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Where's Views at Drupal 8 Feature Freeze?

on Sun Dec 2, 2012

Where is Views now?

The short answer is Views is in core! Read on for details.

Why yes, you can!

Six months ago, I posted about my role in the Views in Drupal Core initiative (VDC). At the time, merlinofchaos had just recently announced VDC as a grassroots initiative, tim.plunkett had already finished a quick port of Views to an 8.x-3.x branch, and the three of us had held our first quiet sprint.

Following that post, the VDC team spent four months converting Views to new Drupal 8 subsystems, improving Drupal 8 core APIs, and updating Views' architecture. On September 26, Dries announced VDC as an official D8 initiative, and on October 22, Views and Views UI were merged into Drupal core.

Work didn't stop there. In fact, adding Views to core was just the first step. Now that Views is a core module:

(You can see an outline of what we've done and what we're doing next on the VDC roadmap, and get status updates on the Drupal 8 core initiatives page.)

Where is Views is headed?

This week, Dries announced the extension of feature freeze into a "feature completion phase" that lasts until February 18, 2013. During the next two and a half months, features that are already under development must be completed, and features that are not already in progress will no longer be considered. Here's what's left for Views:

  1. Convert a first core listing to a View.
  2. Evaluate administrative listings as Views.
  3. Reintroduce Views data integration for several core modules.
  4. Support data serialization output from Views.
  5. Explore ways to help administrative users identify Views with performance problems. 

Once those tasks are finished, we will consider Views feature-complete, and shift focus to improving and stabilizing existing code, as well as continuing work on usability, accessibility, and performance.

As an advanced site building tool, Views is also dependent on features of many other subsystems that are still under development. Here's what we need to do to help develop those features:

  1. Implement multilingual configuration support.
  2. Ensure that the configuration system fully supports Views' storage and export needs, including reintroducing "revert to default" functionality once the configuration system supports it.
  3. Convert Views' modals to the new core dialogs.
  4. Help complete an integrated core context API so that Views' contextual filters can use this data.
  5. Help develop an Entity Operations API to support administrative views.

After February 18, there will be lots more to do as we integrate and stabilize the full Drupal 8 featureset. We won't know definitively until then what integration tasks remain, but here are some of our likely goals:

  • Replace Views' page displays with layouts from the Blocks and Layouts initiative, and integrate the display creation workflow with that workflow.
  • Add Entity Field Query support.
  • Provide general entity data handling.
  • Convert Views' theming to the new Twig theme system.
  • Standardize Views' user interface patterns with the Blocks and Layouts initiative's, and possibly even adapt Views' administration to tools like a Blocks and Layouts condition builder.

Later in the release cycle, we will also be cleaning up the existing Views codebase to core standards, creating an upgrade path from the Views 7.x-3.x contributed module, and adding documentation. It's a long road ahead!

How will we get where we're going?

Sounds exciting, right? And probably a bit daunting? It certainly is to me! We're not in it alone, of course; we're working together with other Drupal 8 initiatives and 1000 or so other active Drupal core contributors. Still, to accomplish such ambitious goals, the VDC team is going to need your help and support.

The most valuable resource to an open source initiative like ours is developer time, especially consistent time commitments from the same developers. During the past six months, tim.plunkettdawehnerdamiankloip, and myself have all been paid part-time to work on VDC, and it has contributed significantly to our progress. Beginning today, Dec. 2nd, 40% of my time is available. I'd like to use it to work on the initiative, and I am looking for funding. If you are interested in contributing financially to Drupal 8 in this way, please contact me

Code sprints are also an important ingredient in our initiative's progress. Thanks to the quick, enthusiastic response of several sponsors, the VDC team is holding a sprint in London this coming weekend, December 8-9. (Contact tim.plunkett if you are interested in participating.) I'll have a post all about this sprint the following week, so stay tuned!

We'd also like to hold additional sprints later in the release cycle. Hosting a sprint or helping developers travel is a very direct way to contribute to Drupal 8's progress. In particular, we often hold sprints in tandem with Drupal events, because it is a comparatively low-cost way to get developers together. Additionally, some time early in 2013, the Views team would like to have a sprint with contributors to the Blocks and Layouts and Authoring Experience initiatives, so that we can integrate and improve Drupal 8's new site building and content creation features. It's a bit early to plan for next spring, but keep this in mind if you're looking for ways to contribute to Drupal 8's development during the new year.

How did we make it this far?

To me, the VDC initiative's progress is a shining demonstration of the Drupal community's strengths and the power of open source. In a way, we were already pretty far along when we started (thanks to years of merlinofchaos's expertise and hard work), but the transition from contrib to core has been exciting and challenging.

I have been inspired, awed, and reassured by how many individuals and companies have contributed to VDC, collaborating to meet a shared need for Drupal 8. Companies like Pantheon, CodeEnigma, and the sponsors of numerous Drupal events have hosted sprints so that VDC developers can collaborate in person to solve tough problems. Individuals like chx, cosmicdreams, and hundreds of others have made generous financial contributions to help our developers travel and devote their working hours to the project. Dozens of developers and other experts have contributed at sprints and through the issue queues.

Four Drupal companies need special mention as the cornerstones of our success so far. Zivtech, erdfisch, and New Digital Partnership have each committed a portion of one developer's time to the VDC initiative (developers tim.plunkett, dawehner, and damiankloip, respectively). There is no substitute for having a consistent, committed team of developers who can reliably spend workdays on a project, week after week. Acquia has similarly been an amazing resource. Acquia matched community chip-in contributions to the initiative, facilitating sprints, sponsoring developer time, and helping the initiative team through complications. Without the resources invested by these four Drupal community leaders, I honestly don't think we would have been able to get Views core-ready (and core Views-ready) by the feature freeze deadline yesterday.

Finally, I want to personally thank webchick, who (as always) has been an anchor in rough waters, with her guidance, patience, and support. And, of course, hugs for my fellow VDC team members: Tim, Daniel, and Damian. You guys are amazing. <3


Thomas Svenson's picture

Thanks for the update Jess, I'm amazed about the prospect of Views in D8. It will truly take things to a whole new level.

A couple of things I am particularly interested to know more about is in regards to reports and statistics. For me it feels like a nobrainer that views will replace to custom code for all core reports. Do you see that happen?

Then what about statistics, do you forsee any improvements to it too so it will be possible to take better advantage of that from within views?

dawehner's picture

It has been and will be a unique experience to be part of this global team! When I look back at drupalcon denver when earl came up with that idea i remember bojanz looking at me and basically telling me "how will this be possible?".

Now  8 months later it feels like that the VDC team always have worked together, as we have achieved so much.

Thank you all!

vijaycs85's picture

great job VDC initiatives.

David Herron's picture


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