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Why Marketing and IT Teams Should Upgrade to Drupal 9

Acquia partner, Ameex shares why both IT and marketing teams will benefit by migrating their Drupal sites to Drupal 9.

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web content management upgrade

With over 570,000+ sites, 1.3 million community members and capturing 2.9% market share, Drupal, the much-loved open source CMS needs no introduction. Evolving from Drupal 1.0 in 2001 with limited functionality and few modules to Drupal 9 today, it is a highly flexible and secure platform that delivers seamless digital experiences, with features ranging from easy content authoring and multilingual capabilities to headless CMS.

Although Drupal 9 was released in June 2020, numerous websites today run on Drupal 8 and a whopping majority run on the even older Drupal 7. Around 69.5% (or close to 400,000) sites run on Drupal 7 while 24% (or close to 138,000) sites run on Drupal 8. If your organization still hasn’t made the move to Drupal 9 yet, you’re missing out on tons of enhanced functionality and enterprise-ready features. While a CMS migration may seem like a big endeavor, it doesn’t have to be. See what new advantages Drupal 9 offers your organization and how you can jumpstart your migration today.    

Drupal 9: Everything Great About Drupal 8 and More 

While Drupal 9 is the newest Drupal release, it contains all the features and benefits within Drupal 8, from an enhanced user experience, more intuitive content management and a strong focus on accessibility. At Ameex, we helped numerous clients build next-generation digital experience platforms on Drupal 8, taking advantage of the easier to use modern programming paradigms, dependency management tools, and site architecture. These benefits are huge for new site builds or migrations from outside the Drupal ecosystem, into Drupal.

Drupal 9 promises enhanced security and an easy up-gradation process on top of everything that Drupal 8 has to offer. 

Drupal solution providers are innovating with Drupal 9 by integrating conversational UI, video streaming solutions, e-commerce, and data platforms, to deliver powerful customized experiences. With Drupal 7 soon reaching its end of life, it is time for users to switch gears and move into the Drupal 9 lane.

Why Should Marketers Care About Drupal 9? 

Recognizing digital experience as the linchpin in its development strategy, Drupal now has Marketers and Content Authors at the center stage. Drupal 8, and by extension Drupal 9, is a powerful tool for marketing and content management, requiring little to no prior technical knowledge for a seamless content authoring experience.Drupal 9 comes with an easier upgrade, reliable performance and security, enhanced content authoring experience and optimized content workflows. Drupal 9 appeals to both technical users and marketers alike. Here are four reasons why Drupal 9 is a great addition to any martech stack.   

1. Personalization:

Through personalization modules, Acquia Personalization or any other third-party personalization engines, Drupal can deliver customized experience for your users, segment visitors across devices, track and report with A/B and multivariate testing.

2. Single View of the Customer:

Drupal can easily integrate with Acquia CDP or any other external analytics tools, CDPs, DMPs, CRM or any other data platforms to deliver consistent experience across all channels.

3. Commerce:

Drupal has modules for seamless integration with e-commerce platforms like Elastic Path, Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce. The products from the e-Commerce sites can be synced as Drupal entities on Drupal sites to deliver content-driven commerce experiences.

4. Easily integrates with DAM & PIM:

Using its excellent API capabilities, Drupal helps in centralizing and optimizing key digital assets and product information to manage companies’ increasing online presence. 

Why Drupal 9 Offers Web and IT Teams Flexibility, Efficiency and Security 

With enhanced performance, a cleaner code base and a continuous innovation cycle to look forward to, there is a lot to love in Drupal 9 for technical users as well. Here are a few:

1. Performance

Drupal 9 promises enhanced performance through an improved caching mechanism, Big Pipe, page caching, block caching and Views caching available by default in core.

2. Backend CMS User Interface

The improved UI and Admin Navigation System in Drupal 9 allow management of contents, taxonomy, users, blocks, and themes with a mobile first approach, providing the ability to manage updates to CMS on the go.

3. Optimized Code Structure

As opposed to the Require statement in Drupal 7, in Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 the Autoload feature default at the core, allows modules to inherit the dependencies which will be loaded only when required.

4. Custom Feature Development

Creating custom features using widgets becomes much simpler in Drupal 8 and 9 by using several existing modules and creating a block Plugin to integrate the widget, instead of using third-party modules.

5. Built-in JSON API

Provides seamless integration with CRM, CDP, ERP with ease, considerable savings and secured integration.

6. Coding Best Practices

Your codebase is going to be cleaner with a better templating process using TWIG template engine, which does not allow PHP or other code in theme templates.

Should You Switch to Drupal 9 Straight Away?

With many sites still running on Drupal 7 and a considerable number on Drupal 8, the migration to Drupal 9 presents complexities of its own. Here is a step-by-step guide on which route you should take and what you would need to consider while making the switch.

From Drupal 7

If you are still on Drupal 7, there are two routes you can take to switch to Drupal 9.

  • Migrate directly to Drupal 9–This is an ideal option if your site is simple or is a brochure-ware site.
  • Migrate to Drupal 8 and then upgrade to Drupal 9–This is an ideal option if your site is complex.

From Drupal 8

Before you decide on upgrading to Drupal 9, we would recommend the following steps first:

  • Install and enable the Upgrade Status module.
  • Scan the Contributed and Custom Modules (Looks for deprecated code / incompatible code).

The path to upgrade to Drupal 9 depends on the scan result and whether you have caught-up with the latest updates

  • If you are not up to date with Drupal 8 updates (8.8/8.9), then first update to Drupal 8.8/8.9.
  • Remove deprecated code (as per the scan recommendations) before upgrading.
  • Once you have the latest updates, upgrade to Drupal 9.

While the migration process may appear daunting and complex, it doesn’t have to be. Learn more about how our partner, Ameex provides an Accelerated DXP framework that can ensure a smooth Drupal experience. And for more information on the benefits of Drupal 9, download Ameex’s whitepaper: What Marketers and Digital Teams Can Expect from Drupal 9