Drupal 9 was released on June 3, 2020 as scheduled. This is the first major version release of Drupal that 'the big deal about it, is that it is not a big deal'. Why? Drupal 9 has same features as 8.9 aside features from updated dependencies, Drupal 9 is compatible with Drupal 8 modules and themes once deprecated APIs are removed from them, and upgrading from Drupal 8 to 9 is as simple as updating between Drupal 8 minor versions once all deprecated APIs are removed.
In mathematical terms, Drupal 9 = Drupal 8 + updated dependencies - deprecated APIs.
New admin back end and default front end themes are being developed for Drupal 9. The back end theme, Claro has been introduced as an experimental core theme as at 8.8.x while the front end theme Olivero which is being developed in a Drupal 8 contrib theme, is intended to make it to Drupal 9 core not before 9.1. These themes are intended to modernize the default look of Drupal and improve user experience while retaining Drupal's commitment to accessibility.
Drupal 9 is ready for the future carrying on all the cutting-edge features from Drupal 8 and innovating with new features every six months.
What about Drupal 7/8?
Drupal 7 had been scheduled to be end of life (EOL) by November 2021 not until two days ago when the announcement came that due to disruptions caused businesses and organisations by the coronavirus pandemic, the EOL for Drupal 7 has been extended by one year; now to be November 28, 2022. This is to give site owners that were affected by the pandemic and are using complex Drupal 7 sites, more time to recover and plan their upgrade.
Drupal 8 will still be EOL November 2, 2021. Upgrading from 8 to 9 is easy (the easiest Drupal major version upgrade in a decade!) so this time frame may be adequate. And there is a commitment to easy upgrades going forward meaning Drupal will not replatform again.
If you are still using Drupal 7, I encourage you to upgrade to Drupal 8 as that is as good as being on 9 (or straight to 9 if your modules and themes pass the compatibility test). There is a lot to gain and enjoy being on ^8, namely:
- modern developer tools
- easier content authoring/management
- a centralized media management
- fields everywhere
- multilingual capabilities out of the box
- extensive content workflow management
- future-proof multi-channel tools
- improved user experience
- better configuration management out of the box
- enhanced performance and security
- and much more.
We are available to help you migrate from Drupal 6/7 to 8/9. We are also available to help you maintain your Drupal site: apply available patch and minor updates, create new features/layouts/functionality, troubleshoot issues and solve any Drupal issue your site may be having.