Drupal 9 was launched on June 3, 2020. Given this, it would be necessary for enterprises to upgrade to it later or sooner to acquire complete functionality and retain the ability to receive security updates within the bi-yearly cycles.
In the past, migrating from one version to another has been similar to moving from another CMS to Drupal, bringing in more time and fatigue.
However, the upgrade from D7/8 to D9 is much easier and painless. Let’s dive into more details and understand as to why moving on to Drupal 9 would be a better choice.
Why Should You Upgrade?
With the end of life approaching for Drupal 7 and 8 soon, operating the website on them securely and with complete functionality won’t be a feasible option.
At the same time, it might also be overwhelming for Drupal 7/8 site owners to know that their website will need the upgrade, especially when their site is running absolutely fine; thereby, resulting in confusion among them.
Here are 3 reasons why you should consider upgrading your site to Drupal 9:
- The Drupal security team will soon no longer provide support or security advisories, wavering your website’s and its users’ cybersecurity
- D7 and 8 releases’ on all project pages will be flagged as ‘not supported’. D7/ 8 may be flagged as insecure in 3rd party scans making the integration with other third-party tools and systems challenging
- Leading hosting services providers like Acquia and Pantheon will also soon withdraw their support from D7 leaving you without many options but to assume hosting responsibility for maintaining your application and server level configurations
The good news for Drupal 7/8 site owners is that even when it goes out of official support in November 2022, remaining Drupal 7/8 sites won't stop working at that point.
Should an Existing Drupal 7 Site Be Upgraded to Drupal 8 or 9?
One of the major reasons that more than seven hundred thousand Drupal 7 sites still haven’t migrated to Drupal 8, is due to the known challenges in the migration process. And with the majority of people on Drupal 7, it is quite likely that most of them did not want to upgrade their CMS twice in the span of one year.
A safe bet seems to be migrating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9. But will the site be secure? Let’s get to know a few facts.
Since D8 and D9 are similar except for deprecated codes removed and third-party updates in D9, it would be a feasible option for enterprises to migrate to D9 instead of D8 - to save them from constantly going through the same process and investing time, money, and efforts unnecessarily.
What’s New in Drupal 9?
There are innumerable capabilities added in Drupal 9 which further will be consistently updated biannually to help enterprises stay up-to-date.
Now once you upgrade your system to D9, you won’t require to make major changes the next time you plan to update it to a newer version.
Here are some of the new capabilities that are added to D9-
- Backward compatible
Drupal 9 is backward compatible, i.e., it is compatible with its predecessor, Drupal 8. That being said, D9 will be able to use modules, configurations, and data created on D8 of the same software, unlike the case with D7 and D8.
Additionally, preserving this functionality won’t burden Drupal with historical baggage and so the performance of the system will remain unaffected. The Drupal community has also focused on breaking code and not the data.
This way, Drupal will remain fast, clutter-free, and yet an up-to-date technology.
- Faster and Better Performance
Drupal 9 has taken it further to extend its support for responsive images, wherein mobiles can display the best-sized images and hence, consume fewer amounts of data.
In a recent webinar by Dries, he mentioned that Drupal 9.1 onwards versions/updates will witness the innovation and pave the way for faster and better performances of the websites. Drupal 9.1 update is just six months post the release of Drupal 9. Meanwhile, here are some of the features of D9 that you can leverage for efficient workflows-
A. BigPipe increasing page view performance and supporting faster initial page loading
B. Content Workflow allowing you to define multiple workflows
C. Multilingual capabilities
D. Structure Content- Drupal 9 comes in with an array of available fields, encompassing phone, email, data, and time.
- Cleaner code base
Drupal 9 has removed the support for deprecated codes in D8. This implementation will ensure that the code marked as deprecated will no longer be supported and used in the Drupal ecosystem.
The motive behind this is to make D9 a cleaner version so that whenever the modules in D8 want to become compatible with D9, they need to first eliminate the deprecated code.
Thus, the end result is clear- to make the code more nimble and improve the website’s performance.
- Newer Major Versions of Symfony and Twig
Symfony 3 will be replaced with Symfony 4 or 5 after November 2021. Also, the Drupal community can introduce an upgrade to Twig 2.0. These upgrades will only result in enhanced performance, improved developer experience, and enhanced security.
- Panelizer will be removed and replaced
What’s new in Drupal 9? Well, the panelizer will be replaced with the Layout Builder, the “star” module of the moment.
- Headless CMS
The essential features of Drupal Headless CMS are-
- Front-End Freedom
- Create Once, Publish Anywhere
- API-First Approach
- Easier Resourcing
Drupal 9 is more usable, accessible, inclusive, flexible and scalable than previous versions, with the following updated features-
- It will be significantly easier for marketers to use D9
- Simple than ever to maintain and upgrade for developers
- D9 is experimenting with its headless or decoupled capabilities
Additionally, you can also learn from our previous blog where we have explained how to find and fix the deprecated code - Site Owner’s Guide to a Smooth Drupal 9 Upgrade Experience.
Why Remove Deprecated Code in Drupal 9?
To ensure that the D8 modules remain compatible with D9, it’s typically essential to remove deprecated codes-
- The all-new Drupal 9 ready code gets deployed on Drupal 8 sites and issues can be tested.
- It is a continuation of the fully-tested and stable codebase of Drupal 8
With time, the effort is being made to make Drupal better. There are functions that have been around for a long time but will not be a good fit in the latest release. Most were deprecated in Drupal 8.7.0, which will be removed in Drupal 9.
To sum it all, the key to achieving this smooth transition to Drupal 9 is to rollout your migration plan within deadlines and save yourself from any unnecessary hassle later on.
Srijan is working with leading enterprises to help them migrate their digital web properties to Drupal 9 for better user experience.
If you are also looking for a smooth upgrade/migration process for your enterprise’s system, we are all ears and excited to assist you. Contact Us!