WordPress and Drupal have been the leading open-source content management systems for the past 8+ years. During this time, both platforms have created strong reputations for themselves.

WordPress has been viewed as a user-friendly content management platform, built for bloggers who need to get their information out quickly and easily without having to worry about learning how to code. This made the barrier to entry onto the platform extremely small, resulting in the landscape we have today with more than 25 percent of all websites built in WordPress.

Drupal comes from the other side of the spectrum, designed for developers as a developers platform. With this developer-first mentality, Drupal offers many more features than WordPress to provide flexibility, scale-ability, and maintainability. While the learning curve for Drupal is significantly higher than that of WordPress – reducing the adoption rate by non-technical users –  this did make Drupal stand out in the enterprise by catering to larger applications with a more robust set of requirements. Yet, in the meantime, it acquired a reputation as a developers CMS that’s not as friendly for general users.

Drupal 8 changes the game for Drupal and highlights several core strategic initiatives to help break down the barriers and remove the developer-first stigma that the platform has acquired over the years. In this blog post, we will take a look at some of these core initiatives.

Fast-forward to today, with Drupal 8 in its prime

Drupal 8 opens up a new world for users. This is backed up by the fact that 5 out of 7 active strategic core initiatives for Drupal 8 relate to improving the content management experience. The goals of these initiatives are simple:

  • Reduce the barriers of entry for non-technical users (Out-of-the-Box#, Outside-In#)
  • Provide site builders with the tools they need without having to write code (Out-of-the-Box#, Layout#)
  • Provide content managers the tools they need to be successful (Workflow#, Media#, Outside-In#)

Out-of-the-Box#  Out-of-the-Box# is a strategic core initiative for Drupal 8 which focuses on improving Drupal 8’s OOTB capabilities to provide a fully-featured CMS. Phase 1 of this initiative is to provide a fully baked example site into a core destination website for Food Network Magazine. The example will provide a rich and beautiful experience for users as they navigate through the website.

This example profile will also provide a framework for other developers to do the same thing and begin creating pre-packaged site templates, similar to what WordPress does, as a way of providing a near-plug-and-play experience.

Outside-In#  The Outside-In initiative is one which strives to improve the in-line editing experience in Drupal 8. With today’s landscape of website building platforms, it only makes sense for Drupal to push for this. A key benefit to this type of editing experience is that it keeps content managers in-context of the work they are doing. Content managers are coming to expect these types of slick editing interfaces which are offered by other CMS platforms and website builders such as WordPress, WIX, and Shopify.

Drupal 8 now ships with basic inline-editing experiences across its core features. The foundation is available and the “contrib” space is catching up. Many of the “contrib” add-ons support the in-line editing experience, while Drupal is adding more every day.

Layout#  The Layout initiative is one which is focused more on the site-builders and power-users. The goal for layouts is to provide cookie-cutter like shells where users can drag and drop content and blocks to meet their content needs.

Workflow#  The Workflow initiative is focused on improving the workflow, preview and staging capabilities for content in Drupal. Every organization has slightly different requirements when it comes to publishing content to the web. The Workflow initiative helps to strengthen the core functionality of Drupal to allow for these varied requirements by providing configurable workflows on a per-content-type basis.

Content staging is extremely important to large organizations. Being able to preview a new version of a page before publishing is significant.

Media#  Drupal 8 has long struggled with reusable media assets. The objective of Phase 1 of the media initiative is to provide a simple media solution to make Drupal 8 easy to use for basic use cases. There is a focus on strengthening this feature and integrating it into the core components of Image Fields & WYSIWYG.

While Drupal 8 may not set the highest bar for a great content management experience, it is making significant strides to catch up to its competitors. This combined with the areas at which Drupal already excels, including Performance, Security, and Maintainability, make it an obvious choice for enterprise-level CMS implementations.

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