Content editing enhancements in Drupal 8

Much of the community is focusing on the improvements to Drupal 8 under the hood. Now, based on modern PHP practices, a standardized framework, and an improved theming system, Drupal 8 brings many enhancements for developers and designers. However, as a content editor familiar with Drupal 7, you might be wondering what you’ll find for you in Drupal 8.

There are many improvements which you’ll notice as soon as you login. However there are many other little gems which you discover as you continue to use your new Drupal 8 site. For example in previous versions of Drupal, to edit the "authored on" date you were confronted with a text field. In Drupal 8, you select the date.
change authored date

In this blog post, I'm going to focus on the content editing experience and highlight some select improvements. Next week, we'll get a Drupal 8 preview from a site builder perspective. In an up coming tutorial on building a website in Drupal 8, I'll give site builders a good preview to the new tools in place.

Sign up to Drupal 8 Preview for Site Builders , Oct 23rd 1:00 PM EDT

More consistent visual design

Right from the start you can see some changes in the administration menu, which is much simpler. The administration menu can be docked on the top or side of the screen, easier editing in smaller screens. Even this action of clicking the dock button feels snappy!

admin menu dock

Funny enough - to me, at least visually, the changes are subtle. You could argue that the user interface was changed much more between Drupal 6 to 7, compared to 7 to 8. For this reason I don't think the change will be as jarring. Overall, it's more visually appealing and design among contributed modules will be more consistent thanks to the efforts of some talented designers to develop a clear style guide. See "Designing Drupal 8" Prague, Sept 2013.

Easier to add content

  • The content editing form options appear in two columns, which can be collapsed, making it easier to review settings.
    edit content two columns
  • WYSIWYG editing is now in core.
    WYSIWYG bar
  • Improved even from the Drupal 7 versions of WYSIWYG. For example, when you configure buttons, it automatically updates your input formats.
    Configure WYSIWYG buttons
  • Copy and paste from Word, you can clean it before pasting.
    clean before pasting
  • Copy and paste preserves markup.
    Import from word

Easier to find and edit content

  • Sensible defaults: Revisions automatically created for content.
  • Cleared up confusion about published and unpublished states With "Save and publish" option.
    Save unpublished
  • Modify published date by choosing options instead of editing blank text field.
    change authored date
  • In place editing, "quick edit", allows you to change content without needing to visit another page.
    click quick edit

Image management

  • You can upload and align images.
    Image insert options
  • You can caption images in the WYSIWYG editor.
    Add caption
  • You don’t have the two step process of browsing and attaching images.

Easier to administer content and users

  • The front page is now a configurable View.
  • The internal administration pages such as the content list, and people list are also Views, which means you can customize that experience.
  • For example, you can configure the options for bulk editing or the filters available. This is just an example:
    added filter
  • The people listing allows you to search by specific permissions, and these filters are also configurable.
    People listing

Some things are gone! But this will lead to quicker development.

Some modules were removed from the core installation of Drupal. This is so they can follow their own development cycle and benefit from more quick improvements.

  • Blog module - this created a content type and listing. However, in Drupal 7 it was not enabled by default.
  • The Dashboard module - this made a landing page with options to configure links.
  • Poll module removed from core - Now moved to core Getting modernized, possibly becoming a field.
  • Profile module which was pretty much deprecated in Drupal 7 is fully removed now.

Site Building Preview!

Looking at the content editing enhancements, I can see that it's going to make a developer's job easier. Many of the changes are things we advise developers to do already. In fact, in our Site Building in Drupal 7 class, we spend significant time teaching developers how to improve the content admin experience. Now much of this is handled in core.

In the webinar on Oct 23rd, well take a site building preview of Drupal 8. You'll see the differences in adding content types; how to add custom blocks (with fields!); display modes in core; form modes; picture handling for responsive designs; WYSIWYG configuration, and inline images; and more.

Sign up to Drupal 8 Preview for Site Builders , Oct 23rd 1:00 PM EDT

There are loads of small differences that are going to make your job as a site builder much easier - and so many popular tools included with core that you won't need as many contributed modules to make many sites.

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