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  • Writer's picturePanshul Khurana

Layout Builder vs. Panels

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

Drupal's most interesting feature is the new Layout Builder which was added in Drupal 8.5. I'm sure you must have read about it and some of you might have already got your hands dirty with this amazing feature. In this blog, our focus would be to

  • Compare layout builder with Panels

  • Try to figure out how the experience provided by layout builder can be improved.

Site Building Journey from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8

Drupal has come a long way in terms of Site Building , Drupal community is super active in contributing ideas to make Drupal a better web platform. Panels have come a long way from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 and has improved a lot in terms of site building abilities.

From Panel's in place editor capabilities to layout builder's ability to modify a page view at a much granular level , it is really interesting to see what Drupal has achieved in so many years. For Newbie to layout Builder.. Layout builder is an amazing tool to customise the way your content is presented. Content presentation is truly an important aspect of showcasing work through a website. You can add sections to display content using different layouts, and build out according to your design requirements The layout builder can be used in two ways.

  • You can use it to create a layout for each content type on your site and you can also use it to create a layout for each individual piece of content.

  • This second use case makes the layout builder a landing-page-building tool that content editors and marketers can use to create flexible pages within a Drupal site.

To get more insight on what it is , how it works and looks, head towards "How to configure Layout Builder with Drupal site? ". What's Up with Panels then ? The Panels module allows a site administrator to create customised layouts for multiple uses. At its core it is a drag and drop content manager that lets you visually design a layout and place content within that layout. You can use Panels to customise the following :

  • Node Landing Pages

  • Taxonomy Landing Pages

  • Creating a new page with required path

Some of the other key features includes :

  • Panel can be integrated with Views.

  • Panels Support style straight from the style guide.

To learn more about panels , follow the Drupal link here Why do we need layout Builder ? We need Layout builder for the following :

  • To provide more power to Drupal's site building capabilities.

  • We need something that is much more convenient than panels, something that provides page "in place editing" in a much smarter way that is quick and has better user interface, which lets site editor do the changes in the page view easily.

  • We are moving towards making Drupal a stronger Content Management System, Layout builder is an important step towards.

The Face-Off : When we go through the use cases of panels , we find out that panels is really useful for creating customised templates. But Layout builder, even in it's experimental version seems to be much more powerful in following ways:

  • It's provides you the option the customise the page on the page view directly, unlike panels, you can simply access the layout builder on the page view and customise the page right then and there, without any hassle of going to it's admin page.

  • It comes with an option to add blocks from the slider that is added to the page right when we click on "Add Block" button, which makes the site building much more easier.

  • Panels is about choosing a layout and working with that specific layout, where layout builder gives you an option to add layout in forms of section on various parts of the page. According to me this is the most powerful feature that lets you customise the page at granular level.

  • Panels gave great superpowers to developers to customise the page according to the requirements, but Drupal is now moving towards providing power and freedom to content editors to edit the page without any developer intervention, which is again a great way to think and provide a CMS a great power to build and place the components on the site.

That's not just it! it has more to come! We will keep on working with layout builder to find out it's superpowers and come back with the findings again in the next post. Until then, go ahead and leave your comments / questions in comment section below and let others know what have you explored about layout builder. :)

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