After many years of development Drupal 8 was released last week. And it’s a solid rewrite. There are more reusable components now which form the basis of the new Drupal installation. Let’s consider a few things.
What’s new in Drupal 8?
New theming engine: twig
Drupal now uses twig as the new PHP template engine. This makes it easier to integrate new templates with a more practical syntax.
A movement that’s been going on for years, and Drupal has now caught on. The new Drupal 8 themes are mobile first with fully responsive designs. This might not be such a big thing for most people because custom themes are more commonly used nowadays. It is fun, however, that the Admin bar is now also responsive for logged in users.
The native HTML5 support in the Drupal core will be noticeable, though, it will allow you to select input fields like Email, Date, Boolean, … in the Admin interface.
Where you had to use a plugin to support several languages on one platform, it is now integrated in Drupal 8 by default. No more laborious installations, but instead a user-friendly environment.
WYSIWYG text editor
A real what you see is what you get text editor in the admin interface! From now on you can, just like with e.g. a WordPress installation, use a user-friendly WYSIWYG editor based on the popular CKEditor.
Built for configuration management
Not of much interest to the end user, but a huge advantage for all system administrators: Drupal 8 better supports configuration management. In Drupal 7 large part of your Drupal configuration is contained in the database. Drupal 8 chooses to reduce this (at least partially) to configuration files on disk.
There are quite some advantages in terms of version control (in svn, git, …) and it somewhat simplifies the deployment of a Drupal adjustment.
The Drupal 8 release mainly uses existing, quantitative, open source PHP components, mainly derived from the Symfony2 world. Drupal 8 uses, among others, HttpKernel & HttpFoundation, EventDispatcher, ClassLoader & the YAML modules. Twig, which was already mentioned above, is also added as Symfony2 module.
In this way the Drupal community can give something back to the Symfony community and both teams can boost each other with new features and bug fixes.
Highly innovated Cache API
Drupal was not known for being the quickest CMS. You needed quite a sturdy server set-up if you reached high visitor numbers. This can now change with Drupal 8 because the cache API is reworked. From now on you have much better control about what can be cached and what can’t.
Drupal 8 on the server: what do you need?
All these novelties, you are probably thinking you need to get a new server to use them all. Fortunately, this is not usually the case. The server requirements for Drupal 8 are:
- For your database Drupal 8 supports:
- MySQL 5.5.3
- MariaDB 5.5.20
- PostgreSQL 9.1.2
- SQLite 3.6.8
- The minimum PHP version is 5.5.9. (For Drupal 7 that is e.g. PHP 5.2.5, which has been end-of-support for some time and gets no more security/bug fixes)
The advantage? Drupal 8 perfectly runs on a modern cloud server and even on our shared hosting! Not interested in managing your own server but keen to work with Drupal 8? No problem, in our managed hosting solutions we also support the most recent version of Drupal 8.