When the question When is D8 ready? was asked during a leadership Q&A session at DrupalCon Prague, the responses were testament to an orchestration of unity. None of the house-trained members of the panel dared to go beyond the “it’s ready when it’s ready” response.
At flink we're not afraid of speaking out for the sake of some great debate.
So here are some thoughts we have. Caution: may provoke. The comment box is open!
The fly in the D8 ointment
As much as we love the initiative and the people behind it, we believe that Backdrop will, for now, not flourish as a viable future platform. Right now, Backdrop appears to lack real backing in terms of people and $$$. Two weeks before the expiry of the funding campaign, less than $5,000 (10%) of the requested fund injection has been pledged. Also, repository commit activity has dropped off.
D8 commits are plentiful with more (although perhaps still not enough) people working on it and some $$$, from direct and indirect sources.
Backdrop doesn't seem to have a contributed module community to go with its core, yet. Mind you, at this stage D8 "embracement" is also mostly by default. Only 3% of D7 modules ported, not very forthcoming...
The colossal merit of Backdrop has been that its announcement --together with its initial credibility— shook up the community.
Result: Backdrop will make D8 better for all of us.
Little harmony in Symfony
In hindsight, the touting of technologies like Symfony, Twig and more OO in D8 ended up like a shot in the D8 foot.
Rather than these being seen as harbingers of great developer and business value alike, they were predominantly received (incorrectly) as the bane of the D7-to-D8 developer. The resulting grumbles from developers and site-builders and the education and pacification efforts in response to this, have taken the wind out of the sails of a sunny D8 roll-out. It has businesses using Drupal around the world wondering about D8 ROI.
It has also resulted in many a “Come learn D8 with us” training course. Is D8 becoming the new SAP? ;-)
Not a win-win situation… for now
The interim winner of the D8 tardiness vs. the Backdrop spanner in the works is, sadly, neither of the two. It's old D7.
Since the first of these Tech Debt snapshots was taken on 18th August 2013, today 26th October, 43 ported modules appeared on the D8 scene, versus 478 brand new ones in D7. That's eleven times as many. What does that say about where our communal mindset is focused at the moment?
Amongst all this, it so very heartening to see real, working D8 sites popping up now. Some of them share on their pages accounts of the D8 journey they’re on. These are just some we came across (let us know if you know more): http://yuriybabenko.com, http://running-on-drupal8.co.uk, http://chertzog.com
Thank you so much guys -- keep sending that beautiful message!
Core doeth not a website make
We feel that “When is D8 (core) ready?” is the wrong question to focus on. Instead ponder this: “When is D8 fit for my purposes?” You will agree that the answer lies in how many of your unmissable contrib modules you'll be able to use on your target date. There is no backward compatibility, no pick and mix with the old. The contrib modules YOU need must be ready when YOU wish to progress to D8. The great news is that there is enough stable D8 core out there to get cranking with contrib. There is no need to wait until the D8 core official release date is announced before jumping into action. Hell, your favorite contrib modules could be ready for use before D8 is released!
It is not an insurmountable task. And it can be accelerated. Initiatives for this exists. We like TSM. But help in whatever way you see fit. Let's get this show, your show, on the road.
* * *