Drupal 7 vs Drupal 8: A Technical Perspective

4 changes to look for with the Drupal upgrade

Drupal is one of the most secure and reliable Content Management Systems (CMS). Its feature set and flexibility make it very popular for developing websites and web applications. When it comes down to Drupal 7 vs Drupal 8 performance, they both use PHP programing language and provide a free and open-source CMS framework. But what makes this latest upgrade different?

Considering a #CMSupgrade? Find out the 4 key differences between #Drupal7 and #Drupal8. Click To Tweet

Since being launched in 2001 within the open source community, several versions of Drupal have been introduced. When Drupal 8 launched in late 2015, the community of Drupal users began discussing Drupal 7 vs Drupal 8 performance in website production. This blog will show you the technical differences between Drupal 7 and Drupal 8, and which version would be best for your Drupal-based project.

4 Technical Differences between Drupal 7 and Drupal 8

1. Code Framework

Code Framework
Drupal 8 comes integrated with Symfony framework, a high performing PHP framework with improved code security. Symfony will help Drupal developers its following features:


Symfony comes with an in-built component called ‘Translation.’ It handles language files and helps developers manage website content in multiple languages, making it easy to create multilingual websites.


This other component publishes the data in various formats from XML or JSOn. With it, Drupal can integrate with various 3rd parties to show data on a website.


With routing, developers define rules for making page URLs search engine friendly (SEO-friendly URLs). This creates better-ranking websites on search engines.

Object-Oriented Programming

Using object-oriented programming concepts, Symfony implements various properties of OOPS concepts.

On the other hand, Drupal 7 does not have a powerful framework to manage its codebase. Developers still use the Drupal 7 codebase to write functions, but the lack of framework features makes it harder to manage code effectively.

Conclusion: Symfony framework makes Drupal 8 stronger than Drupal 7 to develop secure and robust web applications.

2. Template Engine

Template Engine
Drupal 7 uses the PHP template as the default templating system. Then users create templates by writing PHP code. Drupal 8, however, uses Twig as a template engine. Twig is a part of the Symfony 2 framework and is a PHP-based compiled templating engine.

Here are some differences between the writing templates within Drupal 7 and 8:

Caching and compiling

When your website page renders with Drupal 8, the Twig converts the template into compiled PHP template. After the compilation, the template files are cached for reuse. This allows for faster page access to site visitors.


However, within Drupal 7, the developer uses the PHP template to write code with PHP syntax. So then, the docblock is written as:

* @file
* File description

Within Drupal 8 the docblock is written as:
* @file
* File description

Printing a variable

Drupal 7 (PHPTemplate):<div class="content"><?php print $content; ?></div>
Drupal 8 (Twig):<div class="content">{{ content }}</div>


Drupal 7 (PHPTemplate):<?php if ($content->comments): endif; ?>
Drupal 8 (Twig): {% if content.comments %} {% endif %}

File and function names

Drupal 7 (PHPTemplate): node--article.tpl.php
Drupal 8 (Twig): node--article.html.twig

Conclusion: Developers can easily use any of the templating engines to create various templates for their web projects. Twig helps with faster rendering and caching since it uses Symfony architecture.

3. Responsive Design

Responsive Design
Drupal 7 does not use breakpoint media queries. It has a different approach to manage how the site appears on various screens and devices.

Drupal 8 uses the breakpoint media queries, which saves any extra efforts to make a website responsive on various devices.

Conclusion: Drupal 8 makes it easier to make a responsive design across multiple platforms.

4. Plugin/Extension Availability

Drupal Plugin
Drupal 7 entered the open source market in 2011 and has strong support from the existing Drupal community. There are tons of plugins available to integrate with Drupal 7 and support many features. This makes the developers’ job easy to implement a specific functionality by installing and configuring the available plugins.

Drupal 8 is still new and does not have a wide range of plugins available. On the other hand, Drupal 7 plugins do not have a version for Drupal 8. This makes it difficult to work with Drupal 8, as developers have to write custom modules to implement functionality due to lack of plugins.

Conclusion: Drupal 7 provides a wide range of plugins making it easy for developers to create complex functionality applications.

What’s Best for Your Business?

So, how do you decide if you need Drupal 7 vs Drupal 8 performance for your next project?

Drupal 8 has many advantages over Drupal 7 with the latest technology and helpful updates/upgrades. Often it is better to start with the latest stable version, since older versions could be outdated in the near future. Yet. being a business owner, you need to know what features your business requires in a website. Would the latest technology help or hinder your company?

While both have strong frameworks, there are pros and cons in Drupal 7 vs Drupal 8 performance that a business would need to consider prior to starting a project. Let us help you find the right fit for your business. Contact us today at solutions@RubicoTech.com.

We create complex web and mobile applications. We bring together expert Indian developers – ranked among the top in their field – and India-based, American relationship managers, who provide stateside context for client’s needs and expectations. This combination creates a new kind of contracted development that doesn’t trade quality for cost.