Drupal 9 is scheduled for release on June 3, 2020. At North Studio, we can’t wait to get our hands on the latest Drupal release. Here are five reasons for you to get excited about Drupal 9 too!

Transitioning from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 will be smooth and seamless

Drupal 9 is being built from inside Drupal 8, rather than starting with a new, separate codebase. This means that the experience of transitioning from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 will feel as seamless as a minor core update. Minor core updates have been released on a 6 month schedule since the launch of Drupal 8 and have become a routine procedure for the Drupal community.

drupal major minor releases

Source: Drupal 9 webinar by Acquia

Drupal 9.0.0 will use the same architecture as Drupal 8 but will remove deprecated code and update third-party dependencies. In no way will it be like the earthquake the Drupal community experienced when upgrading from Drupal 6 + 7 to Drupal 8.

The pace of innovation will be impressive

The continuous innovation model Drupal has adopted since the release of Drupal 8 has already yielded incredible results in a short time frame. Whereas in the past, core contributors would wait years to see their ideas in production, Drupal’s scheduled releases now deliver new features frequently and on a regular schedule. 

One concrete example of this phenomenon is BigPipe, an important Drupal module that dramatically increases load time (and perceived load time), by sending web browsers a site’s cacheable elements first. BigPipe prototyped as a contributed module on the day Drupal 8.0 was released. It  quickly moved to an experimental core module in Drupal 8.1, then became a stable core module for the release of Drupal 8.3. 

The incentives for developers to contribute to Drupal have increased dramatically as they get to experience the impact of their ideas in real time. Increased incentives have both attracted more developers to Drupal, and energized longtime contributors. The net effect is more innovation in the Drupal community than ever before. Drupal 9 is only certain to amplify this effect.

Here are some other highlights of Drupal 8 innovation: Umami demo installation profile, Layout Builder, Media module.

You will be able to test some Drupal 9 features before the release date

For example, Drupal 8.7 optionally supports Twig 2. This gives curious developers the benefit of early access to play with Twig 2’s template language. Plus, Drupal developers can test out Twig 2 to identify and flag problems before Drupal 9.0 is released.  

(To prepare for Twig 2, here is a list of deprecated features from Twig 1, slated to be removed from Twig 2.)

Simple tools are available right now to help you find deprecated code on your codebase

To prepare for Drupal 9, one key task will be to find and replace the deprecated code on your site. The Drupal community has already released tools to help you get this done as quickly and smoothly as possible. 

Developers can download and run drupal-check against their codebase to scan and identify any deprecated code that needs replacing before the next major Drupal release. Site-owners may prefer to use the more user-friendly Upgrade Status module, which runs drupal-check for you with a friendly graphical user interface overlaid on top to guide you through. This module reports on deprecated code and makes suggestions for project updates to keep your site up to date over time. 

There will be lots of time to plan and execute your upgrade to Drupal 9

June 3, 2020’s Drupal 9 release is timed to provide site owners with 18 months to upgrade before the scheduled end-of-life for Drupal 7+8 in November 2021. This is a generous amount of time for a transition that should feel similar to a regularly scheduled minor release. 

Drupal 9 release June 2020

Source: Dries Buytaert, Plan for Drupal 9 

Of course, time does have a funny way of running short. If you need help getting started on your action plan for Drupal 9, don’t hesitate to reach out to the North Studio team