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Drupal 10 is Coming in 2022: Are You Ready?

Are you ready for Drupal 10? Drupal 10 is planned to release in 2022. Here's how to prepare for a Drupal upgrade.

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Are you ready for Drupal 10? That may sound like a strange question, considering Drupal 9 was only just released this past summer, but it’s never too soon to prepare. Especially now that we know that Drupal 10 is planned to be released in 2022! 

Obviously, that’s a big change from the five-year gap between Drupal 8 and Drupal 9, but we’ve learned a lot in building Drupal 9 and are confident that the upgrade will be smooth and easy. The Drupal community has already built the processes and tools that made the move from Drupal 8 to 9 our simplest in the last decade, and we’re taking this same approach with future releases. 

Still worried that the upgrade is coming too fast? The Drupal community has you covered. The Drupal 10 Readiness Initiative was launched at this year’s DrupalCon Global and have already begun putting the plans into action. Here’s the game plan for Drupal 10 and what you can expect when it arrives.  

Upgrading Third-Party Dependencies: Symfony 5/6, CKEditor 5 and More 

Symfony 3 is set to reach end of life in November 2021. That means everyone currently on Drupal 8 will not be able to continue receiving security support and enhancements for their sites beyond that date. With this deadline in mind, Drupal 9’s release was planned for June 2020 to give everyone currently on Drupal 7 and 8 a year and a half to upgrade to the new version. 

Released on June 3, 2020, Drupal 9 is dependent on Symfony 4, which has an end-of-life date for November 2023 and other important dependencies like CKEditor 4 will also reach their end of life in 2023. With Drupal 10, ideally people and organizations have at least a year to ready their Drupal sites for the migration. That is why Drupal 10 is planned for 2022.

Here are some major third-party components the Drupal 10 Readiness Initiative is focused on updating from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10:

  • CKEditor 4 to CKEditor 5
  • Symfony 4 to Symfony 5/6
  • Composer 1 to Composer 2
  • PHP 7 to PHP 8

All of these upgrades will improve the Drupal experience by enhancing support, boosting site performance and providing a more modern user experience for both developers and non-technical users. And thankfully, since we’re no longer starting from scratch, that should be plenty of time for everyone to successfully upgrade.

Drupal 10 Will Be Built in Drupal 9 

The motto when Drupal 9 came out was that it “wasn’t a big deal” and that philosophy carries over in how we’re building Drupal 10. Instead of doing a complete overhaul of the codebase and building Drupal 10 as its own branch, Drupal 10 is being built in Drupal 9 with new functionality added to later Drupal 9 versions.  

With each minor Drupal 9 release up until Drupal 9.4.0 in mid- 2022, all changes will be backwards compatible. This gives developers time to stay up to date with future API changes. With this approach, Drupal can deliver new value every six months without a ton of disruption to your current sites. Only once Drupal 10 is ready to be released in 2022, will we remove all deprecated code and update our dependencies. For example, Drupal 9 is planned to introduce CKEditor 5 as an optional add-on, while keeping CKEditor 4. Then Drupal 10 is going to remove CKEditor 4 and keep version 5 only.  

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same strategy we used for moving from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9. That method proved to be a big success, resulting in contributed modules and extensions becoming compatible with Drupal 9 much sooner.  

What Should You Expect When Upgrading to Drupal 10? 

The Drupal 10 Readiness Initiative was one of the five strategic initiatives for Drupal 10 that Dries Buytaert discussed in his 2020 Driesnote. Other main focuses included:

  • Improving Drupal’s out-of-the-box user experience
  • Adding the new Olivero front-end theme and making it the default in Drupal core
  • Implementing automated updates
  • Start introducing JavaScript components

All of these goals serve to make Drupal a more user-friendly CMS, simplify the maintenance and process for developers and allow for the creation of innovative and flexible digital experiences. While the Drupal 10 Readiness Initiative focuses on platform components and stability, Drupal 10  should improve all the advances in Drupal 9 and include improvements beyond those initiatives contributed by the world-wide community.

No matter if you’re currently using Drupal 7, 8 or 9, you’ll still have enough time to make the switch. In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on many organizations' budgets and resources, the Drupal Project has extended the end of life date for Drupal 7 to November 2022 (with extended support from commercial vendors). Meanwhile, Drupal 8 will no longer be supported as of November 2021.

We recommend making the upgrade to Drupal 9 now if you haven’t yet, to ensure the fastest and most straightforward process for moving to future versions of Drupal. Modules like the Upgrade Rector for Drupal 8 sites automate updates of deprecated code to be Drupal 9 compatible. Furthermore, vendors like Acquia provide additional solutions like the Drupal 9 Deprecation Status tool and Migration Accelerator to speed up the migration process significantly.   

A great part of being part of Drupal is that there’s always something new and innovative to be a part of. If you want to get involved in helping build Drupal 10 right now, get information on how to join the Drupal 10 Readiness Initiative. We meet every other Monday and are always open to hearing new ideas on the #d10readiness channel on Drupal Slack.