June 06, 2017 by Andrew Karaptis

DrupalCon: Key Features of Drupal 8 and the Popularity of Drupal 7

Drupal’s Dual Paths: More Power & The Expertise To Wield It Wisely

As popularized in Spiderman’s origin story (thanks, Stan Lee), with great power there must also come great responsibility. Both Drupal 7 & Drupal 8 provide great power to developers and website owners, but have a steeper learning curve for developers when compared to simpler systems like WordPress or Joomla. You do need the right team in place to understand and wield that power for maximum effectiveness.

Here at Hedgehog we’ve found that Drupal allows us to implement and deploy fairly complex content types and feature sets swiftly. The payoff for learning Drupal’s feature set is massive. The configuration import/export system of Drupal 8 and modules like Features allow us to make our dev-ops and deployments smooth and painless. Popular Drupal tools like Devel, Views, Panels, etc. keep valuable debugging data at our fingertips and our component templates and layouts organized and modular.

Drupal 8 Picking Up Steam

Drupal 8 is still relatively new, but we now select it as our go-to version of Drupal for new client projects. At Baltimore DrupalCon 2017 we found most development teams saying the same thing, that they now prefer Drupal 8 and use it for any completely new site builds. Key features that improve project timelines and output include better configuration management, Views built into Drupal core, better support for internationalization built into Drupal core, more modular architecture, more powerful Devel module functions to help with debugging, a nicer admin interface, better HTML templating, and the powerful Symfony PHP framework under the good.

Drupal 7 Still Popular & Supported

Despite the increase in Drupal 8 usage for new site builds, Drupal 7 still remains popular, in wide use and not going away anytime soon. This is partially due to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy where many Drupal 7 sites are secure and producing results for their project stakeholders. Migrating a complex site from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 often requires essentially a full recode from scratch, which is another factor keeping many Drupal users on version 7. As a result, continued use of Drupal 7 for complex sites will likely be supported well into the future by the Drupal community, Acquia (the #1 source for enterprise Drupal hosting) and Hedgehog.

Our approach for existing sites that use Drupal 7 is to evaluate the complete solution and future requirements, then layer in strategic thinking to see where business value can be increased. We then work with our clients to understand the costs and benefits of moving to version 8 or staying on version 7, and guide each client down the best path for their goals.

Ready For Your Next Step?

Are you ready to take your existing Drupal website to the next level or to create an ambitious new digital experience on the Drupal platform? You’ve come to the right place. Contact us for details about how our knowledge of Drupal’s dual paths to greatness can benefit your project.

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