Drupal 8 vs. Drupal 7

Mindfire Solutions
Dec 29, 2017 · 5 min read

Drupal is considered to be more flexible, scalable, and extensible than other content management systems. In addition to availing its core features, the developers can easily extend Drupal by using a variety of modules. Despite being open source, Drupal has been evolving consistently to simplify web application development and meet new web development trends. But the normal users often find Drupal to be more complex than other widely used content management systems.

Drupal 7 was launched in 2011 with several new features and improvements to make it easier for both programmers and normal users to use the content management system (CMS). Drupal 8 was subsequently released in 2015 with over 200 new built-in features. In addition to improving multilingual and globalization, the version 8 of Drupal also came with a new page editor and mobile optimization options. These new features make Drupal 8 different from Drupal 7.

Features that Differentiate Drupal 8 from Drupal 7

Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7: New Theme Engine

Drupal 8 comes with a new theme engine –Twig. Twig is a PHP-based theme engine which allows programmers to write templates using a simpler syntax. But the developers can still use Twig to crate templates which are both fast and secure. Hence, the developers can take advantage of the new theme engine provided by Drupal 8 to create beautiful and functional websites according to varying business needs.

Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7: Text Editor

Unlike Drupal 7, Drupal 8 comes with a new text editor — CKEditor. As a robust visual HTML editor, CKEditor enables users to avail several WYSIWYG editing functions which were earlier available only to desktop-based software applications like MS Word. Hence, the developers can use the rich text editor to avail common word processor features while creating or editing web pages.

Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7: Field Types

Drupal 8 supports several new field types — date, email, telephone, link and reference. The field types make it easier for programmers to add new fields without defining the field types additionally. The users even have option to use the add fields to comments, contact forms, blocks, nodes, and users simply by defining the field name and field type.

Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7: Quick Edit Module

While using Drupal 7, developers lack the option to edit content directly from the website’s frontend. But Drupal 8 comes with a new module — quick edit. The module allows users to make changes to the content directly from the website’s frontend. Hence, a user can now edit website content as he reads the web pages.

Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7: Responsive Images

Drupal 7 requires developers to use image styles to resize images according to screen size of individual devices using image styles. But Drupal 8 allows developers to choose from a variety of styles for each image. Also, they have option to use various styles for devices with varying screen sizes.

Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7: Core Multilingual Modules

Drupal 7 requires developers to use a number of modules while developing multilingual websites. Drupal 8 accelerated multilingual website development by including four key modules in the core. While using Drupal 8, the developers can avail new modules like language, content translation, interface translation, configuration translation. The modules make it easier for users to configure language and apply to the content as well as translate the website.

Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7: Views

While using Drupal 7, developers have to use views as modules. But they can use views as a core component of Drupal 8. Also, they can access views directly from several administration screens. Hence, it becomes easier for developers to access and customize views without putting extra time and effort.

Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7: Built-in Web Services

Drupal 7 requires developers to use a number of contributed modules to create web services. But Drupal 8 simplifies web services development by including four new modules in the core — HAL, HTTP Basic Authentication, RESTful web services, and serialization. The developers can access the core models directly from the views. Also, they have option to output content in XML or JSON format by using the CMS as a data source.

Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7: Built-in Configuration Management

Drupal 8 comes with built-in configuration management. As the configuration management is implemented at the file-system level, it becomes easier for developers to move fields, views, content type, and similar configuration elements from the local development environment to the web server. They even have option to store the configuration data in files and track the configuration changes through a version control system.

Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7: Improved Website Loading Speed

A large percentage of visitors abandon websites that take more than three seconds to load. Hence, developers have to explore ways to prevent user abandonment by making the website load faster. Drupal 8 makes it easier for developers to improve a website’s loading speed by caching entities. Also, it does not reload the content when a user accesses a previously visited web page. It enhances user experience by loading previously viewed content from the cache. At the same time, Drupal 8 does not load JavaScript code till the necessity arises.

Drupal 8 vs Drupal 7: Enhanced Website Accessibility

Unlike Drupal 7, Drupal 8 allows developers to use HTML5 natively. Hence, it becomes easier for developers to build responsive websites accessible on both computers and mobile devices. At the same time, the version 8 of the CMS enhances accessibility of websites by supporting industry standard accessibility technologies — WAI-ARIA. It further makes comes with several improved features to make the website accessible on various devices.

However, Drupal has been evolving consistently to meet the emerging trends in web application development. For instance, Drupal 8.1 accelerates web application testing by allowing users to automate JavaScript testing. Likewise, the developers now have option to use Drupal 8.4 which comes with several improvements and fixes. But the Drupal developers must keep in mind the differences between Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 to decide the right way to upgrade their existing websites and web applications.

Mindfire Solutions

Written by

Mindfire is a software service provider, with unrelenting focus on small-team offshore software development using Agile methods.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade