What is Drupal?
Drupal is an Open-Source Content Management Framework (CMF) written in PHP. It’s a free platform, regarded as one of the best due to its use in professional applications, and it’s robust and versatile nature. Drupal is advanced enough manage multiple websites and this is why many consider it as a Content Management Framework (CMF) instead of a Content Management System (CMS). Drupal was coded by Dries Buytaertas an Internet Forum initially. At first, Buytaert was thinking of naming it ‘Dorp’(which means ‘village’ in Dutch), but was inspired to call it Drupal when he made a typo with ‘drop’ while he was checking for the domain’s name availability. Drupal is a slight alteration of ‘druppel’ which is Dutch for ‘droplet’. It’s preferred by web-developers because of its strong developer-based community. The release of Drupal 8 will add to 7 major releases that Drupal has made since January 15, 2001. The first 3 major versions were released within the same year of its original inception.
What kind of things differed between previous versions?
An upgrade in a major version of Drupal usually results in a change of the core modules offered, changes in the image of the website, optimized code,change in functions, interface changes and many more. The upgrade from Drupal 5 to Drupal 6 resulted in “Actions and Triggers”, Language Translation with “All languages spoken here!” and “Drag and drop administration” to make administration more user-friendly. One of the best upgrades of Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 is the introduction of Entities. An Entity is a pre-defined form an object takes in Drupal. This was a big step in the simplification of administration.
What could happen?
Many blogs have been saying that Drupal is a strong platform, but it is just too difficult to use to achieve desired results. The word on the streetis that the possibilities could be endless, but due to the complexity of the Framework, you may never achieve your goals. Well, Drupal has been listening, and with each release comes more options to make web-building more simplified. More people are starting to use Drupal and are becoming familiar with the process and modules. The community support is getting stronger and it is becoming even more versatile. There could be changes to the way you administrate for the better which could be due to better tools. The Core updates could be better and more tailored to the needs of frustrated developers. We could expect simplified Node posting, improvements to Blocks and much more. The functions of the administrators will be better simplified and easier to use.
What can you do to prep if you are upgrading?
If you are currently using Drupal 7, now is the time to start looking at the Beta Versions, and familiarizing yourself with the new framework and how it works. You can try to learn Drupal 8 now by using the configuration system. It should be easier to use, but it will take a bit of getting used to. Keep doing minor upgrades to keep abreast with security updates and to keep familiar with trends. The trends of updates could give minor hints of how they expect Drupal 8 to work.
Upgrading will not be easy especially if you are not currently using Drupal 7. If you are using Drupal 6, I would strongly advise you to upgrade to Drupal 7 and put in the extra work now to catch-up for Drupal 8. Drupal 6 will lose its community support due to Drupal’s community rule that it only supports the newest version and its previous version.