Drupal 9 Is Here: What to Expect and How to Prepare

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If you’re still mentally recovering from your upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, we get it. That was like moving the entire contents of your house across the country on a herd of donkeys. 
 
But take a breath and rest assured that going from D8 to D9 is a whole different story. This is more like moving a couple, light boxes to the basement. Easy peasy. And that’s the whole point. 

The beauty of finally upgrading your website to Drupal 8 means you can expect future upgrades to be simple and cost-effective. So if you’re already on D8 now, what will be different in D9?

Put simply, there are current content/admin and developer features in D8 that will carry over to D9 and only become more robust as time goes on. Additionally, there are several, new features in D9 that are specifically development related. 

Timeline

The first thing to note is that support for D7 and D8 will be ending in November 2021. If you don’t update by then, your site can still function but it won’t be as secure or stable. As of that date, the Drupal community will no longer provide updates and bug fixes that keep your site secure and error-free.

So, not updating would mean hiring a developer or team to do custom maintenance that could end up costing quite a bit. If you ask us, it’s just not worth it. Instead, bite the bullet and update before November, 2021 and get the standard, top-notch security Drupal provides.

System Requirements

Convinced that it’s time to get your website updated to the most recent version of Drupal? Let’s get down to brass tacks and discuss what you need in order to move forward. 

D9 environment requirements:

  • PHP 7.3 or higher and one of the following four database options:
    • MySQL 5.7 or higher 
    • Maria DB 10.2 or higher 
    • PostgreSQL 9.6 
    • SQLite to 3.26 
  • Drush 10 
  • Updated Drupal Core. D8’s last minor release (8.9.0) will become D9
  • Up-to-date contributed modules. Audit custom modules to assess D9 compatibility. 

Keep in mind, many of the major D9 changes are development-heavy. If you need help untangling what this means, get in touch.

Upgrading from D7 to D9

Upgrading from 7 to 9 is a big jump and we recommend getting started on this sooner rather than later as it will require a rebuild. Upgrading to the new operating system of D8 will be the first task at hand, and then getting to D9 will be a cinch. 

What needs to be done: 

  • Module audit to check if there are there D8/9 versions or replacements for all D7 contributed modules 
  • Audit custom modules/code for D8/9 compatibility 
  • Migrate Drupal Core 
  • Migrate content 
  • Consider design/layout updates

Developer Features

  • Removed Deprecated APIs
  • Symfony version update from 3.4 to 4.4LTS
  • Twig updated from 1 to 2
  • Several JQuery UI Components Removed
  • PHPUnit 8 Supported
  • Various Smaller Updates (Doctrine, Dioctoros, Zend, Laminas, etc.)
  • Drupal 8 Content & Admin Features 

Although we’re focusing on Drupal 9 right now, it’s worth noting that Drupal 8 rolled out a bunch of amazing new content and admin features that only continue to improve with D9. In fact, D8 focused heavily on improving the admin and content management experience.

So if you’re still at all on the fence about whether or not to upgrade from D7, you ought to consider all the ways D8 will make your life easier from a content and admin perspective. 

Worth The Upgrade?

The resounding answer to this common question is, “Yes!” We’ve already talked about how important it is to upgrade to Drupal 8. And once you do, there’s absolutely no reason not to stay on the update train and have access to the latest and greatest features Drupal offers.

Ready to make sure your Drupal website is up to date and in fighting shape? Get in touch now

Anna Garvey Digital Strategist Chicago

About the Author

Anna Garvey

Anna is Content Strategist at EDUCO. Connect with Anna on LinkedIn or