Guide To Nail Drupal 9 Migration from Drupal 7

It was not an easy upgrade to Drupal 8 when it was introduced back in 2015. The migration process was as draining as building a site from scratch, and also bringing the whole content was another time-consuming process. And this problem statement summarizes the concerns of developers and businesses with the launch of Drupal 9.

Don’t get upset! Drupal 9 release is smooth and uncomplicated. It will be a different experience for the Drupal community, with a paradigm shift of the updates being stable with a manageable development process.

This blog will help you prepare for Drupal 9 with answers to your most pressing questions like:
Why Upgrade To Drupal 9? How To Prepare For Drupal 9 Upgrade? When to migrate to Drupal 9? How to Install and Run Drupal 9? Etc.,

What is Drupal 9?

Drupal 9 is nothing but the absence of deprecated code in the Drupal 8.9 version. It is identical to Drupal 8.9 for everyone like editors, site builders, and developers and Drupal 8.8.0 will be the last release to deprecate for Drupal 9. Built with an API-first development approach, Drupal 9 boosts structural tools that can define editorial workflows. Though, it is only about time for the users to give us honest feedback.

Why upgrade to Drupal 9?

Drupal 8.9 (the final version of Drupal 8), will receive bug fixes and security coverage only until November 2021. Whereas, the development and security updates of Drupal 9 will go much beyond that timeline. This means you can be content with updating your site with Drupal 8.9 until the end of 2021. Drupal 9 is for sites wanting forward compatibility with later releases. Also, as per the update, not all Drupal 8 code will run on Drupal 9. Apart from these considerations, for businesses eyeing migrating to Drupal 9 from WordPress or other CMSs, it is an excellent opportunity to tap the features of Drupal 9 now.

When to migrate to Drupal 9?

Whether you choose to migrate via Drupal 8 or straight to Drupal 9, you should start the migration to Drupal 9 as soon as possible. You need to plan and execute a major platform migration before you face any security implications related to the end of Drupal security support for the older versions.

If your website is upgrading from Drupal 7, you’ll need to do some information architecture work to prepare for the migration to either Drupal 8 or Drupal 9. Once you are on Drupal 8, the upgrade to Drupal 9 is minimal time taking.

How to prepare for the Drupal 9 upgrade?

First of all, check the status of your contributed modules if they are Drupal 9 compatible or not. Because eventually, you would want your site to be migrated to Drupal 9.

Drupal 9 Update Checklist

Before you jump into the migration process, here’s a checklist of things that should be in place to help you update faster:

  1. 1. Ensure your site is up to the latest minor version, i.e., Drupal 8.9. Upgrades are not supported beyond Drupal 8.8.
  2. 2. Upgrade to the newest PHP requirements ( i.e., PHP 7.3+). Drupal 8 and Drupal 9.0 are not compatible with PHP 8.
    Note: Drupal 9.1 has been tested against PHP 8 release candidates and the core codebase will be compatible.
  3. 3. Deprecate code on your site and fix it if required with the help of the Upgrade Status module.
  4. 4. Check whether your site is based on Composer or tarballs, this will decide the actual upgrade flow.

Tools & Modules For Upgrading

If you’re ready to start moving in the right direction, here’s the list of tools and modules that will aid you along the way:

  1. 1. Core Migrate Module Suite: migrate your content and site configuration
  2. 2. Upgrade Status Module: provide information about contributed project availability
  3. 3. Upgrade Rector: automate module updates for Drupal 8 sites of common deprecated code to the latest Drupal 9 compatible code
  4. 4. Drupal Module Upgrader: scan and convert outdated code on your Drupal 7 site

How does the upgrade affect the Website?

If the website is in Drupal 8: Drupal 8 to 9 migration is more like upgrading the minor versions of Drupal 8. You can give it a pause and skip all the upgrade hassle for now if your site is a Drupal 8.9 version. There are a few permissions and modules marked as not supported for Drupal 8.9 and they require a Drupal 9 upgrade. Therefore, it is for you to check if your favorite contributed modules and features are supported or not.

If the website is in Drupal 7:  The migration journey from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 will be discrete for each site. It might not be a simple one if you own a more complex site and this is where we can help. Even for site owners looking for a new CMS, Drupal 9 can be your considerate choice.

What are the benefits of Drupal 9?

Enhanced security: All old code was removed or replaced, which means that there would be much fewer security problems. The third-party dependencies have also been updated. As for compatibility, most of the code interfaces remained untouched, which means that developers will not have problems with migration and support of existing addons.
Fast and better performance: Drupal 9 offer extended support for responsive images, which ensures a great user experience on mobile devices by displaying images that consume fewer amounts of data. High-performance websites can be created with Drupal 9 as content workflow allows the developers to define multiple workflows. It offers multilingual properties for a wider reach.
Backward Compatible: Drupal 9 is backward compatible, which means that it is compatible with its predecessor Drupal 8. Drupal 9 can use modules, data, and configurations created on Drupal 8. With Drupal 7 or 8 to Drupal 9 migration, there would be no historical baggage, and so, you can expect enhanced performance. Website owners can expect a fast, clutter-free, and future-ready website with Drupal 9.

Migration to a new updated version may seem discouraging. To keep up with the current competitive benefits, it’s imperative to build a perfect digital experience for your website users. With the constant innovations in technology, you need to find the right tools and expertise to help you sail through the migration seamlessly and easily.