What's new in Drupal 6 (composing a marketing "brochure")

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DO NOT EDIT! The "final" version of this text is at http://drupal.org/drupal-6.0, even if it is not published yet. Editing on this page is not carried over to there. Thanks for all the input!

Goba: I think that we should build up a "what's new in Drupal 6" page for the final release. I am submitting text from the beta 1 announcement here for a starting point, although it needs to be highly worked on. I think of having a page like http://en.www.mozilla.com/en/firefox/features.html or even more like http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/300.html (looks compact and interesting, has images, highlights topic groups properly).

Below is the latest version of the copy. Almost done!

A demo of how this will look is here: http://www.yoroy.com/elders/drupal/D6-features/whatsnew.html (visual demo, the text is not up to date)
This is formatted with simple HTML definition lists, try to keep the text below as plain as possible.


What's new in Drupal 6.

Introducing the easiest version of Drupal ever
There are only so many clicks in a day. With Drupal 6, the smooth new installer will get your web project up and running in minutes. More time for you to enjoy the new and intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

Quick and easy setup
Installing Drupal is now a snap with the new installer that quickly guides you through the process. You can even import translations of the Drupal interface from within the installer and enjoy Drupal in your own language right from the start. You will be posting content in minutes!

Drag-and-drop administration
Use drag-and-drop to create and manage your site's menus. Move blocks around to change the content on your pages, or organize books intuitively by dragging pages to their proper place. The drag-and-drop interface is available for menu items, forums, taxonomy terms, uploaded files, input formats and profile fields.

All languages spoken here!
Translate posts to different languages through an easy interface. Have Drupal automatically choose a language for the interface based on a custom URL, a user setting or browser preferences. Languages displayed right-to-left are supported "out-of-the-box".

Improved multilingual interface
Automatically import translations when adding a new language, installing modules or enabling themes. Drupal in your own language; right from the start.

Quick interface translation
The optional localization client module (a separate download) provides new tools for translating the Drupal interface, allowing you to provide translations for interface text "on the fly".


Great new core modules.
The sleek and slender core Drupal distribution includes impressive new features.

Actions and triggers
Need a custom workflow? Want to send customized e-mails when a post is created or control how posts are published? To automate your processes with just a few clicks, use the new and powerful "actions" feature. No programming knowledge required! Actions are available for posts, users, comments and more.

Sign in with OpenID
OpenID support is built in, making it even easier for your visitors to sign-up as a member of your site. OpenID is a free and easy way to use a single digital identity across the internet. With OpenID, login to all your favorite websites and forget about the online paperwork.

Update module
Always know when new versions or security fixes are available. The update module stays in touch with drupal.org to keep you informed of new versions of Drupal, your modules and your themes.

Theming: it's never been easier.
Customizing the look and feel of your site is easier, just as powerful, and even more flexible.

CSS-only theming
Define regions, dependencies and features in simple theme .info files without writing a line of PHP code, opening the door to slim CSS-only themes.

Theme developer module
Drupal 6 supports new tools for themers, including the exciting Theme Developer module (downloadable separately). It's the equivalent of Firebug, but for Drupal theming and will greatly enhance your theming workflow.

Customize your theme
Want to change how something looks? Almost all themeable content now uses separate template files written in simple HTML, just copy a template to your theme directory and modify as desired. No coding - no hassle.

Enhanced preprocessing
Preprocessing functions means themers no longer have to maintain PHP code (the template.php file) in themes. Yet, themes are just as flexible as before, and easier to use now that all available variables are thoroughly documented in their template files.

A unified approach
Drupal 6 extends its themeing support and automatic translation features to interface elements provided by JavaScript.


Most secure Drupal release ever.
Besides the all important Update module, more tools are available to protect your site and your users.

We've got your back!
Drupal's security team helps you keep your site secure. Working closely with the authors of contributed projects and the core Drupal code committers, coordinated security releases are published as necessary. Through the core Update module and a subscription to the e-mail Security Announcements list, you'll always be among the first to know about new security updates.

Password strength checking
Get instant feedback on the strength of your password.

More granular permissions
Role-based permissions are much more refined. Manage your user's privileges with ease and precision.

PHP format secured
The "PHP input format" is now an "opt-in" core module, rather than being enabled by default. Safer for you.


Performance and maintenance
Even with great new features and improvements, we've still optimized performance. Less code is loaded on each page, so you can use more modules with the same memory limits.

Optimized code
Drupal 6 splits most core modules into smaller pieces and only loads what's needed, resulting in less code per page. JavaScript aggregation and block-level caching further improves performance for both authenticated and anonymous users. For large sites, Drupal 6 performs properly when running behind a reverse proxy like Squid or Pound.

A new menu system
Drupal's menu system has been rewritten from scratch, making it much more efficient and powerful.

Better file handling
Files are keyed to users instead of posts, and new, reusable validation functions are available to check file sizes, extensions and resolution.

Extended logging
Choose between database or OS-level logging, with the flexibility to monitor your Drupal site events with your own enterprise monitoring tools. Drupal's monitoring tools follow the guidelines in RFC 3164.

Schema API
Drupal 6's Schema API provides rich support for creating and maintaining data tables, improving compatibility of both core and contributed modules with databases other than MySQL.

Batch API
Run time-consuming operations with the Batch API. A progress bar monitors the progress of tasks running in the background through multiple HTTP requests.

Scripting from the command line
Easily run Drupal code from the command line with the new drupal.sh script.

It's the little things…
Many small improvements to enhance your Drupal experience.

Better polls
Quickly add and manage poll options.

Forum improvements
Include polls, quiz forms or any other type of content in forums. Use the more granular permissions to hand out forum moderator rights.

Easier path alias management
Quickly find path aliases with powerful filter tools.

E-mail notifications
Send administrators e-mail when users are approved, blocked, or deleted.

Better handling of comments
Drupal 6 remembers the contact details of anonymous posters, automatically filling them in for their next comment.

New teaser handling
Cut a long story short with new interactive teaser tools. You decide whether to have a teaser or a separate summary for each post.

Sticky table headers
Always know what you are looking at. Table headings automatically scroll with you as you move up and down the page.

Custom date formats
Get precise control over how dates are presented with custom date formats.

Pretty signatures
User signatures are now optional and can be themed.




Bence's picture

Hi Gábor,

Greg already recorded 2 videos about the new features (http://drupal.org/node/128752). But we could improve a little bit the first video (new feautures in D6 in general, http://drupal.org/node/190548). So if you could suggest a very good script to either re-record or improve this existing video, then we would do the work!

By the release I will attach the transcript of these 2 videos, and I will render also Quicktime formats for download (now there is only the Flash versions).

So if you have any idea how to improve the first video (I think the i18n video is pretty good, no need to change anything), then post it here.

About the text: I don't think that this is hard. The existing script is good, but we should extend it a little bit. For example we have to write more about the new i18n and l10n features. And we have to attach images, too (screenshots?).


videos are good but not enough

Gábor Hojtsy's picture

If you look at it, Apple have their videos as well, but they have a quick one-page at-a-glance view of all the new Leopard features. This textual list can give a lot of incentive to download and try the new version or watch the video at all. Downloading and taking the time to watch the video is more of a commitment then glancing through a list of improvements with some key images. So we should do both as far as I see.

About how hard writing the text is, well. On the outset, it looks quite easy. I sat down and tried to come up with a one-page "what's new" brochure multiple times. But several users have their own small gripes which are now fixed, so it would be wise to include some smaller touches as well, showing people that we care about the fine edges not only the big-bang new stuff.

As far as the videos go, Drupal changed a bit since the videos were done (ie. the files folder is automatically created on install), so it needs to be reshot. Unfortunately I don't have time now to help in writing up a script for it.

can you clarify briefly

greggles's picture

Sure, we can re-shoot it.

Which pieces seem like the biggest changes since the Beta1 (which the video was based on). Here are the items I gleaned which can actually be shown and which might excite users. Things like "improved support for AHAH in contributed modules" is kind of hard to show ;)

1) file directory created
2) Drag and drop blocks, menus, profile, taxonomy, file uploads, and books
3) Drupal module removed
4) comment settings per node type

If you can identify any missing high level points I'll be happy to write the actual detailed script for them.

Open Prediction Markets Drupal Dashboard

looks good

Gábor Hojtsy's picture

I think this list looks good. I cannot think of more bigger scale improvements which should be mentioned. There are more fine-grained permissions (ie. forum moderators are now possible, core node types all have the same granularity of permissions :) and we have better update module support for unpublished/unsupported projects, but these might be smaller things to mention.

Yip yip

marcrobinsone's picture

Considering the bandwidth videos need before loading, I agree with Gábor on this one.

I think it's also very important to have a "what's new" or "what hot" especially to people who are very new to Drupal.

It would help if there's a "Drupal For Users" and "Drupal For Developers" section. Surely this will fasten the evaluation/review of new entrants in getting to know how Drupal will be useful for each job description.

In my experience, I overlooked some features after watching 50 Drupal videos from different sites (3 months after installing). Until now I invest my time searching the web for blog posts on Drupal features which fortunately bring something up. On the contrary, I have to bookmark 10+ web pages for that. Most of the time when I showcase Drupal to my clients, it becomes tedious to load different sites just to inform them how cool (and useful) Drupal is. The stress begin to show when compiling these sites into one presentation, which involves asking permission from authors (sadly but understandable, sometimes they do not respond fast enough because they are busy module-building).

It's 8 years now since Drupal was born. It never occured to me that this award-winning invention never had a "pumped-up" feature page.

As geeky and as Drupal-savvy we are, I'm sure a well written, brief and concise feature-page will brighten-up everyone's impression.


No substitute for video, does have a feature list

kbahey's picture

Drupal does have a feature list, it is in need of being updated. Only certain site admins can do that directly though, so please suggest what you want in this wiki/thread.

As for videos, those are fine and needed, but in no way they are a substitute for text. Think of stuff you send your manager at work, or include in RFPs. You can't put a video there and expect every one to see. Not to mention people with limited vision too.

Drupal performance tuning, development, customization and consulting: 2bits.com, Inc..
Personal blog: Baheyeldin.com.

Drupal performance tuning, development, customization and consulting: 2bits.com, Inc..
Personal blog: Baheyeldin.com.

oh, that features page

Gábor Hojtsy's picture

Although feature module (which is used to do http://drupal.org/features) is already available for Drupal 6, IMHO we should use a pumped-up documentation page as pointed out by marc.robinson. I intentionally limit the task here to a "what's new" page however, because:

  • it helps a lot in getting the word out about Drupal 6
  • we need it fast and cool
  • it's a much smaller task then describing all the Drupal features
  • it is still a useful start to build a generic features list on

So I'd say focus now on this smaller task, collaborate on getting a cool solution out. You all have permission to fiddle with the wiki page above I assume, and we can upload and position pictures there as well. Once "ready", we can get a Full HTML formatted post (for all fancy columns and whatnot) on drupal.org with the contents and images attached.

Sure, there is a drupal.org redesign effort going on for some time, but Drupal 6 is coming soon, and we need to market it as good as possible, so let's jump into this!

Best I can tell

calebgilbert's picture

...those existing feature pages along with any other marketing-related pages in the handbook are scheduled for some serious (read, total) re-working. (see my comments below)


curious me

marcrobinsone's picture

Gábor, I'm just curious... after the wiki page, what's next?
Or, do we wait for the Drupal.org redesign? I wish there is some sort of countdown esp. for those who are tuning in.


calebgilbert's picture

1) +1 on the overall idea of an Apple-esque approach

2) There are some active discussions about large-scope Drupal marketing initiatives, as well as D.A. elections which will happen in just a few days, where people are proposing plans which would include this type of thing.....

....it would be nice to have the "What's new in Drupal 6" page(s) be supported by equally good, and consistent looking, general-marketing materials. For instance, the above copy you pasted in is very "feature" oriented at the moment, as opposed to being "benefit" oriented. This is appropriate for a "What's new with page", but for anyone other than developers/techies this kind of feature-listing will have a limited appeal/understandability. It would be awesome to have some "Why Drupal" pages that complement the feature list by addressing the benefits of using Drupal from the perspective of specific audiences.

Is the release time of Drupal 6 too short to allow for this?


I suggest this format

yoroy's picture

General area X

A user-benefit focussed, general introduction to what's been added/improved in this area.

(focus on end-users)

feature X1

Description of feature X1

Feature X2

Advantages of what we changed in X2

(focus on site-admins)

Feature X3

This rocks: with X3 you can… and also…

Feature X4

Drupal takes the lead again: with X4 you will…

(focus on developers)

Feature X5

This rocks: with X6 you can… and also…

Feature X6

Drupal takes the lead again: with X6 you will…

Taking hints from that Apple page. We could use the three collums to address the different audiences.

Merging Goba's two lists

yoroy's picture

User experience

Lots of interface improvements, working with Drupal has become a lot easier, many administration tasks can now be done via drag and drop.

New installer
The new installer has been drastically improved. It guides you through the initial configuration options so that when the installer has finished you really are ready to go.
Drag and drop
The administration of taxonomies, polls, X, Y & Z can now be done by simply dragging and dropping elements in the right place.
Teaser splitter
A better way to separate the short version from the whole thing: you decide if the
Sticky table headers
Always know what you are looking at, because these will follow you around wherever you may have scrolled.
Drupal takes the lead again: the OpenID client module has been added to core. This allows your users to sign on your site with their OpenID accounts.


You can feel safe using Drupal, lots of improvements here:

Update module in core
Always know when there's new functionality or security fixes are available. This informs you about the latest bug fix and security updates for modules and themes enabled on your site, so you can always keep your site secure and clean.
PHP module separated
Because of this and that…
Improved permissions
Drupal's user and role permissions have been further improved for even tighter control of who can do what on your site.
Password strength checking
Get instant feedback on how secure your password is.


Customizing the look and feel of your site has become much easier without sacrificing any flexibility. CSS-only themes are here!

Easier to theme with .tpl.php files
theme files better documented, CSS only themes possible, more options to modify what variables theme files get.

Language support

Yes, we improved Drupal's already famous multi-language support. A lot. Check it out:

Core language concept

Automated interface translation import
Interface translations are automatically imported when…
Post translation
You can translate your posts right from the built-in interface, without installing additional modules.
Path aliases per language

Right to left language support
All core themes compatible


With all these extra features and improvements, we still managed to further optimize your site's performance, resulting in less code loaded on each page.

New menu system with smaller footprint
The menu system was rewritten from scratch, making it much more efficient.
Aggregation and caching
JS aggregation and block caching.

Easier administration

Better menu placement (reports instead of logs, permissions instead of access control)

Actions and triggers
A new Trigger module has been added to core. The Trigger module lets you assign flexible configurable actions to several events happening on your site (eg. send an email when a post gets published).

And also

Lots of little and big improvements through all of core to help you build a better online experience:

Improved forum
It is now possible to have any type of content in forums (polls for example) Forum moderator permissions are much improved.
Better Books
The book module has been reworked from the ground up: and the book administration is simplified.

Sry for offtopic about

schnizZzla's picture

Sry for offtopic about general ideas for drupal marketing ;-)

A page like this would be cool. I prefer a shorter page like the firefox page. A page like the apple page for sure has more information, but for me this is kinda "information overload". A brief summarization and linking to already existing drupal pages in my opinion is sufficient.

Not only for drupal 6: I think that the about drupal and features page (http://drupal.org/about, http://drupal.org/features) is ok, but a special page designed to showcase drupal, showing some cool features of drupal and links to (the best) existing drupal projects, would be a benefit. Some webmasters I know - especially these with no/low coding skills - are (a little bit) "afraid" of drupal. It's too geeky for them. They prefer Joomla or Mambo which are easier to configure/administrate. But I think a nicer presentation would lower the "fear" of customizing a drupal website and also convince them that the beauty of code and structure will help them to maintain/upgrade/update their pages. Apart from discovering how many great features drupal has.

I totally agree. I would like to see a section like "What other people say about Drupal X" with links to pages talking about drupal X features and also "Live Drupal X pages" with links to pages already using this drupal version as a showcase would be very nice.

@Caleb G
Yes! Why! For example, I'm new to CMSs. WHY should I use drupal instead of another system/framework? A comparison between the biggest drupal "competition" like Joomla might be too much, maybe not. Dries and other people already did that, but mainly focusing on performance and technical details. Searching the web, needing a quick decision, looking for a CMS to start a new project, finding a page that CONVINCES me using drupal on drupal.org is a good thing to have.

More marketing helps to grow the drupal community and that's a benefit for all of us! Please promote that kind of "brochure" once it's ready to the front page of drupal.org and make an (image)link big enough people will not miss :-)


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marcrobinsone's picture

schnizZzla, I like your intuition. Probably because we are both newbies? The thing is, not every new Drupal user is interested in becoming a Drupal developer someday.

Just like everyone else, there came a point that I did the following:
* a) google-searched for reviews on Drupal (not yet convinced on this stage)
* b) went to CMS Matrix to see how Drupal compare with others (a little bit convincing in a strange way)
* c) evaluated whether Drupal has a local community in our country (thought: if they use it, I might use it as well)

From there on, I never stumbled upon anything that officially "showcases" Drupal's features in one place. If I did, I don't remember anything that significantly struck me back then when I first researched on Drupal. However, everything changed when I installed it myself, learned the "best practices" and ultimately... studying how to develop modules. Oh, and did I mention the culture shock (in a good sense)?

My point being is that... not every user can afford to become a developer. It also tells me that it's very hard to compare Drupal with other CMS. Just like what other Drupal developers will tell you, "we are friends with other f/os projects".

The reason I participated this thread is because I still have beautiful memories of my Drupal installation--alone and naked in my old apartment. From there on I want to share the joy I found with other people... but I can't properly do so because they don't have the luxury of time in doing the a, b, and c. They are more happy with the other cms because it's hyper-marketed in our local scene. So here I am, sticking around... not just because of the software but because of the wonderful community. It even moved me to sketch comics and other artsy stuff that I never thought of doing before. And likewise, not every user will be compatible with this community.

Since the Drupal people builds Drupal, it somehow reflects the community without ever speaking. What more if we have an industry-ready marketing material that speaks loudly (and wildly) of how great Drupal is for a user, and for a developer.

I don't intend to gather mixed emotions. I'd rather have you telling me. :)


Yes, but here we try to compile the funky featurelist.

yoroy's picture

I made a start with styling this and tried to come up with a bit juicier copy for a few features. All meta-discussions aside, this format is an excellent chance to try and come up with some nice human-readable statements on why Drupal 6 is the best!


Only local images are allowed.


KarenS's picture

I checked out your link and I think it is a perfect template -- inviting, easy to read, lots of white space.

It just needs to be populated with the right data and we're good to go.

And some small screen shots would be a nice addition, of course.

Thank you! I'd add some of

yoroy's picture

Thank you! I'd add some of it to the actual wiki page, but somehow can't.

We could also take the same format and create executive summaries or elevator pitches for different target groups (by handpicking from the appropiate topics):
- (new) Users
- Builders & Admins
- Developers
- Business

So, let's doublecheck the list of high-level topics again then, anything missing here?
- Introduction
- Usability (= administration?)
- Internationalisation
- Theming
- Performance
- Security
- A few of those nice little touches…
- ?

I think drag 'n drop on the

KarenS's picture

I think drag 'n drop on the blocks and menu pages and the 'add more' button in the poll module are things that are the kinds of things people get excited about (and they lend themselves to screen shots).

And the changes to the book module, including a screen shot of the drag 'n drop book outline page would be cool. For people who used the book module to create a site hierarchy, this means you can drag 'n drop all the pages on your site to re-arrange them, very slick.

'Usability' is good but in a way everything is 'usability', it's a good point to make but not sure it works well as a category of changes. Drag n' drop is usability, lots of other changes hit usability as well as other things, and some of the usability changes are hard to explain, they may just be improvements in wording or work flow. Rather than a high-level category, I'd make it a bullet point, like 'A great effort has been made to incorporate usability improvements for both users and administrators, like ....'.

Looking at your example, you could have a section called 'Core module facelifts', and talk about the way Book and Poll were updated, with screenshots of the add more button and/or the book drag n drop outline.

And another section could be 'New additions to core', talking about Actions, Update Status, and OpenID getting added.

I agree with all this - the

catch's picture

I agree with all this - the drag and drop/facelifts will be very popular, and are easy to screenshot. And "new stuff in core" sounds good as well - that could should be grouped with internationalisation maybe?

Edit: oh, and nice work yoroy :)

Very cool and professional

xmacinfo's picture

This is a very good layout. Users can read the section that interest them most or read everything diagonally.

You might consider adding links to proper handbook page (if necessary, since some new feature will most certainly have proper documentation).

Links to other relevant

yoroy's picture

Links to other relevant info-pages is a good idea.
I updated http://www.yoroy.com/elders/drupal/whatsnew.html with some more content.

Which features could use a screenshot?

  • installer
  • drag&drop interface
  • RTL theme
  • Teaser splitter?
  • Update module message?
  • OpenID logo

Another phrase for the

KarenS's picture

Another phrase for the brochure: 'Two click install ', or 'Two clicks to a working web site' -- playing on Amazon's 1-click purchase. Put that with a screen shot of some part of the install page, maybe the bottom where you can see that it automatically detected the clean url settings.

Working on it some more

yoroy's picture

Thanks for all the feedback, most of it got worked into the page:

I also tried to cherry-pick these features for the 'Developer', 'Site-admin' and '(IT)-manager':

Should I open an issue for this? I'd like to attach some files.

Just the latest version of the text:

yoroy's picture

Introducing Drupal 6

... removed duplicate text, less scrolling for you! :)

less install pain ;)

nato's picture

I hate to see the words "install", "drupal", "more" and "pain" in the same sentence, even if they are followed by the word "less"...especially since drupal hasn't been a pain to install for some time.

How about changing:

Quick and easy setup
Installing Drupal is now 100% more painless. Let the new installer guide you through the process and start posting content in minutes.

to something like:

Quick and easy setup
Installing Drupal is now a breeze[or snap]. Let the new installer guide you through the process and start posting content in minutes.

Getting close and looking

KarenS's picture

Getting close and looking good. Nice work yoroy!

It looks odd to have some things in two places -- Open ID, Languages, Actions, and Update Status. I think we need to pick one place for each.

I'd talk about languages in the first section, since that is supposed to be one of our primary new features. I like the longer text in the second section better than the short blurb in the first.

Then I'd rename the second section to 'New to Core' or something like that and talk about the three new core modules there and remove the second instance of each of those modules, or get rid of the second section and leave in the second place where those modules are discussed.

[Edited] And I second nato's idea for re-wording the part about the installation.

please proofread

yoroy's picture

Bumping this to get some more eyes on the final text. The content is there now so please don't add or delete stuff anymore, but if you could please read through it closely and mark or fix any errors that be very good!

At this moment the online demo page is up to date with the text above: http://www.yoroy.com/elders/drupal/D6-features/whatsnew.html


I think it would also be

momendo's picture

I think it would also be great to have a couple demo videos up that walk you through the drupal install and demo some of the features. Maybe some of the Dojo people would like to step up? That would be great and very Apple like!

Read the first 3 posts in

Bence's picture

Read the first 3 posts in this thread.

In additon Lullabot also recorded and will record videos about D6.

Joomla 1.5 Features Page

mfer's picture

They did a great job with the Joomla 1.5 Feature page. It's worth a look for ideas...


Matt Farina

We can make pages targeted

yoroy's picture

We can make pages targeted at different usergroups based on the big list we have now. Just cherry-pick the ones that apply to the category and tie it together. Certainly something that we should do, but having this big page complete and in good shape first makes it easier to do so.

Also, do we have any demo

momendo's picture

Also, do we have any demo sites up to show?

I believe there are some demo sites running on v6

jensen0's picture

So it will be very pleased to see those links to them showing on v6 launch.

Have fun @ http://epad.cn

Having fun @ http://epad.cn, a Drupal site since 2005.

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