The EOL (end of life) date for Drupal 8 is November 2, 2021, which is just one month away. What exactly does this suggest?
After this date, no security patches for Drupal 8 will be released. Drupal 8 will not receive the same level of extended support as Drupal 7. You'll be completely on your own. You don't want to be on your own with such a mission-critical piece of software.
The good news is that you can avoid being on your own. Now is the time to audit your site for Drupal 9 readiness and begin planning your roadmap. It's the easiest it'll ever be right now. It's preferable to upgrade on your own schedule rather than rushing at the last minute.
Why November 2, 2021?
D8 contains a lot of third-party dependencies, and if one of them breaks backward compatibility with prior versions of Drupal 8, D8 won't be able to update it. The authors will eventually stop supporting the earlier version of the dependency.
Drupal 8 is now in a perilous position. If its existence continues in the system, it will become more fragile. This will result in weakening the base, resulting in bringing down the whole thing.
Symfony is Drupal 8's most important requirement. Symfony 3, the version of Symfony used by Drupal 8, will be deprecated in November 2021, and upgrading to Symfony 4 would break backward compatibility with earlier Drupal 8 versions.
Supported Drupal versions must use Symfony versions that are supported, which means Drupal must upgrade to a new major version. This is the primary reason for the deadline.
But hold on! Why isn't it possible for the Drupal community to fork Symfony 3 and maintain it alongside Drupal? Isn't it possible that we could stay on Drupal 8 permanently?
Because the Drupal community did not wish to keep certain features that are common to all websites and content management systems, Symfony was created. Instead, the Drupal community desired more freedom to concentrate on what makes Drupal so special.
Symfony takes a lot of time and effort to develop and maintain. It is not only impossible, but also undesirable, to duplicate that effort.
Drupal 8.9 has been supported for as long as needed by the Drupal community, however it is now time to move on.
What will happen if I don't upgrade before Drupal 8 EOL?
Everything will continue to function...for the time being. Everything could still be safe...for the time being. The code on which your website is built will not be updated by the Drupal or Symfony communities.
And something will ultimately break.
Or even worse! A flaw will be identified, and you will be unable to address it.
Or it could be even worse. Malicious actors uncover a vulnerability that is never publicly disclosed, and you continue to use your Drupal 8 website as if everything is great. However, your website has been hacked, or it could be compromised at any time. Maybe you'll never know.
The longer you wait to update to Drupal 9, the more difficult the upgrade will be. Drupal 9 and Drupal 8.9 are still extremely close to being the same piece of software at the moment. With each subsequent Drupal 9 release, though, the gap will widen.
Is there any safe or grace period?
You can skydive without a parachute and be perfectly safe the whole way down. You can even pretend to fly by closing your eyes. That could even be entertaining.
However, you have to deal with the sudden stop at the end.
What is the expected lifespan of Drupal 9?
Until November 2023.
This isn't something to be concerned about. Upgrades to new major Drupal releases no longer necessitate a time-consuming migration or upgrade process, thanks to the new minor release schedule. It should be no more difficult to upgrade from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10 than it was to upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9.
Isn't that something you've previously done?
Or at the very least, you've started making plans to do so, right?
How do I get started?
Nobody can deny that upgrading to Drupal 9 has become a necessity. So, why not do it now rather than later and enjoy the benefits that will follow? You can start by creating a roadmap and implementing the strategy. We can assist you, if you're busy or feeling overwhelmed. CIGNEX is planning and implementing upgrade/migrate to Drupal 9 for many organizations. You can start by requesting your Drupal 8 website audit, which will give you an idea of how much work will be required to migrate to Drupal 9.