Many folks are asking – “when will Drupal 8 be ready?”
This an interesting question, but understanding who is asking the question is important to knowing the answer.
Open source platforms like Drupal are very different than a product like Microsoft Office. While Office will (hopefully) release one refined version and then only offer minor patches, open source projects like Drupal are built and refined over time. This means that the launch date is far less important than the date where we can feel comfortable that the platform is both stable and that developing will be cost effective.
Drupal 8 is currently in its third beta stage. This means that Drupal may go through several more revisions before its stable Drupal 8.0.0 release candidate. After that stable release, it is likely that Drupal will need several major updates before being a viable option for most websites. There is too much uncertainty about the stability and security of the earliest releases.
The second major hurdle is the development of community modules to add functionality to Drupal Core. Modules range from the simple (Google Analytics) to the advanced (Imagefield Crop for in-browser photo cropping). These modules reduce the cost for developing a Drupal website and improve the site features. These modules need to go through similar paces as Drupal to get to a stable release. It will take months, if not a year, for the community to develop and refine many of the modules.
Back to the question – “when will it be ready!?!”
Again, the website owner matters. A web developer may be interested in launching his or her personal blog on Drupal 8 just after launch. This project would include a small site with limited features and an owner with a high tolerance for risk, making this an ideal fit. Most non-profits and businesses do not fit this profile. Instead, they value stability and cost- effectiveness, which means they will want to wait.
At a recent forum about Drupal 8 with Dries Buytaert (Drupal’s founder), one of Acquia’s top strategists said that it’s not a good idea to base business decisions on any predictions around the release date of Drupal 8.
That said, our best guess is that there will be a stable release of Drupal in the first half of 2015, but it won’t be ready for most projects. We surveyed our developers who said they thought a simple non-profit or small business site could be built on Drupal 8 by the end of 2015. More complicated website projects likely won’t be ready before the summer of 2016.
Let us know if you would like to discuss Drupal 8 and how it might impact your organization.