Drupal 9 is Coming
Drupal 9 is expected to be released June 3, 2020, and it’s going to be a game-changer. It will no longer reference external Jquery libraries, which, when they are out of date can contain vulnerabilities. That alone is worth the price of admission. The Drupal 9 release is tied to Drupal 8’s dependency of Symfony 3, a PHP framework that Drupal depends on, and which is scheduled to be deprecated in November 2021. In other words, Drupal.org wants everyone on Drupal9 by November 2021. So mark your calendars!
The idea is to give everyone 12 – 18 months to prepare in advance. Both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 will be deprecated along with the same tiered schedule and in 18 months hence, the official Drupal community will no longer support D7. D8 will continue to receive support for a transitional period afterward.
D9 is being built using the D8 codebase, so D8 websites are in good shape for a seamless migration to D9.
According to Drupal.org:
- It will be a seamless upgrade from Drupal 8.
- All components from Drupal 8 will be fully functional in Drupal 9 on day 1 of the release.
- Drupal 9 will continue to release feature improvements every six months.
- Drupal 9 will offer support for more modern underlying libraries and features with the latest in digital experiences (later versions of Symfony, Twig, etc.).
Prior to upgrading, you’ll need to ensure that your D8 site is completely updated, core and modules. Make sure that you’re not using any deprecated modules or APIs and the latest versions of all other dependencies. You’ll want to ensure that your hosting environment is also up to speed with the most current version of PHP.
D9 will essentially be released as an update to D8.
If your site is in D7, then you’ll need to hop the track over to the D8 train, and that’s a bit more involved. More than likely, you’ll need to create a new D8 instance, and migrate over your D7 content into it, and catch yourself up to the requirements of D8, which will including ensuring that your new site does not contain any relics of D7, including theme, settings, and configs. Once you take care of that bit of unpleasant business, updating to D9 will be relatively seamless and painless. D7 will no longer be supported by the Drupal community, but there are some official Drupal partners that may be available to provide support, including security releases for your core and modules. This is better than no maintenance, but if you can aim for a D9 update, you’ll be grateful you did.
Drupal is robust and highly customizable. It’s well suited for websites that rely upon user engagement based on the user’s role. Drupal is popular among government entities, large universities, and other organizations whose websites require complex structures, multiple contributors, and various types of web visitors. Some organizations you may have heard of that use Drupal as their web platform include the state of Massachusetts, Georgia Tech University, NASA, and many others (see logos below).
Drupal’s lead founder, Dries Buytaert, has posted an illuminating article that will also help clarify the release cycle.