This month at Drupalcon Los Angeles I gave two presentations on front-end rendering. The first, Rendering HTML with Drupal: Past, Present and Future, focused on the question “Is the job of a Drupal theme to look like a design or to be the design?” There are tools in Drupal like preprocess functions and template suggestions that encourage a mindset of altering and overriding existing markup. There are tools like field formatters and Views plugins that encourages crafting exactly the markup you want. Watch the video to see how the usage of these tools has changed to match evolving expectations.
In the final segment of that presentation I focus on how modern front-end tools like Angular, Ember and Web Components have their own opinions on how to conceptualize rendering. To play well with such tools Drupal will need to embrace more of the concepts used in those systems.
Particularly, Drupal will need a more consistent and coherent separation of data and display. My second Drupalcon presentation, What Panels can teach us about Web Components, examined Panels’ rendering strategy. Panels module makes a hard separation between Drupal entities and the templates into which they print. The techniques used in Panels can prepare Drupal developers looking to make the jump to Web Components or other modern front-end tools.