I’ve recently returned from a great DrupalCon in Dublin, it was an enjoyable and enlightening experience. Reflecting on the experience, here are 7 thoughts about the event.
1. Drupal 8 is commercially viable
About a year ago I was asked to run a Drupal 8 training course. I declined as, in my view, it wasn’t quite ready. However, now it is much more stable, with some compelling new functionality in core, some great contributed modules, and more developed best practices. The road to Drupal 8 has been a rocky one, but the enthusiasm and excitement about what it has become, its potential, and the number of projects using Drupal 8 were very evident at DrupalCon in Dublin. Clearly it is now a commercially viable product.
2. Many Drupal 7 sites will see a benefit to upgrading to Drupal 8
It’s easy to get wrapped up in exciting new technological developments and the desire to embrace them. However if the end user, or editors don’t see significant benefits, the cost of upgrading will significantly outweigh the benefits for the end user and editors. Workflow enhancements, and a more granular control of content really improve the experience for the end user. Combine this with an improved developer experience and great potential for enterprise solutions, a clear migration path, and the benefits of Drupal 8 are many.
3. Drupal 8 works well with Continuous Integration
Like many other open source frameworks, Drupal 8 has now embraced the use of composer. Additionally there is the Drupal Console, allowing developers to develop outlines of custom code quickly. These new features can be run through docker, helping developers to use a standardised development environment with CI, and management of contrib modules, libraries and patches through composer. This will really help Drupal 8 with large scale deployments and development teams.
4. Drupal 8 is performant
A great improvement in performance is BigPipe, this helps deliver static parts of a page first, followed by the dynamic parts, e.g. a user login block. The difference is these are all delivered in one request, opposed to multiple requests. The composition and delivery of pages through bigpipe is not only performant, it is much easier to use than similar methods such as using ESIs with Varnish, Redis or Authcache.
5. Migrating to Drupal 8 is becoming easier
The upgrade path from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 is very different to previous versions. In Drupal 8 we take a new Drupal 8 site, regenerate the Drupal 7 configuration in yaml, and migrate the content over. This process has really developed well, and another advantage is that it makes migrating to Drupal 8 from other platforms easier too.
6. Decoupled Drupal will become standard practice
Decoupled Drupal is not a new concept, however it’s far easier to develop decoupled solutions with the improved Drupal Core, and the ease at which to expose apis. With Internet of Things becoming the norm, being able to interact with a range of devices opens up a world of opportunity of what’s possible with Drupal 8.
7. Dublin is a great city
A common talking point at DrupalCon Dublin, was how good the venue was, with it’s excellent catering, wifi and conference rooms. With a great range of bars and cafes, friendly locals, great restaurants, and you have a winning combination for what was an excellent DrupalCon!