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2021 - Year in Review

2021 a year in review - Teaser
Once again, a year ended, with many lows and fewer highs, at least if you exclude the Craft world. In terms of Craft CMS, it was a good year; consequently, this year in review is a mix of good and bad news.

Personally, 2021 was a challenging year and worse than 2020. However, a pandemic that does not want to end is only partly to blame this time. The flood destroyed large parts of my home in the summer - the Ahr Valley. My sister was directly affected, as the water made her apartment uninhabitable. She first took shelter in my office while we as a family were busy clearing her apartment and cellar of mud and finally disposing of her entire household goods. When you saw how badly the neighbors and others were hit, you felt like you were in a disaster movie. What existences were destroyed within a few hours? In addition, there were over 130 dead, and the suffering and grief of the surviving relatives.

And so we were all looking forward to a relaxing Christmas, but unfortunately, my parents' dog fell ill a few days before Christmas. All the infusions and medications did not help, so we had to put our Bonnie to sleep on December 24th. It made medical sense because Bonnie had chronic renal failure and organ failure was imminent. She was an 11-year-old loving beagle lady.


To lighten the mood a bit, let's talk Craft. Related to Craftentries, again, I am satisfied. At the beginning of the year, I published the redesign with Tailwind CSS. I also brought the crafter section back online, although there were no new entries for half an eternity.

I then took this as an opportunity to change my template structure. So also, the templates of the articles and links were adapted. More dry, more macros instead of partials, and the use of the newer Twig filters.

Craftentries was one of my first Craft projects, so I've been dragging the code base around since 2014. Next year I will switch to Craft 4.

The German-language Craftentries podcast went online in 2017, with only a few episodes per year. Since the last Dot All event, I have regularly published new podcast episodes. It would be nice if I could welcome some guests in 2022. Then also in the English language.

Craft Link List

After 5.5 years, John Morton left his Craft Link List project in January, which he had managed since May 2015. However, Pixel & Tonic, the team behind Craft CMS, will continue the link collection. I wish him all the best for the future. We both had a similar idea regarding a Craft link collection back then, with the difference that he collected the links in newsletter form with 127 issues while I published them directly on the website.

The reasons for his retirement are understandable. On the one hand, he enjoyed being a Craft developer; on the other hand, he liked writing. Thanks to the newsletter, he could combine both, and the feedback from the readers was also positive. But after a long time, he wanted to make room for something new. Of course, he already has a list of ideas and the appropriate domains, so let's see what awaits us there.

I enjoy both being a Craft devel­op­er and the writ­ing process. The newslet­ter allowed me to indulge in both of those inter­ests. Plus, the feed­back from read­ers I’ve received over the years has been incred­i­bly reward­ing. To those who’ve reached out, thank you for your kind words. - John Morton

Dot All 2021

Due to the pandemic, this year's Dot All was held as a digital event. There were good presentations, for example, on the author's experience, which is also one of my favorites. I find it interesting how other agencies and freelancers approach it, and thanks to one presentation, I will use entry types more often now. Accessibility and Web Vitals are two topics I haven't dealt with enough in practice yet, and I now got good insights thanks to the presentations. The chats were fun, and there were also two talks afterward, once on Twitter Spaces and then a live recording of CraftQuest.

Craft CMS

Craft itself had two major updates this year. Craft 3.6 improved usability: For example, newly created entries are automatically saved as unpublished drafts.

Admins can now imitate/test other users without losing their session. For this purpose, a URL can be copied to the clipboard and then called in the incognito mode of the browser. Meanwhile, viewports of smartphones and tablets will be displayed in the live preview so that you can test the content in the other sizes.

Craft 3.7 brought inline element editors throughout the control panel in the summer. These now use the new Slideout UI, so there is access to the entire field layout of the element, including custom tabs and UI elements. If desired, the meta fields can also be displayed, such as name, who uploaded the file, and file size, plus a preview for images. An extra button then links to the item's dedicated edit page.

Otherwise, the official Craft CMS accessibility blog has been launched. I was pleased about the roadmap, where everyone can see which features are roughly pending for the next version. The team around Craft got new members with Tim, Lupe, and Kenneth.

What can we expect in 2022?

The most important news will be the releases of Craft 4 and Commerce 4. The beta is intended for the first quarter of 2022, and the release of the final version for the second quarter of 2022. From then on, major annual releases are planned, meaning Craft 5 and Commerce 5 will be released in 2023 - much like iOS.

Otherwise, we can expect new versions of Craft Nitro and the release of the new Craft Cloud and Craft Console. So the ecosystem will be expanded once again.

Away from Craft, I hope the pandemic ends, and maybe it will just be a calmer year without significant crises and disasters. We all deserve that.

Photo from  Thomas Sausen<

Self-employed web developer from Germany who started with WordPress websites in 2005, then moved to ExpressionEngine and lost his heart to Craft CMS in 2013. As the founder of Craftentries, he has been covering the Craft ecosystem since 2015.

Thomas Sausen Web Developer