Scalability was the theme of this release, along with a ton of new modules. Drupal 7 also features support for the RDF (linked data) specification. Semantic web here we come!
A total of 70 new modules, including an image API, are present in the new version of Drupal. Another module is the Render API for simplified theming. The larger codebase also includes support for Microsoft's SQL Server and Oracle DB.
Other new features in Drupal 7:
- Removal of back end barriers
- Automated testing for modules and patches
- Database abstraction
- Works with SQLite
- User-defined fields for a variety of content types
- Drupal 7 now includes more than 850 modules
With this release, developers have discontinued support for version 5. Drupal 7 requires PHP 5.2 or greater. For open source DBs, Drupal 7 supports MySQL 5 or PostgreSQL 8.3. Other databases can usually be used via community modules.
Drupal is more mature than many developers realize. It has been around for ten years, and thanks to high-profile use cases (whitehouse.gov, Warner Bros. records) and plenty of custom modules, the free software package has reached over 2 million downloads. The job market for Drupal developers is thriving. John Faber, the COO at AF83 (a Drupal development shop) says that the demand for Drupal developers is outpacing the supply. He's had to turn away business because he's had so many customers.
Drupal 8 is already in the planning stages since it will be a major change in direction for the CMS project. Project leaders say Drupal will need configuration management and staging if it wants to focus on the enterprise. For the low end, Drupal will need to focus on better experiences and simple rich tools. Drupal 8 will be shifting from the CVS (Concurrent Versions System) for software revision control to the Git DVCS.
Some key Drupal devs also formed a company named Acquia last year that's offering a lot of features on top of Drupal to make it a lot easier for businesses to use. Wordpress and Joomla have commonly been perceived as easier, less complex software tools for CMS. Drupal is still one of the most popular CMSes because of it's wide array of community modules and customizability. Acquia is trying to take away some of that complexity and provide Drupal as a cloud service.