Drupal 9 is getting released on June 3, 2020. That's right, we're less than a month away.
In this post, we will walk through Drupal 9, its new features, and what the release means to teams like yours running a Drupal 7 or Drupal 8 site right now.
Let's dive in.
Another Drupal Version? What is Happening in Drupal 9?
Drupal 8 was released nearly five years ago, so it's time for a new major release. Unlike all previous releases, there are no new features in Drupal 9.0 compared to Drupal 8.9.
Instead, the Drupal team is focused on cleaning up the codebase, reducing the amount of external dependencies, and optimizing the infrastructure introduced in previous versions.
In addition, D9 will be the first major Drupal release focused on ease of upgrading. The team wants to make the transition from 8 to 9 seamless, instead of the traditional "lift and shift" process that goes with upgrading platforms.
End Of Life (EOL) for Drupal 7 and 8
The good news is that the launch of Drupal 9 does not mean you have to immediately rush to update or change your system.
According to the Drupal team, D7 and D8 will be supported until November 2021. This means that all three versions will be supported in parallel, giving engineering teams the time they need to update their websites, applications, and extensions.
What does this mean for my Drupal 7 site?
Migrating from Drupal 7 to 8 was a rather involved undertaking, especially if you migrated early because there were so many changes under the hood. For instance, many modules that were common in Drupal 7 sites were abandoned or replaced, which meant that migration paths from 7 to 8 often required significant backend refactoring.
Many sites stayed on Drupal 7 to avoid the potential difficulties of the upgrade. But the time has come for the entire community to, for the first time, align all Drupal sites on a common version. This will allow everyone to take advantage of the deep refactoring done in version 8 to increase performance, security, and to position the platform for long-term success.
While moving to Drupal 9 is supposed to be "seamless", that only works if you are already on version 8.9. The official recommendation from the Drupal team is to move your Drupal 7.x system to 8.9.0 first, then move over to 9.x when the time is right.
What does this mean for my Drupal 8 site?
The migration from Drupal 8.x to 9.0 should be painless. As we mentioned above, there are no features included in version 9. And after the agony many endured upgrading to version 8, the Drupal team wants to ensure that struggle pays dividends during this next upgrade.
Instead, this update will focus on security and stability. In particular, Drupal 9 will require Symfony 4, PHP 7.3, and Twig 2 and phase out the previous versions of these dependencies.
As mentioned, Drupal 9 will be the first major release that adds no new features compared to the preceding version (in this case, Drupal 8.9). This update is designed to prepare the Drupal community for the future by bringing everyone together on the same version and removing a number of third-party dependencies.
If you are running Drupal 7, the official recommendation is to first migrate to 8.9, then move to 9.x when the time is right. In addition, the Drupal team has provided three tools to use when upgrading from Drupal 7 to 8 that can be found here.
For teams with Drupal 8 sites, the upgrade path is a breeze since the transition from 8.9 to 9.0 was designed to be seamless.
Need help with your upgrade? Contact Tragic Media today for a free consultation to see how we can help upgrade and support your content management system.