Drupal 8.6 new features are in – Let’s have a sneak peek

The highly anticipated release of Drupal 8.6 is here! We get on the hype with the Drupal and open-source communities and give you a sneak peek of the new Drupal features.

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Drupal 8.6 is expected in September 2018 with a feature freeze since 18 July. With all the major improvements introduced in the previous versions, expectations are running high across the Drupal community of developers, marketers, content managers and open-source enthusiasts.

Following our reflection over the past and present of Drupal, let’s anticipate the future as we highlight the most interesting initiatives that are working hard to be included in Drupal 8.6:

1. Migrate

To ease the adoption of Drupal 8, the Migrate API became a part of the Drupal core. While custom migrations were possible from the beginning, the module keeps on extending functionality to further ease content migrations, both from Drupal installs and other sources.

  • Support for multilingual translations
  • Stable Migrate Drupal and Drupal UI modules
  • CSV support
  • Rollback functionality

2. Media

Starting from a contributed media module, Drupal now includes an entire Media API, which allows better media management and re-usability.

  • Library with overview of previously uploaded media
  • Support widgets to add new media OR to select from the library
  • Use of remote media from sources such as YouTube
  • WYSIWYG editing interface integration
  • Migration support
  • Bulk file uploads

3. API-first

Drupal websites are no longer solely used as websites with a coupled back and front-end. To support native applications and complex web-applications, based on a JavaScript framework for example, Drupal adapts to an API-first infrastructure, where it can act as a data provider, interacting with other applications via API's.

  • JSON API module
  • GraphQL support
  • Rest services as "best in class"
  • OAuth 2 Authentication
  • Full decoupling

4. Layouts

Allows content authors the flexibility to alter the layout of webpages without the need of pre-defined templates or complex administrative interfaces.

  • Stable version of layout builder
  • Expand layout builder to form layouts
  • User-friendly, drag & drop interface

5. Workflow

Allows for (de)scheduling of content, content staging between environments, handling simultaneous work on the same content and other nifty features for content managers.

  • Trash to undo deletion of content
  • Hierarchy support for content
  • Replication and conflict management

6. Out-of-the-box demo website

A new installation profile to showcase the power of a Drupal 8 website. Instead of the former (demo) dull, empty page, the user is welcomed with a blooming food magazine. Filled with content (recipes, images and other media) it shows the possibilities of Drupal.

  • Stable installation profile
  • Keeping up-to-date with new features in Drupal so they can be showcased in this module

7. Modernize JavaScript and Admin UI

Keeping up with the most modern JavaScript standards, it also extends the API-first initiative by trying to create a fully decoupled administration interface based on ReactJS.

  • Modernize JavaScript and enhance Drupal APIs
  • Create a decoupled React application that manages Drupal administration

8. Automatic Updates

Working on an automated way of installing Drupal updates, incorporating composer.

  • Securely and automatically apply updates in Drupal

9. Composer Support in Core

Drupal 8 (and symfony) are relying on composer for its updates and dependencies. The integration is not 100% transparent however.

  • Introduce "first class" support for composer in Drupal

10. Configuration Management 2.0

Drupal is shipped with a completely new way of handling configuration management (based on active / staging files on the disk). A second iteration is started to improve this for different environments and re-usability.

  • Install site from existing config
  • Improve configuration staging
  • Improve site builder experience

11. Documentation

Improve and enhance the different levels of documentation (developer / end-user).

  • Maximize UX improvements on drupal.org documentation
  • Improve existing documentation by consolidating, re-organizing and revising it (table of content for example)
  • Introduce "official" documentation that will be reviewed


A complete list of initiatives and their most up-to-date status is available online. Apart from the list above, there are also a lot of community ideas being generated from problems or improvements the community identifies. If they receive sufficient interest from both the community as the Drupal core team, an idea might be approved and it can become an active initiative, which can be included as an experimental module in a future release of Drupal.

Drupal development; scheme from https://www.drupal.org/core/community-initiatives

Published on    Last updated on 01/07/2019

#Drupal, #Web Development, #Content Management

About the author

Kevin is Drupal Web Developer and Consultant at Amplexor based in Belgium. Kevin is an Acquia Certified Developer with over 6 years of experience in planning, development, maintaining Drupal websites and leading development teams in Drupal. He has also volunteered at the organization of the yearly Belgian DrupalCamp event.