My background is marketing and my hobby is web design/development. As a marketer first and a developer second, my approach to building a site is probably different than the average Drupal power-user. I tend to approach building a website with visitor ease of use in mind first, then manager/developer second, and editor/contributor last. I know several fellow developers who disagree with this approach, but my opinion is that the visitor is the priority, if they don't find the site and use the site then whats the point of the site, but I digress.
Anyway, I was recently rehired by my former employer to develop a new website for them. This is a complete upgrade from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7. As a side note, I've worked in Drupal since D5, managed a D6 (for former employer) site for two years, and over the past year I've built a dozen or so sites in D7 and with every one I have learned a bit more about Drupal. I know Drupal is an evolving platform and things get better with each release.
I say that to hopefully provide some credibility to my credentials so that what I say in the following isn't seen as a newbie just complaining because he doesn't know Drupal.
The reason I am writing this is to hopefully encourage others to join an ongoing dialogue and hopefully get some of our ideas integrated into the D8 core. I am by no means a coder, so I won't pretend to understand all that is involved in the module or core build, so hopefully some of you coders will find interest in this and be able to provide insight.
In developing the aforementioned new site for my company, I have really been pushing myself to try new and different things. Our goal (as a company) is for our site to be one that our competition looks at and wonders how we did that and wants to copy us vs. us copying the competition. In doing this I have decided to begin using Page Manager (CT Tools) with custom views panes to build the site versus building custom .tpl files.
I've been a loyal Views user since I began building sites in D7. Mostly didn't use them in D6 because the site was already developed and there wasn't any desire by the owners of the company to go through change. With the new site build I've really seen the power of Page manager and it and Views combined together are alloweing me to do some pretty amazing things; definitely unlike anything our competition is doing.
However, I've run into a brick wall with a few things regarding Views and Page Manager; the two biggest issue with these tools is a) their lack of SEO compliancy and b) their inability to be flexible enough to do some very fundamental web development things.
On the SEO front:
I know SEO isn't something that developers worry a lot about, but for those of us who wear multiple hats (developer, marketer, designer, etc...) there really should be some turn-key SEO solutions built into the Drupal core; especially solutions that pertain to items which are dynamic, i.e. Views and Page manager custom pages. I know there are work-arounds and modules to help, but my take... why build a site that isn't SEO friendly? More than likely, eventually someone is going to have to SEO the site, and it is far easier to implement SEO on the front-end versus having to come back in and do it. Drupal core should include a full suite of SEO tools rather than depending on 3rd party modules. Naturally, if someone didn't want to mess with the SEO side they could simply not touch the SEO components.
That said to say this... as dynamic and powerful as views and Custom pages are; there are small little things like my issue and the SEO issues that really need to be addressed in core for D8. Drupal's modular flexibility really makes it far superior to other CMS and site building tools, but the complexity of getting things that have long been considered core for other platforms is something that is lacking in Drupal. A page whether it is created as a node, taxonomy term/vocabulary, or something more dynamic (non SQL db stored) like views pages or Page Manager pages should all have the ability to control the SEO via the module itself or via a backend UI. Similar to how metatags works now, but on a much more granular and all-encompassing level.
On the flexibility front:
One of the brick walls I've run into is these custom pages (specifically) the URLs having the ability to port into views and/or page manager. For example, I am attempting to build an (old-school) HTML site map of all the pages for our site. The site is fairly in-depth and it would be nice to have a place where users can find what they are looking for should all else fail. Of course this would be easy to do in views if all my pages were node-based or taxonomy-based, but our site uses many Views and Page Manager pages to build main pages for different sections of our site.
In the past I've just created a content type called PHP/HTML/CSS pages and built these pages as nodes. Basically creating PHP/HTML to do something that views and Page Manager can do much easier and in a lot less time. Since these were nodes I was then able to build something like a site map with all the pages on my site because, well, they were nodes. Now with views and pages that isn't possible, at least that I have been able to achieve. If you have a suggestion on this I have an issue open here: http://drupal.org/node/1875982.
Ok /endrant now...
There are other issues, but some of them are already being addressed in D8 development. D7 was a major bump in ease of development, and I would hope that D8 is the same from a marketing/SEO and visitor perspective. There are many large/enterprise sites using Drupal and I am sure many more would if the platform would gear to the marketing/SEO and visitor usability.
Like I said I hope this is a good place for your input and suggestions on what you would like to see, especially for those of you who are like me and wear many hats outside developer.