Drupal 8 Retires Before Drupal 7, What Now?

The launch of Drupal 9 on June 3rd, 2020, laid an important foundation for the platform’s future. The Open Source CMS announced the roadmap for their version’s support – End Of Life (EOL) for Drupal 7 and Symfony-3, and Drupal 8 in November 2021.  

However, Drupal 7’s support was extended until November 2022 due to the given pandemic situation across the globe.

What’s happening with Drupal? 

This marks the expiration countdown of Drupal 7 & Drupal 8 differently and translates that they will no longer receive bug fixes or security updates from the maintainers post November 2021 and November 2022, respectively. In case your website is built on any of these older platforms, you will become vulnerable to attacks and might see functional or display issues. Thus, this is the best time to start considering your options. 

It would also lead to only one major release, i.e., Drupal 9, being the standalone supported version post the cutoff dates. 

Given the one year gap between the dates, will Drupal 8 come to EOL before Drupal 7? How will Drupal 7 sites migrate to Drupal 8 after November 2021? Confused? Let’s look at each one of them individually and in detail. 

What does it mean?

For Drupal 7 users 

The support from the Drupal community will only last for two more years. 

This could mean a challenging migration for Drupal 7 users but leaves them enough time to prepare for the eventual transition. And the upsides of Drupal 8 are far more than the strenuous process of migrating. 

Marked as a huge step towards success in the community, Drupal 7 will be over 10 years old by the time it will come to EOL. It would be in your best interest to make a move and this will also allow you to rethink your website design, site architecture in context to your ever-evolving target audience. 

So, this Drupal 7 EOL extension is a boon for the users who want to stay on the Drupal 7 version only.  

Note: Drupal will drop official support for unsupported PHP versions along the way, and Drupal 7 site owners may have to upgrade their PHP version. 

For Drupal 8 users

All your hard work of migrating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 in the past will pay off now. 

It is much easier for Drupal 8 users this time. In case you are at a lower version than Drupal 8.8, then invest this time in updating it to the latest version, i.e., Drupal 8.9. 

And then it will be nothing more than a minor technical update from Drupal 8.9 to Drupal 9. 

All your Drupal 8 components will still work in Drupal 9 and your contributed modules will soon receive updates with the release of Drupal 9’s new minor versions (Drupal 9.1, Drupal 9.2, and so on). 

Check upon your dependencies, update them to the latest versions, avoid using any deprecated modules and APIs, and make sure you upgrade prior to November 2021. 

Is Drupal 8 retiring?

For the lack of a better word, we can say Drupal 8 is evolving to Drupal 9. 

However, the supporting technology of Drupal 8, Symfony 3, will retire. The security bugs in Symfony 3 will not get fixed, and Drupal would have to adopt Symfony 4 or 5 before it goes end-of-life. Thus, Drupal 8 will transition into Drupal 9, by deprecating the code, thanks to the major architectural rework that took place in Drupal 8. 

According to Dries, to keep Drupal modern, maintainable, and performant, we need to stay on secure, supported versions of Drupal 8’s third-party dependencies. Since the introduction of Drupal 8, the versions have relied on well-established third-party PHP frameworks. 

We recommend:

  • Plan and execute your re-platform Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 migration before November 2021. 
  • Keep on updating to the latest minor version of Drupal 8.
  • Move to Drupal 9 and enjoy it’s features when you are ready! 

Drupal 9 is here

What’s the hype all about with Drupal 9? Well, there isn’t much and unlike Drupal 8, it isn’t a major release. However, here are a few capabilities you might want to know:  

Backwards Compatibility

Relatively easy and simple releases will follow the Drupal 9 coming up versions. 

Simplified Content Tools

All the features of Drupal 8’s content tools along with a new page layout builder, content workflow tools, and media management system is at your disposal.

Media Management

New improvements in media management as the admins can now upload images and files via third-party applications such as YouTube and Vimeo, as well.

We hope this gave a clearer trajectory of Drupal’s roadmap along with some clarity on how you can plan your Drupal website’s transition. 

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