Drupal 8 dev thoughts

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Having just installed the Drupal 8 development version on to a local test site, it has raised a few thoughts.

Of course a lot of these could be fixed or the majority may disagree but either way. We have a long time before Drupal 8 will be shipping and as such have a lot of time to sort out any problems.


Directory structure

First thing you will notice from extracting the tar/zip file will be the directory structure. All the core Drupal files and directories have been moved to a directory simpled called core. Big improvement. Having the modules and themes folders right there in the root directory before made it far too easy for new users to place modules and themes in their respective directories rather than under sites.


Not a new thing, but glad to see the Minimal profile still exists. Although I feel there are improvements to be made to this in two ways.

Firstly, more options. I recently had a play with Joomla 2.5 on a local install and they have the option of installing sample data. This used to be very simple, a few dummy articles were added and that was that. You were left on your own to try and find out what went where but you had at least a bit of a kickstart. That has now been expanded to have a few different scenarios such as a business site, blog site etc. This would be a good start for Drupal which currently has two profiles, Standard and Minimal.

Secondly, a move away from the current profiles and maybe more of a selection based on your needs. A table with a list of groups of modules to do certain tasks. Such as, "do you want more advanced admin functions." This would then enable Overlay, Toolbar, Contextual Links, Dashboard. Basically a screen where you can create your own bespoke distribution only using core modules rather than installing the (great than) 20 modules in the Standard profile.

Admin theme - Seven

My favourite administration theme, probably not to the taste of everyone but I think it works well.


Not a Drupal 8 thing but good to see distributions given more of a spotlight on d.o. I feel they play a key role in the progression of Drupal towards new users.

Set up a standard Wordpress installation and a standard Drupal installation. Wordpress is the winner in my eyes and the people I have seen using the each CMS. The media management and WYSIWYG are the main separators and they way everything seems to sit together in the admin screen.

But once, you have a properly configured Drupal installation with a few contrib modules you suddenly have a much more powerful CMS which has much improved usability. With a few modules it beats Joomla and Wordpress on most fronts.


Taxonomy autocomplete fields

They work great and are easy to use. For me as well as other developers and perhaps more tech savy users but I have found that the less tech inclined don't understand what is happening when that animation starts swirling. I would like something like Active Tags to be included as it is much more intuitive.

Comment notifications

I know this isn't really something that should be included in core for something like Drupal but it is something major that lacks with the comments module. Without notifications it makes the site less friendly for users as they are forced to check back sporadically to see if a reply has been posted. I would either want to see some basic notification system that can be easily overwritten or comments removed completely from core.

Statistics module still exists

It may well be a simple thing that a lot of sites may want, but I feel the statistics module is the wrong way to go about it. It is expensive on server resources and pales in comparison to something like Clicky or Google Analytics.


Again, fully appreciate the reason for this but when the competition is shipping a package with a WYSIWYG built in to a user new to CMS's Drupal is behind. To get one set up the standard response is to install the WYSIWYG module and then you need to download the Javascript library for the editor of your choice and it isn't always clear especially to novice users where these files need to go.

Lack of theme options

Or rather I should say themes. The colour options for Bartik are good but novices want to be able to change everything and anything in the looks department. Where Drupal is strong isn't where most novice users care.

Two or three standard themes that come with core Drupal all with support for the colour module would be a great start.

Inline editing

A key item which I think sets CMS's apart. The Contextual Links module does help to a large degree on editing certain elements of a page and in some cases inline editing may be a pain to enable depending on the complexity of the content types.

Password strength

Causes more problems than it solves. The classic XKCD comic showed us about the true strength of passwords and the ability for us to remember them. I have found users have been confused by wording of the password strength box thinking that whatever they type is never strong enough. On all my Drupal sites, this box is now hidden completely. Only the password match bit remains.