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Drupal VM 4 Is Here! With PHP 7.1 And Easy PHP Switching
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Drupal 8 – Is It Ready For The Enterprise Web?

Drupal VM 4 Is Here! With PHP 7.1 And Easy PHP Switching

Drupal is the open-source software popular for use in sites which contain blogs, portals, forums, e-commerce sites, information about individual and corporate entities, intranets, resource directories, social networking sites, etc. Written in  PHP, it is available in a ready-to-use format upon being downloaded. This software supports content management, podcasts, collaborative authoring, image galleries, newsletters and much more. Now, the newest and latest version of it is available on the net, seven whole months after PHP 7.0 and Ubuntu 16.04 were introduced by the VM 3 version of this Drupal software.  

Some of you might not be familiar with the concept of the Drupal VM. It is an instrument, or tool, built with the help of Vagrant and Ansible, that helps in the development of  Drupal environments.With the 4th installment in the series the Drupal tool is enhanced in terms of flexibility. You get a plethora of choices to pick from.  A few of the binaries are MySQL or PostgreSQL, Nginx or Apache, Redis or Memcached, and CentOS or Ubuntu.  Also, Drupal VM 4 is empowered with a seamless mode-switching power which allows the web developer to change the PHP mode in a fluid, no-hassle manner. The modes available are 5.6, 7.0 7.1. The best thing is that you can do this without having to recreate the whole development environment.

Here is a comprehensive list of the benefits that Drupal VM 4 would empower you with:

  • A really great aspect is that Drush is completely optional. You can choose to either use the version attached to the project or not use it at all. This is undoubtedly good news for web developers around the world.
  • As already mentioned before, Drupal VM 4 supports all three versions of the programming language PHP: 5.6, 7.0 and 7.1. All you need to do in order to activate the ‘smooth switch’ system is to do an update of the PHP version and run the Vagrant Provision. This easy PHP mode switching is apparently the real reason people are extremely excited about the recent update.
  • Another benefit is that you would now require the use of Vagrant 1.8.6 or later, VirtualBox 5.1.10 or later, and Ansible 2.2.0 or later. Of these, the latter is important only if it is installed on the host.
  • Although PHP 7.0 remains as the default, you’d be able to install the PHP 7.1 or 5.6 in a smooth movement (details mentioned in another point and also in the introduction).
  • You can work these changes on any Operating System, whether on a laptop or mobile.
  • Among other improvements, you can avail of the PHP upload_progress support, the optional DRUPALVM_ANSIBLE_ARGS support for the Ansible CLI options, and use the shallow Drush cones for the sake of building up environments faster. Drupal VM 4 has also added the GitHub ISSUE_TEMPLATE, fixed the Solr versioning error and set the composer.json to “VM” over “Project”.  A few bugs have been fixed; such as the #981, #1014, #1020, #1004 and #1037.

Awesome, isn’t it? And we have the exemplary efforts of Oskar Scholstrom and Thom Toogood to thank for it all!

Drupal 8 – Is It Ready For The Enterprise Web?

Drupal is an open-source web content management framework and platform written in PHP. It combines content, community, and commerce very well and has an extensive library of over 24000 features. In terms of scalability, flexibility, and security, Drupal is an enterprise class CMS.

On 19th November 2015, Drupal 8 was officially released which is a completely re-written version of the Drupal platform. Its core platform has more than 200 new features built in and its backend is powered by Symfony 2 which is PHP framework and set of reusable PHP components/libraries for building high-performance web applications. Following are the top new features available in Drupal 8:

Awesome Authoring Experience

Drupal 8 introduces out-of-the-box experience for content authors.

  • Spark – It’s a Drupal distribution and an Acquia initiative created by Dries Buytaert to improve Drupal core’s default authoring experience.
  • WYSIWYG Editor – Drupal 8 comes with the CKEditor WYSIWYG editor. In addition to the default buttons for bold, italic, images, links etc., it also supports extras such as easily editable image captions and widget features. Drupal 8’s drag-and-drop admin interface helps in adding and removing buttons in the WYSIWYG toolbar, which automatically syncs the allowed HTML tags for a given text format and thus immensely improves usability. All buttons are contained in ‘button groups’ with labels that are invisible to the naked eye but can be read by screen readers, providing an awesome, accessible editing experience for website visitors. Drupal 8’s Editor module wraps the WYSIWYG integration, so other libraries can be tightly integrated as well in contrib.
  • In-place Editing – This feature allows editors to click into any field within a piece of content and edit it right on the front-end of the website without accessing the back-end form in the admin area. Full node content, user profiles, custom blocks are in-place editable.
  • Content Creation Page – The redesigned content creation page in Drupal 8 contains two columns:
    • The main fields or the actual content part
    • Extras or optional settings
  • Admin Theme – New style guide for the ‘Seven’ admin theme.
  • Draft Support in Core – API support added as an under-the-hood change in the core to support content draft revisions making the publishing workflow modules like Workbench much easier.

Mobile First

To keep up with the global expansion of mobile devices worldwide, Drupal 8 has been made more mobile-friendly out-of-the-box. From installation to authoring experience, everything in Drupal 8 is mobile friendly and supports responsive design.

  • All core themes are now responsive and automatically reflow elements such as menus and blocks to fit well on mobile devices.
  • Built-in support for responsive images, so large desktop images is properly resized to display on a tablet or smartphone.
  • Support for responsive tables is available. Table columns can be declared as high, medium or low importance. On wide screens, all the columns will be shown as expected, but as screen size shrinks the less important columns will begin dropping off so that the table shows nicely no matter the screen size.
  • The new admin toolbar is responsive, automatically expanding and orienting itself on wider screens while collapsing and orienting vertically on smaller screens.
  • Improved front-end performance by replacing jQuery with native JavaScript when possible, and not loading any Javascript files by default for anonymous visitors. Additionally, Drupal 8 uses lighter-weight alternatives to JavaScript-intensive features that are more mobile friendly.
  • Back to site link is visible in the admin toolbar while in an administrative context to go back to the front page.

Multilingual++

Drupal 8 core is much better out of the box for foreign language and multilingual websites.

  • Language Handling – Drupal 8 can be natively installed in 94 languages and a language can be assigned to everything like pages, menus, views etc. There are also language dependent blocks available. Browser language detection can be made configurable with external language codes. Transliteration is built-in for machine names.
  • Interface Translation – Automatic downloading and updating options are available. Built-in translation UI is revamped for easier editing. Custom translations can be protected and are exportable. The English text is customizable.
  • Content Translation – Flexible language defaults configuration option is available. The language selector can be freely positioned or hidden. The configuration of field-level translation can be done. Images can be shared optionally between translations on image fields. Translation can be applied to all types of content (taxonomy, user fields, products, rules, etc). Views are integrated with flexible filtering and display options. It’s fully integrated with core search as separate results and language information is exposed via the Search API. Per-language content access option is available.
  • Configuration Management – All configuration is translatable (roles, text formats, blocks, views, panels, etc.). Built-in responsive translation interface is available. There is an overview screen for translators, contextual translation tabs for site builders. All shipped config can be pre-translatable on localize.drupal.org.

What’s Missing?

  • As with new releases of software, 3rd party plugins, tools, and themes are sometimes slow to upgrade and have full support for Drupal 8
  • Support for old versions of PHP – check with your web host to make sure you’re running on PHP 5.5.9+ (see requirements here: https://www.drupal.org/docs/7/system-requirements/php
  • Developers with experience in Drupal 8

 

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