In a previous article, we discussed upgrading from previous versions of Drupal to Drupal 8. In this article, we answer questions website owners may have when deciding whether and when to upgrade to Drupal 9,
What’s new in Drupal 9? The short answer is not much. That’s a good thing though. It means you can upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 with little effort (unlike previous major version upgrades). The first release of Drupal 9 will include the same features as the final minor release of Drupal 8. New features will be added to the Drupal core beginning with version 9.1 onward.
The difference between Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 is that dependencies have been updated in Drupal 9. Noteworthy under-the-hood dependency updates include Symfony 4 and Twig 2, which will provide enhanced performance and more modern capabilities. Code deprecations in Drupal 8 have also been completely removed; they will no longer function. This includes the SimpleTest and PlaceBlocks modules, which have been completely removed from core in favor of better solutions (such as PHP Unit for unit testing).
Drupal 8 will reach the end of life come November 2021. This means there will be no more security patches or maintenance releases. Because upgrading to Drupal 9 will be easy and thus widely adopted, you can expect contributors and 3rd party module maintainers to focus their time on Drupal 9 development rather than maintaining code for a shrinking Drupal 8 audience.
According to Drupal.org’s Plan for Drupal 9 article, they reference an analysis performed by Dwayne McDaniel (Pantheon) on over 7,000 Drupal 8 contributed modules. They found that, as of April 2019, 44% of modules would already be ready and that 56% have some depreciation warnings that would have to be fixed.
You’ll still need to do all the work required to migrate your site to drupal 8, so there really is no savings from upgrading from 7 to 9. Basically migrating your site from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 would be about the same as migrating your site from Drupal 7 to 8 to 9. As a reminder, Drupal 7 will no longer be supported after November 2021.
If you have a Drupal developer in-house, there are tools available to assist with the upgrade process such as the drupal-check module as well as IDE’s like PHPStorm that can assist in quickly identifying deprecations in your code. If you don’t have an in-house developer, we can help. We have a trusted team of drupal developers in-house, building, maintaining, and migrating sites across all major drupal versions including 6, 7, 8 and now 9. Contact us today for more information.