Why is Drupal 8 better than Drupal 7 and 6?

Drupal 7, the previous version of Drupal, is a fantastic CMS, but at the same time, there are some limitations:

  • It has an incomplete Entity API
  • The lack of separation between content and configuration
  • These lead to deployment challenges
  • The lack of separation between logic and presentation in the theme layer and it being not mobile responsive

It created solutions for those challenges using contributed modules, but those solutions were in many cases incomplete. Drupal 7 held on to procedural programming instead of object-oriented programming and in fact, it made a bit worse with the introduction of excessive use of structured arrays. For most people new to Drupal, Drupal 7 is really complex.

Drupal 6 has all the limitations of Drupal 7. In addition to those, here are its other limitations:

  • There is no Entity API - so you cannot create your own entity and cannot decide which fields you want to use (ex, author, last updated, etc).
  • The lack of multi site support
  • The lack of multi insert, delay insert query
  • The huge security risks
  • These leading to slow performance, slow page and response for query.
  • It uses CCK contributed module for fields like files, images, user references, node references etc.
  • The lack of hook methods etc.

Drupal 8 was introduced to tackle a lot of these problems head-on, through the Configuration Management Initiative, the Twig templating layer and a complete Entity API. The idea is to bring Drupal in line with modern frameworks and platforms, so there is less Drupal-specific knowledge to learn in order to become proficient. Drupal 8 adopts modern PHP concepts and standards, object-oriented programming, and the Symfony framework. While a lot of the Drupal concepts (Fields, Views, Entities, Nodes) continue to exist in Drupal 8, they are now implemented using object-oriented programming design patterns.

For Drupal 8, this means that codes will be more abstract, more verbose and slower, yet also be more maintainable, more modular, and more accessible to non-Drupal developers. The end result is that Drupal 8 will attract new people to Drupal in a way Drupal 7 could not.

What is new on Drupal 8 compared to Drupal 7 and 6?

While there are many upgraded features in Drupal 8, there are few that stand out above the rest. Whether your website currently runs on Drupal 6 or 7, you may want to consider moving to Drupal 8 for a more responsive theme than ever before. Whether you’re considering a complete website redesign or just tweaking your existing design, it’s worth learning about the new and improved features that come with Drupal 8.

  • Mobile experience: Mobile browsing is ubiquitous. Drupal 8 improves the mobile features and user experience. Every bit of Drupal 8 can be easily managed from your smartphone, with a responsive experience that works well right up to the widest displays.
  • Expected lifespan: The core has been entirely replaced with an object-oriented system that sets it up for much easier upgrades moving forward. All of the functionality is encapsulated and can be updated incrementally without breaking the rest of the system. The more likely it is compatible with the latest technology, such as HTML5, SASS, JavaScript, and the like. There are guidelines that provide the best way to accomplish a given task with far fewer conflicts.
  • Performance/Scaling: Drupal is a complex application that is capable of extremely interactive, customized functionality. Normally this would make it a performance hog, but due to extensive, smart caching, it runs on lower hardware specs compared to previous versions, and blows away the competition when handling large amounts of traffic. Drupal 8 is also designed to load pages faster by only loading JavaScript when it has to. Rather than having to load the same content over and over, it can instead be loaded from the cache.
  • Upgrade Path: Drupal is a data processing engine. Drupal 8 includes a full data migration system in its core, with complete capabilities of extracting, transforming and loading. This migration engine migrates content from Drupal 6 and 7, and it's capable of migrating content from any data source.
  • New Fields: There are five completely new field types in the Drupal 8 core: Date, Email, Link, Reference and Telephone. Comments is now available as a field, rather than a setting.
  • Fields are everywhere: Not only are there new fields, but you can now add fields in many more places. You can add fields to nodes, blocks, comments, contact forms, taxonomy terms and users.
  • CKEditor: Previous versions of Drupal did not provide a text editor. Drupal 8 comes with the CKEditor. The interface makes all aspects of editing simple, allowing users to add, edit and remove content quickly and with ease. The new, easy-to-use editor gives users the ability to choose the appropriate image dimensions for both desktop and mobile versions of the website, so the viewers are always getting the best possible experience.
  • Quick edit: Using the Quick Edit module, if you're logged into Drupal and looking at content, you'll be able to edit text directly from the front-end of your site.
  • Responsive images: Drupal 7 provided image styles in the core, which allowed you to automatically resize images. Drupal 8 takes that a step further and allows you to choose different styles for individual images. The various styles will be used for different device sizes.
  • Tour: Drupal's explanatory text was always hidden away under the "Help" link. Now, in Drupal 8 using the Tour module, you can click the "Tour" link and see pop-ups that explain how Drupal works.
  • Views: Views is now in the Drupal 8 core. Not only is it available by default, but most of the Drupal administration screens now use Views, which makes them easy to customize.
  • Multilingual: Multi-lingual Drupal 7 sites required you to install numerous modules. The process is much smoother in Drupal 8, with 4 key modules in the core. Once those modules are enabled, you can almost immediately start translating your site into over 94 languages, so you can share your content with the world.
  • Configuration manager: The new Configuration Manager module in Drupal 8 makes it much easier to export and import the features that you build. For example, if you create a new content type, you can export it from your test site and easily import it into a live site.
  • Web services: As with multi-lingual sites, it used to require several contributed modules to create a web service in Drupal 7. Now, in Drupal 8, everything you need is in the core. Enable the four Web Services modules, go to Views, and you'll immediately be able to create a REST export. Drupal 8's web services make it a powerful platform for serving up content to mobile apps, other web applications, or any other place you want the data to be. "Headless Drupal" is fully supported, meaning whatever application your user interacts with can pull data from Drupal, without ever actually visiting the Drupal site itself.