Don’t Wait for Drupal 9 -- There’s Never Been a Better Time to Upgrade Your Site

Migrating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 was challenging

Migrating between Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 was challenging for several reasons. Drupal 8 contained a completely new codebase, without any of the code from Drupal 7. Although Drupal was never compatible between major versions, the transition from 7 to 8 was especially difficult. However, the advantages of Drupal 8 remain clear. By sharing code with other PHP projects, such as Symfony, Drupal 8 elevated to a modern enterprise-level technology able to support emerging web technologies and trends. 

Understandably, not all Drupal web development projects were migrated from version 7 to 8, and many people and companies have remained wary of such a large shift, opting to wait until Drupal 9 is released. 

End of Life 

Drupal 7 has already been frozen, meaning no new features have been added for quite some time. Currently, updates only include security patches, released when a potential vulnerability is identified by the Drupal Security Team. Drupal 8 is dependant on Symfony 3, which will also be end-of-life by 2021, meaning that no new security releases will be issued after that time for projects that aren’t on Drupal 9. While extended support can be sourced from third-party companies, active Drupal projects need a migration plan soon, which will ensure sites are safe and solutions are cost-effective. 

An easier transition for Drupal 9

After the big transition between 7 and 8, the Drupal Community has taken steps to ensure future versions, including Drupal 9, will be less painful With the addition of semantic versioning numbers and periodic smaller updates, there will be no major feature updates or additions between Drupal 8.9 and Drupal 9.0. Smaller updates have also enabled the  Drupal project to sync release schedules with Symfony, to take advantage of the latest patches. Updating from 7 to 8 before the Drupal 9 release is advantageous: providing extra time and saving money in the long run. 

Instead of a new and separate codebase, Drupal 9 has been built inside Drupal 8 by adding new functionality as backwards-compatible code, marking old code as deprecated, as well as introducing new features. Once the code is confirmed to be stable, the deprecated code is phased out. Thus, the major shift between Drupal 8.9 and Drupal 9 will be this elimination of deprecated code and updating Drupal’s dependencies -- although there are also new features to look forward to. While it’s true that projects using deprecated code will need to make changes, the process is simpler and transparent. In fact, we already know what code will be deprecated and you can run a simple tool to identify what parts of your site will need to be updated prior to release. In some cases, you can even convert certain modules automatically. 

Taking these simple steps, the update between Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 will be similar to any other routine update. 

The importance of maintenance 

Regular maintenance updates ensure that your projects stay fresh and modern as well as progress seamlessly through new versions and security releases. Amazee Labs offers full-service bespoke and automated maintenance services, as well as consulting for specific migrations and upgrades. While a transition as big as the transition from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 won’t happen again, we can help you make sure that you never have to worry about an update again. 

Talk to us today to learn more!

Reference Articles 

Need more resources? Check out these articles to learn more about Drupal 9

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