Tick-tock, tick-tock. Do you hear that? That’s the clock reminding you that Drupal 8 will no longer be supported in just a couple of months. The end-of-life for Drupal 8 is closing in on us fast, so if you haven’t already upgraded to Drupal 9, you need to do so quickly.

Drupal 8’s end-of-life date is November 2, 2021, due to Drupal 8’s dependency on Symfony 3, which also has an end-of-life in November. Basically, this means that there will be no additional security fixes implemented, so to keep your products secure and safe against potential threats, we strongly advise that you upgrade to the latest version of Drupal.

NO "MIGRATION" NECESSARY

The upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 has no need for migration! The new features offered by Drupal 9 were actually gradually released inside of Drupal 8. The primary change that comes with Drupal 9 is the removal of deprecated code.

Depredated code is, in short, code that will soon be obsolete—usually because there is a better alternative. In Drupal 8, deprecated code is typically functionality from previous Drupal versions. In the move to Drupal 9 and every version after, deprecated code will have to be refactored and removed.

Now, back to this no migration thing. With the change from Drupal 7 to 8, Drupal users couldn’t avoid migration. There were many different changes that required a comprehensive and complex migration which was super frustrating for clients. Many clients actually ended up opting for a complete rebuild from the ground up in order to take advantage of the new Drupal 8 features like “workspaces.”

WHAT ABOUT CONTRIB MODULES?

The “Drupal 9 deprecation” dashboard overview shows you the compatibility status of all of the contributed modules to the Drupal ecosystem. Good news for you, over 88% of the top 1000 contrib modules are compatible with Drupal 9, which means they have a Drupal 9 release.

In addition, more than half of all Drupal modules are compatible with Drupal 9. A further 20% only require updates from the info.yml file or the composer.json files to make them compatible with Drupal 9.

UPDATED DEPENDENCIES

Drupal depends on both backend and frontend libraries (they are dependencies!).

One of these dependencies is Symfony, Drupal 8 relies on Symfony 3.3, but that will soon reach its end-of-life in November 2021, just a couple of months away. So, Drupal 9 uses Symfony 4.

Another example of some updated dependencies with Drupal 9 is Twig. Drupal 8 depends on Twig 1, and although there is no end-of-life date for Twig 1, Twig 2 has been out for quite some time, and Drupal 9 uses it.

Some other dependencies like Doctrine Simple Annotation Parser will eventually be removed. Although, some of the code will be forked and worked into Drupal’s core.

STEPS TO TAKE

– Ensure your website is running on the latest stable version of Drupal 8 and that any contributed modules are installed.

– Install and run the Upgrade Status module. This module integrates into the website’s status update and checks system requirements and contrib module compatibility.

– If you face contrib modules with compatibility issues, scan the module’s Drupal.org page and issue queue in order to find out about their Drupal 9 readiness as well as possible solutions or workarounds.

– Check custom modules for the use of deprecated libraries or APIs. Often, the Rector module can be beneficial because it automates PHP code upgrades by renaming classes, properties, methods, namespaces, and constants.

– Check the hosting environment and make any necessary changes. The Upgrade Status modules should highlight the system requirements for Drupal 9.

After you’ve completed these steps, you are ready to update to Drupal 9!

Even though your Drupal 8 website won’t disappear into thin air in November 2021, it is extremely important that you upgrade your website immediately to avoid any difficulties when trying to maintain or change your website. Don’t set your website up for failure by avoiding this update—here are 4 other good reasons why you should upgrade to Drupal 9 right away.

1. Drupal 8 security patches are going to be discontinued; ensure optimal security and performance by upgrading.

2. Upgrading will give your website enhanced usability and eliminate your dependency on third-party integrations.

3. Some of Drupal’s third-party libraries will see their end-of-life soon. Upgrade to ensure more extended support coverage.

4. Drupal 8’s Symfony will not be supported after 2021

Drupal 9 is nearly identical to the final minor version of Drupal 8, so there is no need to panic; it’s basically just a simple incremental update.

Drupal released an official statement saying, “Drupal 9.0 API equals Drupal 8.9 API minus deprecated parts plus third-party dependencies updated.”

Drupal 9 is going to set the tone for future versions of the Drupal platform. As a result, each subsequent Drupal upgrade will also be a smooth transition from one version to the next.

Upgrading to Drupal 9 will keep you on the continuous innovation cycle with new features twice a year.

Do you need help with your upgrade needs? We are here to help. New Target is a leading Drupal agency so, whether you are a small, midsized, or large company, government agency, or association, we have all the Drupal experience and talent to design, build, or migrate your website in Drupal. Contact us today!

With offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, Ca., New Target provides digital strategy, digital marketing, web design, web development, branding, website hosting, and creative services for prominent nonprofits, companies, and government.