Most of the CMOs face the following question recently when considering a new project on Drupal. Shall I wait for Drupal 9 or Drupal 8? Here is how you can make this decision quickly. First of all, consider that the transition from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 will not require a re-platform as on previous Drupal versions. That means Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 should be a seamless update. There will be deprecated APIs that might impact the functionalities of some modules. However, the Drupal community makes a significant effort to address this preemptively. Check this excellent article written by Dwayne McDaniel.
Drupal 9 is going to be released on 20th June 2020 which makes Drupal 8 obsolete by November 2021. The biggest hurdle for Drupal 9 release will be the adoption of Symfony 4 or Symfony (an impressive upgrade from current 2.x branch). In our assessment, this carries the most substantial risk for Drupal 9 release window. That being said, what shall you do.
Let's start with the following scenarios:
1) You do not have currently any site: No need to wait, start with Drupal 8. Waiting for a year for Drupal 9 makes no sense.
2) You now have a Drupal 6 website: No need to wait, we encourage you to move to Drupal 8 ASAP due to deprecated D6 Core and PHP versions.
3) You currently have a Drupal 7 website. Here is how you can make the decision:
- If your current site (design and functionality) matches your current business requirements, you can plan a move to a new Drupal version in December 2019 (with Drupal 8.8). That will put you in one or two minor versions before Drupal 9, which will mean that you will have a minimum impact on the update process. Any new functionalities that you currently need to add them at a cost into the current D7.
- If your current site (design and functionality) do not match your current business requirements, we encourage you to move your website to Drupal 8 based on the existing Drupal release 8.7. You have to factor in a cost on some rework to be done in early spring of 2020 as a prep for a future migration to Drupal 9.
Some other aspects to consider. We expect Drupal 9 to be highly API focused. At the recent DrupalCon in Seattle, we've encountered a strong trend in adopting decoupled architectures with frontends done in Angular or React. As React will be soon part of the core, we highly encourage Product Owners to consider a frontend done in any of these modern stacks.
If you have further questions, drop us an inquiry at office (at) softescu dot com.