17 July 2020
Kristy Devries

Dawdling Drupal and the amazing whizz-bang updatey machine

The first presentation was by Kim Pepper from PreviousNext. He looked at how PreviousNext addresses Drupal updates. In addition to security updates, we’re seeing an increase in updates for removing deprecated code for module compatibility, major version upgrades (Drupal 8 to Drupal 9) and underlying frameworks that Drupal relies on.

Updates can be time consuming and risky as they can potentially break functionality. Kim mentioned many developers would rather spend their time building new features and delivering value to clients than maintaining and updating sites.

PreviousNext wrote a script called Patchy, which they run via CircleCI to run their automated updates every Thursday morning.

The goals for the Patchy workflow are to:

  1. Update all the time and often, focusing on removing the busywork and streamlining as much as possible.

  2. Automate all updates and automated testing.

  3. Fail fast — if an update breaks functionality, it’s best to identify this as early as possible.

You can view the full recording of this presentation on the DrupalSouth YouTube channel:

Load test your Drupal website before it is too late

The second presentation by Janna Malikovafrom Tomato Elephant Studio was about the importance of load testing Drupal websites (she also presented this at DrupalCon). She spoke about the different types of load testing, including:

  • Load and endurance testing: How does your site perform under expected peak load parameters and for how long?

  • Stress and spike testing: How does your site perform under extreme load? How many concurrent users can your site handle before it crashes?

  • Volume testing: How does the site perform with large volumes of data?

  • Recovery testing: How does the system recover from a failure?

  • Scalability testing: Does the hardware scale in time to support the increased load on the site?

Janna then spoke about the preparation needed for a load test, such as checking with your hosting provider if load testing is possible or to notify your provider in advance of the load test. The success of a load test is to know when and how it will fail.

You can view the full recording of this presentation on the DrupalSouth YouTube channel:

What's new in Drupal 9.0

Vladimir Roudakov from Tomato Elephant Studio presented the third and final presentation covering what’s new in Drupal 9.

Previously, Drupal 7’s end-of-life was scheduled for November 2021, however given the impact of COVID-19, the Drupal Association has extended this deadline to 28 November 2022. Drupal 8’s end-of-life will be 2 November 2021 due to Symfony 3’s end-of-life, which is a key reason to upgrade to Drupal 9.

Vladimir mentioned that we’re already seeing an adoption for Drupal 9 with some of the key changes being:

  • All themes included in Drupal 9 core aren’t dependent on Classy or Stable

  • Drupal 8 had a lot of dependencies that have been reduced in Drupal 9, such as jQuery UI

  • Dependency updates in Drupal 9

    • Symfony: 3.4 to 4.4.9

    • Twig: 1.38.2 to 2.12

    • Composer: 1.10.0 to 1.10.5

    • jQuery: 3.4 to 3.5

    • Node.js: 8.11 to 12.0

  • Translations

    • German and Ukrainian translations are at 100% with many other languages being close to being translated

Vladimir closed his presentation by mentioning Dries’s keynote at DrupalCon where Dries said “the big deal about Drupal 9, is that it should not be a big deal”.
It’s expected that the upgrade path from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 will be radically easier than previous major version upgrades.

You can view the full recording of this presentation on the DrupalSouth YouTube channel:


If you have any feedback or suggestions on what you’d like to see for future Meetups, or if you have something you’d like to present, please contact

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