What new Drupal 9 features can you expect to see on June 3rd, 2020?

For, it's a bit confusing, isn't it?

  • on one hand, you have the “no new features“ statement
  • on the other hand, you get answers like: “the easiest upgrade in a decade”, “newer PHP libraries”, “a brand new admin theme”, and so on

So, are there any new shiny things in Drupal 9 that you can look forward to? Or maybe get worried about...

There is one shiny new feature and 8... improvements, from what I've seen.

And I've grouped all together in a list. Here it is:

1. The New Shiny Thing: Easy Upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9

A smooth upgrade experience, this is the only new shiny thing that Drupal 9 ships with.

In short, moving to Drupal 9 will be as easy as updating from one minor Drupal 8 version to another.

Drupal 9 Features: Easy Upgrade

Source: Drupal.org

Word of caution: the upgrade path to Drupal 9 is “buttery smooth” if and only if you stick to a “healthy” routine of weeding out old and deprecated code from your current codebase.

2. Drupal 7 and 8 Will Continue to Get Supported Alongside Drupal 9

One of the biggest Drupal 9 vs Drupal 8 (and even Drupal 9 vs Drupal 7) difference is the overlap of security coverage:

Till Drupal 9, whenever a new stable version got released, the previous one lost its support. Starting with the 9th version of the CMS, Drupal 7, and Drupal 8 will continue to get community support till November 2021.

In other words, Drupal 8, cleaned-up of all deprecated API will continue to work on Drupal 9. 

And Drupal 7 will get community support for... 1-1.5 years after Drupal 9 gets released. 

One of the unexpected Drupal 9 features.

For it disrupts the way that the Drupal community used to approach major versions once they were no longer “the latest” ones.

3. Claro Becomes the Default Administration Theme

… once it gets stable.

4. New Drupal 9 Features: CKEditor 5 Gets Implemented

... in a future version of Drupal 9.

Security support will drop for CKEditor 4 sometime around Drupal 9's end of life.

Therefore, Drupal 9's roadmap includes adding CKEditor 5 to a future version (and eventually removing CKEditor 4 completely in Drupal 10).

5. The Workspace Module Goes from Experimental to Stable

Drupal 9 Features; The Workspace Module Gets Stable
Source: Drupal.org

How is this good news for you?

Let's say that you need to prepare multiple versions of your Drupal site and, depending on certain factors, to push live only one of them.

The Workspace module allows you do to precisely that: to replicate content between workspaces on the same Drupal site.

And, luckily, the module will be generally available starting with Drupal 9...

6. What's New in Drupal 9? Twig 2

That's right, Drupal 9 comes with support for newer PHP libraries. Support for Twig 2 here included.

7. Drupal 9 Will Be Backward-Compatible with Drupal 8 from Day One

What are the new Drupal 9 features?

Minor upgrade versions of Drupal 8 will be backward-compatible with Drupal 9.

This means that all your Drupal 8 components will work with Drupal 9. This ninth version of Drupal is built on top of Drupal 8, basically. 

In other words: no need to panic that your (Drupal 8) website's key features will no longer be valid in Drupal 9. This is going to be the first time that 2 major versions of Drupal are fully compatible.

8. From Symfony 3 to Symfony 4.4

“What's new in Drupal 9?”

Symfony 4.4.

Since its third version will no longer be supported in November 2021, Symfony 4.4 gets integrated with Drupal 9.

All while making sure that Drupal 9 is forward-compatible with Symfony 5, as well...

9. Olivero Becomes Drupal's New Default Theme

New Drupal version, new front-end theme.

Olivero will come to replace Bartik, the current default theme in Drupal.

Wrap-Up: 5 Drupal 9 Requirements Your Drupal Site Should Meet

Now you know which are the predictable, the new and the... shiny new features in Drupal 9. What next?

How do you ensure that your Drupal website's Drupal 9-ready?

Here are 5 key steps to take for a buttery-smooth upgrade:

  1. Make sure your environment is Drupal 9-compatible: PHP 7.3, MySQL 5.7.8, Drush 10
  2. Update to the latest minor versions of Drupal 8 as soon as they get released: you'll be able to upgrade your website to Drupal 9 only from Drupal 8.8. and Drupal 8.9 
  3. Keep your modules up to date: do all your contributed modules run on their latest versions?
  4. Weed out any deprecated API from the custom projects that your website's using
  5. Update core to Drupal 9

Word of caution: if your website (still) runs on Drupal 7, upgrade to Drupal 8. 

To sum up, the shortest path to a smooth upgrade to Drupal 9 is sticking to the best practices:

  • remove all deprecated code (go for an automated tool like drupal-check or Rector to identify deprecations on your website)
  • update your Drupal core and contributed projects to their latest versions

Or, you can leave all the preparations to us.

Just drop us a line and we'll evaluate your website's level of... readiness:

  • Is there any deprecated code still “lingering in there?
  • Does it run on Drupal 7?
  • Are there any outdated versions of PHP or MySQL that it is still using?

Then, we can come up with a plan to get it Drupal 9-ready.

Image by Marsel Elia from Pixabay  


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