Some developers are apprehensive, others are excited, most of us fall probably somewhere in between, but however you might feel about it Drupal 8 is on its way, and it’s sure to bring a lot of changes. So let’s take stock and see just what we do know and what we are still waiting to find out about Drupal’s new version.
Let’s start with what we do know
1. The new Version of Drupal was announced at DrupalCon Denver, and as recently as drupalCon austin was one site built on Drupal 8. How’s the new version performing?
Last Call Media is one of the first sites built in Drupal 8. The Founder and CEO of Last Call, Kelly Albrecht, said, “We chose to stay with Drupal because it is in line with our ideals as a company, and it is the most capable enterprise development platform available...From our point of view, Drupal 8 is an evolutionary leap forward that fixes a lot of things that have bothered us for a long time about Drupal.” Last Call seems pretty happy with the change. You can check out the full article here, and judge for yourself.
2. Drupal 8 will include many aspects of Symfony, another PHP based platform that uses a lot of Object Oriented Programing (OOP). In Symfony anything can be programmed as a service, so the Drupal core developers have decided to use Symfony for a lot of the “heavy lifting” that Drupal core was responsible for in earlier version. This includes managing user and session management, using Guzzle for HTTP requests and relying on symfony to get data in and out of Drupal. Leveraging this functionality should free up a lot of resources that were before being used in the Drupal community. This could allow Developers to focus on building more cool stuff.
3. One other thing you can count on, version 1 of drupal 8 won’t be perfect. There will be plenty of bugs and potential security issues that the core developers have missed, but as Drupal users and developers begin using the new version they will uncover most of these issues, and as more and more of these issues are uncovered and resolved the version will become easier and safer to use.
This means that if you were looking to upgrade a Drupal 6 site, it would be best to go to Drupal 7. Don’t feel like you’re throwing your money away Drupal 7 will be around 3-5 years after Drupal 8 is released, and there are still a lot of unknowns and things to be learned about Drupal 8, before you will be able to build a Drupal 7 quality site. This leads us to…
What we don’t know
1. With the introduction of Symfony we are inviting a much larger group into the Drupal community, and we simply can’t know what this new community will look like. The most common questions being asked are how will this affect the market for developers? I know drupal really well, but am I starting back at 0 once drupal 8 comes out? Am i competing against a much larger group in the talent pool? No one knows the exact answers, which is why smart developers are looking ahead and preparing for the change.
2. We also don’t know what Symfony’s opinion of Drupal and the sites built with Drupal will be. What will the Symfony community think of the Drupal community? Will they look at new sites built in Drupal 8 and think that was a nice try? Or will the sites be amazing implementations of a symfony application.
3. Spring boarding off that question is another: will Drupal 9 be the first excellent prime time iteration of Drupal built on symfony. We could be witnessing the union of two great platforms. Like some people have promised this could means that we will be able to easily integrate your custom Symfony applications with Drupal... and vice-versa. Or the union could fall flat. These are questions only time can answer.
For now look out for our upcoming blog resources to look at and steps to take to prepare for Drupal 8.