9 things to look forward to in Drupal 9!

Do you want to serve personalized experiences to your users? Are you managing a large amount of data, served from disparate systems? Is your IT team unable to support you with fast changes to your marketing platform? Are you worried about data ethics and how your technology is geared to ensure standardization? Are you looking to quickly prototype your marketing platform and test it out for your specific use case?  Drupal 9 is here to solve many of your content problems of the 20s


Drupal 9 is scheduled to be released on June 3rd 2020.  Drupal’s next major release coming with features aligned towards a future-proof offering. Here are 9 things to watch out for in Drupal 9.

User

1. User Experiences for First time Users

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. First-time users, beginners, evaluator experience with Drupal is this context would facilitate overall increased adoption of Drupal.
In Drupal 9 there is going to be an improved User experience for First-time users. Some of the specific features in the road map include installation profiles for common use cases, separation of journeys by roles and an upgraded ‘Try Drupal’ experience which helps users familiarize themselves with the platform.  Installation profiles means a ready to use bundle of Drupal that solves for specific use cases like profile for conferences, profile for a government project, profile for setting up a multilingual project, etc. This will make it easier for the first time user to not only try Drupal, but try Drupal in a context that is relevant to them. Separation of journeys by roles is a concept where what the user can experience based on his/her role is different. Today this is limited to an anonymous user and an admin role. ‘Try Drupal’ is a quick, free build out of Drupal in the cloud by popular Drupal cloud hosting providers.


Decoupled

2. Decouple CMS Capabilities

Tomorrow’s content can flow to the Digital screens in conferences, the kiosks and other marketing channels from a central content repository. Decoupled/Headless CMS capabilities are a prerequisite for this “cross-platform publishing”. 

Drupal 9 brings enhanced Decoupled CMS capabilities. Some of the key enhancements in this area include auto-generated API documentation, JSON API explorer to quickly generate APIs and optimized performance. The JSON API explorer is an interactive web application that makes building JSON queries simple. The performance optimizations are much-needed in the context of the large scale applications that are powered by a Decoupled CMS design.


Native Dam
2. Native DAM

Enterprises have a large volume of content. Digital Asset Management (DAM) brings this content to a central location, making this content accessible and contextually available to serve the end-user the content they need. This is important for the marketers whose objective is to engage with their users/customers. AI and analytics of content are tightly coupled with DAMs.

Drupal 9 roadmap includes building out a DAM solution.

 Integration Framework

3. Integration Framework

Today’s Marketing solutions are a mash up of different tools, cloud services and content publishing channels that provide specialized capabilities.  Some of these interactions include social integrations, integrations with bots, integrations with CRM solutions, Marketing automation solutions and such.
 

Drupal 9 continues  to act as an Integration framework. Based on the popular needs this layer is normally plugged in by the Contributed  modules. To ensure you have access to these modules, it is important you stay up to date.

Editor Tools

4. Improvement to Editor Tools

Editors are one of the main stakeholders who use Drupal. They are constantly using Drupal to churn out fresh content to the world wide web. Drupal has consistently prioritized improvements to the Content Editor tools.

These tools enable marketers and content teams to work independent of technology teams and enable publishing content with faster time-to-market.

Admin UI Claro theme brings a modern look improving the visual appeal, focused on accessibility and mobile compatibility in Drupal 9.

Rich media content like images, videos, tweets are an integral  part of today’s digital content. Managing these Rich media content in a centralized repository delivering them to the various devices, channels or various experiences further enhances the speed with which the editors can publish. 

Drupal 9 brings with it the Media module as part of core. Media will assist in organizing the multi-media assets in a manner that renders easy reusability. These are augmented by the existing capabilities to manage responsible images, integrations with streaming services or external video hosting services.

Structured Data


5. Structured Data

Structured data is simply data that is organized based on specific data models. The  information around a particular content is captured, stored and displayed based on the meaning the particular piece of data provides to the content as a whole. Also Structured data helps to build relationships.

As we move into an era of personalization and individualized experiences with a forecast of increased data in the coming years, structured data becomes extremely important.  Structured data is also important in the context of Search Engine Optimization.
Some new features in consideration in Drupal 9 include support for GraphQL that allows to manage large amounts of structured data.

 Web standards

6. Open Web Standards

“Open Web Standards” define a set of best practices to follow while publishing on the World Wide Web. With increase in data privacy challenges, capabilities of certain organizations/browsers to take control of user data there has been an increased focus on “Open Web Standards” that help to preserve the “Open Web”. 


Aspects of “Open Web standard” that will remain a priority in Drupal 9 include GDPR, Accessibility, Privacy, Fast by default, Webmentions and Semantic. 

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It's the core of Europe's digital privacy legislation. Accessibility is something Drupal has been. Web accessibility means ensuring Drupal is designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. Drupal has been adhering to WCAG Accessibility guidelines since Drupal 8. Webmention is a (now) standardized protocol that enables one website address (URL) to notify another website address that the former contains a reference to the latter. 

7. Simple Upgrade Process

Ease of software maintenance, lowers the cost maintenance for the end user.

Maintenance of Drupal is easier with a simple upgrade process in Drupal 9. Tightly integrated Composer initiative facilitates updates of 3rd party tools will continue to remain a key focus area in Drupal 9. Further in the roadmap is Automatic upgrades which further enhance this process.

Application changes

8. Managing Application Changes

Agile development is the norm of the day. Customers want to be in a mode where product is developed iteratively, quickly testing their ideas. Key to this is a technical process that ensures tools that facilitate deploying changes to applications easily. 

Continued emphasis to support automated deployment using Devops tools like Jenkins or Kubernetes and improved configuration management systems make this possible. 

 

Community Centric

9. Community Centric Approach

Drupal, with its strong community-centric approach, is poised to deliver cutting edge, innovative tools for Marketers, Content editors, Site builders and all its different stakeholders.

 

 

What’s unique to the Drupal 9 release is that the upgrade process is really simple. Just need 4 steps to upgrade your Drupal 8 site. Even if you are still in Drupal 7, there is no need to fret as there is an upgrade path directly to 9 as well. Many of the most complex sites go beyond just the Drupal core and today well ahead of the Drupal 9 launch we also have close to  1500 contrib modules fully compatible and  3400+ other modules that are near completion. 

Are you evaluating migrating to Drupal 9?  Write to us to get a Free Audit & Approach note for your site.

 

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Author
Shyamala Rajaram
Shyamala Rajaram

Graduate in Engineering (IIT Madras).
Specialist in building Social Media Applications. Acknowledged Drupal Expert.