Drupal has been in the CMS game for more than two decades now and It’s only fair that it has a major hold over the market. Drupal 7, a version released nearly a decade ago, is still widely used by a large chunk of CMS users. It can be found managing content in schools, universities, government institutions, businesses and NGOs. But all things must come to an end — and so will Drupal 7. There’s still good news though, as from now on, Drupal 7’s End-of-Life will be re-evaluated annually and for now, it has been extended to November 1, 2023.
This decision comes from a place of loyalty and consideration within the Drupal core team towards the end users and teams that build these legacy installations and made Drupal what it is today. Ideally, everyone should update their installation to the latest version, i.e, Drupal 9. But if, for some reason, they aren’t able to, the team feels that it is their responsibility to not leave them vulnerable. Which goes to show why Drupal has lasted for more than 20 years — an amazing community and a great core.
It has been decided that until there is a clear need to provide additional support to the members of the Drupal community still using this version, Drupal 7 will continue to get an extended end-of-life. Right now, there is a clear need as the majority of websites use this version. This will be re-evaluated by July 2023 whether Drupal 7 will get another end-of-life extension or not. The factors determining this include community support, Drupal 7 usage, and active Drupal 7 maintainers.
Is there any reason to stay?
Frankly, no. None other than procrastination or laziness. Since the release of Drupal 8, there has obviously been some major changes to the way Drupal works. Though functionality like content types, views, taxonomy, roles, are similar, there are upgrades in terms of technology, architecture and features.
Here’s what Drupal 9 provides better than Drupal 7:
- New and Better Theme Engine. Starting in Drupal 8, Twig was added. It made the PHP-based theme writing process so much simpler by using a simple syntax while offering security.
- Improved Technology and Architecture. Drupal 9 has become more powerful and future-ready than ever. Much of its architecture has been reworked to include OOP, Symfony and Composer, Twig, YAML, etc.
- Headless CMS. Drupal 8 and onwards also marked the era of Headless CMS, which is basically decoupling the front-end from the back-end and taking an API-first approach. This makes everything easy to resource and lighter to use.
- Improved writing experience. Drupal 9 is more user-friendly and accessible in terms of the writing experience. The newly added text editor called CKEditor comes with editing tools that allows you to edit and manage your content efficiently. CKEditor also gives you a standard rich text editor as well as several WYSIWYG functions that makes the content creation process fun!
There’s no doubt that one should upgrade to Drupal 9, It’s just a matter of when. It is given that upgrading from Drupal 7 to 9 is no easy task. A lot of the underlying technologies and architecture was revamped. So, significant planning and resources are needed to take that step. The good news is that there’s still a lot of time to start on it and be future-ready with Drupal. So with all that, what are you waiting for?