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24 Feb 2020

What’s New in Drupal 9?

If you are still suffering from upgrade PTSD from the last major update, from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, you are not alone. However, with the upcoming rollout of Drupal 9, you have little to fear – most of what’s new in Drupal 9 isn’t really anything new, the current upgrade is simply building upon the current features that make Drupal so popular, with a few exceptions. Let’s explore.

So, What’s New in Drupal 9?

The answer is a lot…and not that much. Essentially, Drupal 9 will be a cleaner, smoother version of Drupal 8. One major innovation in Drupal 8 was the way that updates were rolled out – smaller updates every 6 months, as opposed to major overhauls – however this has left the software with a long string of deprecated code. With the Drupal 9 update, unnecessary deprecated code from Drupal 8 will no longer be supported, leaving you with a system that runs smoother and feels lighter. To ensure a smooth transition from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9, it is recommended that you remove unnecessary code.

Third Party Dependencies

Two major third party dependencies, Symphony 3 and Twig 1, will also be updated in Drupal 9. With the end of life coming near for Symphony 3, the new Drupal 9 will offer support for Symphony 4.4 and potentially even Symphony 5, which is set to be released in early 2020. Drupal 9 will also offer support for Twig 2, although Twig 1 will be kept on for backwards dependencies.

New Theme

Visually, Drupal 9 is getting a major facelift. The current default theme Bartik, which has been used for over 10 years (which in computer years is multiple lifetimes), will be replaced with a new default theme in 2020 – Olivero. Olivero will be more visually simplistic and modern; it will remove all unnecessary clutter while still providing ample options to choose from. The colour scheme will also be getting a much-neededmakeover.

Compatibility with Drupal 8

One of the changes users will be happiest with is that even with the current update, modules from Drupal 8 will remain compatible with Drupal 9. This was a major flaw in the update from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 and programmers listened to the complaints when creating the updates for Drupal 9. Contributed modules used in Drupal 8, as long as they do not use deprecated APIs, will also be compatible with Drupal 9.

So, the short answer to the what’s new in Drupal 9 question is: a lot to be excited about and little to fear. The upgrade should run fairly smoothly for those already running Drupal 8, so there will be none of the pain of the Drupal 7 to 8 upgrade, with tons of features from which to benefit.

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