An Early Look at Drupal 9: What to Expect From the New Release

An Early Look at Drupal 9: What to Expect From the New Release

You’re probably already familiar with Drupal. It’s a popular open-source content management system (CMS) and competitor to WordPress. It’s renowned for its flexibility and high-security standards, so anytime there’s a major release on the horizon, like Drupal 9, it’s worth taking a closer look.

Drupal 9 will ship in mid-2020 and will be the first major release for the CMS with built-in backward compatibility. This means the upgrade should be silky smooth if you’re already using Drupal 8 – and you get to enjoy the benefits of more up-to-date underlying libraries too. 

In this article, we’ll go over what we know about the Drupal 9 launch, and introduce the new features it will bring over version 8. Then we’ll talk about how to prepare your website for upgrading to Drupal 9, and whether it’s a good option versus WordPress. Let’s dig in!

What we know about the Drupal 9 release

Drupal 9 is coming in June 2020. Based on what we know so far, this new version will overhaul the way that Drupal handles upgrades overall.

In the past, every major new release of Drupal basically re-invented large parts of the platform. With Drupal 9, the development team wants to adopt a new model going forward.

As such, Drupal 9 will be built on top of the current existing architecture. The new version will continue to debut minor updates every six months, and in practice, should make using the CMS a lot simpler.

If you’ve been on the fence about trying out Drupal based on comments relating to the upgrade process, keep an eye out in June 2020, and read on!

The key differences between Drupal 8 and 9

Previously, whenever a new version of Drupal launched, it would cause a bit of a stir in the community. Newer versions of the CMS didn’t use to guarantee backward compatibility with previous ones. Updating from the previous version of Drupal used to be a pain that involved:

  1. Using a migration module to move data and content from the old core version to the new one.
  2. Checking if your modules were supported by Drupal 8.
  3. Going through your source files to find deprecated code that needed updating.

All in all, it used to be a lengthy process. A lot of modules would become outdated with every major release, or lag behind for long periods of time.

The primary selling point for Drupal 9 is its backward compatibility with version 8 from day one. This means all of your Drupal 8 components will still work with this new version. If any of your site’s key features depend on modules, you can breathe easy and update to Drupal 9 when the release hits.

What’s more, Drupal 9 will ship with support for newer PHP libraries, including the latest versions of Symfony and Twig.

At launch, Drupal 9 should feel very similar to 8, so don’t expect big changes in functionality out of the gate.

How to prepare your website for Drupal

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This article was written by John Hughes and originally published on ThemeIsle Blog.

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