Review of new developments in Drupal 8.8

15 January 2020
nouveautés_drupal_8_8
As with any new major release worth its salt, it is expected that it will offer new features. And Drupal 8.8 is no exception.

Indeed, with this new version, Drupal confirms its place as one of the leaders in CMS by offering exciting new innovation opportunities and a user experience that’s among the top rated in web technology and content management overall.

 

1. The incorporation of the “Media Library” module in the core.

This module offers a highly-anticipated feature. It enables better media management by providing the option to reuse the media once uploaded on the site.

 

module_media_library

 

 

This module can be natively integrated into the rich text editor (RTE) which will enable contributors to download media on the site without changing screens. Nearly everything happens from the RTE’s editor using its robust and extensible toolbar.

 

rte_editor

It is important to note that this module manages the following types of media:

  • Image (png, jpeg …)
  • Audio (mp3, wav, aac)
  • Document (txt, rtf, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, xls, xlsx, pdf, odf, odg, odp, ods, odt)
  • Remote video (YouTube, Vimeo)
  • Video (mp4)

 

drupal_media_selection

 

The library is equipped with, among others, the following feature

  • Integrated search engine.
  • Option of switching between the List View and Grid.

 

List Mode

list_mode_drupal_library

 

Grid Mode

list_grid_drupal_library

 

The module’s designers have gone a step further and also provided the option of creating a custom mode by using the power of the iconic “views” module. All that is required is to click the “Edit view” button.

drupal_view_module

 

Once the views module is operational, the display mode for the columns in the listing (list, grid, html list …) may be changed. 

 

2. New administration theme 

A new admin theme, called “Claro”, has been integrated into the 8.8.0 core. This new theme is truly different from those offered by default from the CMS.

It was designed to respond to the various requirements of accessibility and responsive design.

 

Desktop Screen

desktop_screen_claro_theme_drupal

 

 

Mobile Screen

mobile_screen_claro_theme_drupal

 

While this theme may still be considered as experimental, the innovations it provides are a good starting point in offering a good user experience.

 

3. The workspace 

The workspace is a concept introduced to respond to the issue of contributors, being unable to edit and preview a batch of content in their work environment before publishing it. The dedicated module allows content to be prepared and previewed before publishing.

Consider the case of an organisation that is preparing its publications, communication and forms for the winter season. With workspaces, it is possible to a create a “winter” dedicated workspace where the editors are able to monitor the implementation of content, evolutions, and various validations. Once the entirety of the content has been validated, all that is required is to confirm the opening of the “winter” season.

 

drupal_workspace

 

Regarding other evolutions (this time technical), we may note the integration into the Drupal core of project templates using the “composer” tool (this tool enables the management of application dependencies such as external modules or libraries). These templates enable the creation of original projects manages by “composer”.

To initialise a Drupal, the developer may use two templates:

  • drupal/recommended-project

 

This is the model recommended for security purposes as the “index.php” and “core” elements are located in the “web” file accessible by the web server. However, the latter will not have direct access to the “vendor” folder and “composer.json” file found at the same level as the “web” file but out of reach of the web server.

  • drupal/legacy-project

 

This is the classic model where one has the entirety of the Drupal files and folders, index.php, core, profiles … at the top level of the website.

The structure of the top-level directory looks like:

autoload.php 

profiles

themes

Composer.json

update.php

Composer.lock

Makefile

robots.txt 

vendor

core          

index.php          

modules     

sites     

web.config

With this configuration, all files are accessible by the web server, which presents a potential security risk. Being able to implement this directory for the “vendor” folder for the “composer.json” files is a significant security improvement.

 

Conclusion

For existing Drupal 8 sites, it is recommended to move to the 8.8.0 version to incorporate the latest security updates as well as the new features described above. This version will continue to receive bug fixes in order to prepare for the release of version 9.0.0. This means that the transition to version 9.0.0 will be simpler to implement if one starts from version 8.8.0. However, it is worth studying the impacts of this upgrade on the contributor modules as well as on the features already in place on the site, particularly if one is starting from previous versions such as 8.5.x or 8.6.x.

 

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