Time to Be Ready: Drupal 10 Is Coming in December

Oct 25 2022

The latest versions of products always provide the best user experience. Website platforms are no exception, so you definitely need to have your website’s CMS upgraded to have a competitive edge in the digital world. 

If your website is built with Drupal, you might have heard that the latest, much-awaited version on the horizon is Drupal 10. In our November 2021 blog post, we discussed Drupal 8’s end of life and the future Drupal 10 release. Today, the future is knocking at the door. Is your website ready to meet it? 

No worries, we’ve got you covered! This blog post from the ImageX team will include the latest news and updates on the upcoming release, as well as guide you on how to get ready for Drupal 10 so your website upgrade is a breeze. 

Drupal 10: the release date finalized

Initially, Drupal 10 was planned for June 2022, with two plan-B scheduled release dates in September and December. The final decision is to release it on December 14, 2022, which has been announced by Drupal’s creator Dries Buytaert at his Portland DrupalCon 2022’s keynote

The release date pushed back.
The release date pushed back.

The push-back is explained largely by the fact that the 10th release includes a move from CKEditor 4 to CKEditor 5. CKEditor 5 is a complete rewrite of the WYSIWYG editor, that’s why the transition requires some work yet to be done. The team spent thousands of hours creating an upgrade path from CKEditor 4 to CKEditor 5 in close collaboration with the tool’s creators, said Dries. This is meant to make the upgrade easy for all users.

The CKEditor 5 story is a vivid example of how relying on top-notch third-party technologies has a major influence on Drupal’s release cycles. CKEditor, Composer, Symfony, and PHP have their own schedules for releases and EOL (end-of-life) dates that Drupal needs to keep pace with and provide upgrade paths for. 

Another big news item is that Drupal 9’s end of life will be November 2023. We will provide more details on the EOLs for all Drupal core versions in the special section further in this blog post, so read on.

Drupal’s forward movement: top coolest Drupal 10 updates

In the recent tradition of major Drupal releases, the 10th release will be nothing revolutionary but a clean and refined version of D9 with third-party dependencies updated, deprecated APIs removed, and a couple of cool features added. 

Every time you want to know what features are getting ready for the new core release and where our favorite CMS is moving, it always makes sense to look at the community’s strategic initiatives: 

  • The initiatives for Automatic updates, New front-end theme, and others are responsible for the exciting innovations we will see inside D10. 
  • The Drupal 10 Readiness Initiative is meant to make sure the 10th version is released on time, its dependencies are updated, deprecations are removed, and all contributed module maintainers get support in making their projects compatible with it.  

In his DrupalCon 22’s keynote, as well as the follow-up blog post, Dries gave an overview of the top upcoming D10 updates. They include more specific details than were available last year, so we are happy to share these with you:

  • Symfony 6.2. Drupal 10 will move from Symfony 4 to Symfony 6.2, which will be a significant upgrade of the PHP framework that Drupal relies on. Developers will get access to the latest and greatest Symfony features. All custom modules that are using Symfony components will need an upgrade to the 6.x version.
  • PHP 8.1. The programming language behind the CMS is also moving forward, so the minimum PHP requirement in D10 will change from PHP 7.4 to PHP 8.1. This is largely caused by the fact that the new version of Symfony requires a newer PHP. It should be noted that custom code on websites will need an upgrade. 
  • CKEditor 5. The new version of CKEditor is going to provide vastly enhanced authoring experiences when it comes to inline editing, adding images, creating links, and much more. It will be more like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, with an array of plugins and integrations to give it superpowers.
  • Olivero frontend theme. The latest front-end theme Olivero is now the default one for Drupal based on the New Front-End Theme Initiative. Olivero is replacing the 11-year-old Bartik theme. This milestone has been reached during DrupalCon’22 and all newly created websites will use this option in D10 out of the box.
  • Claro administration theme. The clean, accessible, and powerful Claro theme is now the default backend theme as part of the Easy Out of the Box Initiative. Claro is replacing the old Seven theme. Similarly to Olivero, Claro has been made the default administration theme announced at DrupalCon’22 and it is a very important achievement for admin and content creator experience in D10.
  • Automatic updates. The much-awaited feature of automatic updates is getting ready to be finalized in the D10 core. There is a focus on making updates clean and safe. They will leverage Composer under the hood but with a user interface on top so no command-line skills are mandatory. The great news is that updates for contributed modules are also underway.
  • Starterkit. The 10th release will offer a new way of creating themes. Themers will no longer have to subtheme a core base theme — Starterkit will generate a starter theme for them. This addition will make sure that upgrading Drupal doesn’t break any themes on a website. 

End of life for older versions and getting ready for Drupal 10

While D10 is polishing its new features to perfection, older core versions are going unsupported. The stop of official support is known as end-of-life (EOL). It may leave websites vulnerable to security threats, hamper their performance, potentially lead to bugs over time, and close the door to innovative new features. 

Depending on your website’s Drupal core version and its EOL date, it’s either high time or the right time to schedule an upgrade. Let’s go through each core version to check when it will no longer be supported and what steps are needed to get ready for Drupal 10.

Drupal 9

End of life: November 2023

How to get ready for Drupal 10. Fortunately, D9 website owners will have the least hassle with getting ready for the upcoming release. Once the 10th version is out, you will have 11 months for the upgrade. 

According to Dries, this should be the easiest upgrade in the history of the CMS thanks to the fact that 93% of functions deprecated in D10 across all contributed modules have automated updates.

D9 end of life announced.
D9 end of life announced.

The process of getting ready for Drupal 10 basically comes down to making sure your website doesn’t have deprecated code. As for the core and contributed modules, it’s generally enough to use the latest versions — their maintainers will take care of D10 compatibility. However, there are many contributed modules with different maintainers, so you will still need to check if a specific module is ready for the 10th release. As for the custom modules, they will need a review and clean-up of deprecated code.

Next up are some useful tools in this area:

It should also be noted that your website’s environment will need to be brought in line with the D10 requirements. Most importantly, this applies to updating your PHP to 8.1.

Drupal 8

End of life: November 2021

How to get ready for Drupal 10. The 8th version went end of life in November 2021, so if your site is still on Drupal 8, it’s worth getting it upgraded to D9 first as soon as possible, and then to D10 once it arrives. Ignoring the end-of-life announcement might be risky in terms of security and performance.

The good news is that upgrading is an easy ride thanks to Drupal’s backward compatibility approach. The principle of getting ready for the next release is the same as we shared above in the D9 chapter — just keep your website updated and clean from deprecated code. The same tools mentioned above are used to check and fix deprecations. The process, however, might take a little longer. 

When your website fulfills the “no deprecated code” requirement, it is fully ready to seamlessly move to the 9th version and eventually to the 10th.

Drupal 7

End of life: Extended to November 2023

How to get ready for Drupal 10. The community announced extended support for Drupal 7 by November 23 due to the pandemic's impact on businesses. D7 will probably be supported even longer than that — by the end of the year 2023. At their “Getting ready for Drupal 10” session at DrupalCon Portland 2022, Matt Glaman and Gabor Hojtsy showed the schedule and noted an interesting fact that D7 is going to outlive D8 and even D9.

The EOL schedule.
The EOL schedule.

Numerous companies still using the 7th version for their websites have some extra time to upgrade to Drupal 9 by the end of 23. Once the 10th version is out, they will easily transition from the 9th to the 10th version.

“Extra time” does not mean there is time to waste. If you are dealing with Drupal 7, it’s best to get ready for the upgrade as soon as possible. The 7th version is years behind Drupal 8, 9, and 10 when it comes to architecture. This creates certain challenges and, in many cases, it may take months to upgrade. The timeline depends on the website's complexity and the amount of custom code — there are no two identical websites. 

Despite the lengthy process, an upgrade from Drupal 7 to 9 is a future-proof decision that will move your website to a supported and innovative platform where all further upgrades will be a snap. 

D7 website owners might consider getting in touch with a Drupal agency that has a proven track record and will make the upgrade as smooth as possible. This upgrade will be a great opportunity to revamp your company’s digital experiences so you could talk to your team and stakeholders to discuss what features you would like to see on your renovated website.

No matter which Drupal core version you are using, our team will be happy to help you get ready for Drupal 10 so you can fully use its benefits once it arrives. Let’s talk!

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