New features that come baked into Drupal 8 core make it faster, easier, and safer than ever to use this robust content management system (CMS) solution. It’s a compelling option for forward-thinking organizations looking for a flexible open-source platform to grow your online presence and keep pace with the latest advances in website development technology.
The latest version of the Drupal software is Drupal 8, which launched in November 2015. Unlike previous versions, the Drupal 8 team has made a commitment to adhere to a regular schedule for major, minor and patch releases. This means that the Drupal 8 you see today will continue to improve incrementally as upgrades are made and new features and functionality are rolled out. It’s a CMS gift that keeps on giving and our initial predictions about the benefits of Drupal 8 to clients are being validated.
FASTER IS BETTER
Right out-of-the-box, Drupal 8 has over 200 features and improvements that make it a more robust CMS solution than its predecessors Drupal 7 or Drupal 6, including several caching improvements to manage the additional bulk of features without compromising website speed. And, as everyone knows, site speed is a significant factor in SEO and provides increased user engagement for your site.
Caching stores pages and page elements so they can be generated quickly when requested in the future. It’s a key component for determining page load speed, and the overall quality of the user experience you offer visitors to your website. A faster page load speed equals a better user experience, greater conversion from visitors to customers and a higher overall score on the Search Engine Results Page.
Dynamic Page Caching
A major upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 comes in the form of cache tags. Drupal 8 assigns any number of catch tags to a cache item on a website. These cache tags describe the item being cached and remove the item when it’s no longer valid. As a result, you get a faster, more streamlined caching process that includes exposing tags to reverse proxies to ensure that the invalidation is applied throughout the website’s delivery architecture.
Unlike Drupal 7, Drupal 8 comes with the option for dynamic page caching. This allows Drupal 8 websites to cache pages without the personalized parts, which are turned into placeholders. Anonymous users will automatically have their page caching activated for six weeks, making serving these users much faster using Drupal 8. Authenticated users may also reap the benefits of dynamic page caching because of the scalability of the module. It’s a significant improvement, as Drupal 7 required a lot more work to achieve lesser results.
See It Sooner With Rendering Pipeline
Another big leap forward for Drupal 8 is the introduction of the rendering pipeline – modeled after Facebook’s BigPipe, which breaks down webpages into pagelets and renders them in stages. Similarly, Drupal 8’s rendering pipeline prioritizes the rendering of content on a webpage, bringing the main parts of the page into focus before such things as sidebars, menu items and other content that is generally slower to load.
Users see the important eye-catching content on a page first, while slower items that don’t have as much of an impact on the perceived speed of the website and the user experience have a chance to load.
Another performance booster is the automated tester, built by the Drupal development team. The automated tester makes sure fixed bugs stay fixed. Every time a fix is made in Drupal 8, a test is generated to fix the bug should it reappear.
MAKE IT SIMPLE – A CMS SOLUTION WITH EASE OF USE IN MIND
It seems every year technology upgrades are moving towards making it easier for users to interact with software. Drupal 8 is no exception to the rule. In fact, the Drupal 8 core development team has sculpted their latest upgrade into the most intuitive and easy to use form yet. For example, core infrastructure functionality is built into Drupal 8. So unlike Drupal 7, you don’t have to download many essential modules, such as Views and Picture – they’re already included in Drupal 8!
Easier Text Editing
For day-to-day content authoring and editing, one of the best features that drastically increases the convenience factor is Drupal 8’s WYSIWYG text editor – now included in core, whereas, previously, one had to configure 2 or more modules to get the same functionality. It allows you to add, edit and preview content at the front end of your website before your content goes live. The Quick Edit feature is an even faster method of adding or changing text in-place for rapid amendments. The CKEditor will also spellcheck what you type in your browser to help you catch those pesky spelling errors before publishing your content.
Don’t Worry, We Can Translate That
Developers can now access multilingual translation capabilities with Drupal 8. Using Drupal 8’s powerful Multilingual modules, you can quickly and easily build sites in a variety of languages and/or translate the content of an entire website into another language. Now that’s music to our ears.
Help Is A Click Away
Confused about what a feature does? Access numerous helpful tips while working on your Drupal site with the Tour module, included in Drupal 8 core. When this module is enabled, Tour provides pop-up bubbles of tips and information about many different features of your website, and becomes a handy reference for newer users.
There are also plenty of online resources available free of charge to help guide you and your development team through the learning process of using Drupal 8. The Drupal.org website is stacked with free information, and there are also plenty of blog posts and articles covering a variety of tips and tricks for optimizing your Drupal 8 experience.
SAFETY FIRST – WHAT MAKES DRUPAL 8 MORE SECURE
Concerned about hackers, ransomware, computer viruses or other threats to your valuable web property? Online security is an ever-present concern for corporations and website visitors alike, and organizations are taking concerted steps to reduce risk by only choosing software with built-in security features.
Drupal is a leader in data security, with many advanced features designed to address the ever-present scourge of cyber threats. And more organizations are choosing Drupal for that very reason, including The White House and Nasdaq Corporate Solutions.
Drupal 8 has taken security measures one step further from previous versions of Drupal. The introduction of Symfony PHP and its PHP template engine, Twig, in Drupal 8 makes it possible for developers to have more control over markup and input. This comes in handy when your website has an open commenting system, which can often be targeted by hackers and aggressive spammers. Using Drupal 8, your development team can implement more safeguards to protect your site against hackers and trolls alike.
For Drupal 8 sites with custom themes, it’s also good to know that Twig auto-escaping is enabled. This places an added layer of protection on your site. Unless a string is flagged as safe, no changes should be made to the look and style of your site with auto-escaping enabled.
Symfony has become the industry standard for PHP applications, making it a smart addition to the Drupal 8 release. Like Drupal in general, it’s open source, meaning that Symfony’s source code can be used and modified by anyone, anywhere. And thanks to its widespread use, Drupal 8 developers now also have access to a vast community of Symfony users who are constantly scouring for bugs and sharing fixes.
Code Configuration Tracking
Drupal 8 uses the Configuration API to store information and YAML as the file storage format for its configuration management system. What’s good about this change – in Drupal 7, these functions would have been represented in PHP code – is that it’s easier in Drupal 8 to track changes made to the configuration of your site. This comes in handy in organizational environments where it’s important to have rigorous controls on configuration, and the ability to roll back changes that have undesirable effects.
Drupal Security Team To The Rescue
Unlike some CMS solutions, Drupal has a dedicated Drupal official security support team that provides a coordinated and efficient approach to ensure the security of Drupal websites. The team was officially launched in 2005, according to Drupal’s website, and it’s goals are to:
- Resolve reported security issues in a Security Advisory
- Provide assistance for contributed module maintainers in resolving security issues
- Provide documentation on how to write secure code
- Provide documentation on securing your site
- Help the infrastructure team to keep the drupal.org infrastructure secure
Drupal users with a security concern can report it on the appropriate drupal.org project page or you can send an email directly to Drupal’s security team.
The security features and services found in Drupal 8 make a lot of sense in today’s online environment where cyber hacking and other security threats are an ongoing concern. Knowing that Drupal has you covered can help free up more of your time, so you can concentrate on reaching online audiences and growing your business.
Interested in upgrading to a Drupal 8 site? Contact O8 for a free consultation: 612-276-5880 or leave details on our Contact Page.