Why you should be excited about Drupal 8

Now is an awesome time to be a Drupal developer.
Over the last several years, demand for Drupal experts has exploded, meaning that even those
with minimal experience end up getting amazing jobs and working on really interesting projects. There has been a cost though to committing
yourself to learning Drupal which is that a lot of what you learn isn’t very applicable
in other projects outside of Drupal. For example, where nearly all modern web applications use
object-oriented programming, Drupal has made a point of staying away from it and lots of
other systems that we use in Drupal aren’t found anywhere else. The market tells us that there is still a
ton of value in diving into Drupal but as developers we tend to want to learn tools
that are flexible and allow us to grow, and learning Drupal just because there’s plenty
of job opportunities tends to rub some of us the wrong way. Luckily, the community of
developers behind Drupal 8 have worked really hard to break out of the Drupal mould for
a variety of reasons. Lots of Drupal-specific components have been
ripped out and replaced by standard libraries. For example, you might have heard of the Symfony
framework which Drupal 8 now leverages to do tasks like route URLs to the code that
provides the output for those URLs. Also, in Drupal 8, we adopt a number of standards
used broadly in the PHP community so that it becomes much easier both for experienced
PHP developers to plug into Drupal and for Drupal developers to find their way around
other projects. It’s really through this adoption of established
standards and libraries that makes what you learn in Drupal 8 far more portable but it
can also feel a bit overwhelming. If you’re not used to working with object-oriented programming,
the structure of the new code is going to seem foreign and uninviting at first and there
will be a technical learning curve even if you were an expert at earlier versions of
Drupal. But keep in mind that the curve is now not just Drupal’s learning curve but is
also in a large part the learning curve that leads to becoming a better, more modern programmer. Now, all this stuff about object-oriented
programming, third-party libraries, and standards aside, you’ll still be able to do a lot with
Drupal 8 to leverage your experience with earlier versions of Drupal. For example, the
way that hooks work is very much the same which means that the adjustments that you
need to make the forms, pages, and other components can still be done without learning a bunch
of new systems. In fact, for many Drupal developers who work solely within hooks to make these
adjustments, there may be very little you have to learn to really get what you need
done done. If you’re like many of us who have managed
to get by learning some PHP here and there, then I’m really excited for you. If you take
the leap to truly understand and use Drupal 8, you’ll become a more competent programmer
and many new possibilities will open up for you. Lots of hobbyist developers feel like they
love the opportunity to learn the right way to do things — how to organize code, how
to make code reusable, how to build projects that really scale. Now, you have the opportunity
to learn those things while still deepening your knowledge and expertise in Drupal. So this is going to be a lot of fun and we’re
about to dive in, but I wanted to talk about just a couple of other things first.

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  • Ben Vaughn says:

    This was my first – anything – looking into Drupal 8. I'm a step up from a hobbyist and have built numerous sites with Drupal going back to, uh… a way earlier version, some for clients. This is an excellent start. Thank you!

  • Tim Roth says:

    Everybody is either switching to WordPress or web frameworks. The drupal market share is less than 5%.

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