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What happens to Umbraco 8 after 9?

This is the plan so you can plan

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Written by Filip Bech

With the .NET 5 (ASP.NET Core) version of Umbraco (v9) coming this summer, you might be asking what will happen to the current version (v8) feature-wise? In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the release plan for Umbraco 8 after the launch of Umbraco 9 so you know what to expect and can plan your future migration and contributions as well as help you make the decision on which version to start new projects in.

Umbraco 8 is a great version of the Umbraco CMS and we have been pleased to see the adoption and positive feedback of this version by our users, community members, and partners.

Umbraco 9 is being released later this year (ETA Q3) and that naturally raises questions about how this will affect the further development of Umbraco 8 i.e. your current and future contributions, your current and future projects, etc. We have previously announced that the last minor release of Umbraco 8 will be Long-Term Supported (LTS). This means it will keep getting bug and security fixes for another 3+ years.

Today's blog post is about what will happen to new features (the releases we refer to as “minor” releases, following the Semantic Versioning convention). 

The tradeoff

Currently, new features are built on v8. As v9 will be feature-complete with v8, all applicable new features of v8 will be merged up into v9. This is a big task as some features have to be re-engineered to fit the different architecture and concepts of Umbraco v9 and of .NET 5+. A time-consuming task that currently takes time away from further development, yet, a necessary task as v9 has to be at the same level of v8 feature-wise by launch - and then continue to improve with new helpful features and functionality in the future. 

The same applies to merging (backporting) features from v9 back to v8. This also puts us in a situation where we can have 2 versions with the same features, with different implementations and edge-cases. In the long run, this is not sustainable and will also take away time from further development of the CMS.    

We still have some features that we want to get into v8, and we also have a good amount of community PRs that we need to consider and either merge, change, or close. We want to make this process open, transparent, and clear to everybody. This is the plan: 

Merge up but no backporting and two more Umbraco 8 minors after Umbraco 9 launch

With the above considerations in mind, we have decided to:

  • (continue to) merge v8 into v9 
  • not backport features from v9 to v8 
  • ship two minor versions of Umbraco 8, after the release of Umbraco 9

Two Umbraco 8 minors after the launch of Umbraco 9

The second to the final v8 minor release will stay on the release train and hence be released 6 weeks after the previous release. For the final v8 minor release, our focus will be on getting all v8- feature-PRs merged (or closed) - that might mean delaying this release in order to get all v8 features reviewed and we will of course communicate about this in future Product Updates etc. when we have this overview. We think this is the appropriate focus, as there will be no more opportunities to land features in v8. The last minors will be merged into v9 making it feature-complete with v8.

June 14th 2021 - an important date for contributors

For now, we advise you to target v8 or v9 for your PRs as you see fit for your feature, keeping in mind that v8 will merge into v9, but not the other way around. 

From June 14th (the week after Codegarden), we will no longer accept NEW feature-PRs targeting v8. All PRs before this date will be evaluated and either merged, fixed, or closed before the final minor of v8. HQ-features for v8 may land after this date. 

I hope the above gives you an overview and confidence in what’s the plan for both Umbraco 8 and 9 releases going forward so you can plan accordingly.  

If you want to keep yourself updated on the progress of Umbraco 9 then keep an eye out for future Umbraco 9 posts and Product Updates here on the Umbraco blog. The next one will be on Wednesday where we release the first beta version of Umbraco 9.

To finish off, I’ve gathered some frequently-asked questions regarding this topic:   


FAQ

What about Cloud?

  • All releases of v8 will be available like today, and projects on the last minor will receive auto-upgrades for the entire 3 years until EOL. 

What about my (old) v8 PR?

  • We will evaluate ALL features PRs targeting v8 before the last v8-minor. The goal is to merge all PRs where the feature is desirable. We will assist in also getting the implementation to a desirable place if possible. 

Does that mean v9 is released on June 14th? (or why that cutoff date)

  • We still aim at shipping v9 in Q3 2021. The reason for this earlier date is that we need enough time to go through all v8 PRs before that final v8-minor is due. We chose this specific date because it's close to Codegarden where we can talk more about v9, and it's close to where we plan to ship the first Release Candidate for v9. 

If I want the latest features can I upgrade/migrate to Umbraco 9?

  • Yes! This will ensure you can stay on the latest version and get all the new features going forward. While the upgrade does contain a shift to a new framework (.NET 5) and will require updates to custom code, it does not involve a content/database migration.  

What about training and certifications?

  • Given the nature of the technical changes between Umbraco 8 to 9, we will offer bridging courses when necessary given the course topic and the level of changes you need to be aware of.

    If you’ve bought Umbraco 8 training after March 4th, 2021, or are buying Umbraco 8 training today and onwards, you will automatically get access to the associated Umbraco 8 to 9 bridging courses when they’re available. This means you can go gain your needed Umbraco 8 knowledge now, and rest assured knowing you’ll be able to update the certification you are buying, to Umbraco 9 when the bridging courses are released.

    We’ve previously said we’d bring an update around this in April. However, as we’re still finalizing the details around future training and certifications, this update is expected to be published on the Umbraco blog in May 2021 instead. The blog post will include the final details about which courses will have a bridging course option, as well as info about how we’ll handle certifications going forward.

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