Calling All Developers! Drupal 7 Alpha 1 Now Available for Testing
Just last Friday, Drupal celebrated its ninth birthday. Not too shabby, seeing as Drupal 6 was recently anointed as the runaway success story in Open Source of 2009. Since 2001, Drupal has released 6 full versions and is on schedule to release Drupal 7 in 2010. They would like to release it sooner rather than later and, in fact, have asked for its developer community’s help to expedite the release. Drupal 7.0 Alpha 1 has officially been released for download and testing.
The Drupal 7 Alpha 1 is an alpha version, which means that it should not be used for production sites. They expect at least one more alpha version, followed by a few beta versions, before Drupal 7.0 is finalized and released. After nearly two years of development, the alpha version includes tons of new features and improvements for both users and developers. Here is a quick overview of what changes you may expect to see from Drupal 7:
Revamped User Interface
User experience and administration interface have been very high on the priority list this time around. This alpha version sports a new admin theme “Seven”, the overlay module, and the dashboard and configurable shortcut bar, which all lead to an incredibly friendly interface. For blocks and nodes by default there is in-place editing, simplifying content modification for all involved.
Look for Drupal 7 to bundle in the ability to add custom fields, with functionality very similar to the Content Construction Kit (CCK) module. Fields are no longer limited to content types and can be added to users, taxonomy terms, and other entities. Fields also have support for translations.
Drupal 7 core will now have native image handling. Image fields can now be added to content, and have styles applied to them: scaling, cropping, and other effects.
The new Update Manager builds on Drupal 6’s version, which keeps site administrators informed when new module and themes are released and available. This version also allows you to install and upgrade the modules and themes.
There are also some back-end and front-end “under-the-hood” improvements, which you can check out at http://drupal.org, that will make Drupal 7 the most scalable release to date. As the website so bluntly puts it, Drupal 7 will come out when it’s ready.
If you want to help Drupal 7.0 come out faster, download the Drupal 7.0 alpha 1 package and help find, report, and fix bugs.