Drupal 8 Makes Development Easier Than Ever

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Written by Chris Wright

October 4, 2017

Drupal 8 Makes Development Easier Than Ever

Developers love Drupal 8 and it’s much easier to use than it’s predecessors. Drupal 8 was released November 19th, 2015. With a lot of considerable changes and modules not being ported over fast enough, Drupal 8 may have seemed like it wasn’t the best solution when it first came out. Since then, a plethora of modules have been ported over, countless bugs have been fixed and things just keep getting better and easier to use.

Views is now in core, CKEDITOR is in core, RESTful Web Services comes with Drupal 8 in the Web Services package and though it was a little difficult to work with in Drupal 8.2.2, since then it has become more user friendly and has even been used to create react-native, headless drupal apps. The Webform module is available and has so many built-in features, from conditionals only allowing certain fields to be shown if certain fields have been filled out a certain way, to Entity-reference autocomplete fields. Those are just a couple things that make webform so much better than it was in Drupal 7. Just some other modules that are available and work great in 8:

Better Exposed Filters

Video Embed

SoundCloud Field

Media Entity

Slick

Paragraphs (didn’t work earlier in the release, but works great on the current version)

Drupal Console is new to Drupal 8, but provides a way to clear your cache, install modules, build custom modules, themes, blocks, plugins and much more. Drupal Console has provided a way to create almost anything you need in your site through the command line, even giving you prompts for how you would like each thing you create configured completely as you would like. Drupal Console was created and is maintained by Jesús Manuel Olivas and others. You can view more about the project here. Another thing that is available in Drupal 8 is composer. Composer is a great way to manage dependencies such as installing, updating and uninstalling modules and themes. Using composer require drupal/MODULENAME it will add that module to your composer.json and whenever composer install is run, it will install any drupal modules or dependencies that are added to the composer.json. For more information about composer, check here

Drupal 8 has even come a long way with its documentation. Back in 8.2, documentation was sparse but it has since gotten tremendously better. You can find documentation on how to do practically all you would need to do on https://www.drupal.org/docs/8

Theming in D8 is a little different since Twig templates are used instead of the old PHPTemplates Drupal developers came to know and love/hate. Twig is fairly simple to pick up though and with Twig debugging, it’s very simple to find which template you need to create and you can even narrow down and pinpoint the exact field you want to theme on the page. There is so much ability for customization in Drupal 8 and it’s only going to get better.

For people without a lot of code experience, don’t worry, Drupal 8 is very user-friendly and easy to pick up. The site-building aspect is fairly similar to Drupal 7, yet it is cleaner and has more options to customize your site. If you are looking to build a Drupal site and are debating about using 8 or 7, Drupal 8 is definitely the better choice. With some modules not being supported as much in 7 and just the general direction Drupal is headed towards 9, it would be best to start learning Drupal 8 now that things are working great and you shouldn’t have many issues.