What's new in Drupal 7
With the code freeze underway for some time, Dries has posted an update about the upcoming Drupal 7 release. I thought this might be a nice time to overview some of the most exciting new stuff in Drupal 7 and see where all the action is happening right now.
Some overall highlights:
- Lots of usability improvements 
- New minimum requirements (PHP 5.2, MySQL 5.0/PostgreSQL 8.3)
- Default installation profile with common settings and some content 
- New admin theme 'seven' 
- Fields in core (CCK), including filefield/imagefield 
- A plugin manager 
- Better security 
 also, hopefully, there will be a nice new front-end core theme which could replace Garland
 with some discussion about the chosen database storage solution (see also screenshot).
[caption id="attachment_1101" align="aligncenter" width="574" caption="An image is nog longer a widget of file, but a separate field type"][/caption]
For developers / themers:
- Nice new hooks like hook_page_alter()
- JQuery 1.3 and JQuery UI 1.7 in core 
- API changes/cleanup
- Everything is a region/block now, and much more theme changes
- Simpletest in core
- PDO database layer 
- Contextual string translation
 building upon that, a project to support Oracle
Some things that didn't make it
The list is a bit longer than this, but here are some things which will have to wait until Drupal 8 or become available as contributed modules.
- There won't be a media library in core, but there will be one as contrib
- The profile module will still be there since it wasn't migrated to field API on time.
- 'Save as Draft' functionality didn't make it
- The code registry was rolled back (see here for details why)
Also, there are some concerns about the performance of Drupal 7 (versus Drupal 6) this point. But there is a lot of movement in this area and it's only natural that a piece of software which gained a lot of new features needs to be optimized in code freeze. Something else which seems a bit worrying is the comment on Dries' post by sun about the status of the field API in general. Looks like there is much cleaning up to do in the API.
If you want to take Drupal 7 out for a spin to check it out for yourself, you can download a development snapshot here. Needless to say, you don't want to be using this in a production environment. I think it still looks a bit rough (css issues in different browsers) and while the admin interface is a *lot* better than Garland, it does feel unpolished yet (the dashboard for example). Icons would provide a much more pleasant first time experience, but I think everybody is currently more occupied with the shortcut toolbar issue, which has proven to be quite a challenge to implement. It also one of the issues tagged as Drupal 7 priority.
And for those who want to know when Drupal 7 will be ready? When this list becomes empty.