Why the Drupal 9 upgrade is so much more than “just a security update”

Stuart Hinkley

Nov 16 2021


Drupal is ubiquitous, allegedly powering 1 out of 30 websites in existence and has remained a key player in the CMS realm (plus the evolution of the web at large) over the last 20 years. This is no mean feat in an industry where competition can be fierce, and “innovate or perish” is the prevailing mantra of an ever changing landscape. But what’s kept it at the apex of innovation for so long?

Firstly, it’s open source and that’s an enduring philosophical tenet of the web. Secondly, as a consequence of its open architecture, a burgeoning community has blossomed over the years which has spawned countless plugins and modules for developers to implement as well as customise with code resulting in unique platforms. Finally, as a result of the previous points, Drupal has been at the bleeding edge of technical innovation (with its API first architecture and ease of 3rd party integrations) which attracts and nurtures newcomers to the ecosystem and reinforces its position as a global market leader in the CMS space.

Blimey, that’s some high praise indeed! What can’t it do? Well, the above means it’s highly customisable and scalable however, it has a few criticisms:

  • It’s hard for non-developers to manage and manipulate
  • It requires full website rebuilds to upgrade between major version updates

Drupal 9 seeks to change all this

The Drupal project has a history of being on the leading edge of technical innovation, but at the cost of being difficult for editorial users to manage. With Drupal 9 and beyond, the project is focusing on empowering those users to access the full power of what Drupal offers.

Tim Lehnen - Drupal Association

Let’s take a look at some of the changes and how they benefit customers and users alike.

5 Benefits of Drupal 9

It’s faster
In addition to the latest updates to 3rd party components, JavaScript frameworks can now be directly integrated which results in a more efficient computing power and quicker response times for end-users of your sites.

It’s much easier to manage content across your platform
Drupal 9 boasts a plethora of tools to help content editors focus on managing the content, and not the platform itself. These include the visual layout builder, intuitive media handling, customisable content moderation workflows and intuitive admin themes to name but a few.

It’s easier (and cheaper) to upgrade
Drupal 9 is the first major upgrade of the Drupal ecosystem that will be wholly backwards compatible. In practice, this means that upgrading to the next major release (i.e. Drupal 10) will not require a full site rebuild, unlike for previous versions.

It’s even more accessible

Drupal 9’s new default theme, Olivero, was developed with conformance to the WCAG AA accessibility standard as the main priority. Now you can have a beautiful website that everyone can enjoy.

It’s becoming even more future proof

As part of their “API first” philosophy, the Drupal community has developed a built-in JSON API (which facilitates the export of structure data) that allows your engineering team to either develop a traditional (coupled) CMS, a headless one with a custom front end or even integrate with emerging technologies such as wearables and augmented reality.

What does this mean in practice?

  • Your engineers will love working with it
  • Your users will love interacting with it
  • Your investment will be sound for years to come

Interested? Deeson is a certified Drupal development agency, and we can help you make the most of this digital transformation ecosystem. Contact us here

Stuart Hinkley

About the author

Stuart Hinkley

Product Manager

Stuart has worked in digital for over a decade at companies that span multiple industries and sizes. As Product Manager at Deeson, he is responsible for championing what Product Management looks like and how it can add value to the business, customers and their users.