You've probably heard recently that Drupal 9 is coming. Drupal 8.7 was released in May and Drupal 8.8 is planned for December 2019. At the same time, D9 is becoming a hotly discussed topic in the Drupal world. 

Drupal 9’s arrival perfectly fits into the Game of Thrones’ quote — “Brace yourself, winter is coming.” But do you need to brace for D9? It is promised to arrive easily and smoothly. Still, some important preparations are needed. Let’s review them in this post.

Drupal 9 is coming in June 2020

The year of the D9 release became known back in September 2018. Drupal creator Dries Buytaert announced it at Drupal Europe in Darmstadt. Later on, in December, the exact date arrived — Drupal 9 is coming on June 3, 2020!

What will happen to Drupal 7 and Drupal 8? Both D7 and D8 will reach their end-of-life in November 2021. This means the end of official support and no more updates in the functional and security areas. Some companies will come up with extended commercial support, but it’s far better to keep up with the times and upgrade. All the development ideas and innovations will be focused on “the great nine.”

The Drupal creator explained the planned release and end-of-life dates. In a nutshell, D8’s major dependency is the Symfony 3 framework that is reaching end-of-life in November 2021. Drupal 9 will ship with Symfony 4/5. So the Drupal team has to end-of-life Drupal 8 at that time, but they want to give website owners and developers enough time to prepare for Drupal 9 — hence the June 2020 release decision. 

According to the timing, you need to be on Drupal 9 by By November 2021. In the meantime, you should prepare. 

Preparations for Drupal 9 in the coming

1. How to prepare for Drupal 9 if you are on Drupal 8

Hearing that Drupal 9 is coming, many D8 website owners may say “Hey, we just had an epic upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, and here we go again!”.

Keep calm — everything is on the right track. Your upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 should be instantaneous. D9 will look like the latest version of D8, but without deprecated code and with third-party dependencies updated (Symfony 4/5, Twig 2, and so on).

Dries Buytaert's quote: we are building Drupal 9 in Drupal 8

There are two rules of thumb regarding the Drupal 9 preparations:

1) Using the latest versions of everything

To have a quick upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9, you need to stick to the newest versions of the core, modules, and themes. According to Gábor Hojtsy, Drupal Initiative Coordinator, you are gradually becoming a D9 user by keeping your D8 website up-to-date.

Gabor Hojtsy's quote: you become a Drupal 9 user by keeping up to date with Drupal 8.

“The great eight” has adopted a continuous innovation model, which means a new minor version every half a year. Our Drupal team is ready to help you with regular and smooth updates.

2) Getting rid of deprecated code

It is also necessary to keep your website clean from the deprecated code. Deprecated code means APIs and functions that have newer alternatives and are marked as deprecated, or obsolete. 

Any module that does not use deprecated code will just continue working in Drupal 9, Dries said.

Dries Buytaert's quote: without deprecated code websites will be ready for Drupal 9

How can you find deprecated code? Here are a few tools that check everything including custom modules:

  • The command-line tool Drupal Check that checks your code for deprecations
  • The Upgrade Status contributed module that offers a graphical interface to check the modules and theme and get the summary

Many deprecations are very easy to replace. You can always rely on our development team to have a thorough check and cleanup from deprecations. 

2. How to prepare for Drupal 9 if you are on Drupal 7

The best way to prepare for Drupal 9 is to upgrade to Drupal 8 now. Even if this might sound like a marketing mantra to you, it has very practical grounds.

There are plenty of reasons to upgrade and no reason to skip Drupal 8. These are words from Dries Buytaert's presentation

Dries Buytaert's presentation: there are many reasons to upgrade to Drupal 8 now

You will enjoy a wealth of Drupal 8’s benefits for business all the time before 2021. And when Drupal 9 arrives, you will just click and move ahead to it!

Gabor Hojtsy's quote: skipping Drupal 8 does not bring benefits

Don’t worry, despite the immense difference between D7 and D8, the 7-to-8 upgrades are getting easier every day. Developers have studied the D7-to-D8 upgrade path well. In addition, very helpful migration modules have recently reached stability in the D8 core.

Your upgrade to Drupal 8 will depend on your website’s custom functionality and overall complexity. In any case, our Drupal developers will take care of making it smooth. 

So make up your mind and upgrade now — welcome to the innovative path that will lead you further to “the great 9.”

Plan for Drupal 9 with us!

Yes, Drupal 9 is coming. No matter which version of Drupal you are using now, we can help you make the right Drupal 9 preparation plan — and fulfill it, of course. Just contact our Drupal experts!

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