Gábor Hojtsy, Drupal 8 Core Product Manager and Dries Buytaert, Drupal Founder and Project Lead held a webinar to talk about the upcoming Drupal 9 release and answer questions from developers. Here are highlights from the session.
When and why is Drupal 9 being released?
Drupal 9 is coming next year, in Q2 of 2020.
Drupal's continuous update model, launched with Drupal 8, means that over time as new features are added, old code is deprecated and replaced with new code and new versions of external resources are released.
Periodically a new major version is released and deprecated code is dropped. Currently coinciding with the Symfony release cycle, Drupal 9 will be released in Q2 next year.
What does the Drupal 9 launch mean for companies running Drupal 7 and 8 sites?
Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 will continue to be supported with security updates until the end of 2021, simultaneously with the end of life of dependency Symfony 3, allowing plenty of time to update, upgrade or migrate.
For Drupal 7 websites beyond 2021, some vendors will offer paid update services. Websites could be migrated to Backdrop, a fork of Drupal 7. However, with much of the technology obsolete in most cases it will be time to migrate to 9. That process can begin by migrating to Drupal 8, so there is no need to wait for the release of Drupal 9.
Drupal 8 sites will be easy to migrate on Drupal 9 launch. Drupal 9 will follow on from the previous release of Drupal 8 - updating external resources and minus the deprecated code, so the upgrade path will be as simple as upgrading between minor releases for your developers.
What does Drupal 9 mean for developers?
Upgrading Drupal 8 sites should be a walk in the park.
However as support for old code is dropped, custom modules and code and contributed modules will need to be clear of deprecated code.
That process can begin already with deprecated code always being marked as such and a couple of tools being released - a command line tool and Drupal 9 readiness UI tool, which is coming soon, which will be able to flag deprecated code. Once Drupal 9 is released there will be an 18 month window for any slow coaches to clean their code up before they upgrade.
What will be new in Drupal 9?
The beauty of the continuous upgrade model is that new features don't need to wait for a major release. As well as function being added in contributed modules, in Drupal 8.7 core we got a media library, layout builder, accessibility enhancements and improvements to templates and workflows. Synechis are proud to have also made contributions to the Umami out of the box project in Drupal 8.7 core. This process will continue into Drupal 9.