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Drupal 9: Decoupled by design?

As decoupled Drupal architectures become more commonplace, the future of Drupal's mission and vision is increasingly in question. In the present day, we are caught between two seemingly opposed missions: to be the optimal base for developers building diverse digital experiences and to offer contextual editorial and site building tools for editors satisfying growing business requirements.

It's time to prepare ourselves to address the elephant in the room and answer the key quandary: Should Drupal 9 be decoupled by design? In other words, is Drupal 9 better positioned in the rapidly evolving CMS market by focusing on its API-first capabilities (as headless CMS platforms have done), or is a monolithic architecture ultimately the best trajectory moving forward for Drupal's diverse audiences?

For many years, we've been grappling with these tough topics in core conversations and issues, opening cans of worms like whether we should adopt a JavaScript framework or whether Drupal's Twig implementation is the right choice for performant client-side rendering. But unlike those debates, which traffic in technical concerns and developer experience, decoupling Drupal 9 out of the box touches every persona, every business, every freelancer, and every contributor.

In this session, a possible way forward is presented for minor version releases in Drupal 8, including the provision of a decoupled installation profile front-and-center for evaluators and developers. We'll also dive into several possible visions for a Drupal 9 decoupled by design that provides an upgrade path, including a clean split between the Drupal front end and back end that retains a Twig-driven theme layer but allows freedom to experiment with others.

This session will consist partly of open discussion that will emphasize the voices of underrepresented groups. Here's what we'll cover together:

  • Background: Decoupled Drupal in context

  • Developers like decoupled: Experiences everywhere

  • Editors like monoliths: Contiguous administration

  • Staying relevant in a less monolithic landscape

  • Why we adopted React for experimentation in Drupal core

  • Twig and client-side rendering as a first-class citizen

  • Drupal 8.x: A decoupled installation profile

  • Drupal 9: An upgrade path with clean decoupling

  • Epilogue: Decoupled for developers, monolithic for editors

This session will be of interest to core contributors and committers, Drupal and JavaScript developers, theme and front-end developers, architects and business decision-makers, user experience professionals, and anyone else interested in the future of Drupal.

Acquia Auditorium
Session type
Lauri Eskola