Drupal 9: Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication
Raymond Loewy (the French-American industrial designer) once said: “The main goal is not to complicate the already difficult life of the consumer”. (Merci beaucoup Ray, life is already hard as it is *Sniffle.. Sniffle*)
With the release of Drupal 9, many features were introduced. If you haven’t checked them out, you are more than welcome to read about them here. Above all, Drupal has focused on the user experience (UX) and how to make it easier to deliver the best results to the end-users. After all, a happy developer is a good developer and this will reflect on the quality of your website. Starting with the Cleaner Codebase and ending with the Enhanced Performance, we will talk in detail about the upgraded user experience that Drupal 9 is offering.
Grab your popcorn and your soda and let’s start!
1. Cleaner Codebase and Backward Compatibility
Whether you’re upgrading from Drupal 7 or Drupal 8, it’s critical to know that Drupal has removed all the code that was flagged as deprecated. This can ensure a cleaner and more agile experience for the users that will improve the website’s performance. This also lessens the needed 3rd party dependencies that are required to run Drupal 9. One more thing to be added in this regard, there are some major dependencies that were updated. For example:
a) Drupal 9 has been updated from Symfony 3 to Symfony 4.4
b) Drupal 9 will depend on Twig2.
Both updates will ensure the accessibility to the latest APIs and the receiving of the security updates and enhancements for their sites.
We should also mention that Drupal 9 is the first backward-compatible version with its predecessor, Drupal 8. Since both share almost the same codebase, most of the contributed Drupal 8's projects will be Drupal 9 compatible. This will also mean a faster upgrade process. As for Drupal 7 users, you will be happy to know that the upgrade process has become 50% faster. So, what are you waiting for? Go for the upgrade and start enjoying the many features.
2. Flexibility: A cherry on Top of a Powerful Foundation
As a developer, you’ve often found yourself stuck between a monolithic solution that limits the user experience or building your own solution from scratch. As Albus Dumbledore said, “Soon we must all face the choice between what’s right and what’s easy”. Well, Drupal found you a hack and now you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Drupal 9 offers an open framework supported by enterprise content management. An opinionated UI and a content management framework are introduced in Drupal 9. This leverages a structured data engine so that the content can be displayed as a reusable component.
This is not the only thing offered by Drupal. To seal the deal, Drupal has thrown a better web performance that will both accelerate load time while doubling down on your protection against cyber security attacks. And a drag & drop visual page building that will allow you to create a site with no/low code movement. If that’s not enough, then you should know that the Site Studio (from Acquia), the drag & drop visual tool was once –affectionately- described as page-builder on steroids. This tool gives you the option to access a library of reusable templates and content components that you can customize and apply across your applications.
3. An Intuitive User & Content Editor
A part of your experience is to lower the learning curve of new/non-technology users. We can proudly say that Drupal has made the longest stride in this field. Especially in Drupal9.
In Drupal 9, media management has been vastly improved through a richer Media Library and WYSIWYG text editor. Content Builders can now create and customize photos and videos. Add to that the ability to customize permissions to ensure that the right user has the needed access and the team is not duplicating the content.
Finally, we should mention that more themes are being added. After years of research conducted by the Drupal UX team on how Drupal can offer a better editorial experience, The Claro Admin theme has been added. This theme offers a more modernized UI that is easy to navigate.
Add to that the Olivero theme has been added to create a better front-end (and default) theme for Drupal 9. Olivero brings Drupal’s UX to the modern age by a clean and simplistic look, a responsive design, and an emphasis on web standards.
Drupal team has done a marvelous job in optimizing the user experience in Drupal 9. To quote Wiz Khalifa’s lyrics “We’ve come a long way from where we began”. Not only development has become easier, but it has also become more fun and more user-oriented. Drupal 9 is a representation of the Drupal UX Team’s commitment to improving and innovating their CMS. The only question we need to ask is what more can they bring to the table in future updates. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.