Over the last few months, we've been covering the Drupal community's progress towards releasing Drupal 8.
Now that the first major deadline is only a week away, it's time to provide another update.
What's the state of Drupal 8?
Decemeber 1st is the feature freeze. What does that mean in practice? According to Dries, "No new features are allowed (unless specifically exempted), focus turns instead to API and UI clean-ups and polishing of existing features."
Here's the situation the seven official initiatives: http://drupal.org/community-initiatives/drupal-core.
Of the original six initiatives for Drupal 8, five are nearing completion. One initative (Design) was dropped and two new ones (Layouts) and (Views in Core) were added. All seven current initiatives are making good progress.
The File Structure
You can download and test Drupal 8 from http://drupal.org/node/572834.
When you extract the package, the first thing you might notice is that the file system has been altered.
Here's the current file and folder structure for Drupal 7:
And here's the file and folder structure for Drupal 8.
What happened is that as many of the core files as possible were moved into the /core/ folder.
With previous Drupal versions, the folder system was confusing. Many people uploaded modules and themes directly to the /modules/ and /themes/ folder, not knowing that those were core files.
Here's the content of the /core/ folder. You can see the similarities between this and the main Drupal 7 folder.
People who have installed Drupal 7 won't notice any difference with the Drupal 8 installation process.
However, both the requirements for running Drupal have changed with version 8. Drupal 8 requires PHP 5.3.5 and also that PHP magic quotes be turned off. Click here for the solution to that problem and click here for a full list of requirements.
Hello New Modules, Goodbye Old
The Modules link in the toolbar has been renamed to Extend, but the changes to much deeper than that. There have been widespread changes to the default modules. Many of those changes were made by the initiative teams.
Here are the new modues in Drupal 8:
And here are the Drupal 7 modules that haven't made the move to Drupal 8:
Views in Core
Out of all the new modules listed above, one has caused the most excitment. Views is here already! If you've used Views in Drupal 7, you'll feel at home and won't notice much of a difference in design or features.
Three of the default themes from Drupal 7 have been ported to Drupal 8: Bartik, Stark and the admin theme Seven. Garland has been dropped.
Look for another Drupal 8 update early next year. By that time, more radical improvements will probably be in the core, perhaps including a WYSIWYG editor, the Pathauto module, in-place editing and a new administrator toolbar.
Here are our previous Drupal 8 recaps: