When will Drupal 8 be released?

Those of us who work with drupal on a daily basis have been watching www.drupal8release.com on a regular basis in anticipation of the Drupal 8 release date. This clever site calculates the estimated release date for Drupal 8 based on the number and severity of open issues. Since the beginning of 2015 estimates have ranged from May 8, 2015 to March 19, 2020 but most dates have fallen between July and November of this year. My money has been on the release coinciding with DrupalCon Barcelona which is being held from September 21 - 25. As of this writing www.drupal8release.com shows September 26 as the estimated date so a release in Barcelona looks likely.

The Drupal community made a decision early on that each major release would would include radical improvements to functionality, scalability and usability. There won’t be a path to upgrade previous versions of Drupal to Drupal 8. Instead the focus has been on providing a path to migrate data from previous versions. As Drupal founder Dries Buytyaert puts it

When I first released Drupal, I chose not to preserve backward compatibility, because I was mainly interested in getting the technology right. Preserving backward compatibility often requires that you drag historical baggage along, and in interpreted languages like PHP, this comes at a significant performance cost. So it was decided that we can break people's code, but not people's data. Our mission was to make Drupal fast, small, clean and on the bleeding-edge of technology.

This means organizations that use Drupal should plan a major upgrade about every 5 - 6 years - this is not an unreasonable expectation. After all, did you own a tablet or a smartphone six years ago? The iPad was released on April 3, 2010. Some of the techniques behind responsive design started around 2008/9, but theory and practice weren’t mature until 2011/12 (Snake Hill has been creating all new sites using responsive techniques since 2012). If your web site is more than three years old, chances are 25 - 40% of your visitors aren’t being supported.

As you can see, a new Drupal release is just one of many reasons to update your web site.

In upcoming posts we’ll looking at numerous Drupal upgrade topics including:

  • When will Drupal 8 be ready for prime time?
  • Is it best to upgrade to Drupal 7 or go directly to Drupal 8?
  • What’s improved in Drupal 8?