Expert Interview: Sam Timalsina on Drupal 8
Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure to talk with one of Magic Logix's talented web developers, Sam Timalsina, and got this thoughts what we can expect from the highly anticipated Drupal 8.
Magic Logix: Thank you for meeting with me. First off, can you tell me a little bit about why you got into programming.
I was always interested in technology. Being a creative person, its one of the best ways to get my creative self out, and I'm not a singer, not a dancer. That said, when I started programming I was more of a backend guy, working with PHP and what not. I did have to start somewhere, and if I remember correctly, I taught myself everything I know about Drupal.
Magic Logix: Oh? And how did that work out for you?
It was very easy to install and use, but has so many things you can do. It was quite hard to -perfect- it, considering there are literally thousands of modules constant used and updated. Plus, (the industry at large) is still using modules designed for Drupal 5, updated for 6, now 7, and this says nothing of all the modules constantly coming out.
ML: From the sounds of it, keeping track of which module should be used is complicated. Any advice?
Well, when modules start getting really interesting, they get used by loads of folks. At that point they get merged into the Drupal Core, and that's where you'll find a lot of what you're looking for. Having your module adopted into the Drupal Core is one of the biggest achievements you can have as this kind of developer.
ML: Now that we get closer to Drupal 8's release, what are the pratfalls for already completed projects? Do you worry about current say, Drupal 7 projects having issues?
Your older versions of Drupal will run fine as long as the server has a supported PHP version. In that sense, the old code will run no matter what improvements happen in new versions and changes in the industry. But, there could be several issues with security. People are always finding loopholes in content management systems, and if you look hard enough you’ll find them in Drupal. As more websites move away from, say, Druapl 5 through 7, fewer updates happen and thus more exploitations are sure to appear. That said, Drupal 8 is supposed to be incredibly responsive right out of the box.
ML: As in load times and what not?
Presumably, but responsiveness in particular is the capability of displaying websites on any device, in its native, best format. So when a website is looked at from a mobile phone or tablet, the best resolution and formatting with be loaded. This is more than just an issue of accessibility, mobile formats have limited real estate, and loading high quality images only to then compress them down is wasted bandwidth/slower load times. Current CMS' have practically no support for device detection. To make today's websites responsive, developers have to hand code everything, but Drupal 8 wants to reduce this work. Obviously to make things work as intended we've got plenty to tweak, like the design, but most of the hard work of responsive coding should be done already. I’d have to double check, but its going to have multi-language support right out of the box, the best modules from the core, and the UI...
ML: What's wrong with the UI?
Now, that’s one of the most important things to increase Drupal’s adoption among businesses. Developers already love it as a whole, but the content developers who interact with the UI often comment that it is not as user friendly as other CMS, such as wordpress. So, that’s going to change as it continues to gain popularity. Drupal is just so much more scalable that other CMS that I feel companies should move to it, like Twitter did recently. Of course, it’s really not necessary for very small sites, due to not being as user friendly and not being object oriented. Also, with all the modules, you could intentionally make your site slower than you expect.
ML: And finally... having started development in late 2011, developers have online lotteries in place centered around guessing when Drupal 8 will come out, what's your bet?
Really? Well, if I'm not wrong I've heard rumors from the very end of August. This isn't something you see on the homepage, as much as dug into the forums, so maybe then? Of course, this could just be another beta, not the full release.