For the past couple weekends I've spent a few hours seeing if I could build a new personal site using Drupal 8. D8 recently released it's first couple release candidates, and set an official launch date. (November 19, 2015)
So far I've only created the very basics of a site. Nothing worth making public. Of course, I've also spent very little time on the project. That said, here are my initial thoughts.
Installation is just as easy as D7. No changes that I noticed.
The toolbar in D8 is better than in D7. For one thing, you can dock it to the top or left side of your screen. That said, I still prefer the admin_menu style.
The modules page now has a module filter form built in. So the only reason to install the module_filter module would be for the better styling. Seriously, a single column for all the modules available to the instance?
Seven is still a very good administrative theme. Again, though, I prefer the Adminimal theme. Hopefully it will get a D8 release quickly.
Views is in core! Anyone following D8 already knew this, but it deserves repeating. I remember waiting months for Views to release a stable D7 version. D7 was very very limited without it.
The Bartik theme is ugly. Well, at least it isn't appealing. The only time I've used it on a production site, it was the Dartik contrib version. And I really should have done something else...
IMO, Drupal would have been smarter to just use a Bootstrap 3, or some other front end framework, theme. Just use the default styles, and most people would be able to quickly customize it.
WYSIWYG in core. I'd prefer everyone not use WYSIWYG editors, but most users really do want them. So it's good that D8 has that in core. It will save a lot of pain for new site builders.
A Link field type in core is really nice.
There's also a datetime field type in core, and more detailed date settings. So the Date module isn't something you have to install by default anymore.
Web Services are now a part of core. I haven't done a lot with them, but there are a LOT of ways you can leverage REST api's. Having that be part of core is really really smart.
Configuration can now be exported to code via the config module. This is important for those of use who use dev->test->prod workflows. Being able to keep configuration in code, instead of the database, will save a LOT of time.
That said, I'm confused as to why we can't export taxonomy terms and menu items into code. See my question on Drupal Answers.
I'm also disappointed that PathAuto did not get added to core. Adding url aliases is something to expect from any CMS. /node/1234 is hardly a useful url. /blog/date/first-blog-post is much more useful.
I have yet to check out how Drupal is taking advantage of Symfony's code. I hope it makes it easier to extend Drupal.
The new twig template system should make life easier when theming. I know the few times I've played with twig in other systems, I've liked it.
Anyway, I'm glad Drupal 8 is finally being released. It's been a long wait.