Drupal lifecycle and updates

Drupal 9 is here and D10 is on its way! D8 is already buried, but what will happen to D7?

Drupal 9 is here and D10 is on its way! D8 is already buried, but what will happen to D7?

Drupal versions and their support

Digital solutions made with Drupal that are currently used around the world are mainly based on Drupal versions 7, 8 and 9. Drupal 9, the latest main version of this open-source content management system (CMS), was released in June 2020. Drupal 9 came with even more powerful digital solutions and provides a longer lifecycle for the implemented solutions. Feature updates to the major version will also continue twice a year – until it will be replaced by Drupal 10 in August or December 2022.

What does the release of this new main version mean for versions D7–D9? With the release of Drupal 9, the end-of-life dates for D7 and D8 were announced: Drupal 7 will continue to be supported until 1 November 2023, but support for Drupal 8 ended already on 2 November 2021. Now that Drupal 10 is just around the corner, Drupal 9 is also nearing the end of its life, because Drupal 9 support will end on 10 November 2023. This rapid release of a new main version is due to the fact that Drupal 9 is dependent on Symfony 4, and its support (which includes fixing security bugs) will also end in November 2023.

If your web service still utilizes Drupal version 7 (or even 8), now is a good time to consider upgrading your digital services and planning the next steps for further development. Upgrading Drupal 7 sites requires considerable effort, whereas upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 may turn out to be a very simple operation. And when the time comes, upgrading from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10 is likely to be at least just as easy as the D8 → D9 upgrade.

Here are the dates in a nutshell:

  • Drupal 8 end-of-life on 2 November 2021
  • Drupal 10 will be released in August or December 2022
  • Drupal 7 end-of-life on 1 November 2023
  • Drupal 9 end-of-life on 10 November 2023

Drupal 9 is here, but Drupal 10 is on its way! What does this mean?

Drupal 8 was designed in a way that makes upgrading to Drupal 9 easy and relatively effortless. Previous version upgrades have involved rebuilding the sites almost from scratch, but this is by no means the case with Drupal 9 – and the same policy will continue with Drupal 10. You could say that in some sense Drupal 9 is the latest version of Drupal 8 and Drupal 10 will be the latest version of Drupal 9. Once a Drupal 8 site has been built using the latest version, the updates have been performed and the latest module versions have been installed, the only thing left to do when upgrading to Drupal 9 is checking the compatibility of custom modules and modules developed by the Drupal community. Upgrading from Drupal 9 to 10 is just as easy.

When Drupal 9 was released, we described the version upgrade by comparing it to a railway. Previously, you would have to move the entire train onto a whole new track and even the track gauge would be different. In this model, you could run the Drupal 8 train right along the same railway track to Drupal 9 and have the Drupal 8 train spring-cleaned at the railway platform: the redundant and outdated code is cleared away and third-party libraries (Symfony, Twig, CKEditor, etc.) are updated to new versions. This spring clean enables the development of new features. And while the train is standing at the station anyway, other measures can be taken at the same time to ensure an even smoother digital ride. Implementing Drupal 10 is practically just the same as upgrading from a previous version to the newest one.

Next, we will look at the opportunities and options that are available to Drupal 8 sites and then suggest the best course of action for Drupal 7 sites.

Illustratio of Drupal version updates on railway model.

Drupal versions compared to railways. Photo: Drupal.org.

D8 – D9 upgrade

Upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 is significantly easier than previous major version upgrades. The workload of the upgrade depends on the following:

  • The version of Drupal 8 that is currently in use
  • Updates to any outdated modules or interfaces
  • Making sure that custom modules are Drupal 9 compatible

Tackling the scope of the above is our strong suit, so you can order an audit from us to find out exactly what you should do at the station to make sure your digital journey on the Drupal train can continue without a hitch.

If you want more information and an offer on gauging the readiness of your D8 service for the D9 upgrade, leave us your contact details and we will be in touch:

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Leap from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 (and on to Drupal 10)

Getting a Drupal 7 train to run on D9 tracks involves a heavier workload than D8. This change requires some degree of rebuilding.

There are several solutions out there and the sooner you start the upgrade process, the more options you have to choose from.

In principle, we provide three different options for upgrading Drupal 7:

  • A direct copy of the D7 site in D9
  • A fully rebuilt Drupal 9 site
  • Decoupling the frontend and backend and isolating the Drupal 7 CMS from the public Internet and implementing the frontend in the public Internet.

We would be happy to discuss these options with you in more detail.

The good news definitely is that once Drupal 7 in on board with Drupal 9, the need for the next bigger site overhaul will be pushed far into the distant future. Because, as mentioned, Drupal versions 9 and 10 are just one stop apart.

Read more: Three great options for upgrading Drupal 7
Drupal9 rocket that has launched from the Drupal7 box

Do you want to learn more about Drupal?

If your web services run on D7 or D8, leave your contact information via the form below, and let us go through together what would be the smoothest transition to the D9-train.

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