Crystal Lee
Author Crystal Lee
Drupal Wordsmith
Posted in Software Development , Video , Drupal
May 26, 2016
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How Drupal 8 is Made for Mobile

Responsive websites that adapt to different devices are pretty standard now. Most platforms either have full responsive support or plan to offer it in their next release. The lack of such support was one of the things that made Drupal 7 feel dated — you’d load up a site and be taken aback when you realized you couldn’t even view it properly on a tablet, much less a phone.

Drupal knew they had to do more to help users build sites that would work on any device. And with Drupal 8, they did just that.

A Complete Solution

Everything in Drupal 8 is fully responsive out of the box. And that does mean everything: the default theme, the base theme you can use to build your own theme, the admin themes... all totally mobile-friendly.

Being truly responsive means your site should work on anything from a 30-inch 4K monitor to a four-inch smartphone screen. There should be no size (or resolution) at which it doesn’t work. And it should use as much of the real estate as possible — not lock into a certain size no matter what screen it’s being viewed on.

Responsive Image Resizing

If you have a high-quality image, you need to display different sizes of that image depending on screen size and resolution. You don’t want to load up a big image and just scale it down, because that uses a ton of bandwidth. But if you have to make eight copies of that image yourself, it’s a huge pain in the ass.

Drupal 8 generates those images through the image styles and loads up only the image sizes you need for each view. It’s done automatically, and you never need to think about it.

Admin Improvements

The admin side in particular has some new flexibility in Drupal 8. You can slide menus around to the side or the top, or click a toggle and have things collapse into a nice hamburger menu. This flexibility applies even if you’re viewing the site on a desktop, but being able to administer your site through your phone is a huge plus.

The Need for Speed

On a technical note: Drupal used to load all your JavaScript upfront right away for virtually every page. But a lot of times you don’t need all that JavaScript, or it doesn’t need to load before the rest of the content loads.

With Drupal 8, you can avoid loading unnecessary JavaScript AND load it after the rest of the content has loaded. That helps speed things up, particularly on phones.

A Boon for Developers

In past versions of Drupal, you had to make everything responsive yourself. But now that everything in Drupal 8 is responsive out of the box, it’s a whole lot easier to add your own stuff and have it also be mobile friendly. Everything you work with is already responsive, so adding your own stuff is way easier because you can take advantage of all the existing functionality.

To learn more, check out our High Five episode “The Best Features of Drupal 8 — Responsive (Mobile Friendly).”


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