6 Reasons We Use Drupal 8
In the web development business, there are a myriad of tools to build and manage your site. At August Ash, we've been using Drupal for almost a decade. Drupal is a website content management system and development framework that gives us nearly unlimited possibilities for innovative website functionality. There are six main reasons we recommend Drupal to our clients, and why you should consider the latest version, Drupal 8.
Modern Development Framework
In Drupal 8, much of the backend functionality has been rewritten to use the latest object-oriented development patterns. At the same time, many of the basic functions have been moved out to external libraries such as the Symfony framework. These changes make Drupal much more accessible for the experienced PHP developer or any developer experienced in modern programming languages. The Drupal 8 code is more widely looked at for bugs and can be more easily added to by experienced developers, including our August Ash team. In previous versions of Drupal, the code was much more unique to the Drupal platform so it took longer for a developer to understand how the system worked.
Better Support for Mobile Devices
Drupal 8 includes the ability to log into and edit your site on your mobile phone or tablet. In the past 5-7 years, phones and tablets have gone from a nonexistent browsing option to the most popular way to browse the Internet. While August Ash has been making mobile-friendly Drupal sites for years, Drupal 8 includes more tools for building great mobile experiences right in the system.
For example, when using a website on a desktop computer, filling out a form is relatively easy. It doesn't matter if you're adding text, your name, a price, or a date. It's all easily entered by typing on your keyboard. But Drupal 8 knows how a text input is different than a numeric input or a date picker and gives you better tools built into your browser and operating system to select the most user-friendly option. Furthermore, more tools are included to allow the website to load smaller- or larger-sized images depending on the visitor’s device or bandwidth preferences, to optimize performance of your website.
Drupal 8 is Constantly Getting Better
Many of the add-ons from past versions of Drupal are still available to enhance functionality for Drupal 8. But for the first time, Drupal 8 is also getting better over time. Since the Drupal 8.0.0 release in November 2015, minor releases have fixed bugs and improved performance. Larger releases, like 8.1.0 and 8.2.0, included improvements in multilingual support and tools for migrating a site's content and functionality from Drupal 6 or 7 to Drupal 8. Drupal 8.3.0 includes a feature (that was previously in beta) called BigPipe, which makes page loading even faster by having the browser only re-render the parts of the page that have changed. Instead of waiting for Drupal 9 to debut new, big features in 2020 or later, Drupal 8.4, 8.5 and beyond can deliver these new features in the next 1-2 years.
Better Usability and Accessibility
Drupal 8 comes with a more compact and streamlined administration interface that can be customized to meet the administrator’s needs. Also, the improved interface is easier to use for those with a physical disability as well as those who are juggling other tasks while updating their website. Colors and text are more readable, and the whole interface takes more advantage of the latest browser technologies.
Flexible Content Display
For years, Drupal has been about much more than blog posts and standard content pages, but any kind of content you can think of. Want to have a database of job listings, recipes, or distributor locations? Drupal lets us easily build and modify a content model, and displays that allow the viewing and administration of these pieces of content. Want to highlight or organize the data differently on another page? Want to relate content in one section to content in another section? Do you want to have quality content and do e-commerce on the same site? Drupal 8 can handle it and continue to grow to meet your content needs.
All these powerful features are great, but will it serve the content quickly?
Drupal 8 is recommended to be used on a platform built for modern websites, where code pre-compiling and browser caching is utilized as much as possible. Drupal also heavily caches data internally so that it can deliver quick responses for your users. And finally, Drupal 8 is built to run on PHP 7.1, the latest version of PHP that often processes pages 40-50% faster than websites running on PHP 5.3, which is years and years old and, sadly, is still found on a large amount of hosting environments.
If you're building a new website, it's time to use a modern platform like Drupal 8. This ensures the website will be viable for many years to come. When moving your website to a new platform, you will likely need to reorganize your content and refresh your design.
If you're interested in talking more about how to improve your website using technologies like Drupal 8, let's start a conversation.