Drupal 7 has been officially released

After three years of open source development, Drupal 7 has finally been released to the public. As Ric Shreves previously mentioned in his article, there are literally hundreds of changes in Drupal 7. I've included below a list of the more significant changes from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7. I've also included a nice Drupal 7 marketing video via Jeff Robbins at the bottom of this post. Also there is always official Drupal 7 announcement for additional information on this latest version of Drupal.

Get started with Drupal 7Barring any unforseen changes to how I manage this site, I expect we will be upgrading CMSReport.com from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 within the next few months. I've been playing with Drupal 7 off and on this past year, but I must confess I haven't been as aggressive in my testing of this version of Drupal as I was with Drupal 6.

Some of the more significant changes in Drupal 7 since the release of Drupal 6 include:

1. Overhaul of the User Interface

Work has been done to improve the user experience and administration interface. The new administration theme "Seven", the overlay module, the dashboard and the configurable shortcut bar, all lead to a much more user-friendly interface.

2. Custom Fields

Drupal 7 bundles in the ability to add custom fields, similar in functionality to the Content Construction Kit (CCK) module. However, fields are no longer limited only to content types; they can be added to users, taxonomy terms, and other entities. Fields also have support for translations.

3. Image Handling

Drupal 7 brings native image handling to core. Image fields may be added to content, and have image styles applied to them, such as scaling, cropping, and other effects.

4. Update Manager

Building on Drupal 6's Update module, which keeps site administrators informed when new module and theme releases are available, the new Update Manger module can also install and upgrade modules and themes.

5. Front-end "under-the-hood" improvements

A new render API allows for highly granular theming, core template files have been revamped to provide more semantic markup, Drupal 7 now has built-in RDFa support, includes jQuery UI and a new AJAX framework, and a new core theme "Stark" which exposes Drupal's markup directly for those who want to dive in and start theming. In addition, Drupal 7 has several major accessibility enhancements.

6. Back-end "under-the-hood" improvements

A revamped database layer resolving nearly all limitations in the Drupal 6 database layer, automated testing framework, new PHP stream-based file API that supports private and public files simultaneously, revamped node access system, new hooks for more flexible system interaction, an Entity API, a job queue API, and many, many, many more improvements. Drupal 7 contains a number of scalability improvements with features such as built-in proxy server support, advanced caching techniques, and Content Delivery Network support for static files.

Drupal 7 Marketing Video from Lullabot on Vimeo.