Drupal 9 Migration – Everything you need to Know!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: August 29, 2020
drupal 9 migration

The latest version of Drupal was released on June 3, 2020. The Drupal 9 upgrade is easier than before, but there are a few things you should know.

Upgrading to new software versions can be daunting and often brings with it a lot of questions, problems, and surprises. Here are the essential facts about getting started with Drupal 9 and helpful tips and tricks for a successful upgrade to the latest version.

Planned process: Start of Drupal 9, end of Drupal 7 and 8

There are three release dates based on the current Drupal release strategy : June 3rd, August 5th or December 2nd. Depending on how quickly the Drupal community completes the final details of Drupal 9.

But regardless of the exact release date, the end date of both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 has already been set: November 2021. On that date, support for version 3 of the Symfony framework on which Drupal 8 is based ends. Security gaps in Symfony version 3 will then no longer be fixed. So, make a note of this date: Your upgrade to Drupal 9 should be done by then, otherwise the security of your website is no longer guaranteed.

What’s new in Drupal 9?

The introduction of the new version will not bring any major differences to the latest version of Drupal 8 in terms of the existing functionalities. The biggest change will be the removal of the legacy code from the previous version.

But a lot will happen “under the hood”, for example updating the so-called dependencies to Symfony 4.4, Twig 2, PHPUnit or jQuery. In addition, the minimum required PHP version will be 7.2 or even 7.3, which also improves performance. These changes are important to ensure the security and sustainability of Drupal.

In addition, the Drupal community is working on new functions that will come from version 9.1: for example, a new admin and a new front-end theme as well as improvements in the display and content workflow.

Upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9

Do you have a site that runs on Drupal 8? Good: Because the migration from D8 to D9 is code-wise designed in such a way that it is only a relatively small step from the last version 8 to the first of the new system. So, no comparison to the update from D7 to D8. The big difference to the change at that time is that you can now see how compatible it is with D9 in the Drupal 8 installation. This gives you time to make a plan for any necessary adjustments before the version change. The upgrade status module will help you. It shows the contributed modules that would need to be updated to be compatible with Drupal 9. Your custom code can be done manually or with tools like Drupal-Check Checked to make sure the migration is going smoothly.

Migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 via Drupal 8?

If you are still working with Drupal 7, now is the time to think about how to proceed. Don’t wait to start planning.

An upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 soon will allow you to use the tools that will make the jump to Drupal 9 easier for you. A migration from D7 directly to D9 is much more difficult and can hold many surprises, which then put you under unnecessary time pressure. Especially since D7 is not yet based on Symfony and many concepts and APIs have changed from D8. So: Migrate your long-term projects from Drupal 7 to 8 and use this as a basis to prepare the switch to Drupal 9.

Tips for upgrading to a newer version

Depending on the size and number of sites to be migrated, the upgrade process can be a long one. Before converting, think about the new site architecture and the functions – in the form of the Drupal modules – that you want to take with you. You may no longer need some modules – so take the chance to clean up the website a bit. An initial overview of the status of the modules used is available in the module upgrade status. For your information: It is possible that some of the modules will not be included in the newer version. Then look for alternatives, which the community usually makes available quickly.

Then take care of the custom code. This part of the process is probably the most interesting from a developer point of view: it shows how the Drupal module programming way has evolved.

Finally, it’s time to migrate the content. Drupal now includes the “Migrate” module in the core. A solid and robust system with which you can transfer your content to the new system.

This will ensure that the Drupal 9 upgrade is a success

  • Start in time! Get an overview of your code status. There are several routes you can follow – make a good plan before you migrate.
  • Simulates the whole process. Tests critical points in advance. Take a look at the individual areas along your plan: core, modules, custom code, content migration. Take critical parts of the code, modules or content in advance. There simulates the upgrade process on a test system.
  • Automate as much as possible. Some of the parts of the migration process, particularly those related to content migration, can be automated. The more you automate, the safer the move will be. But don’t forget to test the automation beforehand as well.

Drupal 9 is just around the corner; it’s going to be an exciting year for the Drupal community. A lot of work has been done this time to make the upgrade process easier and to learn from the experiences of the Drupal 7 upgrades.

If you still manage a Drupal 7 site, plan to move now, as it will probably be over in November 2021. Start migrating to Drupal 8 now and switch to 9 later this year. If you are looking for a Drupal migration, web development, Drupal commerce development and other related web development services, for more information, Please explore our Drupal web development services! We also provide Drupal website maintenance services, Drupal migration and Drupal application security audit. For more information, please visit our drupal maintenance services!

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