Drupal 9 (D9) is scheduled to be released June 3, 2020, less than 5 months from now!
Drupal 8.0.0 introduced a new Drupal core release cycle that adds new features to Drupal 8 every six months in minor releases, with bug fix and security release windows every month. From 8.0.0 Drupal also starting using the semantic versioning (semver) specification.
9.0.0 will be the next bump in the semver numbering of 8.9, it will be the first major version change in Drupal that will not involve heavy breaking of things and rewrites. D9 has been built right in D8. Upgrade from 8.9 to 9.0 will be as simple as an update from 8.8 to 8.9, the only difference will be issue of deprecated API. Drupal 9 is simply a cleaned up version of Drupal 8 with deprecated API removed and third party dependencies updated (Symfony 3 to Symfony 4.4, Twig 1 to Twig 2, etc). So essentially there are no big changes in features and all that. Drupal 8 modules will be compatible to Drupal 9, so we can say that Drupal is now backwards compatible with major versions!
A Drupal 8 site that does not use any deprecated API is ready for Drupal 9 and upgrading the site will be same experience as updating between minor versions of 8.
How do I check for deprecated code in my site?
You can use the tools here to check for deprecated code in your site.
What happens to Drupal 7 (and Drupal 8) after release of Drupal 9?
Drupal 7 will be supported by the Drupal community until November 2021 after which D7 site owners will still be able to sign up with vendors providing (commercial) extended support until at least 2024.
But why wait to hire LTS vendors in late 2021 and why loose out of the amazing new features in D8/D9? The best option is to upgrade your D7 site to D8 now or D9 after June 3, 2020 release.
Drupal 8's biggest dependency, Symfony 3, will be end-of-life in November 2021 and likewise Drupal 8 will be end-of-life in November 2021. Releasing D9 this June will give good time for D8 sites to move to D9 before late 2021.
In concluding this post, I will like to say that if you are a Drupal site owner and you need help managing your site and keeping it updated-to-the-minute, then we have got your back. We are a web development company specializing in Drupal and we are available to manage your site. We create and manage Drupal sites and we would love to, if we could, help with your Drupal experience. If you need help, reach out to us today.
Drupal 9 was released on June 03, 2020 as scheduled.
Drupal 7 end of life has been extended to November 28, 2022 but Drupal 8 end of life stays same on November 2, 2021.