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Drupal 9 upgrade: making your website ready with the latest tools

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Drupal 9's release is more than just around the corner — the 9th version is already knocking at our doors.

If you plan for Drupal 9 (and you should), the good news is that the upgrade should be easy. However, your website will need to fulfill a few Drupal 9 requirements in order to move to the new version seamlessly. Today, let’s discover how to prepare your website for the Drupal 9 upgrade with the help of the latest tools.

The new Drupal 9 logo symbolizing the fluidity and modularity of Drupal, and the value of the community of creating a greater whole together:

New Drupal 9 logo

When will Drupal 9 be released?

The planned Drupal 9 release date is June 3, 2020. It will come on the same day as D8.9 and will be just a cleaned up version of it with deprecated code removed and third-party dependencies updated. If they are almost identical, why then update a website to the new version? The answer is below.

Why upgrade a website to the new version: the expected Drupal 9 benefits

  • Cool Drupal 9 features coming. Starting from Drupal 9.1, new cool features will be added for better website user-friendliness, accessibility, performance, security, privacy, openness for integration with new devices and channels, and much more.
  • Latest libraries for better performance. The latest libraries and components, including Symfony and Twig, make your website faster, cleaner, safer, and easier to maintain and extend.
  • Beautiful and accessible front-end theme. The new front-end theme Olivero gives websites a professional look, makes them attractive and highly accessible to all audiences according to the standards.
  • Long-term support. D9 will be supported for years ahead, while D8 reaches its end-of-life in November 2021. Moreover, this support will only work for D8.9, while older versions will stop being supported in 2020.
  • Incredibly easy upgrades. Thanks to full backward compatibility in Drupal 9, your Drupal 8 to 9 upgrade should be a snap of a finger. All is needed is to meet a couple of requirements, which we have outlined below.

Getting your site ready for Drupal 9: what is needed

Here are the major Drupal 9 readiness requirements websites should meet in order to be instantly Drupal 9 ready. For implementing them you can always rely on our Drupal support and maintenance team:

  • Using the newest minor version of Drupal 8
  • Keeping your modules and themes up-to-date
  • Making sure your hosting environment is up-to-date
  • Checking and cleaning your site of deprecated code

NB: The deprecated code part needs a special explanation. Deprecated code means functions and APIs that have been marked as deprecated because they have more modern alternatives , they need to be cleaned up to achieve Drupal 9 compatibility.

Many of these pieces of code are really easy to find and replace. This is especially true thanks to useful upgrade preparation tools that help discover and clean up deprecated code, which we are describing next.

How to prepare your site for Drupal 9? Useful tools in review

Here are a few great Drupal 9 checkers that will help you update your website to a newer version. They have earned the best feedback in developers’ circles, including our Drupal development & support team’s devs who use them extensively.

Let’s begin with the Drupal Check and the Drupal Rector. These are developer-oriented tools, but they both have a contributed Drupal module based on them. The modules offer user-friendly admin interfaces, which makes them a better option for non-tech-savvy audiences. Here are these two “couples”:

The Drupal Check command-line tool and the Upgrade Status contributed module based on it

The Drupal Check analyses the D9 upgrade status of your website — what is ready, what is not, and how to fix this. It checks the core, contributed, and custom modules, as well as your system requirements, and gives you the improvement suggestions.

The Drupal Upgrade Status module adds a UI and a bunch of helpful features for an easier Drupal 9 upgrade check. We have shared a blog post on how to prepare for Drupal 9 with the Upgrade Status module.

Upgrade Status contributed module to prepare for Drupal 9

The Drupal-rector tool and the Upgrade Rector contributed module based on it

The Drupal Rector is one of the latest and greatest Drupal 9 upgrade tools. It automatically updates deprecated code for D9. Rector offers automated fix suggestions for contributed and custom modules and makes it easy to generate patches. Its contributed module version with a user interface is fresh and new, released in May 2020.

The deprecated code coverage of Drupal Rector is not complete, so it works best together with the Upgrade Status module. Although their UIs are not yet integrated, they complement each other in the Drupal 9 upgrade preparation.

Upgrade Rector contributed module to prepare for Drupal 9

The Drupal 9 Deprecation Status page based on the data from the PHPStan

Here is another very useful quick Drupal 9 upgrade status checker. On the above mentioned page, you can look up the Drupal 9 compatibility of contributed modules. The page is user-friendly and equipped with charts. You can also filter the results to quickly find the necessary module.

Drupal 9 Deprecation Status page to prepare for Drupal 9

Let us help you prepare your website for the Drupal 9 upgrade

Despite the availability of the user-friendly versions of Drupal 9 upgrade status checking tools as contributed modules, you may need help using them. If you want some help, don't hesitate to entrust the Drupal 9 upgrade preparation of your site to our Drupal maintenance team.

Our developers have experience with both the Drupal Rector and the Drupal Check in Drupal 9 preparations, both for the contributed modules they maintain and for our Drupal team’s customers’ websites.

We strive to make their sites more innovative and efficient, and one of the ways to do this is updating it to new versions. Our support services are very cost-effective, and our experience allows us to resolve tasks quickly. Let’s start with a consultation, which is totally free.

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