Drupal 9: Six Weeks To The Drop
In this strange time where reflection and anticipation meet, we’ve been thinking a bit about Drupal’s past as we build momentum moving towards its future and the highly anticipated release of Drupal 9.0.
A brief history of Drupal upgrades
Early adopters of Drupal will remember the Drupal 4.6 to Drupal 4.7 form handling fiasco when an upgrade unexpectedly broke many contributed modules. The fix took longer than anticipated leading to quality problems, release date slippage, and frustrated users. And, no doubt many developers will recall the enormous effort required to move sites and modules from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, with so many fundamental changes under the hood.
Those days are over. Drupal 8’s “continuous innovation model” means stable capabilities that in the past would have had to wait for a major version release, are now released incrementally and on a scheduled six-month cycle. As a result, even five years after its debut, Drupal 8 today remains a healthier/cleaner codebase.
I know some Drupal 8 users might be thinking -- “why have a Drupal 9.0 version at all?” The short answer is that this major version upgrade from Drupal 8 to 9 is needed to remove deprecated code and update the versions of these underlying libraries to ensure Drupal and the sites that run it are using supported secure versions.
Code in Drupal is marked as "deprecated" when it should no longer be used. Typically, code is deprecated because there is a better alternative. For example, when you update your Drupal 8 code to use the latest and greatest APIs, you benefit from improvements immediately.
Drupal 9: New and Improved
There is one more minor release planned for Drupal 8, version 8.9, which will be released in June at the same time as Drupal 9.0. These releases will be functionally identical and are yet another example of the efforts being made to make the transition seamless from 8 to 9.
Because of Drupal 8’s architecture and how the Drupal community is delivering Drupal 9, there will be a seamless transition from Drupal 8 to 9. The transition will be less seamless if you have decided to stay on Drupal 7 and move to 9, skipping 8 altogether. The move from D7 to D9 will be more complicated -- not impossible, but certainly a much more involved project.
The plan is to release Drupal 9 in June of 2020, and to end-of-life Drupal 7 and 8 in November of 2021.
Confused? Don’t be. Your web development partner will be working with you to keep you on your upgrade path. If you have an older Drupal site and are worried, we can help.
Read more in our Drupal 9 Blog Series
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