While conferences are not safe this year with COVID-19, Acquia Engage has gone virtual with an online event. While Acquia Engage is usually a great opportunity to get to know Acquia employees, customers and partners in person, this year can still deliver on new ideas coming in the Acquia platform.
As Acquia has expanded into an open Digital Experience Platform (DXP), their products have been split into two areas of focus. The Drupal Cloud is the suite of tools that enhance site building in Drupal and Marketing Cloud is the suite of tools that enable extended marketing functionality like personalization and marketing automation.
Acquia Drupal Cloud Enhancements
Dries Buytaert (the founder of Drupal) started off the conference with some exciting announcements around the Drupal Cloud. These enhancements focus on enabling Acquia customers to more quickly build out site experiences in Drupal and reduce the maintenance and upgrade costs long-term.
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While the Drupal community has made it very easy to migrate from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9, those on earlier versions of Drupal (or not on Drupal at all) will find that the typical project to get to Drupal 9 is more like implementation than it is like upgrade. Acquia Migrate can make the upgrade process for Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 five times faster and Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 twice as fast. In addition, there are even solutions to migrate non-Drupal sites into Drupal 9.
Acquia Cloud IDE
Setting up a local copy of Drupal for development can be complex. There are multiple requirements to run Drupal and typically development tools have been different for developers on windows, mac and linux. The Acquia Cloud IDE allows a developer to spin up a full brower-based development environment in 60 seconds that is fully integrated into the Acquia Cloud.
Acquia has been behind the work necessary to allow enterprise organizations to leverage Drupal, through platform support, solutions like Lightning and low-code solutions like Acquia Site Studio. In the continuation of that evolution, Acquia is creating a specialized distribution of Drupal to provide out of the box capabilities and pre-installed integrations with other Acquia products. It’s still Drupal, but with additional enterprise solutions to support your needs.
Site Studio Page Builder
Acquia Site Studio (formerly Cohesion) moves Drupal from a page-based system to a true component-based CMS that allows users to build up experiences using a toolbox of components. One challenge of Site Studio has been that the user interface for creating these is not quite WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). The Page Builder enhancement to Site Studio delivers that author-friendly WYSIWYG experience when dragging and dropping components onto the page.
Acquia Cloud Next
Acquia was early in bringing Drupal to the cloud and enabling the level of scaling that can be very challenging on-premise. Acquia Cloud Next will take that scalability to the next level by moving Acquia hosting to a fully containerized model, apparently leveraging Kubernetes. This “under the hood” enhancement to Acquia Cloud will allow for faster sites that are more scalable and more resilient.
The Future of Acquia Drupal Cloud
Overall, I’m excited about these enhancements in the Drupal Cloud. It’s clear that Acquia’s roadmap has been focused on the very things that needed the most attention to continue to excel beyond other DXP solutions and make it easier for partners and customers to build out experiences in Drupal. Dries even hinted at enhancements coming to Acquia Search, which has desperately needed it. I’m looking forward to what Acquia Drupal Cloud is going to enable.
More to come in the releases and roadmap for the Acquia Marketing Cloud.