Get your Complete concrete5/Concrete CMS Upgrade Guide

Katalysis Complete concrete5/Concrete CMS Upgrade Guide

Concrete5 > Concrete CMS Version 9 Upgrades

‘Concrete CMS’
– the new name for concrete5

Our favourite content management system concrete5 has rebranded as Concrete CMS and has a major upgrade in Version 9.

Concrete CMS Version 9 features an overhaul of the editing interface and some fantastic new features that add to its legendary flexibility and ease-of-use.

 

Concrete CMS Certified Partner 2022

What’s new in Concrete CMS Version 9?

So what’s new? Well, too much to list completely but highlights include:

  • Cleaner lighter interface

    A lighter and fresher dashboard and editing interface making navigation clearer and easier on the eye.

  • Improved File Manager

    A major File Manager overhaul with enhanced search and file management tools.

  • Containers

    A new content structure making it easy to place reusable, pre-formatted editable areas exactly where you need them to go.

  • Boards

    A new way to group together different content types – you can combine lists of pages, events or other items intelligently and have them update automatically over time.

  • Bootstrap5 Theme Framework

    Concrete CMS version 9 is is tightly integrated with the new Bootstrap 5 theme framework.  Bootstrap 5 is a proven front-end toolkit that allows your website to work dependably for users on any device and yet still look exactly as you want it to.

  • New Block Types

    Version 9 also adds several new Blocks for Concrete CMS users and brings useful new features to existing Block types.

  • Fit for the future

    All underlying code and third party components are updated to make your CMS fit for the future.

Introducing Concrete CMS Version 9

UPGRADING TO CONCRETE CMS VERSION 9

The pages of your website include text, images and other data managed using the concrete5 content management system. The look and feel of your site is controlled by a concrete5 Theme that was probably developed specifically for you. A scripting language called PHP provides underlying functionality and security and is installed on your web server.  These three elements should be considered together when planning the upgrades needed to keep your website performant and secure:

concrete5/Concrete CMS

Like all modern web applications concrete5 (now Concrete CMS) uses third-party components that are constantly updated to improve performance and security.  Changes to these components and to Concrete CMS itself are released regularly as subversion updates.  From time to time (Version 8 was first released in January 2016) a major release is necessary to deliver significant changes and improvements.

There is a direct upgrade path from concrete5 8.x.x to Concrete CMS version 9 but to run properly it is necessary that your website theme, any custom code and any third party packages must be updated to be compatible.

Timing: concrete5 version 8 will be EOL (end of life) from 31st December 2022.  This means there will be no functionality updates after then. Critical security updates for Concrete v8.x will continue to be issued during 2023.

PHP

Concrete CMS Version 9 only runs on PHP8 the latest and most secure version of the server side scripting language.
Earlier versions of concrete5 do not support PHP8 and will only run on PHP7.  

Timing: PHP7 is officially EOL at the end of November 2022.  However it is widely anticipated that various groups will make security upgrades available for it after this date.

Your Theme and other custom code

With Concrete CMS Version 9 release 9.2 coming soon and PHP 8.1 now available the only barrier to having the latest versions running on your website will be the need to update custom code developed specifically for you within your website theme or elsewhere and to update any third party packages your website uses.

Options for Theme updates

Your website Theme uses an established theme framework (probably either Foundation or Bootstrap)  to ensure compatibility with the widest range of devices. Concrete CMS Version 9 is more closely linked with the theme framework than previous versions and now uses Bootstrap 5 to format default blocks.  This means that themes that use Bootstrap 5 will provide greater compatibility with Concrete CMS.

  Changes needed Implications
Foundation 5/Foundation 6
  • Remove existing theme framework
  • Install Bootstrap 5
  • Update all style variables for colour, font, spacing etc. to from Foundation to Bootstrap 5 configuration
  • Update all templates, custom block templates and components to use Bootstrap components.
For larger sites this will be a substantial update. It is likely that there will be minor changes to the appearance of some components.  If your theme is older or if you are considering a design refresh it will be worth including the design update as part of the upgrade process.
Bootstrap 4
  • Remove existing theme framework
  • Install Bootstrap 5
  • Make minor updates to styling variables
  • Make minor updates to templates and components to run using Bootstrap5.
For most sites this upgrade will be relatively straightforward.  There may be some slight changes in the appearance of some components on your website.

Third Party AddOns

Your concrete5 website may use third-party AddOns to provide additional functionality.  In many cases these AddOns have now been updated and will upgrade and run on Version 9.  However for some AddOns development may have ceased.  In these cases it will be necessary to find an alternative if the functionality is still required.

The Upgrade Process

Our usual upgrade process will be as follows:

  • Document the various changes necessary to update your site
  • Agree a ‘freeze’ period where no further content changes are made to your live site.
  • Make a copy of your live website site on a development server
  • Upgrade PHP, Concrete CMS and third party AddOns
  • Make all the changes necessary to your theme and any other custom code
  • Give you access to the development website to review and approve the changes
  • Subsequent to your approval replace your current website with the newly updated one.
Katalysis Complete concrete5/Concrete CMS Upgrade Guide

Get your Complete concrete5/Concrete CMS Upgrade Guide

Concrete CMS Version 9 UPGRADE FAQs

Almost any website can be upgraded to Concrete5 Version 9, exactly what is involved will depend on your starting point…

If you are using concrete5 version 5.7+ or 8.0+ the upgrade path to version 9 is quite straightforward. It will usually be possible to make your existing website theme work with the new Bootstrap 5 powered Concrete CMS dashboard.

To ensure maximum compatibility with version 9 you may choose to upgrade your website theme to use the new Bootstrap 5.  Taking this approach will ensure your website is built on the most up-to-date front end framework and maximise compatibility with future web browser and mobile device updates.

Your upgrade can maintain the look and feel of your existing theme or you may decide it’s a good time to consider a design refresh too.

We have helped many concrete5 site owners through major website updates.  There’s often a lot to consider and a thorough planning process is essential.  If you’d like to talk about the best way forward for your website please contact us for a chat.

concrete5 versions prior to 5.6.4 are often referred to as ‘Legacy’ concrete5.  Support for Legacy concrete5 officially ended in August 2019.  While many websites using Legacy concrete5 continue to run today maintaining these sites is becoming more problematic and site owners should urgently consider moving to the latest Concrete CMS version 9.0.

A migration from Legacy to the latest concrete5 needs careful planning and could be dealt with as part of a planned redesign or content restructure.

We’ve been migrating Legacy concrete5 websites to newer versions since 2014. If you’d like to talk about about giving your legacy site a new lease of life please contact us for a chat.

If your site is built on another content management system, maybe WordPress, Drupal or Joomla we can help you make the move to Concrete CMS.

As with all website migrations careful planning is the key to success.  You’ll want to ensure continuity and be sure that your new Concrete CMS site builds on the capabilities of your current site.

If you’d like to talk about switching from WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or another system to Concrete CMS we’d be only too happy to help.  We have over 10 years experience as a concrete5/Concrete CMS Partner and will be happy to show this fantastic content management system off to you.

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