Three and a half months ago, Views, along with CCK and OG were made available as a release candidates. Today, I've finally come to the conclusion that the remaining bugs are minor enough to go ahead with an official, formal release of Views 2, and we can finally say that this module is now out and available. Yes, it actually beat Panels 2 to final release!
If you've never tried Views 2, or are hesitating about Drupal 6, this new release of Views is a very good reason to consider making the transition, especially in your new sites.
The Views module has undergone extensive development, refactoring, and testing. Views 2 improves the existing functionality of the Views module, and adds new features designed to simplify life for developers, site admins, themers, and end users alike.
A more detailed list of changes is below.
New features for your site
- Multiple blocks, pages, and feeds per view.
- Built-in AJAX for pagers, exposed filters, and argument drill-down clicks. Great in blocks!
- RSS feeds for comments.
- Greater control over exposed filters, including being able to reduce a taxonomy list to just terms you select.
- Can have multiple "displays" on a view with the same path, which have different features -- give your administrators and privileged users richer views than others!
New features for themers
- All views output is done through templates, dramatically improving themability; the old views theming wizard is no longer required.
- Additional theming information to customize your views through templates is also provided in the user interface.
New features for site admins
- A completely reworked UI for creating and maintaining views. Features of the UI include:
- Options are presented contextually; thus, when editing/creating a view, you are presented with only the choices you need.
- If two people are editing the same View the view will be locked; only one person can edit a view at a time.
- Live preview! Make a change, scroll down and see what your view looks like.
- Upon previewing, performance timers show how long your View took to build, query, and render. Great for quick performance tuning.
- Views can pull data from many different core tables. Users, comments, statistics, files, plus other things can be plugged in.
- Can have views within views, known as attachments. These attachments can be used to display multiple, related views within the same space.
- "View type" is now called "style", and has split into Style and Row style to allow far more flexibility in how view results are displayed. We've also added useful styles such as grouping and grid.
- Lots inline help with the Advanced Help module.
- New "Relationships" can let you have all the fields from referenced nodes right in your view.
- New glossary styles make it easy to page items alphabetically.
- Pluggable mechanism to find values for arguments for blocks -- easily create views for the node or user page with no PHP snippets required.
- Views now have optional tags in addition to names; allowing you to sort your list of views and find and edit the ones for which you're looking.
- Export multiple Views at once.
- Tool to analyze your view for common mistakes (that can be expanded through plugins)
New Features for developers
- Reworked, pluggable object-oriented API. Every component of Views is implemented as plugin objects and handlers. Views developers now have a great deal of freedom extending and customizing Views with their own data tables, display types, and view and row style plugins.
- Pluggable argument validation (can embed PHP code) to give you greater control over what kind of arguments your views can use.
- The SQL statements used to generate a view are displayed on preview.
- There may be a few lingering issues with Postgres, in particular with GROUP BY related queries.
- The upgrade path from Views 1 to Views 2 is very rough. Because Views 2 was completely rewritten, it actually uses different tables. When you update a site that previously included Views 1, none of your Views will be transitioned. There is a converter tool that will make a best effort (and by best we mean weak) to convert your Views to the new format. They will require manual tweaking in almost every case. Please expect this transition to take a bit of time, but ultimately be worth the investment.