Drupal 9 was released on June 3, 2020. Which is big news for the Drupal community! Many website owners have started planning their upgrade to Drupal 9. If you have not, now is the time to start!
If you are still on Drupal 7, there are essential things you will need to know about upgrading to Drupal 9.
Drupal 7’s end-of-life was previously scheduled to occur in November 2021. Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses and budget, this has been extended to November 28, 2022. Drupal 7 will continue to receive support for two and a half years past Drupal’s release. Drupal’s security team will continue following the processes for core Drupal 7 and contributed projects.
Drupal 8 and Symfony 3 will still be discontinued on November 2, 2021. Drupal 8 users will not face as many difficulties as the process of Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 is much simpler.
Vendor Extended Support Offered Till 2025
After the Drupal 7 community support discontinues, website owners will still be able to sign up with third party vendors that provide extended support through at least 2025. This program is similar to the long-term support program for Drupal 6 which is still being provided.
Upgrading Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 – The Two Ways
As Drupal 9 has already been launched, you can upgrade your Drupal 7 website directly to Drupal 9. Alternatively, you can upgrade your website to Drupal 8 and then to Drupal 9.
Upgrading Your Website via Drupal 8
Prior to the release of Drupal 9, the best approach for websites running on Drupal 7 to upgrade to Drupal 9 was upgrading to Drupal 8.
Drupal 9’s key advantage is that upgrading from Drupal 8’s latest version to Drupal 9 is more of an incremental upgrade, rather than the substantial re-platforming job entailed by the previous Drupal migrations.
Websites that have switched to Drupal 8 prior to the launch of Drupal 9 could take advantage of the simple path of upgrade from Drupal 8 to 9, instead of undertaking a massive migration project.
Although Drupal 9 is already here, it is still wise for sites on Drupal 7 to move to Drupal 8.
It is likely that the necessary themes or modules are readily available for Drupal 8 but not yet for Drupal 9. The path of upgrade of Drupal 8 to 9 for several themes and modules is likely to be easy, and so many of them might be ready soon. However, some themes and modules could be consuming more time. So, you can undertake the bigger and more complicated job of migrating from Drupal 7 to 8 now, and then the easier migration of Drupal 8 to 9, when everything you require is ready.
Upgrading Directly from Drupal 7
The alternative approach is skipping over Drupal 8 altogether and hopping on directly to Drupal 9. Drupal 9 consists of the migration ecosystem for Drupal 7. Drupal 9 also comprises the migrate_drupal module that is required for migrating to Drupal 8.
If you choose this route, remember all the considerations involved in upgrading from Drupal 7 to 8 are still applicable if you move directly to Drupal 9.
You will still need to manage the planning for migration, handle the paradigm shifts and tooling, and take into account the platform requirements.
In conclusion, a direct migration is a feasible option for Drupal 7 websites that have not yet upgraded to Drupal 8, given that Drupal 9 is out now.
Tools Involved in Migration
Three key tools are used to migrate a website running on Drupal 7:
1. Migrate Module Suite
Drupal core offers the migrate module suite for carrying out data and/or content migrations from Drupal 7. This enables users to build their website in Drupal 8 or 9 in the best way and import the content to the new areas.
2. Upgrade Status Module
The Upgrade Status module’s Drupal 7 version summarizes the Drupal 8 or 9 availability of modules that are currently being used.
3. Drupal Module Upgrader
This is a command-line script, which scans the source of any Drupal 7 module, flags codes requiring an update to Drupal 8 or 9, and points off to relevant notices of API (Application Programming Interface) change. Moreover, wherever possible, it will try to perform conversion of the Drupal 7 code to the Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 version automatically.
Drupal Module Upgrader does not use deprecated APIs in generated codes. Therefore, if you upgrade to Drupal 8 first, your path to upgrade to Drupal 9 will become smoother.
Prioritize Migration Now
Although the end-of-life of Drupal 7 has been extended, it is wise to move to Drupal 9 now, given that it is out. Drupal 9 comes with several attractive features and benefits that can help you get a robust and dynamic business website.
If you are wondering how to proceed with the migration, our Drupal team can help you. We have a proven record of accomplishment in developing websites driven by Drupal and have expertise in the upgrade to Drupal 9. Let us talk today about a robust Drupal 9 website!
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