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First dips on Drupal 8

When I first started using Drupal, in fall 2010, the release of Drupal 7 was imminent, at least that's what people said. This site was the first web-site I wrote in Drupal, and I used a release candidate of D7.

Fast forward to 2013 - Drupal 8 is getting more stable and will hopefully get released in half a year or so. I am especially excited about the new configuration system, that will allow pushing a site from development to production without having to merge the content.

As expected, the installation wasn't quite as easy and smooth as with D7. First, I upgraded phh, because D8 needs php 5.3.10 at least. php 5.4 wasn't an option, because I am running several D7 sites on this servers, so php 5.3.27 was it. Next I downloaded D8 using drush (upgraded to drush 7). Something wasn't right when changing to a different theme, and I got the white screen of death. Next day, I tried to get a new version using drush - only to realize that I now had to check out directly from git. Now, I finally could get going with D8.

After more issues with drush (e.g., when downloading zen, it gave me the Drupal 7 version), and realizing that most of the themes that were marked as D8 compatible were not yet ported to the twig theming engine, I just merged files from the D8 core bartik and the D7 zen, mixed and matched, and created a new simple theme that resembles my old theme but is mostly responsive. I learned to stay away from contributed modules for now, and was able to create a nice looking site without much effort. Another pitfall: when clearing the cash, the php - twig cash currently doesn't get cleared. I had to go to sites/default/files and remove the php subdirectory manually after changing the .twig files in the theme's templates directory.

The new site can be seen at http://d8.upsitesweb.com

All in all: I really like the new interface, the wysiwyg editor that allows me to switch to source at any time, the ease of adding images to posts, and many more D8 features.

I'll move the old content over as time allows, and will include a database schema for D8!

The much discussed backdrop fork (http://backdropcms.org/) includes many of these new features of Drupal 8. I am curious how backdrop is going to develop. I don't consider the name well chosen, since the guesstimated urls (leaving out the cms part) go to completely different types of sites.

Added: Lessons learned:

  • If the development site breaks after upgrade, don't even think of changing a simple thing on the production site, because it will break as well
  • In today's version of D8 (10/1/2013), a file called normalize.css file specified in default theme gets ignore, and a core file "normalize.css" gets read instead. Renaming to normalize_themename.css fixes the problem

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