Think Nation — building the future of Drupal

In miggle’s latest project, we have an opportunity to build not only the future of Drupal by using Drupal 8, but the future of web development. As Think Nation is an upcoming conference focusing on 5 big questions aimed at young people, we thought it was only fitting to kickoff the project by training a work experience teenager (see his story on the Think Nation Blog) to see how he got on with the new technologies in Drupal 8 and the results were… extremely impressive! At the start of the week, he had no knowledge of Drupal (or any CMS for that matter), by the end of that same week, he was themeing, creating views and custom content types.

A huge factor of success training our work experience was the TWIG themeing layer. TWIG is great; it is the themeing system that Drupal has always needed because it is isolated from code. TWIG allows for frontend developers and themers to do what they do best create stunning, jaw-dropping experiences without the need to learn PHP. These advantages have been talked about by the Drupal community for a few years but there is one advantage that we found which is even bigger. The on-boarding process is extremely easy. We managed to teach our work experience teen within the course of a day how to apply his existing knowledge of Bootstrap, HTML, and CSS and use them in Drupal 8 to create.

Working with TWIG was quick and streamlined but in order for this project to be a success we needed the to have streamlined content editing process. The best thing we found about Drupal 8 is there wasn’t any need to add modules for a simple content editing process because Drupal 8 had everything we needed out of the box. When we installed Drupal 8 we had a host of new features, inline editing, WYSIWYG editor, views, and entity reference, without the need for loads of extra configuration which allowed us to create a rich content editing experience with minimal effort. Not only did this improved out of the box experience provide us with quicker development time but it also allowed for the quickest client on boarding in miggle’s history.

The biggest time saver in sitebuilding with Drupal 8 comes by way of the three letters — CMI. With Drupal 8’s new Configuration Management Interface (CMI), there is a clear definition in how data is separated between, config, states, and content. This sounds scary but in reality it speeds up development. Gone are the days of trying to export one pesky setting into Feature or writing a bunch of update hooks to ensure when your site is deployed; it is the same across multiple environments. Now we have one drush command or a click of a button and everything you need and expect is exported in flat YML files that can be versioned and included in your deployment process. The amount of time this saved from start to finish is impressive.

Many people are asking — should I get started on Drupal 8? The answer is, yes! but it varies greatly on your project’s reliance on contributed modules. We found we were having to rethink some things that we take for granted in Drupal 7 but in this instance the end product was quicker, easier, and more intuitive to develop than ever before. However, the biggest win we had with Drupal 8 is it has created an opportunity teach the next generation how to use the world’s most powerful CMS.