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Drupal 9 - What You Need To Know

Glenn

Overview

  • Drupal 9 has a target release date of June 2020.
  • If you are already using Drupal 8 then the upgrade to Drupal 9 will be simple. Ensure your site is being kept up-to-date with the latest Drupal 8 APIs so the move to Drupal 9 can be done in a couple of hours.
  • If you are still on Drupal 7, now is the time to start migrating to Drupal 8 with a view of the simple upgrade to Drupal 9 when that becomes available. There's no real value in waiting to go directly from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9.

Drupal 9 - An Overview

Drupal 9 has a planned release date of June 3rd, 2020. This release is nowhere near as big and scary as the Drupal 8 one was. In fact, Drupal 9 is being developed in the same codebase as Drupal 8; meaning as new features get added and become stable, the old functionality is deprecated. What this means is that if you have Drupal 8 now and keep it up-do-date and remove deprecated code, the upgrade to Drupal 9 will be pretty much a non-event (which is a good thing)!

The main reason Drupal 9 is in the cards is because Drupal 8 depends on Symfony 3, which will no longer be supported beyond November 2021. So, Drupal needs to move to either Symfony 4 or Symfony 5 meaning breaking backwards compatibility (something we don't do in minor version releases). Step forward Drupal 9! This will be a continuation of the the Drupal 8 codebase but allowing a break from the past.

The biggest difference between this upgrade to Drupal 9 than previous major upgrades is that as long as your Drupal 8 site is kept up-to-date and deprecated code is removed from the codebase, then it will really be as simple as a minor release - something which happens every six months in Drupal 8. Easy life for any good Drupal services specialist.

If you have a Drupal 8 site:

Ensure your site is being properly maintained by a Drupal specialist vendor. Modules should be the most recent stable release and all deprecated code updated/removed. Then, when Drupal 9 becomes available, it will be like a walk in the park. The key point being to make sure your site is being kept ready and prepped by your current vendor.

If you have a Drupal 7 site:

Start the upgrade path to Drupal 8 now. Upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 was certainly more involved than the future Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 path will be so don't wait until the last minute. Speak to your Drupal specialist vendor about moving your current Drupal 7 site to Drupal 8 and then have a maintenance and management plan in place (see steps in the section above) so you are ready for Drupal 9.

Summary

Drupal 8 was a complete rewrite and a huge undertaking. Thankfully, it was written with foresight and the hope that such an undertaking will not be needed for Drupal 9. Smart people making smart moves. Drupal 9 isn't big and scary - it is really just having a plan in place, maintaining your site in preparation for the next major version, and partnering with a trusted Drupal specialist vendor to walk you through it.

If you want to speak to one of our Drupal specialists about your current Drupal website or a new project you have on your calendar please contact us. We're excited about what Drupal offers and would love the opportunity to share what we know.

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