web development
Why Drupal Layout Builder is Going to Change Everything About Website Design
2019-05-06
Old Moon Digital

Drupal 8 is here, and with it are over two-hundred great new changes, features, and improvements.

One of the biggest and most innovative changes has to be the implementation of Drupal Layout Builder. In fact, this new tool is probably going to drastically change how content creators and developers build their Drupal websites.

But what is Layout Builder for Drupal, and why is it so important? Will having to learn how to use an entirely new system for layouts in Drupal be more of a pain than anything?

Let’s dive into what Drupal is, what Layout Builder is, and why it’s seriously going to change how users develop UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) for their websites.

What is Drupal?

Drupal is an open-source content management framework that is available for free. Drupal is written in PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) and is distributed under the GNU General Public License.

There are many pros and cons to using this framework. It's great for creating large and complex websites. It's completely free, which is hard to find in a decent framework. The taxonomies in Drupal are ultra-flexible, and its scalability is unmatched. Plus, Drupal's dedicated community is one of the best things about it-- you can get support, programmer help, themes, plugins, updates, and bug fixes all in one place. Drupal boasts strong security features and is much less prone to hacking than other frameworks like Wordpress. Access and user permission are built into the system for you to create roles with various permissions.

No framework is perfect, however. Drupal has a bit of a steep learning curve, and users will have to have basic development skills in order to use it. However, with the creation of Layout Builder for Drupal, it seems like the developers behind this framework are attempting to make it a little bit more user-friendly for non-coders.

Drupal is a provider of back-end framework for nearly 3% of all of the websites currently in the world. These websites range from personal blogs to government sites to corporate systems. Drupal is also popular for its knowledge management and business collaboration features.

Open source frameworks like Drupal are so useful because they often boast a community of developers that are constantly creating and contributing modules that extend and customize the functionality of Drupal, all for free. There are many additional features of Drupal, including basic user account registration, maintenance, RSS feeds, taxonomy, menu management, and system administration.

While Drupal is an incredible open source framework, it does have its flaws. In Drupal 7 and previous versions of the framework, layout editing and design was kind of a pain. But not anymore. Most recently, one stellar feature to be implemented into the latest version release of Drupal is the Layout Builder tool.

What is Drupal Layout Builder?

For Drupal 8, the latest installment of the framework included the Drupal Layout Builder. Content authors were desperate for a very user-friendly page building function in Drupal, and they finally got it after nearly a year of development. Layout Builder can be used in Drupal Core.

Layout Builder is unique in that it offers a powerful visual design tool for several different cases:

  • The creation of custom landing pages that are not tied to a type of content or structured content. For example, you can create a single About Me page with Layout Builder. It’s difficult to find a layout that features literally everything you could want for your website. Because of this, content creators will need to create one-off pages for specific purposes. Layout Builder makes this incredibly easy to make dynamic one-off pages.
  • The ability to add customizations to template layouts. You can override layout templates with Layout Builder depending on the type of template you’re working with. For example, you’ll be able to change the appearance of the default Contact page in a template. A uniform look to a website is beneficial and often looks quite nice and is user-friendly, but sometimes a layout or theme falls short. If one wishes to edit a specific block or aspect of the website, one can do that with the Layout Builder. This is extremely useful because the rest of the layout will not be affected. This puts control back into the hands of content creators.
  •  Layout templates can now be used to layout various types of content, such as blog posts, product pages, About Me sidebars, etc. For very large websites with a massive amount of content, it is very important that the content in question all has a similar appearance. This means headers, shapes, font, placement, indents, etc. all need to be cohesive. Layout Builder is the ultimate solution to this.

Those are just a handful of solutions that Drupal 8’s Layout Builder offers. There are also a ton of other features available in this framework tool:

  • Drag-and-drop function for moving blocks and content fields
  • Custom inline block creation for one-off custom pages
  • User-friendly tools and navigation
  • Large and minimalistic workspace
  •  Extremely accessible
  • Can create defaults to use with content types, user profiles, and other entity types
  • Override the default display on individual items like nodes or users
  • Strong UI
  • Access to thousands of themes via the Drupal community for free
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Sure, Drupal Layout Builder is pretty useful. But why exactly is it going to change how we build websites so drastically?

Why is Drupal Layout Builder So Innovative?

Layout builder is definitely going to be the next big thing in Drupal. This tool improves the UI and UX significantly, and it is capable of competing with many other open sources platforms. This tool is going to change how we build Drupal websites quite literally. The old way of designing templates, which was often tedious and difficult, is now long over.

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