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how to prepare your website for Drupal 9

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Drupal 9 is coming! But don’t worry – as a specialist Drupal agency, we’re here to help you prepare and ensure your website keeps running at its best…

what is Drupal 9 and when is it being released?

The planned release date for Drupal 9 is 3 June 2020.

Drupal relies on third-party libraries (such as Twig, jQuery and Symfony) which all eventually become outdated and unsupported, so new versions of Drupal have to be created regularly in order to use the newer, supported versions of these dependencies. 

how will Drupal 9 affect my existing Drupal site?

Drupal 9 was mostly built in Drupal 8. Whereas previously, major Drupal version updates have been completely different to the preceding Drupal version(s), Drupal 9 is very similar to Drupal 8. It has only two differences – the updated dependencies explained above, and removal of deprecated code.

Other than these things, Drupal 9 should be identical to the final Drupal 8 minor release (likely to be Drupal 8.9.0). Once Drupal 9 has been released, new backwards-compatible features will be added by Drupal (in minor release updates) every six months or so.

Drupal 7 and 8 will continue to be supported by Drupal until November 2021, but after this date, only Drupal 9 will have adequate security fixes. How to prepare a Drupal 7 or 8 site for Drupal 9 is explained below.

how to prepare a Drupal 8 site for Drupal 9

If you have a Drupal 8 site, you can relax as Drupal 9 will be almost exactly the same as the final minor version of Drupal 8.

The key thing to do is ensure your website is up-to-date with Drupal’s existing core and module/theme releases. Then you’ll easily be able to upgrade to the final Drupal 8 minor version when it comes out. This will be released alongside Drupal 9 and will be the same as Drupal 9, except it won’t have the updated dependencies and removal of deprecated code.

For any custom code on your website, you can also start using deprecation checking and correction tools to ensure the code is compatible with Drupal 9.

There will be community support for Drupal 8 until November 2021, so there’s plenty of time to get your website up-to-date. 

how to prepare a Drupal 7 site for Drupal 9

Preparing a Drupal 7 site for Drupal 9 is a bit more complicated, but there’s still no need to panic.

The best thing to do is to migrate your Drupal 7 site to Drupal 8 as soon as possible, and incorporate deprecation checking tools into the migration process. This will make your eventual upgrade to Drupal 9 much easier, as Drupal 9 is much more similar to Drupal 8 than Drupal 7. 

To migrate your site to Drupal 8, we recommend using the migrate module suite in order to re-build your site and import content effectively. The Drupal module upgrader tool is also very helpful for flagging up and converting code that requires updating. 

There will be community support for Drupal 7 until November 2021, so whilst there’s plenty of time to get your website up-to-date, it’s important to start preparing for Drupal 9 now. 

where can I find more info about Drupal 9?

Drupal.org has lots more resources about Drupal 9 and how to prepare your Drupal 7 or 8 site for the new release.

need help upgrading to Drupal 9?

At Pedalo, we’ve designed, built, supported and updated hundreds of Drupal websites. As Drupal specialists, we’re also active Acquia community partners and members of the Drupal Association.

Whether you want to upgrade to Drupal 9, add new features, fix a bug/problem or maximise security protection website, our expert Drupal development and Drupal support services are flexible and cost-effective.

Please get in touch for more information.