Step-by-Step Guide for a Smooth Drupal 9 Upgrade

Drupal is an ever-growing platform that offers more and more advanced digital experiences. It has scheduled the release of Drupal 9 in 2020 that will bring a bundle of advanced features to enhance the functionality of your Drupal website. So if you’re a Drupal 7 or 8 user planning to upgrade to Drupal 9, read this article till the end to learn how you can get started. In case you lack the technical know-how of your Drupal website, it is always wise to hire a professional Drupal development company for its expert Drupal migration services or support for Drupal website development.

Now is the Time to Invest in Drupal Migration Services

What You’ll Enjoy with Drupal 9

  • Since Drupal 9 is being built in Drupal 8, Drupal 8 websites will leverage the features of Drupal 9 from the very first day. Upgrading to Drupal 9 is going to be super easy with only a few preparations.
  • Drupal 9 comes with the latest libraries and features to help your website to perform better, facilitate more efficient Drupal website development, ensure cleaner codes, and a lot more. For example, Drupal 9 is going to use the latest versions of the Symfony framework (4 or 5) and the Twig template engine (version 2).
  • Olivero, officially titled as “Drupal 9: The Most Beautiful CMS Ever!”, will offer latest color palette, forms, buttons, typography, sidebars, and other relevant features to give a new, attractive, and professional look to your Drupal website and increase its usability and accessibility to all users.
  • The creator of Drupal, Dries Buytaert also announced the strategic areas for Drupal 9 that include:¬ Reducing the overall Drupal website development costs and efforts
    ¬ Keeping the beginner experience as its top priority
    ¬ Improve accessibility security, intuitiveness, privacy, and interoperability
    ¬ Creating the best-structured CMS for more integrations, devices, and channels

If it doesn’t seem to be so difficult, you can get started by following this ultimate checklist for a smooth Drupal 9 upgrade.

Checklist for Drupal 8 Site Owners

By November 2021, the Drupal 8 lifecycle will reach its end and stop receiving official support, not even security updates. Not to worry, since you’ve already upgraded to Drupal 8, Drupal 9 features will be available from day one as it is being built in Drupal 8. Here’s what you have to do to ensure a smooth upgrade.

Drupal 8 to 9 migration

1. Redefine your website’s goals

Time changes, and what worked earlier, may not work today. Maybe you need something new on your website. So, you need to keep pace with the latest technologies and trends to stay ahead in the curve. You need to focus on what you can do to deliver an excellent digital experience to your customers with your website

2. Discuss with your content management and development team

Discuss with your in-house content editors, developers, administrators, and other team members about what could work better for your website. Drupal 9 brings in a plethora of modern content editing features and other amazing improvements that will pave a way to your end goal.

3. Prepare a module edit with Drupal developers

After productive brainstorming and defining of goals, ask your Drupal developers to make a comprehensive and updated list of modules for your new requirements. To prepare a detailed audit of modules, you can also approach a professional Drupal development company. When making a module edit, you should focus on including the core elements wherever possible. For example, you can use the core Content Moderation instead of Workbench Moderation, the core Media rather than using contributed Media, the core Layout builder in place of Panels, and more.

4. Keep up with the latest minor version (mandatory)

As per the new innovation model, every six months the latest core is released with modern and useful features. Therefore, you should always the latest core, modules, themes, or third-party libraries. Sometimes, patches are also released within six months. By keeping up with the latest minor version, you are gradually preparing for Drupal 9. Currently, the latest minor version is 8.8.2.

5. Clean-up deprecated code (mandatory)

If you’re using deprecated APIs and functions, it’s time that you should get rid of them as early as possible if you want to upgrade to Drupal 9. Get in touch with a reliable Drupal website development company and ask them to clean up. They will employ Drupal preparation tools such as the Drupal check command-line tool, the Rector automatic deprecated code removing instruments, the Upgrade Status contributed module with a UI for deprecated code checking and more.

Checklist for Drupal 7 Site Owners

Drupal 7 is also going to face the end-of-life in November 2021, which means no official support service for D7 site owners. Well, D7 will have only a few options in that case.

  • Order commercial support
  • Directly upgrade to D9
  • First, upgrade to D8 and then enjoy easy D9 upgrade when it is released

Drupal Migration

It is wise to choose the third option, that is, the D7-D8 upgrade path as the D9 is built in D8 and you’ll have to make only minor upgrades. If you choose to directly upgrade to D9, you will require a big upgrade because D7 is completely different from D8. It would not be a good idea to go with commercial support because you’ll be lagging behind in terms of innovation as no one will add new and exciting features in D7. Therefore, if you move to the Drupal 8 track, all the future upgrades will become much easier.

So, here’s what you need to follow:

1.Repeat Step 1-2-3 of the checklist for D8

The first three steps of Drupal 8 are similar. However, you need to focus more on the strategic areas, goals, and features of your website because they require more changes. Redefine your goals, discuss with your editors, and prepare modules to evaluate which modules have a D8 version and which ones need improvement or replacement, which content needs rewriting, and so on.

2.Schedule for a Drupal 8 upgrade

Once your website is ready for D8 upgrade complying with the best practices, you may approach a Drupal development company for its Drupal migration services. They will help you move your content and configure it to a clean D8 instance of the latest version. The upgrade time may depend on the complexity of your website, however, with new and stable Drupal 8 migration modules, the process has become much smoother and faster.

3.Recheck for deprecated code

Your new D8 website should be clean and as close to the Drupal 9 version as possible. You can hire Drupal support services from a professional Drupal development company and get your website rechecked for any deprecated code and clean it up once and for all.
So finally, you are ready for Drupal 9!

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, this checklist will be useful while you’re preparing for Drupal 9. If things look a little scary, it is always better to hire the most trusted Drupal development company for its Drupal migration services and support for Drupal website development to embark on your journey of migrating to Drupal 9. Let your business grow with the most modern and exciting features of Drupal website development.

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