Drupal development never stops. Drupal 9 was released on June 3, 2020, and that’s already a year behind us. Drupal 10’s target date is June 2022! As long as 2020 was, 2022 seemed a long way away, but it definitely is not.

As Drupal continues to progress, Drupal users and developers get more used to the consistent framework Drupal is built on. Planning ahead for everything from new features, to software upgrades, is faster and simpler than ever before.

Listening to the Symfony

November 2023 is the target end of life (EOL) date for Symfony 4. Drupal versions have to keep up with supported versions of Symfony. Drupal 8’s end of life (EOL) is determined by Symfony 3’s EOL date, which is part of why the EOL date for D8 was not extended, even though Drupal 7’s was. Compatibility with later Symfony versions may come sooner, to ensure cross-compatibility in Drupal.

Ease of upgrades

Drupal 8 to 9 was probably the easiest major version upgrade in the history of Drupal, because Drupal 9 was built on the same framework, only removing deprecated code. With the conversion to the Symfony framework, along with the integration of Composer and several other tools, the Drupal upgrade process is similar from release to release.

The upgrade to Drupal 10 is likely to follow the same pattern - following the update of an underlying package, and likely removing code deprecated by that package change.

Strategic initiatives

The Drupal community proposes initiatives to make major changes to Drupal core as part of the next major release. Ultimately, Dries Buytaert, head of the Drupal project, decides which initiatives are chosen, as part of the core strategic initiative process.

The structure of Drupal major releases has changed - from massive releases requiring major effort, to more incremental releases with major version number updates, often driven by underlying package changes. Core initiatives have changed along with this, making it easier - and in some cases preferred - to initiatives are added to core when they’re ready, not just when it’s time to switch major versions.

Major initiatives that are in progress and will likely become (or are already!) part of Drupal 9 core long before Drupal 10 is ready are things like:

Several other initiatives, including better help, ease of use, and so on are already in progress, some even in a beta state, making it likely they will be part of core long before Drupal 10 is even in an alpha stage.

One major change for the Drupal 10 time frame is dropping support for Internet Explorer 11. IE11 is 8 years old. It has had no active development since 2015, but usage surveys as recent as 2019 showed a small but significant usage share. In the last two years, though, usage has almost certainly dropped below the level it makes sense to support in Drupal, as CKEditor no longer supports IE11. The community made this decision after an extensive discussion.

The other major change - the one that makes Drupal 10 a major version release - is the compatibility with newer versions of Symfony, specifically Symfony 5 and 6. Symfony 5 has been out for over a year. Symfony 6 is due in November 2021. Releases move quickly, and Drupal must keep up.

Ready or not, here it comes

While 2020 seemed far longer than it should, we’re more than halfway through 2021, and 2022 is not far away in software release time. Drupal 10 promises to be the easiest version upgrade ever for new users, website maintainers, and developers.

If you’re still running Drupal 7 or 8, and are considering an upgrade, Tag1 Consulting is here to help you plan your move. Contact us.

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