After eight months of development, we are proud to announce the release of the first beta version of the Drupal 6.x family. This beta includes a tremendous number of new features and new programming APIs for both users and developers. We improved Drupal's human language related features, interoperability with databases, logging solutions, sign-on systems and also included an update notification module for improved security, so it becomes easier than ever to get up to date with the latest security and bug fixes.
It is important to note that this beta version should not be used for production sites. We've resolved most errors reported so far, but there are outstanding known issues and most likely some problems that have not been reported as of yet. It is expected that there will be at least one more beta version followed by at least one release candidate before Drupal 6.0 is finalized. You can help us reach the final release date sooner by testing this beta and providing feedback.
What's new, what's changed?
The new Drupal 6 experience starts with the installer, which has been drastically improved. It now guides you through the initial setup steps, so starting a new Drupal site is significantly easier. Configuration parameters that used to be all over the place are now prompted for during the install so there are fewer steps necessary to get the site configured.
- You will notice the improved language features as well, in both the installer and throughout using Drupal. Right to left (RTL) languages are now supported, interface translations are automatically imported, and you can translate your posts right from the built-in interface, without installing additional modules.
- The OpenID client module has been added to core. This allows your users to sign on your site with their OpenID accounts.
- 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).
- Update status
- The highly popular Update status module is now in core. 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.
- Menu system
- The menu system was rewritten from scratch, making it much more efficient. The menu interface is nearly identical so aside from the performance improvements, you will only notice the underlying changes if you are a programmer.
- Theming has been made more flexible and easier by moving most of PHPTemplate engine deeper into core. Default template files (.tpl.php) can now be implemented by modules and a handful have already been converted. If you don't like the way something looks, just find the .tpl file, copy it to your theme, and change the HTML.
- Book and Forum changes
The book module and forum module have been reworked from the ground up: it is now possible to have any type of content in forums (polls for example) and the book administration is simplified.
More information about changes in this beta version is available in the CHANGELOG.txt file.
Contributed modules and themes
Contributed module and theme authors should start porting their modules and porting their themes to Drupal 6. As some of the authors are waiting for the release to stabilize, you might not find a Drupal 6 version of the contributed module(s) you would like to test this new Drupal beta with. Likewise, many translators have not even started the porting process, because the exact Drupal interface string might still change (to improve usability). Feel free to try with existing Drupal 5 translation packages (although you would not be able to enjoy our automatic import feature, because Drupal 5 translations are in a different package format).
Updating from previous versions
Traditionally, Drupal has taken great care of your data, so our 6.0 upgrade process should be as perfect as possible. We invite you to test updates to this beta release with data from a Drupal 5.x database. Direct updates from Drupal 4.6 and 4.7 are not supported, you need to take an intermediate version and update to that first. Always make backups of your data and never do testing on your live site to make sure you keep all of your information intact even if something goes wrong.
When testing this beta version you might find issues which were already reported. Please search for existing issues first before submitting a new bug report. If you can't find the exact issue you experience in the Issue Queue then feel free to open a new report and provide us as much information as possible to fix the issue. Include the exact error message, anything you have done which may lead to the issue and so on. Drupal 6 bugs can be submitted in our issue tracker.
Download the beta
Download the Drupal 6.0 beta 1 package. Installation instructions are included in the package; see the INSTALL.txt file for more information.
We hope you enjoy testing this new beta, and await the final release with as much anticipation as we do.