For exactly 16 months from now, the Drupal community will welcome a brand new Drupal 9!
“We hope to release Drupal 9 on June 3, 2020”, Drupal’s founder Dries Buytaert confirmed in his blog post a while ago.
What will Drupal 9 bring?
According to Drupal’s founder, Drupal 9 will simply be the last version of Drupal 8, with its deprecations removed.
What is new is that it should be much easier to upgrade to Drupal 9 than it was to Drupal 8.
In a nutshell, Drupal 9 will be built into Drupal 8 and Drupal 8 will remain highly relevant in Drupal 9. There will not be a dramatic change in how Drupal is built.
Still, a regular date of release is postponed and everyone should be on Drupal 9 by November 2021.
Why June release?
As you probably know, Drupal 8 has releases twice a year, similarly to Symfony, a PHP framework which Drupal depends on.
So, to be able to adopt the latest Symfony releases faster, Drupal’s minor releases are ready for June and December. For example, Drupal 8.8.0 is now on schedule for December 2019.
The Symfony 3 issue
Drupal 8’s biggest dependency is Symfony 3, which has an end-of-life date in November 2021. This means that after November 2021, developers will not resolve any security bug in Symfony 3.
That means that Drupal 8 will be in the same situation and without support after November 2021. So, everyone should move to Drupal 9 by that time.
At the moment, Drupal contributors work intensively to make possible for Drupal 8 to collab with Symfony 3, 4 or 5. The goal is to identify and fix any issues before starting requiring Symfony 4 or 5 in Drupal 9.
There’s enough time for transition
Releasing Drupal in June instead of December will give site owners a fair time to upgrade their Drupal version.
That is almost 18 months and extra time for Drupal contributors in case that the version won’t be completed until summer.
How to be ready for a release?
Drupal’s community will release Drupal 8 updates by the time. And to welcome new Drupal 9 release, Drupal developers have few pieces of advice.
They suggest that it is best not to use deprecated modules and APIs. Furthermore, where possible, to use the latest versions of dependencies.
In the meantime, it is best to follow the release calendar and slowly prepare a website to new changes that come inevitably.