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May 30, 2018

Creator of Drupal Planning Next Major Release

Ongoing Symfony support and better security a priority

By CBR Staff Writer

Dries Buytaert, the creator of the widely used Content Management System – Drupal recently published his thoughts on the direction of the software, placing security as the top priority.  

What is Drupal? 

Drupal is an open source Content Management System (CMS), created in 2000 by students, Dries Buytaert and Hans Snijder. With over one million members of its online community and sites using the platform, it is known as the CMS of choice for more sophisticated web applications with large amounts of content and has been used to create sites for brands such as the Economist and RedHat.  

Security is the Top Priority

Commenting in a recent blog post on the discussions from the CMS’s core development team regarding its future release, Dries Buytaert identified security as the top priority.

The driving factor in that discussion is security support for Drupal 8’s third party dependencies (e.g. Symfony, Twig, Guzzle, jQuery, etc). Our top priority is to ensure that all users are using supported versions of these components so that all Drupal sites remain secure. 

This is not surprising, given the number of digital security threats increasing annually with a more diverse threat landscape according to a report published by Symantec in March this year. Moreover, web application security continues to be difficult to address, due to its heterogeneous nature, therefore emphasising this area chiefly appears inevitable.  

Symfony Will No Longer Support Version Three by 2021 

Finally, Symfony (a key framework used in  in the CMS) will no longer support version three by 2021. This means that upgrading users to version four is of utmost importance in Drupal 9, in order to ensure developers are developing with a stable and secure version.

The Drupal creator stated: Nothing has been decided yet, but the current thinking is that we have to move Drupal to Symfony 4 or later, release that as Drupal 9, and allow enough time for everyone to upgrade to Drupal 9 by November 2021. Keep in mind that this is just looking at Symfony, and none of the other components”.

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Promise for Much Simpler Upgrades 

Drupal 9 is being developed for simplicity of upgrading. This builds upon the narrative surrounding the deprecation of “old systems”, spoken of last year and still in Drupal, which will be removed in V9.

This seems to be the key element of the release, with subsequent versions (9.1, 9.2…) containing more innovative work from the CMS’s team. In other words, Drupal 9 is a fresh new start. 

The more we innovate, the more deprecated code there will be in Drupal 8. Over time, maintaining backwards compatibility will become increasingly complex. Eventually, we will reach a point where we simply have too much deprecated code in Drupal 8. At that point, we will choose to remove the deprecated systems and release that as Drupal 9. 

As the CMS continues to power many of the world’s websites, this next version appears to be focused on themes relevant to improving the developer experience in the future, as well as further safeguarding of the platform. 




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