Concrete5 > Concrete CMS Version 9 Upgrades
– 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.
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.
A new content structure making it easy to place reusable, pre-formatted editable areas exactly where you need them to go.
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 are 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:
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 a major release is necessary to deliver significant changes and improvements (Version 8 was first released in January 2016) .
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 are 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.
Concrete CMS Version 9 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 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 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 is likely to use an established theme framework like 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 previously and now uses Bootstrap 5 to format default blocks. This means that themes that using Bootstrap 5 will provide greater compatibility with Concrete CMS and allow you to use the new block types in Concrete CMS without the need for further theme development.
|Existing Theme Framework||Changes needed||Implications|
|Foundation 5/Foundation 6||
Upgrade and switch Theme to Bootstrap 5
|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.|
||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.