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We've been huge fans of Drupal here at Unleashed Technologies. Its modularity, simplicity, and granular control have helped make it a popular open-source solution for many. Despite everything Drupal has done right, it has falled behind other CMSs in a few key areas. The upcoming release of version 7 promises to correct these shortcomings and add even more awesomeness to an already-amazing system:

1. Several modules merged into the core

There are plenty of modules which almost every site has to download, install, enable and configure. These include things like Throttle, CCK, and Access Rules. Because they are so important and widely used, Drupal 7 will merge them into the system's core.

2. New database layer

The new release also features a new database layer providing wider support for other DB platforms. This gives the site owner more options when choosing the software stack on which to run Drupal. For developers, they have added a query builder similar to what you'd find in CakePHP or Zend Framework. Advanced queries are automatically compiled to work with the appropriate database server, which also increases the portability of Drupal

3. Improvemed usability

The University of Minnesota put together an extensive report on Drupal 6's usability, both the bad and the good. The core development team has taken notice and have already implemented some changes. Previously hidden settings are now easier to find and interfaces are better organized. These UX improvements will certainly help more users become comfortable with the CMS.

4. Installation choices

Drupal 7 holds on to the simple install of its previous version, but adds more flexibility and choice. In addition to the standard questions it asks, you can also choose to have Drupal enable commonly-used modules or just the core essentials. For new users, it allows them to play with Drupal out-of-the-box, no extra configuration necessary. If they want to add or remove modules later, they still have the option to do so.

5. The Drupal 7 Pledge

Because of immense changes to Drupal's core, many modules created for version 6 aren't compatible with the new release. However, many developers of these popular modules have already promised working versions and full support for the new release. Websites can upgrade to the new version without any loss in functionality, which is a major concern for owners considering upgrades or switching platforms.

 

A final release date for Drupal 7 has not been announced yet.