In case you’re new to Drupal, here’s a quick overview. Drupal is an open-source content management system (CMS) with a worldwide community of developers and users. Many businesses and organizations such as Harvard, Red Cross, NBC News, Twitter, Whole Foods, and more work with this free, user-friendly CMS. The first version of Drupal was released more than twenty years ago on January 15, 2001.
The Drupal community hoped to release Drupal 10 in June 2022, but the revised release date is now set for December 2022. Drupal 10 will be available less than three years after Drupal 9, which was released in June 2020. For comparison, Drupal 8 was released on November 19, 2015, and Drupal 7 was released on January 5, 2011.
Drupal 10 is following closely behind Drupal 9 due to advancing third-party components such as Composer, PHP, CKEditor, and Symfony—one of Drupal’s biggest dependencies. The last major migration was an easy process because Drupal 9 was built within Drupal 8. This transition will be just as simple because Drupal 10 is expected to be a refined version of Drupal 9.
Developers are building many key features of Drupal 10 within Drupal 9, including a new front-end theme and decoupled menus. Here’s what to expect:
- Olivero default theme (replacing Bartik)
- Claro administration theme (replacing Seven)
- CKEditor 5: better authoring experience & more modern editing (replacing CKEditor 4)
- Better decoupled developer & site builder experience, especially for menu/URL handling
- Further improved Layout Builder & Media functionality
- Theme Starterkit tools for bespoke theme creation
- Symfony 6 (replacing Symfony 4) & PHP 8.1 (replacing PHP 7) required for security
Is there a Drupal upgrade in your future?
The upgrade to PHP 8.1 is notable because it will allow Drupal 10 to use tools that will enable enhanced performance and continued growth. Because PHP 8.1 is a major revision to the PHP language, there are several new features developers will appreciate such as enums, first-class callable syntax, read-only properties, intersection types, fibers, performance improvements, and more.
If you’re thinking about upgrading to Drupal 10, you first need to know which version of Drupal your business or organization is using. Go to Administration > Reports > Status report to see your Drupal core version number plus more details about your installation.
There are far more users on older versions of Drupal than the latest editions. Take a look at these usage statistics as of the first week of March 2022.
*Even though Drupal 10 has not been released yet, nearly 12,000 Drupal community members are using the development version.
Notice anything about the numbers in the table above? More than half of Drupal users (512,769) are using Drupal 7.x—which came out more than ten years ago! Unfortunately for them, Drupal 7 End of Life (EOL) is coming, which means the Drupal community will stop supporting this version. The cutoff also means automated testing services will be shut down, and security updates will end.
Before COVID-19, Drupal 7's EOL was scheduled for November 2021. Due to the pandemic’s impact on businesses, the deadline was extended until November 2022 to allow more time for upgrades. Recently, Drupal announced the decision to annually re-evaluate the Drupal 7 EOL date. Though Drupal 7 EOL is currently set for November 2023, another announcement on whether community support will be extended again is expected by July 2023.
“As a majority of all sites in the Drupal project are still on Drupal 7, we have decided that there is a clear need to provide additional support to the members of our community still using this version. At the end of the day, we have a moral imperative to keep as many of those sites secure as we can.” — Drupal 7's End-of-Life extended to November 1, 2023 - PSA-2022-02-23
Eventually, more than half a million Drupal users will need to make the jump from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 or 10, which is a major upgrade. We recommend making plans to migrate toward Drupal 9 now, then you can update to Drupal 10 after its release.
You may have noticed we didn’t mention Drupal 8 as an upgrade option for Drupal 7 users. That’s because Drupal 8 EOL has already passed—the date was November 2021. Drupal 8 no longer gets support or security fixes from the Drupal community.
If you use Drupal 8, upgrade to Drupal 9 as soon as possible then transition to Drupal 10 in August. Upgrading from Drupal 8 is much easier than upgrading from Drupal 7 because it’s not a major overhaul.
We've done this before
Already on the Drupal 9 train? You have until November 2023 to upgrade to Drupal 10 because that’s when Symfony 4’s EOL occurs. You should keep updating to the latest version of Drupal 9 then you can smoothly move to Drupal 10 in August.
Since new functionality for Drupal 10 is included in Drupal 9 updates, contributed module developers can start working with new APIs right away. Once Drupal 10 is released, deprecated code will be removed, and backward compatibility will be broken. However, if developers stay on top of the API changes, upgrading to Drupal 10 should be a snap.
Watch our Upgrading to Drupal 9 YouTube playlist:
Now you know how to get ready for the release of Drupal 10 and what you can expect from this latest version of Drupal. Other resources you may find helpful to prepare for this upgrade include the Drupal 10 readiness initiative and drupal.org.
If you want to hire a Drupal developer or need help migrating to the latest version of Drupal, we can help. O8 has more than a decade of experience as a Drupal-focused company creating technically sound, future-proof solutions that use the CMS’s full capabilities.
Get started today and unlock the power of Drupal for your organization!