Drupal 8 Ready: What's new for Site Builders?

What are the core skills, tools and practices you will need to be Drupal 8 ready? How do you get them now? This summary is a companion to PreviousNext's DrupalCon presentation "Drupal 8 Ready".

Web & front-end technologies

Use of Schema.org vocabularies

Need to know

  • How schema.org mapping are structured

Instead of using RDF mappings from a range of vocabularies (Dublin Core, FoaF, SIOC etc), Drupal 8 uses mappings solely from Schema.org.

For example, where title was “dublincore:title” in Drupal 7, it is now “schema:name”.

Why it’s useful

Nobody can understand RDF, and even Drupals relatively simple namespaces confused people. Schema.org has adoption from major search engines, and is emerging as an agreed standard for identifiying common types of objects.

Caveats

Drupal still has lots of issues with RDFa in general, and RDFa output still needs work.

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RESTul web services

Need to know

  • What are RESTful web services and how do we use them

Using the new Rest & Serialization APIs, you will be able to output serialized data as JSON and XML from Drupal, almost as easily as you can normal HTML output. The REST module uses the Drupal 8 plugin API to allow the definition of arbitrary resources, while it also provides a default entity plugin to expose nodes, users, taxonomy terms or any other available entity type on a web service interface.

A great deal of what we do online is now down through apps or other services which access data held in other places. While it is possible to do some of this stuff in 7, being able to do it natively adds a whole new powerful set of tools to the Drupal site arsenal.

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Drupal

New Block concepts

Need to know

  • Blocks get fields, revisions and other entities properties (a bit like nodes)

Blocks are finally Entities, and come with all those things Entities give you, including fields, revisions and so on. They are also properly reusable, for the first time.

Why is it useful

Block module has been around for a very long time. Its one of the oldest parts of Drupal, it was there in Drupal 1. Perhaps for this reason, it’s never really been given the love and attention it deserves. The Block placement UI hardly changed between Drupal 3 and 7. Well, now its finally getting some.

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Editing improvements

Need to know

  • CKEditor in core
  • Aloha for in-place editing CKEditor for in-place editing
  • Text formats have changed

This is a set of changes bringing a much smoother editing experience to Drupal. Along with helping push in WYSIWYG in core for 8, Spark has integrated the Aloha in-place editor and made other improvements, including better text formats.

Out-of-the-box editing capability in Drupal 7 is lackluster at best. With CKEditor and Aloha in core, there’s finally a standardised way of providing a seamless editing experience for content authors.

Sessions

Tour API

Need to know

  • Drupal gets “tours”. You can write them (in YAML files).

The new Tour module provides a context-sensitive guided tour of the main parts of any given Drupal user interface.

It is powered by the JQuery Joyride plugin and allows site builders and module-developers the ability to provide targeted help for specific elements on a page.

Resources

Configuration export/import

Need to know

  • Config now stored in Yaml files, in your files directory
  • Can be exported/imported

Drupal 8 introduces some major changes to the way configuration is managed. A lot of configuration has been removed from the database and stored in YAML files. Configuration can be imported and exported removing the need for some contributed modules such as Features (depending on your site and how it is developed).

Why it is useful

Having configuration in files removes a lot of the dependence on the database. This means less database overhead. Other benefits include: the ability to manage configuration through version control, as well as the ability to easily deploy configuration between environments.

Resources

Technology stack

Universally Unique Identifiers for entities

Need to know

  • What a UUID looks like
  • Stop using “NID” (or similar)

One of the principle limitations with sharing content from Drupal sites has always been the the principle identifier for any entity is a simple numeric identifier which is unique ONLY to the site it comes from.

UUIDs are a universally unique identifier for content, and have been adopted extensively in Drupal 8, ensuring that content created on different sites can be mixed safely.

Resources

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Comments

Posted by Great series! | September 24, 2013

Appreciate the effort that went into this series.
Very useful reference that I can see myself using again and again.
Rik

Posted by Jamie Holly | September 25, 2013

Last I heard Aloha was totally out and CKEditor was being used for IPE. Has that changed somewhere? I can't find it in any issue or code.

chris.skene's picture
Posted by chris.skene | September 25, 2013

Thanks @Jamie Holly, you are correct. Not sure how I missed that one, but here it is: http://buytaert.net/from-aloha-to-ckeditor

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