Just aweful

I’ve been using concrete for several years now. I did a test update (copied site to a spare domain) to 9.1.2. I had been using the Elemental theme and it continues to work as it did before. If I try to switch to the new Atomik theme (I’d been looking forward to a nice clean theme) it all goes for a crap. The main menu disappears and if I try putting an auto-nav block back it bunches everything together and looks like crap. There’s hardly any v9 extensions. No free themes. I understood there’d be some changes to make but if I’ve got to rewrite the whole site, then I may as well move to another CMS like Drupal that has more plugins and themes. I can write some php but struggle and need a CMS that doesn’t expect me to do all the work.

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I do agree with you… and not.
As with most software, upgrades are offered as the product is not really finished. That said, with v9.2, if your site is “simple” the migration should be easy (at least I did it for about 30 sites using the command line tool).
On the other hand, if the site is big or if you have a lot of packages, themes modifications and worse, home-made scripts… That’s more difficult!
Finally, for information, some packages in v8 work perfectly in v9, you just have to try (with a backup if things go wrong)


I can agree with you that V9 is a shock if one has been using older version of Concrete. However, on Menus, do give Atomik a try on one of your subsidiary pages. It seems as if one has to apply the theme one page at a time, unless I have missed the tool to apply it right across the site. My experience is that the menu will appear in the topmost block which is the sitewide navigation block and is much better organised than Elemental which tries to squeeze all the entried into the the rightmost of the three sitewide header blocks.

Once you have selected Atomik as the theme for the page, select edit sitewide navigation block and you will get up a window ‘Edit Top Navigation Bar’ That has slider buttons “Show pages in the navigation bar.” and “Include child pages in dropdown menus.” which should be On. Lower down under Branding there is “Include Text Branding.” which is worth selecting. That defaulted to the website URL for us, but when we found where it was stored (sorry I have forgotten for the minute) we went in and changed that to ‘Home’. The result was a clean menu.

The result is at Mono-tube.org.uk

Hope that is of some small use.



@baxterdmutt The reason things “disappear” is because Atomik uses different Areas than Elemental, just like any other theme in the marketplace may use different Area names. Also, currently for Atomik, you want to use the Top Navigation Bar Block where you would have used Autonav before. Unless you’re up to creating a custom template for autonav that looks good in Atomik, I don’t believe there is any current option that works nicely…

You can use v9 and Elemental.
That shouldn’t mess up your existing site, but will get you the upgraded file manager and other improvements in v9.

Yes, if you change themes to Atomik, you’re going to end up doing some site rebuilding.

So that is what I tried. My front page uses only standard blocks. No custom code, No custom CSS. No custom anything. The menu bar disappearing didn’t really surprise me. But editing top site navigation bar and putting auto-nav back puts everything clumped together and no more stop menus.

Ok. Hang on. My mistake with the menus. I though I was using auto-nav like before but I just noticed that at the very bottom of the + menu there is “Top Navigation Bar” and that works perfectly. What’s it doing at the bottom below “other”. Shouldn’t it be under “Navigation”

I think there is still a lot of confusion around v9 that needs clearing up.

I see it as 4 individual things which people are all lumping together.

  1. V9 is a brilliant new version of Concrete CMS. It’s still has all the lovely things it had in the past but with loads of lovely new things added. Yes the upgrade from 8 is not working with a few sites as some plugins have been updated. But if you give it a little time the upgrades will be seemless and you will love it.

  2. Bedrock: this is a new way to help theme developers style and get their themes to work with the built in bootstrap 5 code. It offers a great way to mix core CSS and you own CSS. It’s completely optional but is there if you want it.

  3. Atomik theme is a brand new theme for a new version of the CMS. Just like elemental was for v8 it was mainly done to show off all the great new features. Like any theme if you switch to it from another theme you will have to rebuild parts of you site to match.

  4. PHP 8: with PHP on an aggressive update release. The new version has some annoying new issues for old stuff developed in PHP. Older themes and plugins written for v8 would have been written with php7.4 in mind. They are now slowly getting updated.

All 4 of these things are the reason people are confused.

I have another couple issues:
-The upgrade did not install the Board templates, so boards is unusable as it is. I thought I could just reinstall Atomik, but it’s not available in the marketplace. How do I get this working like a new install. I guess I could just replace the concrete application directory. Would that work?

-Atomik shows “Choose summary templates” but there are none. Admittedly I haven’t gone searching yet so I’m not sure if there should be any available to me.


I don’t think at least for me that there is any confusion.

  • It is a new version and expected some things to not work when there were custom modifications. For my site, there were none. The add-ons I had all worked fine.
  • Bedrock I knew this was a new theme. The issue is that many config options are gone and they need doing manually. To me that is not progress for the end user.
  • Atomik looks beautiful. Really the only part I had to deal with was the menu and as I mentioned, I didn’t notice that the auto-nav has been changed to a new nav that was for some strange reason stuck in the “other” menu” instead of the “navigation” menu.
  • PHP 8: with PHP on an aggressive update release. Yup. Knew that.

I have know developers socially and when I speak with them they seem to forget that we are not all developers. People use a CMS because “coding” a site takes some knowledge of PHP, CSS, JavaScript to name just 3. Most of us lowly users might be able to stumble our way through. But what will take a developer 5 minutes will take others 30 or even more. So when a CMS removes conveniences which us lower life forms find useful, it really damages our end user experience.

While new features are great, it would be good for developers consider what it’s like to be a lowly end user.

And as long as I’m putting this out there, it’s abundantly clear that the manual is not only very confusing (because the v5 stuff is still mixed in and it can be hard to tell the difference between v5, 8 and 9) but also that it was written by a developer without end user input. Quite a few of the examples start with the assumption that one knows all the ins and outs of Concrete.

I’m hoping that if the development team reads this they won’t get defensive and closed off. I’m hoping maybe my points might give them pause to consider what I’m getting at.

I like Concrete. I’m not likely to move to anything else. I’m also hoping that more developers will contribute free or lower cost extensions, like Drupal, Joomla and Woodpress. Concrete really falls behind in that area and it’s such a great CMS that more offerings would set it far apart from the others.

Ok. So there is customizations. But the upgrade went so wrong that it didn’t look like there were any. I managed to get that part of the install fixed.

Totally agree. Been avoiding V9 like the plague… All my sites I manage/maintain I have left at the latest version of 8. Most plugins and add-ons are not V9 ready. I have trouble installing V9 for testing whereas I have never had an install issue with V8. Also in my testing, I don’t at all care for the way automated jobs have been changed in V9. All that being said, we are actually thinking about new deployments in WordPress - as much as that pains me to say. Seems the development track on C5 is a little shaky at this point… Just my opinion. I do love C5 and wish we could continue with it, but right now not looking good.


Out of interest, which addons/themes are you using which don’t have a v9 upgrade?

I know for me I’ve noticed that if you look at most of the stuff in the marketplace says “not v9 ready”

Who’s the genius that decided not to allow any of the boards and slots to work, as the boards dos says “provided you’ve installed the Atomik sample content.” The one thing I was looking forward to (boards) doesn’t work because I get an error when trying to install the Atomik documentation (which is actually the sample content. I’ve read the concrete documentation for boards and slots and like most concrete docs it starts in the middle. So I have no idea how to manually get boards to work, and I can’t get help.

same for us.
all our new sites will be designed with drupal, even though we all loved concrete. but transition from v.8 to 9, using php 8 was a total mess. we converted a couple of sites with high cost. our boss decided to go for drupal.
as designers we miss the editing interface and we’re probably using concrete for prototyping.

i’m writing this with my profile which i tried to delete weeks ago.



Well that was not the issue I had. For me the top nav bar was just a mess. All clumped together. What I had to do is go back to elemental theme, remove the nav, switch back to Atomik, and put in the top nav bar. It does look good now. I am happy with what v9 can do now that I’ve fixed all the issues. Although, I thought I had all the issues fixed several days ago and another one came up yesterday. Hopefully that’s all of them.

Fixed all the Issues? Could I, tongue fully in cheek, suggest that new users of V9 might also get to enjoy the 403 error? This is a warning that, despite you being Admin with all the Powers of God, you don’t have the power to do the edit you were hoping to do. Apparently it is something that your hosting service can fix at their end.

Thanks everybody for your contributions. An interesting discussion.