Over the last few years we've been writing a regular series called the "State of Drupal 8".
We aim to give a short, plain English update for people who don't follow Drupal development closely.
So, here's the busy person's guide to the state of Drupal 8 in March 2015 ...
Where is Drupal 8 right now?
The current version of Drupal 8 is Beta 7.
The Beta phase started in October last year and will finish when all the "critical" bugs are resolved. A critical bug is defined as bugs that render a system unusable and have no workaround, cause loss of data or expose security vulnerabilities.
How many critical bugs are left? Starting at the end of November, there has been significant progress. The number of critical bugs has gone down from over 130 to under 50.
At the current rate of progress, we could see the Beta phase end later this year, perhaps around the time of DrupalCon Barcelona, at the end of September.
What's the Release Candidate phase?
After the Beta phase ends, there is one more step: the Release Candidate phase.
Here's how Release Candidates are officially described:
Release candidates are usually only created once no more critical bugs have been reported in a given beta release. These are considered nearly stable code, something the Drupal development community is considering as a candidate to be released as the official .0 version.
How does a Release Candidate become the official stable release?
A Release Candidate has to go for 2 weeks without a new critical bug being found. You can see the full details of that policy here: https://www.drupal.org/node/2362647.
For reference purposes, the Drupal 7 Release Candidate phase lasted about 5 weeks.
So how should you factor Drupal 8 into your plans?
How you plan for Drupal 8 will depend on whether you thinking about a new or existing Drupal site.
- If you're planning a new site: expect a stable version of Drupal 8 to ship towards the end of 2015. Should you jump in immediately? Yes, if you're sticking very close to the system (which will be significantly more capable than Drupal 7). However, if you're planning a complex site with many contributed modules, you should use Drupal 7 or plan on waiting for Drupal 8 until well into 2016.
- If you use Drupal 6: start planning to update. You'll get security updates for 3 months after the Drupal 8 release, so you'll be covered only until early 2016. It's well worth reading this post: 8 Answers for All Drupal 6 Owners.
- If you use Drupal 7: your site has several good years left. You'll probably get security updates until at least 2018.