Drupal in 2019

What You Can Expect From Drupal in 2019, And In The Years Ahead

Even though Drupal has evolved since we first started building with it over a decade ago, the essential features that make it a fantastic choice for custom websites are still the same. They’ve just been improved upon.

There are some changes coming for Drupal on the horizon that have been announced for 2019, and in the next few years to come. We often say that it’s impossible to build something online to last forever. But we anticipate Drupal is going to continue to be a powerful, relevant CMS in 2019 and for years after.

Drupal As More Than Content Management

Drupal’s open source build and modular structure have always made it an ideal platform for building a custom website to support unique, branded experiences. Omnichannel marketing, personalization, and interactive content are the pillars of creating a custom branded website. Drupal has recognized that trend and has pushed to become more than just a content publishing tool.

Here’s a recent statement from Dries (the original creator of Drupal): “It's no longer just about publishing content; it’s about managing the entire experience of a site visitor or user over time.”

Drupal’s open source build makes it simple to freely integrate with other tools and API’s - such as CRM’s, email marketing systems, and social media marketing systems. Drupal’s modular layout makes building a custom website with unique content and interactive experiences much easier as well, providing a foundation that saves weeks of development time as opposed to building an entirely custom website from scratch.

Drupal is so receptive to customization that it’s likely you can visit several different websites at a time without having any idea that they were all built on the same platform. Here are a few examples of websites currently built on Drupal:

Education:

71 of the top 100 universities and 28% of all .edu sites are on Drupal.

Government:

Publishing/Corporate

Trip Advisor is Built on Drupal from Bear Group's Bear Ideas Blog

Beyond the initial build of a website, Drupal continues to be a powerful tool for creating new page layouts and managing complex content tasks without requiring a developer to do so. One of the criticisms of Drupal has been that it’s more difficult to use than smaller CMS platforms - such as Wordpress or Squarespace.

In response to that, Drupal version 8.0 saw the release of new a layout builder feature. The layout builder can be used to create new page layouts at the drop of a hat, adding different paragraph types the feature image fields, custom text layouts, carousel features, and other content management tools.

The Drupal Community

The size of Drupal’s development community is a sure sign that Drupal will be around for quite some time. Drupal will continue because it has an enormous community of developers who are invested in making the best CMS platform they can. This development community provides a well-spring of updates that make Drupal a safer, more secure platform.

In addition to the system patches and ongoing development that maintain Drupal’s performance (and make it a much more secure platform than Wordpress) Drupal developers also build and freely contribute modules. These modules enable website capabilities and functionalities that you can use to customize your website - and they’re already written and tested for you.

Note: Come see us at Drupalcon 2019 in Seattle!

Drupal Is Meant for More Than Desktops

Drupal is being used more and more often as a “headless” CMS. What this means is that Drupal has enabled itself to be decoupled from its front-end. You can still continue to use the backend of Drupal as a content management system and repository, but use Javascript frameworks (like React.js) or progressive web apps to be responsible for rendering what a user sees communicating with Drupal behind the scenes to populate content.

Drupal 9

There are patches and new developments released frequently, but the next big push on the horizon is the release of Drupal 9 in 2020. We have a while yet before that happens, but you should start planning for a website migration if you are on a version of Drupal older than 7.0. Drupal only actively supports its last 2 releases, and plans to discontinue support for Drupal 7.0 in November of 2021. Administrators running their website on an unsupported version of Drupal will start to see security vulnerabilities, UX breakdowns, and other issues increase over time.

The responsibilities of a CMS even 3 years ago are completely different now, with ease of integration, mobile responsiveness, and cloud support topping the list when WYSIWYG capability, social media integrations, and user-generated content were priorities a few years ago. Internet technology becomes irrelevant if it doesn’t adapt to what’s needed of over time.

Upcoming Drupal Releases and Events:

  • Seattle DrupalCon April 8-12, 2019
  • Drupal 9 on June 3, 2020
  • End of life for Drupal 7 November 2021