Turmoil in the Drupal community?

Considering the fact that there are around 800.000 websites currently operating on Drupal 7, there will be a huge resource drain for upgrading to the latest installment. Not only will be it be an expensive feat to achieve, but also time demanding. Quite frankly speaking, there is not enough time to be able to upgrade all of the Drupal 7 websites and also not enough Drupal developers to be able to take on the workload. So, what do you think, is it feasable for so many websites to upgrade to Drupal 9 in such a short period of time?

Drupal 9 will be released in the summer of 2020

Drupal 8 has been released on November 19, 2015, this makes it 3 years old already. Its successor, Drupal 9, is making its way towards a release. Drupal 9 is scheduled to be released on 3rd June in 2020. But what does this mean for Drupal 7 and 8?

For starters, Drupal 8 and 7 will stop receiving support in 2021. This is mainly because Symfony 3, one of the biggest dependencies of Drupal 8, will stop receiving support. Drupal 7 will not be backed up by the official community and by the Drupal association on Drupal.org. What this means is that the automated testing services for Drupal 7 will be shut down. On top of that, the Drupal Security Team will stop providing security patches. If you are not able to upgrade to Drupal 9, there will still be some organisations that will provide Drupal 7 Vendor Extended Support, which will be a paid service. However, despite this, there will be a approximately year's worth of time to be able to plan for and upgrade to the latest installment of Drupal.

Overview over the consequences for Drupal 7

What this means for your Drupal 7 sites is, as of November 2021:

  • Drupal 7 will no longer be supported by the community at large. The community at large will no longer create new projects, fix bugs in existing projects, write documentation, etc. around Drupal 7.
  • There will be no more core commits to Drupal 7.
  • The Drupal Security Team will no longer provide support or Security Advisories for Drupal 7 core or contributed modules, themes, or other projects. Reports about Drupal 7 vulnerabilities might become public creating 0 day exploits.
  • All Drupal 7 releases on all project pages will be flagged as not supported. Maintainers can change that flag if they desire to.
  • On Drupal 7 sites with the update status module, Drupal Core will show up as unsupported.
  • After November 2021, using Drupal 7 may be flagged as insecure in 3rd party scans as it no longer gets support.
  • Best practice is to not use unsupported software, it would not be advisable to continue to build new Drupal 7 sites.
  • Now is the time to start planning your migration to Drupal 8.

Source: https://www.drupal.org/psa-2019-02-25

Drupal promises a smooth upgrade to Drupal 9

Good news is that, the change from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 will not be as abrupt as the change from Drupal 7 to 8 was. This is because Drupal 9 will be based off of Drupal 8, in fact, the first release of Drupal 9 will be similar to the last release of Drupal 8. In short, there will be some new features added, the deprecated code will be removed and the dependenciess will be updated, however, the Drupal experience will not be reinvented. Now, in order to have really smooth upgrade, the only thing necessary is to keep your Drupal 8 updated at all times. This will ensure that your upgrade will come as fluid as possible, without many inconveniences.

What is the best course of action to follow when upgrading to Drupal 9

Well, at first, you have a couple of options at your disposal:

  1. You either wait for Drupal 9 to be launched and then make the change from 7 directly to 9.
  2. You make first the change to Drupal 8 from 7, which is going to be an abrupt change anyway, and then you prepare for the change to Drupal 9.
  3. Your final option would be to find a new CMS altogether, which would be the most resource hungry option out of all. 

So, considering the choices you have at hand, the best of the bunch would be to start preparing for upgrade to Drupal 8 and then, when the time comes, to Drupal 9. By doing this, you will have enough time to plan ahead your upgrade roadmap, without having to compromise on the quality of the upgrade by rushing it. On top of that, this is an opportunity to review how good your website is at attracting leads and converting those leads to sales. Moreso, you can check if your website is still in line with your enterprise vision and mission statement, if not, then here is an opportunity to make your site reflect the beforenamed aspects of your business.

Even though change might look scary to some of you, this is an opportunity to also evaluate and improve your online digital presence. So make use of this chance at its fullest to create and provide a better online environment for your potential and current customers.

Drupal

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Feb 26, 2019 By Felix