Drupal 7 vs Drupal 8

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Drupal 7 vs Drupal 8

Drupal 8 is an improved version of Drupal 7 that offers a range of benefits over its predecessor. In this article, we’re digging deep into what makes Drupal 8 different from Drupal 7.

We’ll cover some of the most important differences in features, usability, performance, and scalability, and hopefully help you in decideing whether or not to upgrade or migrate your Drupal website. Or, at the least, prepare you with some critical information about the difference between these two versions of the Drupal CMS.

Comparing Drupal 7 vs Drupal 8 can feel a little like comparing drupes, or fruit around a pit, like these fruits in this photo taken at the farmers market in 2023
Comparing Drupal 7 vs Drupal 8 can feel a little like comparing drupes, or fruit around a pit, like these fruits in this photo taken at the farmers market in 2023.

5 Key Distinctions

Drupal logo for Drupal 7

Drupal 8 is a major departure from the previous version of Drupal and offers vastly improved performance and scalability, along with new features, modules, and tools that make building websites much easier.

Since it’s initial release, for Drupal 7, back in 2011, and really also for Drupal 8 (released in 2015), many organizations have migrated from Drupal to WordPress. Since then, there have been several major updates to both versions of the software.

Drupal 8 offers many more features than Drupal 7. From a modern user interface, to mobile-friendly and responsive design capabilities, there are plenty of new tools at your disposal.

  • A modern theme engine and improved content editing capabilities
  • Improved multilingual support with language switcher modules and translation support
  • An updated version of Views for easier content creation and customization
  • Integration with external APIs using web services API’s including RESTful API’s for integration into other web services
  • A new configuration system that is compatible with development-friendly source control systems like Git or Subversion

Improved User Experience

Drupal 8 has a much cleaner, modern interface. It uses HTML5 and is optimized for the latest browsers and mobile devices. Between Drupal 8 and 7, they really improved user experience. In Drupal 8, much of the administrative UI has been reworked with a focus on usability. Importing and exporting content from Drupal is easier. Content managers and editors generally prefer Drupal 8 or newer.

Improved Performance

With improved caching technology in Drupal 8, websites run faster than ever before; pages take less time loading up and databases perform more efficiently when handling large amounts of data at once.

Drupal 8 also offers great improvements in usability through increased speed and reliability. It has been optimized extensively so that users can quickly navigate their way through content on any device. Organizations see significantly improved loading times in Drupal after updating, thanks to the new dynamic caching system and the new image optimization tools.

Comprehensive Theming Support

One of the biggest additions in Drupal 8, without a doubt, is its comprehensive theming system, catching up with many competitors offerings.

Drupal 8 allows for more fine-grained theming and customization with the introduction of Twig — a powerful theme engine. Twig provides a simple syntax which makes it easier to customize components, layouts and other elements on your website. This simplifies the process of creating unique designs that meet the needs of your customers.

Improved Security Features

Both versions of Drupal are secure, but Drupal 8 has a more advanced security system, with built-in features like password strength meter for users, two-factor authentication support for administrators, and encryption/decryption support for data storage.

Members or user management tools are also improved. Teams note managing, adding, deleting, and exporting Drupal users is improved from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8.

Increased Flexibility

Drupal 8 has a new configuration management system which is flexible and allows you to easily make changes across multiple sites or environments. This makes it much easier to move a website from development, to staging, and finally into production with minimal effort.

Drupal 8 offers more flexibility than Drupal 7. Developers now have the ability to easily customize their content types via the new “Field UI” system, which provides a user-friendly interface for creating and managing fields. This makes it easy to add custom fields to any content type, as well as modify existing ones.

Next Steps: Which is right for your organization?

Choosing the right version of Drupal for your organization is a big decision. Both versions have their own advantages and disadvantages and depending on the type of project, one may be better suited than another.

Drupal 8 is a major upgrade from Drupal 7, and if you’re considering switching platforms to one of the top Drupal alternatives or upgrading to the newer version, then we’d recommend doing what you feel is right. The improved performance and scalability, along with the newly added features, make upgrading to Drupal 8 a great choice.

At the same time, Drupal 7 is still popular, but scheduled for End-of-Life in late-2023. The popularity is understandable, as Drupal 7 is still really functional, and has many features that could be useful for certain websites as well. Ultimately, each organization needs to carefully consider their website requirements before deciding which version will best suit their needs.

If your organization has a specific need for either version, it’s important to do an in-depth comparison and choose the one that best fits your needs. The best approach is to assess your current needs and planned future plans to determine which version meets those requirements while providing the best user experience.

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About the Author

Katrina Pfitzner

Katrina Pfitzner

Katrina is a developer, designer, author, and thought leader on topics including Drupal. For more from Katrina, find her on twitter and follow her on medium.

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Katrina Pfitzner

Katrina Pfitzner

Katrina is a developer, designer, author, and thought leader.

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