Few days ago the Drupal developers released the first Beta of the new Drupal 7 branch. As they stated, the official stable release will be available as soon as there are no more critical bugs. Their plans are to make the transition from the old release to the new one as smooth and trouble free as possible.
Since we at SiteGround have many passionate Drupal users, we decided to test the new Beta build ourselves and update you about our findings and the features you can expect.
What's new in Drupal 7
Below I list some of the important features of Drupal 7. For the full list of changes you can check the Drupal 7 changelog. With Drupal 7 you will get:
- Database improvements
- Website Performance Improvements
- Enhanced Security
- Great new usability features such as:
- Improved support for integration of WYSIWYG editors.
- Improved installer requirements check.
- Provided descriptions and human-readable names for user permissions.
- Removed display order settings for comment module. Comment display order can now be customized using the Views module.
- And much more
- Improved time zone support
- Revamped Themes System
- File and Image Handling via Drupal
Drupal 6 upgrade to Drupal 7
We tried the upgrade ourselves and managed to perform the installation via the web update.php script. The upgrade is exactly the same as on the previous Drupal version and we have experienced no trouble during the process. According to the Drupal team they even made an upgrade of a copy of their website in an experimental environment and it worked great. Still, as with every Beta release, it is important to mentions that it should not be used for live websites yet.
Drupal Themes and Extensions
All themes and extensions for Drupal 6 should be ported to Drupal 7. Most of the extension developers have already started working on their products and making sure the next releases will be compatible with the new Drupal 7. We strongly hope that all major and popular modules will be available for Drupal 7 too. We have tested several new module releases for both the Alpha and Beta versions and were very satisfied with the results.
Short Drupal 7 Administration overview
When I first saw the Drupal 7 Administration panel I was fascinated by its user-friendly interface. Its developers have achieved a great lot and included various new features, enhancements and better functionality that will greatly improve the management of your web site.
Here are few examples:
1. With the new Drupal 7 you will be able to rapidly customize your admin dashboard and add blocks by drag-and-drop.
In the old Drupal there is no Dashboard section for the administrator. The new interface allows you to create a unified view of the features you want to check every time when you log in as administrator (much like in WordPress). Additional modules can be added or removed from the dashboard which allows you to view the exact details you are interested in.
2. With Drupal 7 you can also enable the themes you would like to use with a single click, as well as automatically install themes from a specific URL or simply upload a theme package via the Appearance section of the admin area.
The new Drupal version 7 allows you to install the desired Module or Theme straight from the administrator backend without the need to manually upload the files under your account. You could use installation from an URL or simply upload the module or theme package browsing your local computer for it. All you need to do is copy the URL from which the theme or module can be downloaded, then paste it in the “Install from a URL” box and hit the Install button. The module is automatically downloaded, installed for your Drupal 7 website and on the next screen you can decide whether to enable it right away or not.
This was just a small overview of what you are to expect from the new Drupal release. As a conclusion I would like to say that the new Drupal 7 release is greatly anticipated. It will certainly help webmasters in managing their Drupal-based websites. Most of the changes are towards easier and better management of your website. Currently the only noticeable flaw seem to be the fact that it might take time for some modules and themes to be ported for the new release.
If you need a solid ground for your Drupal website or Drupal 7 testings, you can check our Drupal hosting package!
Senior Technical Support Member