Drupal 8: A Tale of Successes and Failures
Drupal 8: A Tale of Successes and Failures

Thoughts about the Drupal framework and its evolution have been on the minds of many developers and enthusiasts for years. Drupal 8 brought significant improvements, promising a brighter future for the platform. In this blog, we will explore the successes and failures of Drupal 8, its impact on the community, and its place in the evolving landscape of web development.

Drupal 8 Successes

Drupal 8 introduced several noteworthy successes:

1. Improved Content Administration

Drupal 8 made significant strides in enhancing content administration, providing users with a more intuitive and efficient experience.

2. Core Integration of Views

The inclusion of Views in the core of Drupal 8 was a game-changer. It offered more advanced and flexible content listing and display options right out of the box.

3. Core Integration of Media

Media handling became an integral part of Drupal 8, making it easier to manage and display multimedia content.

4. Core Integration of Layouts

With layouts now in the core, users had more control over the arrangement of content on their websites, reducing the need for additional modules.

5. Modern Programming Paradigms

Drupal 8 adopted modern programming paradigms, resulting in fewer perplexing Drupal-specific practices and more consistency with mainstream PHP development.

6. Transitioning to a More Standard PHP Application

Drupal 8 aimed to break free from the “Drupal island” mentality and become a more typical PHP application, differentiating itself from platforms like WordPress.

However, despite these accomplishments, Drupal 8 faced several challenges and failures that affected its adoption.

Drupal 8 Failures

Drupal 8 had its share of shortcomings:

1. Slow Adoption

One significant hurdle was the slow adoption of Drupal 8. It struggled to surpass the popularity of Drupal 7, leaving many questioning the platform’s future.

2. Module Updates as Migrations

Unlike previous versions, Drupal 8 required modules to be entirely rewritten due to architectural changes. This transition proved to be a daunting task for module developers and site owners, hindering the migration process.

3. Composer Integration

While Drupal embraced Composer for dependency management, fully integrating it proved challenging due to legacy architectural constraints. This led to complexities in managing Drupal codebases.

4. Embracing OOP and Symfony

Drupal’s shift towards Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) and Symfony introduced a steeper learning curve for developers. Many had to adapt to these new paradigms, which could be a barrier for those accustomed to Drupal’s traditional methods.

5. Theme Overhaul

Drupal 8 replaced the old theme system with Twig, offering better architectural cleanliness. However, this necessitated a complete rewrite of themes, adding to the effort required for upgrading Drupal 7 sites.

6. Custom Code Challenges

Sites heavily reliant on custom code faced significant challenges. Rewriting and updating custom modules added complexity and time to the migration process.

7. Multisite Complexity

Multisite installations, a unique Drupal feature, faced challenges when managing multiple sites within a single codebase. This complexity made Drupal 8 less appealing for organizations relying on multisite setups.


Drupal 8 was a transformative release for the platform, bringing both successes and failures. While it introduced valuable improvements, it also posed challenges that affected its adoption and compatibility with legacy systems.

Drupal 8’s future role in the web development landscape is evolving. It remains a strong choice for new projects and those seeking modern development paradigms. However, its suitability for migrating older Drupal 7 sites or handling specific use cases has become more nuanced.

As the Drupal community continues to evolve and address these challenges, the platform’s prospects remain promising. Future versions are expected to implement architectural improvements incrementally rather than through major overhauls. This approach aims to strike a balance between innovation and stability.

In conclusion, Drupal 8’s journey has been one of adaptation and growth, and while it may not be the ideal solution for every situation as its predecessors were, it still plays a vital role in the broader ecosystem of content management systems and enterprise experiences. The decision to adopt Drupal 8 or explore other alternatives ultimately depends on the unique requirements and constraints of each project and organization.

Post On September 29, 2023 | By Geneva Obrien

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