Drupal’s most recent upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 made some integral upgrades for security and other technical improvements. Many of the best modules have now been moved into the core, while Drupal has made it easier to use contributed modules than ever before. Creating seamless integrations with Drupal 8 has also never been easier.
The Drupal 8.4 beta release on August 17, 2017, adds additional stability and meaningful improvements while giving developers and site builders the chance to test the latest version on development sites before it goes live. Drupal is stabilizing many of the experimental modules with the release of Drupal 8.4, providing improved tools for content authoring and site administration, developer experience, and performance and scalability.
Here are a few important new Drupal 8.4 features to know about:
Drush Users Must Update to 8.1.12
Older versions are no longer compatible and fatal errors will occur.
Internet Explorer 9 and 10 are No Longer Supported
In April 2017, Microsoft discontinued all support for Internet Explorer 9 and 10. Drupal 8.4 follow suit by doing the same. It will partially work for now, but all support will be phased out by the 8.5 release.
Other Outdated Browsers to be Phased Out
Drupal 8’s browser requirements page currently lists incorrect information regarding very outdated browser versions such as Safari 5 and Firefox 5. Clarifications and edits to the browser policy are underway.
Preserves Backward Comparability for Public APIs
However, there may be changes in internal APIs and experimental modules that require updates.
Major Updates for Symfony 3.2 and jQuery 3
According to Drupal, both updates may introduce backward compatibility issues for some sites or modules, so they recommend testing carefully.
File Usage Tracking
Drupal 8 has a few known file usage tracking bugs. To prevent unintentional data loss, Drupal 8.4 has disabled the automatic deletion of files with no known remaining usages.
Revision Data and Draft Updates
It was discovered that data from draft revisions for path aliases, menus, and books could leak into the live site. Drupal 8.4.0-alpha1 fixes these issues, as well as a similar problem in the Content Moderation module.
New Stable Modules
The Datetime Range module provides a field type that allows end dates to support contributed modules like Calendar. This is backward-compatible with the 8.3.x experimental version.
The Layout Discovery module in Drupal 8.4 provides an API in core that enables both core and contributed layout solutions to be compatible with each other.
The new core Media module in Drupal 8.4 provides an API for reusable media. It is based on the contributed Media Entity module.
Inline Form Errors
The Inline Form Errors module provides a summary of any validation errors at the top of a form and places the individual error messages next to the form elements themselves. This fix will help users understand which entries need to be fixed and how to do them.
The Workflow module uses draft, archived, and published tags to identify progress. With this release, Drupal 8.4 gives Workflows backward compatibility and may be stable in time for public release.
Migrate (beta stability)
Migrate will be considered completely stable once all issues tagged critical are resolved.
Content Moderation (beta stability)
Content Moderation allows workflows from the Workflows module to be applied to content. States are now selected from a select list, rather than under a drop-button, making it much more usable.
Field Layout (alpha stability)
This module enables site builders to rearrange fields on content types and block types into new regions.
Settings Tray (alpha stability)
The Settings Tray module allows you to configure blocks, menus, and other page elements from the frontend of your site.
Place Blocks (alpha stability)
Place Blocks allows you to place a block on any page and see the region where it will be displayed, all without having to navigate to a backend of the site.
Performance and Scalability Improvements
In Drupal 8.4, the internal page cache now has a dedicated cache bin; the maximum time in-progress forms are cached is now customizable, rather than being limited to a default cache lifetime of 6 hours. If there are no status messages, the rendering will be skipped. This can result in a 10% improvement on simple sites.
With these new updates, Drupal is reinforcing the inherent usability of the CMS for users, particularly those with content-heavy sites. By adding specific improvements for stability and performance, Drupal 8.4 is once again proving their reliability as a one of the most popular CMS’ in the world.