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On the CHIEF Technology Team, our passion is building feature-rich websites that are easy for content administrators to manage, and we’ve been excited about the opportunities that Drupal 8 offers to do this. When the time came to redesign and rebuild our own site, we looked at our common content tasks and leveraged Drupal 8’s capabilities to make them simpler.

Here are the top three things we enjoyed about this project and that we’re looking forward to in our new system.

Making it easier to use responsive-friendly images.

Drupal 8 has made significant strides by bringing responsive functionality into core. For those unfamiliar with the terminology, “core” refers to the functionality that’s built in to Drupal itself, as opposed to contributed functionality from modules developed by others or custom functionality from modules you develop yourself.

Because breakpoints and responsive images are now handled natively in Drupal core, it’s easier to develop a site that doesn’t bog content administrators down with worries about how something will render on a mobile device—the experience is more seamless, and requires less development and troubleshooting time to achieve the same goal.

Making it easier for content administrators to position and format content.

We’re passionate about understanding content administrator needs and building systems that make it easier for them to do their work—so much so that our senior technical consultant, Clay Marshall, and I have presented on it at BADCamp, DrupalCon and GovCon. (You can see the latest iteration of our session on the BADCamp website.) For CHIEF’s own website, this means granting our editors the freedom to easily build rich case studies.

Drupal 8 has made strides here, too. Using the Entity Construction Kit and the Entity Embed module, we created simple data models with preset fields, like “image,” “headline” and “description,” and then let content administrators place them wherever they need to without fear of breaking the formatting. We also created custom buttons in the editor that insert templates or format text with predefined styles. As a result, pages like our National Parks Foundation and Primary School case studies can come together quickly.

Developing a front-end experience with Twig.

It has to be said: working with Twig is fun. This PHP template engine, new to Drupal as of Drupal 8, provides front-end developers with more markup control while simplifying templates. Developers like the possibilities it offers, and non-technical people like the opportunity it provides to speed up front-end development. This step forward in Drupal 8 made it easier to build out the design CHIEF envisioned for our new site.

We look forward to continued work with Drupal 8, as we begin select client redesign projects and develop our own intranet on this platform. We’re also excited to share Drupal 8 development techniques with others at this year’s DrupalCon in Baltimore. Hope to see you there!

Interested in redesigning your website on Drupal 8? Get in touch to discuss your goals and needs.