Drupal 6.0

I just installed my first Drupal 6.0 version (RC4), which took a total of about 3.5 minutes. You [used to be able to] visit the resulting (minimalist) site.

The new installer worked flawlessly, requiring only establishing a database and user and changing the the access control on a single directory and changing it back again once the install was complete. The rest was answering a few basic questions in Drupal’s web-based installer. Given that the db and file access steps could also be accomplished via a web interface (eg, cpanel on a hosted server), the whole installation process could easily be handled by a non-technical user in the same few minutes it took me.

What’s exciting in Drupal 6? You can check out a complete list, but for me, here are the highlights:

  • OpenID integrated as a core module. My only suggestion here would be to add some administrative controls to toggle various authentication options (eg, only use OpenID or Drupal authentication, prefer OpenID or Drupal authentication, hide password change controls from OpenID users, etc).
  • Workflow actions and triggers integrated as core modules. This demonstrates something I’ve admired most about Drupal: the right functionalities are brought into core as general services/APIs. I haven’t experimented with these yet, but core’s where they belong.
  • The latest jQuery integration. Drupal worked with the jQuery folks to deliver jQuery 1.2.3. This should make for even more jQuery goodness.
  • The update module integrated into core. Now let Drupal tell you when it needs upgrades.

I’ll need to wait until key contrib modules like CCK and Views are ready to test in Drupal 6, but I have every faith that added together, this release will significantly increase the sophistication and power of Drupal.

Meanwhile, there are already even little tweaks to love, like drag and drop reordering of menus and blocks, and hiding the revision log field on the node edit form in a closed fieldset (yes, it would be nice if every user explained every content update they made, but most have no idea what is being asked for in the log).

Stay tuned for more on Drupal 6, and oh, in case you haven’t heard, go to DrupalCon 2008 in Boston!

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