In September 2018, Dries Buytaert announced at Drupal Europe, and on his blog, that Drupal 7 & Drupal 8 will reach end-of-life by November 2021. This clearly means that these versions will no longer be supported by core maintainers for bug fixes, enhancements, and security releases. Also, interesting is the fact that Drupal 9 is scheduled to be released in June 2020, allowing organizations more than a year to upgrade from Drupal 7 or 8 to Drupal 9.
Let’s dive into what’s all there!
The biggest dependency in Drupal 8 is Symfony 3. According to Symfony’s roadmap, Symfony 3 reaches end-of-life in November 2021. It infers that no security bugs will get fixed in Symfony 3 after November 2021. To keep Drupal sites secure, Drupal must adopt Symfony 4 or Symfony 5 before Symfony 3 reaches end-of-life. This major Symfony upgrade makes it compulsory to release Drupal 9. It also implies that support to Drupal 7, 8 must be ended till November 2021.
The primary reason for releasing Drupal 9 is code deprecation. In Drupal 8, minor releases occur every six months which increase the number of new features being added to Drupal. As features are added, enhanced ways are implemented to solve problems and the code is deprecated. The major release of Drupal 9 gives an opportunity to remove this code and additional items that are no longer needed.
The secondary reason is, the release is related to third-party dependencies. As Drupal integrates with common PHP projects like Twig and Symfony, it needs to follow the vendor support lifecycles for these projects. With the release of Drupal 9, there will be supported versions of software like Twig 2 and Symfony 4/5.
Whenever a new major version of Drupal is released, upgrading always remains a challenge. In the past, each new major version of Drupal was highly different from the previous major version which led to compatibility issues and upgrading was a tiresome process.
However, upgrading to Drupal 9 from Drupal 8 is super easy! This is because, with the release of Drupal 9, there have been modifications in the manner of how Drupal is developed. Now, it is easier to carry out planning, preparing, and upgrading your Drupal 8 site.
As we have seen above, transitioning from Drupal 8 to 9 will be much easier than previous major version upgrades. The initial release of Drupal 9 will be very similar to the last minor release of Drupal 8, as the main aim behind the Drupal 9.0.0 release will be, to discard deprecated code and update third-party dependencies.
What’s exciting is that as Drupal 9 will be built within version 8, developers will get an opportunity to test their code and make updates prior to the release of Drupal 9. This hasn’t been possible with the previous versions of Drupal!
If you are still using Drupal 7 and confused about what to do, you have two options:
As additional information related to new features and updates in Drupal 9 is rolled out, organizations should consider their technology roadmaps and understand how the new platform will benefit them.
To get assistance in planning out your Drupal roadmap, plan your long-term Drupal strategy, and ensure a smooth upgrade to Drupal 9 when it’s released. Contact an experienced Drupal development company and make sure that your team can make the most of your Drupal site.