Mandar Bhagwat Author's Perspective
3 Minute read

Are You Ready for Drupal 10?

With the growing importance of effective content management systems globally, Drupal has been enabling businesses worldwide to better manage their content for years. With its large content management system (CMS) community, it has a variety of features that essentially help it stand out in the market. In fact, its wide customer base includes big names such as Red Cross, Harvard, Government of Australia, BBC, Whole Foods, Cisco and Twitter.

In this rapidly changing, digitally advanced era, it is important for companies to keep up with the dynamic customer demands. For this, technologists must keep rolling out updated platforms and solutions that can cater to the needs of wider audiences. Keeping this in mind, Drupal has come up with a new, updated CMS solution to better manage and build websites – Drupal 10.

What’s new in Drupal 10?

Drupal 10 is a content management solution that is planned to be introduced in the market in June 2022. Like Drupal 8 to 9 upgrade, Drupal 10 is a version upgrade that is simple and cost-effective in the Drupal history of CMS.

The best part about the new upgrade in the Drupal ecosystem is that both D9 and D10 are releasing with just two years of difference, while D7 and D8 had a 4-5 year waiting time. Drupal 8 & 9 depend on third-party components that have their own release cycles and end-of-life dates. Once they are unsupported, security bugs in them will no longer be fixed, hence hampering website security. One of the key goals of the Drupal team is to keep the CMS secure and as these components reach their end-of-life, Drupal 9 needs a major upgrade to mitigate the risk.

drupal 9 major upgrade

The following key features are in development in Drupal 9 and will be included in Drupal 10:

  • Claro administration theme (replacing Seven).
  • Olivero default theme (replacing Bartik).
  • Better and updated layout builder and media functionality.
  • Elevated and decoupled developer and site builder experiences, especially for menu and URL handling.
  • Introduction of CKEditor 5 with better authoring experience and more modern editor (replacing CKEditor 4).
  • Modern JavaScript components to replace jQuery UI and some uses of jQuery.
  • Theme starter kit tools for bespoke theme creation.
  • Symfony 5 or 6 under the hood (replacing Symfony 4) and PHP 8 required to keep the system secure.

Why are we already discussing Drupal 10?

While on one hand, more than 55% of websites are still running on Drupal 7.x and its lower versions, upgrading to Drupal 8 or 9 can be time and resource consuming. This is due to the complete recreation of the websites that can require large efforts. On the other hand, more than 43% of companies have already upgraded to Drupal 8 and Drupal 9. Some of these companies have also proactively moved their websites (15000+) to Drupal 10 and have already confirmed their seat in Drupal 10 release journey.

Even though not all the contributed modules might be available with the Drupal 10 version immediately after release, it isn’t much of an issue. This is because almost every Drupal 7 contributed modules are already compatible with the Drupal 9 version, making the upgrade process easier.

So, if you are still running your websites on Drupal 7 then it is high time for you to upgrade to Drupal 9 and smoothen your Drupal 10 upgrade in future.

companies in the Drupal ecosystem Fig. Percentage of companies already in the Drupal ecosystem using different versions

What should Drupal 7/8/9 owners do about the future Drupal 10 release?

Websites on Drupal 9 version:

If your websites are already running on Drupal 9, the best option right now is to help automate the process towards Drupal 10. You can enable this process with a tool called the Drupal Rector which is currently under development and expected to be released and stable by the time Drupal 10 is in the market. This rector automates PHP code upgrades and understands PHP that allows complex edge cases.

Here is what the rector can already do -

  • Rename classes, methods, properties, namespaces or constants
  • Upgrade code to support PHP 7.4+ versions
  • Upgrade code from Symfony 4 to Symphony 5/6

There are already various APIs that can be covered here with the reactor. If you’re already using the Drupal 9 CMS, you can use Upgrade Status on your Drupal 9 site to get an estimation of the work needed, but new deprecated APIs will still be added until the Drupal 9.3.0 version is out. You might also manually need to update the deprecated code that is not covered by the rector.

Websites on Drupal 8 version:

Running your website(s) on the Drupal 8 CMS is going to get outdated by November 2022 with D8 approaching its end of life! To continue with the flexible features and remain a part of the Drupal ecosystem, you must update to Drupal 9 first. Use the Upgrade Status feature to analyze your website. Most code updates can be automatically done using Drupal-rector and you use that for your custom code.

Websites on Drupal 7 version:

The Drupal 7 version is expected to become outdated in November 2022, shortly after the planned release of Drupal 10. But the good news is that Drupal 10 might include migration tools from Drupal 7. It is also much more likely that the contributed projects you have used or are currently using are available for Drupal 9 already, and may not be ready shortly after the Drupal 10 release. Therefore, it is highly advised that you don't wait to migrate to Drupal 10 directly but instead, start updating to Drupal 9 soon. The move to Drupal 10 will be way easier from Drupal 9.

Although you have less than 6 months before the D10 release, you can start preparing your website now, especially if it is on D7. For more information on picking out the right CMS solution or upgrading your current one, contact our Drupal maintenance and support team. Our team of tech experts will help you build a modern, updated and secure website to always stay at the top of the market.

Why is Drupal an ideal open source CMS for an enterprise
Mandar Bhagwat Vice President- Drupal Practice | Altudo

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