Update on Drupal 7 end-of-life and the UT Drupal Kit (March 2022)

Summary (TL;DR)

  • The official end of life for Drupal 7 (D7) has been extended to November 2023, and will be reassessed annually.
  • ITS will continue to support the D7 version of the UT Drupal Kit with unscheduled maintenance releases beyond the originally planned November 2022 end-of-life date.
  • ITS will engage with site owners responsible for sites running the Drupal 7 version of the UT Drupal Kit to ensure that migration planning is taking place.

Since June 2020, the Drupal project’s stated plan for the end-of-life for Drupal 7 was to end support in November 2022, and to launch a vendor-driven extended support program at that time.

As previously announced in a post in January 2022, ITS planned to manage this transition by discontinuing regular scheduled releases of the Drupal 7 version of the UT Drupal Kit (UTDK 2):

After November 2022, ITS will no longer provide regularly scheduled maintenance releases of the D7 branch of the UT Drupal Kit. ITS does not plan to engage a D7ES vendor under a paid contract, but relevant patches for issues released as open source code under D7ES program will be incorporated into ad-hoc Drupal Kit releases as needed.

In a surprise move, the Drupal Security Team released an updated public service announcement in late February stating that the previously announced end-of-life date for Drupal 7 has been extended for a minimum of one year, to November 1, 2023.

Additionally, the D7 end-of-life date will be re-evaluated annually from this point forward, with an announcement expected in July 2023 as to whether community support for Drupal 7 will be extended even further. In the meantime, the D7ES vendor program has been indefinitely suspended until a final decision is made on the end-of-life date.

While this announcement does provide an extended runway for campus units needing to migrate off of Drupal 7 and UTDK 2, there is still a pressing need for ITS to move to only supporting a single version of the UT Drupal Kit as soon as possible, due to our own developer resource constraints. We also believe that as time continues to pass, there will be compatibility and support issues with the Drupal 7 versions of contrib modules used on many sites, regardless of whether Drupal 7 core is still supported.

Our team is actively monitoring which UTDK 2-based sites are still online, and will continue to engage with site owners to ensure that timely migration plans are being developed, with a goal of fully retiring support for UTDK 2 before the actual end-of-life for Drupal 7.

In the meantime, maintenance releases for UTDK 2 will continue beyond November 2022 as new Drupal 7 core and contrib updates become available. In keeping with the original plan for maintaining support under the D7ES program, these long-term maintenance releases will no longer be regularly scheduled, but will be based on the availability and impact of Drupal 7 core and contrib updates.

As noted in the previous post, ITS has developed a programmatic migration path for all of the stock components of UTDK 2, based on Drupal’s core Migrate API. This code has already been used within ITS to migrate over 50 sites to UTDK 3, and was also used by the Moody College of Communication to migrate six of their heavily customized UTDK 2 sites to UTDK 3. Any UTDK 2 site owners interested in investigating the viability of programmatic migration should email drupal-kit-support@utlists.utexas.edu to initiate a discussion.

By Paul Grotevant

Paul Grotevant is the Senior IT Manager of Web Content Management Solutions for Information Technology Services at the University of Texas at Austin.