Drupal 9 has arrived. Learn how and why to migrate to the latest release.

Released in early June, the goal of Drupal 9 is to assure the platform stays safe and up to date while continuing to support innovation. With the new release, Drupal also announced the end of life schedule for Drupal 7 and moved Drupal 8 into maintenance mode. Whether you are running Drupal 7 or Drupal 8, IfThen recommends you upgrade over the next six to nine months to prevent service disruptions or rushed development work when support ends in November 2021.

For customers running recent versions of Drupal 8, the upgrade should be straightforward with one exception that will impact some installations. Drupal 8 contained some deprecated code that has been removed from Drupal 9. If you are using modules that depend on any of this deprecated code, they will need to be upgraded or replaced.

If you are still running Drupal 7, now is unquestionably the time to upgrade to take advantage of features like the new theme engine and richer media management. Upgrading from version 7 requires first moving to version 8 before moving to 9.

What follows are four key considerations IfThen recommends all organizations currently on Drupal address in the coming months.

Ensure the longevity and safety of your site by updating to Drupal 9

__ Drupal 8 support ends in November 2021 with only bug fixes and security releases planned between now and then

__ Drupal 7 reaches its end of life in November 2021

Use Drupal to its fullest

Now is the time to learn about features included in 8/9 that can help your business and technology teams leverage all that Drupal has to offer. Many of our customers are currently utilizing these key features:

__ Advanced relational content models for more cohesive hierarchy/ architecture (Entity API, Database API)

__ Digital asset management to efficiently organize, manage and use digital media such as images, videos, podcasts and documents (Media, Media library, Entity browser, File API)

__ Web services to support browser components, external systems and mobile apps (REST API, JSON:API, Serialization API)

__ Solr integration for targeted/mission specific content discovery (Search API)

__ Performance optimization through internal and external caching strategies (Cache API, BigPipe)

__ Authentication and authorization via LDAP, OAuth or OpenID for centralized user management in large organizations (Authentication API)

__ Configuration management strategies to support tiered environments, multisite implementations and shared codebases (Configuration API, Update API)

__ Custom functionality via services, plugins and hooks (Plugin API, Block API, Symfony Services Container)

Prepare for the upgrade

__ You’ll need to upgrade to Drupal 8.8 or 8.9 before moving to version 9

__ Ensure your environment is ready and update contributed projects

__ If you are moving from Drupal 7 then it is important to plan an upgrade path for all the projects in your installation

Verify compatibility

Below is a sample of modules in use by many of our customers that rely upon deprecated code and/or APIs not compatible with Drupal 9. We recommend an analysis of contributed modules used by the current site to identify any gaps and define a clear path forward for each exception encountered. Tools such as the Upgrade Status module, the Drupal-check library and Acquia’s Drupal 9 Deprecation Status page are available to help identify and plan any necessary fixes.

__ Config Ignore (8.x-2.2)

__ Consumer Image Styles (8.x-3.0)

__ Custom tokens (8.x-1.0-alpha2)

__ Decoupled Router (8.x-1.11)

__ JSON: API Extras (8.x-3.14)

__ Media Entity Browser (8.x-2.0-alpha2)

__ Solr search (8.x-1.5)

__ Views Bulk Operations (8.x-3.8)

__ Webform 6.0.0-alpha8

Not sure where to start? IfThen will evaluate your current Drupal installation free of charge to help your team map out your upgrade to Drupal 9. For those running Drupal 7 we can also help you evaluate new features that would benefit your business. Simply complete our contact form and we’ll be in touch right away.