Building Sites in Drupal 8: First Impressions


We recently finished building our first Drupal 8 site for a client. So I wanted to ask our team, “What did you like about working in Drupal 8?” These were some of the topics they touched on.

Content editing

Amanda: The UI for editing content is very good, with contextual links much more useful and usable than they were in Drupal 7. Node edit pages are also improved—with a sidebar and collapsed options, making them easily accessible, and the options are neither in the way nor create really long edit pages. And the WYSIWYG is in there by default now, which is a bonus for site owners.

Dave: The newly streamlined content editing form is going to make the lives of content creators much easier. It’s amazing how little things like that can have a big impact. For those smaller organizations that are resource constrained, they don’t want to be spending their time doing menial tasks to manage their content, they need to spend their energies on what’s important—crafting content that engages their constituents. Drupal 8 will help them do that.

Responsive Design

Amanda: While there are many contrib modules that are not ready yet, I’ve been impressed by what is now included in core and considered necessary—like breakpoints and responsive images.

Sarah: Also HTML5 markup out-of-the-box makes for a better experience on mobile and easier responsive theming.

Jack: Having Responsive Images in core is a no-brainer; every serious project these days deals with that aspect of site building. In the past, it could get quite complicated mashing a few contrib & custom solutions together to handle dynamic image resizing and resolution. After giving things a spin in D8 and working out the kinks of our first approach, it feels very intuitive and less of an afterthought.

The Developer Experience

Sarah: A fun thing about using Drupal 8 has been having something new to learn. We’ve been working with Drupal 7 for about five years now, and it’s exciting to get a push towards getting up-to-speed with more modern PHP practices.

And long-term maintenance will be made easier by having fewer contributed modules. Having better translation capabilities in core should make it easier to add multilingual support to a site, and result in a better experience for translators.

Amanda: So far I like how core, custom themes and modules, etc, have been restructured; putting core in its own folder discourages hacking and having a developer’s custom files easier to access makes sense.

Jack: For clients who will be taking our work and building off of it internally post-launch, it will be easier to continue development using the clear implementation examples we’ve set up initially for them. Trying to dig around in the admin side of D7 to figure out where responsive images were handled was understandably frustrating (for devs and clients alike) and I think things seem much more clear now.

Everyone on the team enjoyed working in Drupal 8, and we are really looking forward to our next D8 build. Have you started working in Drupal 8? Let us know in the comments!