I've had a lot of fun today at the Chicago Drupal Jam: http://jam.cdmug.org/ The event featured 7 Drupal 7 presentations. It has been a while since I've fired up Drupal 7 and have to say I'm pretty excited. I think Drupal 7 is really going to blow people away. Especially the Wordpress / Joomla holdouts who love those packages' UIs and bemoan Drupal's. Drupal 7 'out of the box' looks really slick. And under the hood there are some exciting changes. A couple of notes from the day.
Q: When Will Drupal 7 Be Release?
A: Answer (From Crell), 'When it is Ready'!
More specifically, when the critical issue queue is down to zero.
Most Exciting Drupal 7 Elements
Caching in D7 will be greatly improved. The caching layer will be object oriented so that multiple caching frameworks can be used without hacking core. A lot of the work that went into Press Flow was contributed to D7. This will make scaling a lot easier and projects like Mercury a lot more accessible and easy-to-use.
Brandon Morrison gave a nice breakdown of D7 theme improvements. According to him 80% will be the same for D6 themers but the last has some nice improvements. The addition of Jquery UI to core will be huge. The render() and hide() functions in templates will avoid hacky 'unsetting' of variables, there will be a 'process' function which will sit between the 'preprocess' functions and 'templates', the $help region, the ability to theme forms, and the new hooks available to themes are also pretty cool. If page_hook_alter() does as advertised there will be a lot of satisfied themers.
New database layer, new node access, entities, and fields (of course).
Coming to Terms with the Admin Overlay
I was one of those howling about the new Admin Overlay. Who asked for this? Why make a browser within a browser?! Why include something so buggy so close to relase?! ..were some of my reactions. Looking at it now it is a lot less buggy, and I'm starting to come around. I think there will be a lot of people who see this and are new to web building and think it is awesome. I showed it to students in a Drupal 6 class recently and they 'oohed' and 'aahed'. People like pretty things. So maybe after all this will be a win. Though I think it should be part of the UI to disable it.
Overall: D7 Rocks!
There is a lot of excitement and energy around this. Looking forward to its release.