Drupal is one of the most popular content management systems for websites today. Part of the natural cycle in the life of any software are regular updates and development, as well as the creation of newer versions. We bring it up because the 10th version of the Drupal system is coming, and with this article, we want to provide you with a closer look at it.
Drupal 10 release date
The latest stable version of Drupal is 9.3.x. "The nine" had its premiere on June 3, 2020 and didn't bring any breakthrough changes compared to the previous version. The main differences were: a new version of Symfony (i.e., 4), updating the Twig theme engine and getting rid of the outdated code. At first glance, it's hard to distinguish Drupal 9 from 8, and both versions were very compatible on the day of the release.
The release of version 10 has its "time window" falling in the second half of 2022. The release date depends on the end of support for Symfony 4 in November 2023 and CKEditor 4, which ends its life at a similar time. This translates into no more security updates and fixes for known bugs. Drupal is based on the Symfony framework, and its code is very much dependent on it. Adapting Drupal 9 to a newer version of Symfony would require a lot of work, not only related to Drupal core but also to additional modules. Therefore, a more sensible approach is to create a new version of Drupal, conforming with the standards of the latest release of Symfony while implementing new solutions and concepts – without worrying about backward compatibility.
The release date for Drupal 10 is December 14, 2022.
Join the Drupal community and help developing new version
Drupal is an open source project created by the community, so anyone may contribute to its development. By becoming a member of the Drupal community, you may help with releasing and developing the new version. Currently, Drupal 10 is already in the development version, and the Drupal community is working hard to release a stable version.
To find out how you may help exactly, check out the #d10readiness channel on the official Drupal Slack. There's also a list of bug reports and ideas for the development version, where you can find out what the developers are currently working on. The members of the Drupal community may contribute by reporting or resolving issues. The main goal of all activities: to release Drupal 10 in 2022!
Drupal 10 features
Version 10 will bring us many new features. Of course, as was the case with the transition from version 8 to version 9, the main change that somewhat initiates the creation of Drupal 10 is the new version of Symfony. Drupal 10 is to be based on Symfony 5.4, but it’s already being prepared for version 6. This is related to the requirement of using PHP version 8.1 at least.
Claro administration theme
The time-worn Seven theme, created in 2009 for Drupal 7 and slightly refreshed in Drupal 8, were deterring new users, giving the impression of an outdated system. In Drupal 10, it'll be replaced by the Claro theme, designed in accordance with the latest standards, and adapted to take advantage of the full capabilities of the latest version of this CMS.
Olivero front end theme
Not only the administration panel will get a new look. The user browsing the page will also feast their eyes on the modern appearance. The Olivero theme has been designed to take full advantage of the new system's capabilities and be compatible with the functionalities that are well-liked by the users, such as Layout Builder. The theme will be WCAG AA-compliant.
New starterkit theme
There'll be a change in the approach to template building compared to Drupal 8 or 9. Thanks to the new starterkit, we won’t extend the base theme, but we'll generate a clean template as a starting point for building our theme. This will allow for avoiding inheriting the entire template, which has very limited update options due to maintaining backward compatibility. The concept of sub-theming remains unchanged – we'll still be able to create additional themes that inherit the design elements from our main theme. The generation of the theme itself is to be automated and performed by built-in Drupal scripts.
php core/scripts/drupal generate-theme mytheme
Another great change in Drupal 10 will be the new WYSIWYG editor. It's hard to call it just an update of CKEditor from version 4 to 5, as all the code was written from scratch. The authors used a new proprietary data model and architecture, unlike the DOM used in version 4.
CKEditor 5 is to come with an extensive API, giving great opportunities for expansion and integration with modern technologies such as Angular, React etc. An interesting fact is that there'll be no source editing mode, known from WYSIWYG editors because it doesn't generate HTML code on an ongoing basis, and only at the moment of saving it converts the content into the code that is readable by browsers.
We've known for a long time that Drupal works great as a headless CMS. Version 10 will bring changes also in this area. One of the most important initiatives in this update will be the introduction of decoupled menus – a functionality that'll allow you to easily update the menu from the administration panel. Thanks to this, websites using front-end frameworks such as React or Angular will be easier to use and won’t require a developer to introduce minor changes to the web page. Drupal 10 will surely also bring more solutions that'll facilitate the implementation of the decoupling strategy.
The next step in making Drupal easier to be used by the average website administrator will be automatic updates, a feature that has long been around in most popular CMSs. Automatic updates will include security and Drupal's core updates. There are plans to expand this feature so that it also supports minor updates and the updates of contributed modules.
Module browser and one-click installation
In pursuit of other popular CMS systems, Drupal 10 will have a built-in module browser that allows you to search for and install a given tool from the administration panel. This is another functionality intended to make Drupal more accessible, especially for new users. Currently, the installation of modules in Drupal consists of several steps, and in some cases (e.g., installation using Composer in the command line) requires some technical skills from the user. The module browser is to have a lot of features, intuitive filtering, and proposed modules that are most often used by the community.
How to prepare to upgrade to Drupal 10?
Drupal 9 users should keep an eye on current updates, in addition, they may check their website with tools such as Rector or Upgrade Status, which will help them estimate how much work will it take to update to Drupal 10, and which modules won’t be compatible with the latest version. Updating from version 9 to 10 will be the same as any minor Drupal core update. Unfortunately, it requires a bit of technical skill from users. It can be done in two ways: using Composer or manually.
Drupal 8 reached the end of its life on November 2, 2021 and is no longer officially supported. Therefore, as soon as possible, its users should update the system to version 9, and after its official release – to version 10. Drupal 8 wasn't significantly different from version 9, so upgrading to Drupal 9 isn't complicated at all. The process consists of several steps and is described in the official documentation. You may also use the Upgrade Status module.
Drupal 7 will be supported until November 2023, and although Drupal 10 should already be released by then and will have tools for migrating from version 7, you may now migrate (not update) to version 9, most of the modules of which will be adapted to version 10 on the day of its release. The migration process is definitely more complicated, and it's unlikely to carry it out without the help of qualified specialists.
Updating the website on an ongoing basis provides us with security and business continuity and may save a lot of work in the case of switching to a newer version. Our Drupal support team can help you update or migrate your web page.