Neil Young once famously sang, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away”, and it still reverberates loud enough in our ears when we think of an end, end of something colossal. Drupal 8 is less than a month away from hanging up the boots. Drupal 8, by no stretch of imagination, has faded away though. Rather it has traversed an amazing journey and left behind a legacy that will be impactful for the future of Drupal 9 and later versions.
Like all great things, Drupal 8's end of life date is nearing. Basically, when a version of Drupal reaches its end of life, the Drupal Community stops all the operations around it, that is, simply put, stops working on it and doesn’t provide free support. And, the core development comes to a halt where no new features are added and no bugs get fixed. So, we definitely have more than just a few questions to ponder over and make business critical decisions. Let’s jump on them right away.
November 2, 2021: Farewell Drupal 8!
On this day, Drupal 8 will be marked an end of life product before the release of Drupal 9.3.0. Drupal 8’s largest third party dependency is Symfony 3 which is going to be termed end of life in November 2021. Moving to Symfony 4 is not an option here since that would break the backward compatibility with previous versions of Drupal 8.
More on the reasoning behind Drupal 9’s release schedule here in the official documentation.
Why is Drupal 8 end of life before Drupal 7?
Simply put, upgrading from Drupal 8 to 9 is a cakewalk in comparison to upgrading from Drupal 7 to 8/9. Therefore, Drupal 7 end of life has been extended and will get community-based security coverage till November 28, 2022 so that Drupal 7 site owners will get ample amount of time to upgrade. Drupal 7 will also get vendor extended support till November 2025.
What if I don’t upgrade before the end of life date?
Your website will still function normally, but only for a certain period of time. With Drupal Community no longer releasing security updates for Drupal 8, and the symfony communities not updating the code your site depends upon, something or the other will break after a while and there will definitely be security vulnerabilities discovered.
After Drupal 8 end-of-life, will we get an extension to upgrade to Drupal 9?
That’s a big NO. You will simply not get a grace period. You travel to a place, make memories and everything seems like a fairytale until you need to bid goodbyes. Like everything else in life, you have to confront the end of a beautiful time spent and move on to the next chapter.
Is there any vendor extended support for Drupal 8?
There is no vendor extended support for Drupal 8 after its end of life.
Why upgrade to Drupal 9?
If you are still on Drupal 8, upgrade to Drupal 9.2 before November 2, 2021 to keep your website safe and secure as the Drupal 9.1 security coverage will end right after the Drupal 8 end of life. More on this ultimate guide to Drupal 9.
What’s the difference between upgrading from Drupal 7 to 8/9 and Drupal 8 to 9?
While previous major version upgrades like Drupal 7 to 8 had a bigger architectural change, migrating from Drupal 8 to 9 is more similar to a minor version of Drupal core except for the removal of long-planned deprecations.
How are Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 different?
While using the admin UI or updating content, you won’t see any difference between Drupal 8.9 and Drupal 9.0 as they have the same features. The underlying technology stack that Drupal relies upon has been updated thereby making your site more safe and secure.
How to upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9?
Migrating from Drupal 8 to 9 is only a matter of update.php if your codebase is not using deprecated APIs anymore. Drupal 9 upgrade tools can further help in recognising and solving the deprecated APIs in your codebase. Working on Drupal.org with the maintainers of contributed projects and themes can be helpful to make those projects Drupal 9 compatible.
Learn more on Drupal 9 upgrade here:
How long do we have before Drupal 9 reaches the end of life?
Symfony 4, which Drupal 9 currently uses, will reach its end of life in November 2023, and that will spell the end of life for Drupal 9 too. With the new minor release schedule in place, upgrades to new major releases of Drupal isn’t a hurdle anymore. Much like Drupal 8 to 9 migration, Drupal 9 to 10 and future major version upgrades will continue to be a no-big-deal affair.