Thoughts on Drupal 8

My thoughts on drupal 8 and all things drupal! I saw recently drupalCon happened and saw that the last beta blocker has now been done (congrats). This means the world of Drupal 8 is getting a lot closer, which I am quite excited at the prospect of, If you need a recap please go have a look and read at the following link to drupal 8. I do think the way they have gone about the build is interesting with a good note to say the symfony components being integrated (http, YAML, twig and dependency injection) a good summary exists on sitepoint.

The way to build modules will also take a different approach, with the info file being replaced by a yaml file (remember what I was just saying above). A lot of modern programming techniques will be introduced so get use to seeing namespacing at the top of module files:

namespace Drupal\demo\Plugin\Block;
use Drupal\block\BlockBase;
use Drupal\Core\Session\AccountInterface;

I think it will bring about a better standard of development and will cause a wave of learning these new ideas.

Drupal Is good

I never had a vested interest in ever learning drupal but then my new job required that I pick it up and learn it! As I am always open to learning new things, I rolled my sleeves up and got stuck in and I can now say after a year of working in drupal that the thing I love most is it’s ability to scale. I had been told that drupal was good for working on small, medium or huge projects but then I managed to get a project that actually invoked all three of those stages. I worked on a project over the past year that went from 5 pages then onto 55 pages and then up to 150 pages with the potential of that to jump to 800! (multi-language site).

Drupal just scaled perfectly and it certainly opened my eyes to its uses and how I could use it more and more in projects big and small. The site worked and drupal handled it well and I imagine any further growth in the site will be just handled by drupal (obviously varnish and caching helps too). This has caused me to see that as the drupal name starts jumping into clients conversations and more and more clients start to request it (Everyones using wordpress, I want drupal) I wanted to explore how much further it could go (before drupal 8 hits).

Rest easy now drupal

One area that I have been recently interested in has been the ability to turn a site into a RESTful application, much a lot like wordpress gearing up for 4.1 to having the ability to turn the site into an API baked into core (you can get the plugin for wordpress, it’s here). Drupal itself has a very handy module that can turn your drupal site into a RESTful application, it is called the services module. This is a fantastic module and I would recommend it to anyone as the control you get over using it is sublime, you can allow PUT, DELETE, POST, GET requests to any of the services you set up, you can call any of the API as json or XML, the options are really well thought out. And if you go a step further you can add in your own custom modules to change what gets returned for each call point (if you want to load fields in rather than just the node). It’s definetly a viable way forward to be able to have this option within your site, it opens up a lot of possibilities for any site you build on drupal.

What’s more is that this is clearly the way forward as drupal 8 will come with services as part of core so any site has this potential ability. I think it is great that the tools to turn your site into an API is literally a click away within your drupal site.

I am currently in the process of using drupal and the services module to push out all the sites data via these endpoints and have the site all run through backbone but will update you on backbone in a seperate blog post (tutorial or snippets).

So the future of drupal looks very good and I suggest you have a look into it. Drupal is slowly moving on from just a CMS and becoming more of an application. A handy application for modern web development.

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