Why upgrade to Drupal 7?

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By Team Srijan Jun 26, 2012

Drupal 7 (D7) was released on January 7, 2011. D7 is a great leap over D6. This post highlights some of the more notable improvements.

1. Better Usability, UI and UX

An enitrely revamped administrative interface makes routine tasks easier, with many imprvements added specifically for site builders and content editors. This includes the new Dashboard, with a simple and powerful drag-and-drop interface that can be customized by site administrators to include recent content, comments / content in need of moderation, or any other block available to your Drupal site.

a. Administrative Toolbar

Top Admin Toolbar access can be set via User Role, and only the functionality permitted to that Role will be available from the toolbar.

b. Shortcuts Drawer

Below the administrative interface is the shortcuts drawer. Shortcuts may be general (a link to a Blocks page) or as specific as you like (a link to a specific view while you're still refining it). Also shortcuts can be saved as sets, making it possible to create one set of shortcuts for a Site Editor, another set for administrators etc.

c. Contextual Links

Contextual links is the wrench icon administrators see when they hover various pieces of content. They provide a useful cheat-sheet for Drupal newbies who may not know the source of the content they are trying to edit. After edit and saving, Drupal returns you to the original screen.

d. Taxonomy

It also includes a revamped Taxonomy (content categorization) setup, which allows you to add images, descriptions and fields to content categories, and even add links to them. This is useful for heavy-duty content sites and in theming, where a default image could be used to denote every piece of content in a specific category.

2. More Flexible

With D7, you can define your own content structure and custom fields to content, users, comments and more - without adding modules. In addition to creating custom text and list fields, you can upload images directly into Drupal fields and create custom Image Styles to automatically crop and scale your images.

They are already 1,000+ modules available for D7, on the date of release than ever before.

D7 now supports various databases - MariaDB 5.1.44+, MySQL 5.0.15+, PostgreSQL 8.3+ and SQLite 3.x+. This gives you more flexibility and control over your site's data.

3. More Scalable

D7 will be fast, responsive and able to handle huge amounts of data thanks to improved Javascript and CSS optimizations, better caching and more. D7 requires PHP 5.2.4+ to run, which leads to better performance.

4. New Core Themes and Enhancements

D7 also includes several new default themes, including:

a. Bartik: The D7 default theme, aclean, multi-region theme that allows easier customization of colors, regions and CSS style settings

b. Seven: The D7 administration theme, a minimalist theme used in configuration overlays and administration pages.

c. Stark: A completely empty theme that provides a way to look under the hood at Drupal's default markup. This is useful for module and theme developers who need to see the markup that Drupal is throwing before they start working.

5. RDFa Support

  • RDFa provides a way to structure HTML output so that machines can tell the difference between calendar content,
  • contact information, and other types of content.
  • This not only provides for built in SEO, but it sets the stage for a host of other functional enhancements.
  • For more information of RFDa, visit w3.org/TR/xhtml-rdfa-scenarios/.

6. Security and Testing Improvements

D7 comes with a variety of important security improvements, including:

a. Password hashes are salted (passwords cannot be cracked with a look-up table).

b. Unique Key for cron.php to make Denial of Service attacks more difficult (It cannot run by simply going to example.com/cron.php like you might be used to).

c. Permissions have normal, human-oriented names and descriptions.

d. Filter permissions are on the main permissions page.

e. Allows choosing between public and private files on a per filefield basis.

f. The Test module (foremerly Simpletest) is included in the Drupal core. This module helps you write tests to make sure your site and modules work as they should, and test your site after you make changes.

References:

The Definitive Guide to Drupal 7 - Apress

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