Our Thoughts
Ravneet Raiyat
08 April, 2021
10 MIN READ

Amplify your digital strategy with Drupal 9's future-focused architecture

Released on 3rd June 2020, Drupal 9 is the easiest upgrade in this decade. Drupal 9 had piqued the interest of all community members much before its release date. This unique next generation of Drupal is considered to be the most flexible content management system in the market. Drupal 9 offers intuitive solutions for enterprise owners and is focused on continuous innovation by delivering:

  • Enhanced web and data security
  • Faster and scalable web framework
  • Accessible content for a wider audience reach
  • Translation and localization
  • Easy content authoring and editing

Drupal powers more than 40% of the Fortune 1000 enterprise websites of the world. Some of Drupal’s marquee clients are NASA, TESLA, The Australian Government, The Emmy Awards, etc. 

Out of the total 1,738,458 websites hosted on Drupal, 300,625 websites use Drupal 7 and 267,934 websites use Drupal 8.  

As of January 2021, Drupal 9 is used by a total of 13,746 websites such as FBI Jobs, Working Wales, The Prince of Wales, The Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, etc.

What will happen to D7 and D8, now that Drupal 9 is out?

With the majority of Drupal websites using Drupal 7, the community has extended its end of life to November 2021 and the community support to November 2022. Drupal 8 is reaching its end of life in November 2021, a year before Drupal 7. That’s because of D8’s dependency on Symfony 3 which is retiring at the same time too. 

The community has also announced the release of Drupal 10 in June 2022.

Drupal 9 roadmap

 

Why migrate to Drupal 9?

With D7 and D8 reaching the end of life soon, the website data and the content will get prone to security threats and outdated features will start affecting the website’s performance. 

Drupal 9 is the most author-friendly and powerful version of Drupal to date. 

            - Dries Buytaert

Compared to its previous versions, Drupal 9 is more usable, accessible, inclusive, flexible, and scalable. Enterprises must migrate to Drupal 9 as early as possible for its powerful new features such as

  • Rich media management for ingenious content

Drupal 9 allows embedding of generic media files supporting audio, video, images, etc. With Drupal 9, site owners have the power to embed content from various platforms such as youtube and Vimeo. For content-heavy websites, Drupal 9 features Media Library Module that enhances the media list with additional features to easily find and use existing media items on the webpage.

  • Powerful visual design for impactful landing pages

Drupal 9 features enhanced content layout capabilities through its core module - Layout Builder. It offers a set of flexible visual design tools that enable content creators and site admins to customize the layout of a page via a powerful drag-and-drop user interface. 

  • Easy upgrades for future-focused architecture

Focused on innovation, Drupal 9 will have streamlined and simplified future upgrades for the continuous enhancement of features and modules. The first minor version update of Drupal 9 released in December 2020, within 6 months of the major version release date. Drupal 9.1 offered new improvements and functionalities without breaking backwards compatibility for public APIs.

  • Create once, publish anywhere with decoupled architecture

Drupal 9 offers decoupled website development approach where it serves as the backend content repository. In this approach, Drupal is decoupled from the frontend technology and only communicates with it through an API. Decoupling empowers the front-end team to structure and display the data independently. There are two approaches for decoupling Drupal: 

  • Progressive Decoupling where the front-end team can continue using Drupal’s rendering system while using another framework to build an interactive user experience. 
  • Fully Decoupling where the backend and frontend technologies are segregated completely.

Read more about Decoupled Drupal here.

  • Accessibility for everyone with Drupal 9’s ease of use

Technically advanced, Drupal 9 is the most user-friendly version to date. Drupal 9 offers improved usability features for a flawless user experience. For instance, the Drupal 9 Content Moderation Module gives complete flexibility to content editors and marketing teams to manage their editorial workflows effortlessly. Drupal 9 and its future releases enable continuous innovation and effortless experience for all content managers, developers and designers. Read about how Drupal 9 can reinvent your website here.

Drupal 9

What’s new in Drupal 9?

There are significant new features in Drupal 9 such as: 

  • Backwards compatibility

Unlike the previous versions, the backwards compatibility in Drupal 9 enables it to use the data, modules and configurations from Drupal 8 sites. The community has focused on breaking the code and not the data, which empowers site owners to re-use the efforts put into creating the website.

  • Faster website performance

Drupal 9 offers the margin for scalability and maintains the website performance even while deploying the most complex workflows. Below are some efficient and scalable modules of Drupal 9 for workflows.

  1. Bigpipe expedites the website’s initial page loading by caching the metadata.
  2. Dynamic Page Cache for caching the dynamic content and webpage.
  3. Internal Page Cache module caches the webpage for anonymous visitors.
  4. Blazy module provides integration with third-party API to lazy load and multi-serve images.
  • Clean code

Drupal 9 keeps the code clean by removing the deprecated code from modules in Drupal 8. The code marked as deprecated is eliminated as the D8 modules are imported by Drupal 9, thus increasing the website’s performance.

Drupal 9

  • The latest version of Symfony

With Symfony 3 reaching the end of life in November 2021, Drupal 9 is compatible with Symfony 4 and 5. This upgrade empowers an enhanced website performance and security and improves the developer experience.

  • Enhanced security

The removal of deprecated code in Drupal 9 also results in the elimination of bugs and security loopholes from the database. With fewer security threats and updated third-party dependencies, Drupal 9 is the most secure version to date. The community will be releasing regular security patches and updates for Drupal 9 starting from November 2021.

What are the disadvantages of stalling the Drupal 9 upgrade?

If you are still running your site on Drupal 7 or Drupal 8, now is the right time to migrate your website to Drupal 9. With all the innovative benefits and advanced features, Drupal 9 is much more secure and technically stable as compared to its predecessor with extended support. The disadvantages of stalling the Drupal 9 upgrade are as follows:

  • Security threat - With Drupal 7 and 8 reaching their end of life soon, the community will eventually stop releasing security patches and updates for it, leaving the website prone to multiple cyber threats.
  • Technical disadvantage - The community will eventually stop working on the bug fixes and technical updates for the websites hosted on Drupal 6, 7 and 8. As a result, the features and functionality of the website will get outdated.
  • Expensive maintenance - With no community support and outdated technology, the maintenance of the website’s features and functionality will get expensive.
  • Server update issues - Websites running on Drupal 7 and 8 will have compatibility issues with mandatory server updates and affect the website’s scalability.
  • Less time to prepare for the upgrade - The more an enterprise will stall the Drupal 9 migration, the lesser time they will have to prepare their site for the upgrade. 

How is Drupal 9 better than other CMS?

Drupal is the most preferred content management system in the world because of its flexibility, powerful content creation tools and efficient workflows for a remarkable user experience. Drupal 9 is an innovative and technically advanced version of Drupal with low development and support costs.

Drupal is used by a total of 1.7 million websites, and 3.24% of the top 1 million websites in the world.

            - Hosting Tribunal

Some advantages of Drupal over other CMS are listed below:

  • Community support for security and technical advancements

The support and passion of the Drupal community encourage continuous innovation and improvements in Drupal’s features and modules. An expert team of highly skilled developers and designers work around the clock towards the security and advancement of Drupal.

  • Tools for remarkable user-experience

Empowered by Drupal 9’s digital experience platform, developers and marketeers create a memorable user experience for website visitors. Drupal 9 has prioritized user experience with the help of user interface enhancements such as Layout Builder, Claro Administrative Theme and Mobile Responsive Web Features.

  • Scalability for consistent website performance

A Drupal-powered website is future-ready with the scope of scaling as per the business requirements. Drupal’s flexible API architecture empowers website for content growth and handling a sudden spike in user traffic. Drupal 9 enables site admins to manage the website’s performance and scalability through Blazy, Content Delivery Network, Server Scaling, and various Site Monitoring Tools.

How and when to migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9?

Drupal 7 has a larger user base with more than 65% of websites still running on it. Moreover, the global coronavirus pandemic pushed Drupal 7’s end of life to November 2021 and the extended support to November 2022. With that said, the community will eventually stop providing updates, security fixes, and enhancements for Drupal 7 sites, making them vulnerable to security threats. Hence, now is the right time to migrate your Drupal 7 site to Drupal 9. 

Site administrators can choose to either upgrade their Drupal 7 sites via Drupal 8 or directly to Drupal 9. In either case, there will be a major re-platforming effort involved. It is similar to crossing one big hurdle before the smooth ride of easy future upgrades. For re-platforming assistance, get in touch with our team of Drupal migration experts here.

How and when to migrate Drupal 8 sites to Drupal 9?

Drupal 8 is reaching its end of life in November 2021, a year before Drupal 7. That’s because of D8’s dependency on Symfony 3 which is retiring at the same time too. Hence, now would be the right time for site administrators to migrate their Drupal 8 site to Drupal 9.

But is it migration, or just an upgrade?

If your Drupal 8 site is upgraded to the most recent version release i.e. Drupal 8.9.12, then you are already several steps ahead in the Drupal 9 migration. The only differences between Drupal 8.9 and Drupal 9 are the removal of some deprecated APIs and the inclusion of updated third-party dependencies, such as Symfony and Twig.

Check out our Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 migration story here.

Drupal 9

How can I prepare my Drupal 8 site for the upgrade?

Even though it’s an easy upgrade to Drupal 9, this is how you can prepare your Drupal 8 site for a smooth upgrade:

  • Ensure that the site, along with its contributed modules, is upgraded to the latest minor version of Drupal 8.
  • Install and run the Upgrade Status module on your Drupal 8 site. This module audits the system requirements and compatibility of contributed modules with Drupal 9.
  • For any compatibility issues with the contributed modules, check for possible solutions on Drupal.org.
  • The third-party libraries and APIs will most likely be deprecated, you may check for any custom modules available for retaining them.

These steps will ensure that your Drupal 8 site is ready to be migrated to Drupal 9. Need assistance with your Drupal 8 site? Reach out to us here.

What are the system requirements for Drupal 9?

The system requirements for running Drupal 9 efficiently are as follows:

Technology Version Requirement
Apache 2.4.7
PHP 7.3 and above
Drush 10
MySQL or Percona 5.7.8 and above
MariaDB 10.3.7 and above
SQLite 3.26 and above
PostgreSQL 10 with pg_trgm

What is next after Drupal 9?

With Drupal 9’s release in June 2020, the community guaranteed continuous improvements with regular minor version release bi-annually. The first minor version of Drupal 9 released in December 2020, within 6 months of the major version release date. The tentative release date of the next minor version is June 2021.

With Symfony 4 retiring in November 2023, Drupal 9 is estimated to reach its end of life around the same time however, the security support for D9 will continue till 2024. The estimated release date for Drupal 10 is June 2022, more than a year before Drupal 9’s end of life.

Conclusion

Drupal 9 offers more accessible, inclusive and scalable features as compared to Drupal 7 or 8 for enhanced website performance and better user experience. Now is the time to upgrade your Drupal 7/8 sites to Drupal 9 and enjoy its business benefits.

If you still have questions regarding the Drupal 9 upgrade, check out our Drupal 9 migration services. If you are looking for technical assistance in migrating your Drupal site, you can get in touch with our team of migration experts here.

Ravneet Raiyat