Drupal 8 End of Life (insert scary music here)
“End of Life” is a pretty scary term, even when related to software. It’s also a bit misleading. In this blog, we will break down what it means for your site and how we can help. This blog will cover:
- What does “End of Life” mean for software?
- What is the timeline for the end of life of Drupal 8 (and 7)?
- What if we can’t upgrade in time?
- Can Unleashed Technologies help?
What Does “End of Life” Mean for Software?
The first thing you should do is take a deep breath and R-E-L-A-X.
End of life is just a phase of the software development cycle that means vendor support will be ending for that particular version, which in this case is Drupal 8. Vendor support includes security updates, bug fixes, feature improvements – basically anything related to support.
This is not a new practice, but it is something we are likely to see more of in the future as major upgrades (e.g., Drupal 8 to Drupal 9) are coming more frequently and supporting older code becomes more challenging.
The message is simple: “Upgrade before the deadline or find your own support.”
What Will Upgrading Include?
The good news is updating from Drupal 8 to 9 will be the easiest Drupal upgrade to date. Per Drupal.org, it is pretty straightforward, especially when working with a knowledgeable developer and designer team. To upgrade, your team will need to:
- Ensure your hosting environment matches the platform requirements of Drupal 9.
- Update to the latest version of Drupal 8
- Update all contributed projects and ensure they are Drupal 9 compatible
- Make custom code Drupal 9 compatible
- Update core codebase to Drupal 9
- Run update.php
This is a pretty basic overview but does demonstrate how much simpler the upgrade from Drupal 8 to 9 is compared to previous versions.
The greatest elements to focus on above are the hosting requirements and the compatibility of modules and custom code. This is where a break is most likely to happen during the upgrade and where is it most important to have an experienced eye overseeing the upgrade.
What Is Timeline for End of Life of Drupal Versions
Drupal 8: November 2, 2021
Drupal 7: November 28, 2022
It may be unusual to see that Drupal 8’s end of life arrives before Drupal 7’s, but that’s because Drupal 8 relies upon the Symfony framework version 3, which has its own end of life in November 2021.
Drupal 7 has no such dependency, so the community decided to continue supporting it into 2022 in order to provide more time for what is a more difficult upgrade than the relatively straightforward shift from Drupal 8 to 9.
What If We Can’t Upgrade in Time?
The good news is that your site will continue to function as it always has. The bad news is that you will be responsible for keeping up with your site’s security. That’s no small task and no small set of risks.
The message here is that upgrading to Drupal 9 should be a high priority, but there is no reason to panic.
Can Unleashed Technologies Help?
The simple answer is absolutely. If you are a current client, Unleashed Technologies will continue to support the sites of its Drupal 8 clients and will be contacting you to schedule a smooth upgrade to Drupal 9.
If you are not an Unleashed Technologies client and are running a Drupal 8 site, schedule some time with our solutions team to discuss how we can get your site on to Drupal 9 and protect your site moving forward.
Just remember that the longer you wait to move to Drupal 9, the greater the risk your site will face and the more difficult the upgrade will be.
- Drupal.org: Drupal’s release schedule - https://www.drupal.org/about/core/policies/core-release-cycles/schedule
- Drupal.org: Drupal 8 end-of-life on November 2, 2021: PSA-2021-2021-06-29 - https://www.drupal.org/psa-2021-2021-06-29
- Dries Buytaert: Drupal 7, 8 and 9 - https://dri.es/drupal-7-8-and-9