PHP Module Are Removed
Two of the most controversial modules in Drupal 7 have been removed.
New Release Cycle
The Drupal team have proposed a new release cycle. You can read the full details at https://drupal.org/node/2135189.
If you’re familiar with the Joomla, Typo3 or even Ubuntu release cycles, then this will be very similar. Here’s a high-level overview of the new release cycle:
- Drupal 7 would be called a Long Term Support (LTS) version and would keep getting fixes until Drupal 9.
- Drupal 8 would be a called Short Term Support (STS) version and will get incremental versions with new features: 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 etc.
- Drupal 8 would eventually get a final release that will become the new LTS.
- Drupal 9 would only start serious development when there is a large completed feature that can justify the start.
- Major versions will probably continue to release every few years.
The Release Date
We’ve been running this series for 2 years now and in that time we’ve had a few guesses as to when as stable Drupal 8 will arrive.
Back in late 2012, the estimate was a release in early 2014. Since then there have been some more ambitious guesses, but generally the consensus of early-to-mid 2014 has held.
However, lately I think ti’s fair to say that the estimates have been getting pushed back and a date towards the end of 2014 is more likely. There are still major changes to come, including work on the Migrate module to make upgrading easier for those on previous Drupal versions. (Update: Migrate won’t neccessarily need to be in core for the first stable release to happen).
http://drupalreleasedate.com/chart/samples is a good way to track how close Drupal 8 is getting to release. It shows you how many issues are left to be solved before a release is possible. At the moment, the chart clearly shows why people think that a release is getting further away, rather than closer: