The goal of this project was to create a simple brochure site for BrightLemon using the new version 8 of Drupal. While Drupal’s flexibility makes it a good choice for creating very complex sites, it is also a good choice for making very simple sites, like a brochure site. This is because it is very quick to build content types in Drupal, add fields to those types, and build blocks of content. Also, it provides an easy to use interface for content creators out of the box. In addition, version 8 is built for the today’s web, providing all the latest features required by designers, bloggers, SEO specialists etc.
During development what problems were faced and how did you work with Drupal to solve these problems?
The recurring problem was learning how to use a new version of Drupal. Drupal 8 is very different from Drupal 7. The new version of Drupal has adopted some modern tools and standards, used broadly by PHP developers – rather than doing its own thing. Another big change is adopting a new style for writing PHP code. All of this is a bit alien to developers used to the current version 7 of Drupal. However, Drupal has always been committed to being the latest and greatest; this evolution of the software is likely to be very beneficial to sites made with Drupal in the long-term.
What specific feature did you like most about this project?
I like the site’s responsive theme: simple, but stylish.
Which parts of the site are native to Drupal and which parts are custom?
One innovation developed for this project was a module that provides a customised banner for the top of every page. The design required something slightly different depending on what type of page the user is viewing. The module ‘listens’ for the type of page a user is requesting – a blog, a taxonomy listing page, the homepage – and outputs customized markup for the top banner accordingly.
Is there anything you’d like to add to additional phases?
Ensure markup is structured with microdata: schema.org.
In what ways does this project showcase BrightLemon putting the User Experience first?
As this was a brochure site, it had to be ready for today’s web, its browsers, and all the devices we now connect with. Drupal 8 provides lots a great features for making its pages work and look great. All of Drupal’s output has been converted to use semantic HTML5 markup – making it easier to understand for technologies assisting blind users, and useful to devices like mobile phones. It can also output markup that provides helpful information (machine-readable hints) to search engines that crawl through web pages. It also comes with a new templating system that is going to help designers to more easily make great looking sites.
Key Lesson(s) Learned?
The key lesson to be drawn from this project is that the new version of Drupal is very different from the current one. There is a need to learn some of the new frameworks and standards that have gone into Drupal 8.