Drupal 7 to 9 or Drupal 7 to 8 to 9? What to choose?

“Drupal 9 will be released in 2020”. When Acquia CEO Dries Buytaert announced this at Drupal Europe, there was a major question among the near million users of Drupal 7 version. Should we switch to Drupal 9 straight away or upgrade to Drupal 8 and then move to Drupal 9.

Since the announcements, our Drupal consultants also faced with similar queries from users who are on Drupal 7. So, we decided to write this blog where we address the pros and cons of both the Drupal upgrade ideas.

Drupal 9 migration

Upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9

With Drupal 7 holding majority of the Drupal users, it is quite likely that most of them do not want to upgrade their CMS twice in the span of one year. But is it safe to upgrade directly from Drupal 7 to 9?
The answer cannot be binary! But here are some facts for you

Upgrading from Drupal 7 to 9 will cost you the same as upgrading from Drupal 7 to 8 to 9. Yes! You read that right. The reason is that Drupal 9 is a minor upgrade in terms of functionalities from Drupal 8 while Drupal 7 to 9 is a whole different thing. 

Second, backward compatibility. Since Drupal is backed by the vast Drupal community, it might take some time for the marketplace to create enough modules that are compatible with the Drupal 9 version. Any error post, Drupal 9 upgrade from Drupal 7 cannot help you date back to Drupal 7, whereas with Drupal 8 the same is possible. 

Third, Drupal 7 is nearing its end of Life! Drupal 7 support will end by 2021 and with Drupal 9 releasing in 2020, you have to plan your upgrade and go live within a span of 18 months. Else, your website can be vulnerable to security threats. Since Drupal 7 to 9 will be similar to new development, you have to consider the timeline involved.

Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 to Drupal 9

"The big deal about Drupal 9 is … that it should not be a big deal. The best way to be ready for Drupal 9 is to keep up with Drupal 8 updates." This was from the official release that pretty much tells you about the way to go. IF you are on Drupal 8, upgrading to Drupal 9 will be seamless and not a big deal. 

In addition to the core upgrades, Drupal 8 is also expected to get a Symphony 4 and Symphony 5 upgrade. Ideally, Drupal 9 is also expected to be out with Symphony 4 or Symphony 5. This will further reduce your time and effort when you upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9. 

The only check with Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 upgrade would be the removal of Deprecated codes. Codes which has a better alternative and cannot be used further are marked as deprecated by Drupal. You can find their usage in modules integrated with the site. 

At Ameex, with the list of deprecated codes in place our team helps remove the same for existing clients and create new modules with such deprecated code in mind for new clients. Thus, we help them surpass the only time check while upgrading from Drupal 8 to 9.

Are you using Drupal? Do you have similar confusion about the upgrade? Book a free consultation with your Drupal Solutions consultant today.