After over four years of development, including missed deadlines on general availability, the open source Drupal 8 content management system (CMS) finally appears to be nearing the finish line.
Drupal, one of the world's most popular CMS technologies, is used by many high-profile organizations, notably Whitehouse.gov, the flagship website of the U.S. government. While Drupal founder Dries Buytaert in 2012 announced Drupal 8 would be generally available in December 2013, that date passed with no release.
While there has been little news about Drupal 8 since then, that changed this week with a big announcement -- and this time, the big money is behind it too.
Drupal 8 Support
Acquia, the lead commercial sponsor behind Drupal, announced on July 13 that it will provide commercial support for Drupal 8. So while Drupal 8 is not yet generally available, not even at the release candidate stage, Acquia is confident it can provide commercial support for what is technically still a beta.
"We think that with our cloud platform and our d8 expertise, we can remove the normal risk of betas," Tom Wentworth, Acquia's chief marketing officer wrote in a Twitter message.
Angela Byron, director of Community Development at Acquia and a Drupal core co-maintainer, wrote on Twitter that because enterprise requirements tend to be more challenging, a recommended approach would be to allow time to start building now and launch post-GA.
Byron doesn't expect to see much change between now and Drupal 8's general availability.
"Strings/UI don't freeze until RC1, but most user-facing changes in the pipeline for 8.0.0 are minor at this point," Byron tweeted.
Drupal 8 offers a marked improvement over Drupal 7 from a features perspective, with over 200 new features being added to the open source CMS. Among the new features are performance improvements for dynamic content and a focus on responsive layouts that places an emphasis on mobile delivery.
"Drupal 8 breaks the mold for dated content management models and liberates content from the page for the post-browser era," Dries Buytaert, Drupal founder and project lead, and Acquia co-founder and CTO, said in a statement. "Now we have the power to deliver the right content, to the right audience, at the right time, on the right device."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Apps Today and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.