Drupal 9 is finally here! The much anticipated release 9.0.0 was made web official on June 3rd.
Previous Drupal releases have included big, forward-looking changes (new modules such as BigPipe, Migration, Content Moderation, Media, Layout Builder) and paved the road for many interesting features.
On one hand, staying relevant and continuously evolving has been one of the main reasons for Drupal’s global success. On the other hand, major differences between each release have made Drupal upgrades somewhat complicated and costly, triggering anxiety even in the most experienced Drupal developers.
So, what is going to change?
Unlike the revolution of Drupal 8, Drupal 9 intends to bring evolution as the easiest upgrade in a decade.
In fact, there are only two key differences in Drupal 9:
- Cutting out the largest existing dependency, Symfony 3, in favour of the more secure and modern Symfony 4/5.
- The code labelled as deprecated will no longer work.
Apart from these two things, Drupal 9.0.0 should be the same as the last Drupal 8 minor release (Drupal 8.9.0).
Drupal 9 intends to stand for the next generation of the web with dramatically easier tools, continuous innovation and easy upgrades in the future, without having to worry about a major replatforming to stay up to date.
So, moving major versions will no longer imply moving to a different track, but instead moving to a different station on the same track.
How to prepare for the migration?
You should review the application code and remove all elements marked as deprecated. Deprecated elements can be found automatically with the drupal-check tool.
In terms of module readiness, over 1,700 contributed modules already have a Drupal 9 compatible release. To accelerate upgrading of modules to Drupal 9 automated patches are being provided. For some modules it will still be necessary for a developer to manually replace other deprecations.
What about support for previous versions?
The support for Drupal 7 and 8 will end at the same time – in November 2021. Developers will get a little over a year to plan and carry out their migrations.
However, you should migrate well before November 2021. Why? Because it's a time-consuming and somewhat complex process, especially if your website is mission critical.
The whole website has to be rebuilt, from front-end to back-end. It's a long and error-prone process. Even the simplest website can take at least a month to rebuild, migrate and test.