Cathy Theys, Drupal-Entwicklerin

News to Drupal 8

How to track changes in Drupal 8

This post covers two aspects to keeping tabs on Drupal 8, both: "How to track what's new in Drupal 8" and "Actual new changes to Drupal 8".

How I track Drupal 8 action

I follow a lot of Drupal 8 issues. Most are multilingual, but as Drupal 8 multilingual gets integrated into the whole of core, I end up looking at views, configuration management, menu, overlay, etc. There are plenty of people who follow even more! With an account on, when looking at an issue, there is a follow button. To me this is still a "new" feature of d.o and it's one that is really handy. I don't have to comment on an issue to track it's progress, I can just follow things that are interesting to me.

Finding issues that are interesting to follow

  • Once I follow an issue, other related issues get linked to it.
  • I'll click on an issue tag of an issue I'm already following, like D8MI or feature freeze; scan that list; and follow some of those issues.
  • Hanging out in irc, I'll see someone link to an issue with a title that makes me curious.
  • People tweet about an exciting development and include an issue link.
  • Sometimes I search for keywords or components.
Here are some accounts I follow on twitter to track exciting drupal 8 developments:
  • webchick
  • gabor: announcements of cool things committed to core, plus d8mi meeting reminders and calls for help on key issues still under development,
  • drupalcore
  • drupal 8 changes
  • weekly drop: announcements of cool things committed to core, plus their Drupal news feed, and
  • other people I admire in drupal. Think of Drupal people who you admire, and find their account to follow.
Through lots of ways, I grow a collection of issues I am "following" on d.o. Then I can look at my tracker. In my d.o account, my "Your Issues" tab, lets me see those issues, if they are updated, and how many new comments they have that I haven't read yet. Periodically, I have to prune the issues I'm following to help me focus on just the most important to me. That is how I follow issues that are still works in progress.

What about knowing what everyone else is working on?

My tracker has the issues I'm following, twitter has people talking about features I'm interested in... but what about all the other stuff? There is so much! Issues differ, for example, by
  • Category: bug, task, feature request, etc.
  • Priority: critical, major, normal, minor,
  • Component: translation_entity.module, field_ui.module, locale.module, and a ton more
And the core search can filter issues accordingly

Get to generate a list

We can find some big Drupal 8 changes, with an advanced search for Drupal core issues with Category: feature request or task, Priority: critical or major, Status: fixed or closed (fixed)
There are a few things to keep in mind when looking at that list.
  • Scan the titles. Some items are pretty developer centric, and so, you might skip some, looking for titles that jump out at you as more general.
  • These are issues. So it's not just an announcement of a new feature. It shows the blood sweat and tears... and creative break throughs and joys that went into it.
  • Prioritize how much detail to read. Just looking at the titles might be enough. When I look at a new issue I've not read before, I'll read the issue summary and then jump to the more recent comment and read that one at the end of the page. Occationally, if I'm really curious I'll go through and read the whole narative from beginning to end.

Drupal 8 Highlights from the issue queues (partical list)

Looking at the list tonight, I see titles that jump out as interesting to me like: Module page redesign Create a UI for importing new configuration Integrate Twig into core Responsive Images Create 2 basic sample layouts: 1-col and 2-col Provide a clone method on views listing/edit page Add Views and Views UI to the standard install profile WYSIWYG in core: round one Entity translation UI in core Get status of local and remote translation files Improve usability of forms on touch screen and small screen devices Move all core Drupal files under a /core folder to improve usability and upgrades I share Daniel's feelings from his post Too many changes It's hard to write a list of new things; there are so many; and there are new things added many times a day right now as feature freeze is approaching. Another thing to keep in mind, is that when a big issue gets committed, it's marked with the Status: fixed, and it shows on that advanced search... But, then since it is a big deal, it should get a change notice. So the issue status gets put back to needs work while it waits for someone to write the change notice. During this time, there is no change notice, and it does not show in the fixed list.This means it is difficult to find out that it has made it into core. After a few days, the change notice gets written though. Making it a temporary problem that just people wanting to know what is happening on the bleeding edge have to deal with. Well, let us say most people do not mind being a couple days behind, and can wait for the change notice. Even then, it's hard to pick out what are the ones that are a big deal to the general public let's say. The change notices list page can be filtered by some criteria... but as of right now, it cannot be sorted by the priority of the issue it relates to. So we cannot get a list of the ones that were critical features, or major tasks.

Drupal 8 Highlights from the change notices

Changes to Drupal 8 that are big enough that they effect site builders, themers, or are just significant changes get change notices. For the person, like myself and maybe you, who are wanting to see what are the big changes in drupal 8 overall, the change notice list has too many changes to read them all in full. So we end up scanning this change notice list too, and tonight I see things like: New Diff library in core, Transliteration, Database creation at the time of Drupal installation, "Default language" negotiation option swapped for "Seleted language", provides more flexibility, plus a bunch of cool, but more geeky under the hood type, changes to Drupal 8.

Making it easier in the future

One reason it is difficult to find out what critical big changes are in Drupal 8 is that it is difficult to generate a list of issues that have been committed to core. d.o is working on infrastructure that will make that possible. For example, it will be nice to be able to look at an issue, and see the commits that have been done as part of that issue. When that gets working on d.o, then we will be able to (hopefully) do an advanced search that says: show me issues that are critical features and have at least one commit. That list will have a big changes on it, even if, temporarily, it is "needs work" and not "fixed" as it waits on a change notice.

How can we find an answer to the question: What issues have been committed?

Here are some issues I'm following that relate to improvements on d.o that will help make it easier to know whats happening and shaking. Issue: Back-link to the commit as a comment on the related issue Issue: When viewing an issue, display a list of commits that reference that issue #