Exciting new in-core features in Drupal 8.3.x
As far as Drupal minor releases go, 8.3.x is a pretty major one. A whole host of new features have been brought into the open source content management system, and some experimental modules have been updated since the last iteration. Here’s a brief rundown of what’s new, what’s been updated, and how each new feature makes life that little bit easier for site builders.
These new experimental modules come into core for the first time in Drupal 8.3.x. The idea behind experimental modules is to help contributors who are working on core features test out their work with modules that are included in core but not yet fully supported. Here’s hoping all the following make it to fully-supported core status.
Layout Discovery module
This makes it easy for developers to structure a form or page, since layouts can be reused throughout Drupal, such as form modes, view modes and implementing modules like Panels.
Place Blocks module
This module allows the placement of any block from any page except admin pages. Each region gets a ‘+’ button, making it simpler for site builders and maintainers to place a block within the context of the website’s theme. This gives the user a more visual and interactive way to place blocks, while giving a realistic representation of how the block will look.
The Workflows module is now the underlying API used by the Content Moderation module and provides a UI to make configuring multiple workflows as simple as possible for site builders or admin users.
It allows the addition of multiple states and transitions to create meaningful workflows for the needs of content editors, teams, departments, or on a per-content-type basis. It may even be used to mimic internal company processes.
Creating a workflow is as simple as adding a workflow name, configuring the states and transitions, then attaching the the workflow to a desired content type.
Workflows can now be applied to any entity too, meaning you may use a workflow for custom blocks, custom entities, taxonomies and more.
There are also a couple of updated experimental modules which I’m pretty excited about. These will become part of core if they achieve stability in the next six months.
DateTime Range module
Because it gives access to a datetime range field out of the box, that can be utilised by any Drupal entity, site builders now have one less thing to think about. Simply switching on the module is all that’s needed and, with zero configuration, it minimises the steps involved to get a datetime range field implemented on a site.
This module provides an improved UI to allow editing content and block settings, either using the in-place text editor for rich content editing, or from a sidebar on the right hand side of the page to edit block settings. As of Drupal 8.3.0, it supports drag and drop, which makes it much easier to replace and upload images.
Settings Tray module
This module is a small but effective addition that integrates with the QuickEdit module. It provides access to edit site settings such as site name, site slogan, and many more, directly from the right sidebar provided by the QuickEdit module.
The BigPipe module, which makes rendering personalised content much faster, is no longer experimental – it now has a stable version as of Drupal 8.3.0! It can now be used with zero configuration, so you just have to turn the module on.
These additions to Drupal core mean it’s easier than ever to get a Drupal site up and running. When used in combination, they provide site builders and admins with all the tools needed to make a fully-functioning website without the need for code.
With Drupal 8.4.0 about to start the beta phase, we already know that DateTime Range will make it to a stable state in the next minor release and that the contrib Media Entity module will become the in-core Media module. We’ll have to stay tuned to see what new experimental modules will be added to make Drupal an even more feature-rich content management system, straight out of the box.