Three Reasons to Consider Drupal 8 Now

Sara Olson, Marketing Analyst

When it comes to Drupal 8 adoption, questions abound. What use cases does Drupal 8 support? What kinds of organizations should consider an upgrade? When is the right moment to make a move?To understand the ideal Drupal 8 use case, it is useful to consider how the CMS marketplace has evolved over the past few years. In response to the growing need for more diverse, channel-oriented user interfaces, Drupal has become a better fit for enterprise organizations (as I will explain below!).

Drupal 8 works well for all kinds of organizations, of course, but it is far-and-away the best CMS to support one or more of the following use cases:

  • Several digital touchpoints (via websites, apps, etc.)
  • Multiple languages
  • Multi-site platforms

For enterprise organizations that support multiple websites, languages, and digital touchpoints, Drupal 8 makes Drupal a better choice than it has ever been.

Organizations with any of these requirements should seriously consider a Drupal 8 migration in the near future.

Content Portability & Omni-Channel Distribution

The way users consume content is shifting rapidly. Between applications, standard websites, and the mobile web, we interact with content in a variety of formats and mediums. We also see a steady stream of new platforms cropping up - think of Apple News or Facebook Instant. Successful organizations recognize the importance of creating a consistent experience across all digital touch points, and useful CMS platforms incorporate omni-channel features to meet this demand.omni2Drupal has always been the go-to CMS for publishing content across multiple channels, and Drupal 8 continues in this tradition by making it a first-class concern. Improvement in Drupal’s content APIs and its ability to distribute data give it the power to send and retrieve content from other systems (including mobile apps).What’s more, this is no longer a supplementary feature requiring additional funding; it’s baked into core. The upshot is you no longer need to weigh content portability and distribution against other features, deciding if it’s something you can afford. It simply comes standard. And in this day and age, that’s essential.

Global Reach & Multilingual Capabilities

For many global organizations, managing digital properties means supporting multiple websites in multiple languages (a more complicated endeavor than simply translating content). In the past, there was no standard way to do this in Drupal. Drupal 7 had different technical approaches for translating content that could impact workflow, what translation methods were appropriate, how updates could occur, and how content was available to audiences. Drupal 7 was a great multilingual platform, but it was a complex affair.Multilingual-web-interfaceDrupal 8, on the other hand, uses a common approach that has all the benefits but none of the complexity of Drupal 7. Multilingual capabilities are included in core directly, providing a clear pathway to translation. According to Acquia, what would have required 22 or more modules in Drupal 7 can now be accomplished with 4 from Drupal 8 core. Below are some of the improvements that make this possible:

  1. Native installation is available in 94 languages
  2. You can now assign language to everything
  3. Drupal 8 includes automated language and user interface translations downloads and updates
  4. Local translations are protected
  5. Field-level translation applies to all content and integrates with Views
  6. The built-in translation interface works for all configurations

Check out the full video from Acquia for more details.Not only does the community as a whole have a clearer roadmap, global organizations now have a single, supported route to translation and can redirect their focus to the more pressing challenges of communicating across languages and regions.

Configuration Management for Multi-Site Platforms

Configuration management is important for any company with multiple websites. To clarify, configurations are setting in Drupal’s interface that impact the structure and functionality of the site. If your company has one site, this isn’t a major issue - but if you have several hundred (or even 10) sites, configuration management is crucial for performance and stability.The Configuration Management Initiative (CMI) in Drupal 8 facilitates easy saving, porting, and moving configuration changes from one environment to another, improving the process and increasing stability in huge ways. Drupal 8 configuration management is rooted in what is essentially a re-architecture of the way in which configuration files are stored and managed. Modules now store their configuration settings in YAML files, creating a core standard applied to all modules. This baseline architecture creates flexibility for enterprise configurations.Essentially, if you’re dealing with multiple sites or have a robust workflow for internal teams moving sites from development to staging and production, Drupal 8 has a lot more built in to make it ready for enterprise Drupal. To learn more about multi-site configuration management in Drupal 8, check out Molly Byrnes’s CMI write up on the Phase2 blog. You can also watch Molly’s recording of CMI on a Managed Workflow session from DrupalCon Bogota.

Enterprise Platforms on Drupal 8

So, if omni-channel distribution, language translation, and/or configuration management are important to you, the potential gains outweigh the risks of early Drupal 8 adoption (for more on risk mitigation, see Mike Le Du’s post). Additionally, if you anticipate the need to support these use cases in the future, Drupal 8 is a good option right now.Moreover, the fact that these improvements are included in core (instead of the contrib space) means the community can focus on more challenging, specific solutions instead of simultaneously creating different pathways to common needs. Enterprise requirements now come standard.Find more digital strategy information in our Drupal 8 Resource Center.

Sara Olson

Marketing Analyst