The current version of Islandora (typically referred to as Islandora 7) is nearing the end of its life. The next version (sometimes referred to as Islandora 8, though the community wishes to move past the Numerical-Version-As-Name dynamic) is in the works. LYRASIS intends to upgrade our existing clients to the new version beginning Summer '21. Here's what you need to know...
Why is this happening?
Islandora 7 (the version currently running for all of our Islandora hosting clients) is reaching the end of its life because Drupal 7 (upon which it is built) is reaching the end of *its* life. As such, it will no longer be supported as of November 2022. The Islandora community has been working for several years now to replace it with the next version of Islandora, which is currently compatible with Drupal versions 8 and 9.
What are the benefits of upgrading?
At the most basic, it is almost always preferable to stay with the current version of software in order to benefit from ongoing improvements and to avoid unpatched bugs and security issues in older versions. More specifically, in this case, the new version of Islandora has undergone a significant rewrite in order to take better advantage of the extensive Drupal ecosystem. This promises to enable a broader range of functionality in Islandora.
When will our site be upgraded?
We will be looking at a variety of factors to determine the order of client migration: complexity of metadata, number and kind of objects, access policies, etc. The first of our migrations will begin Summer 2021.
Can we see what our new site will look like before we upgrade?
Yes. Our plan is to migrate each client to a non-production environment for review and revision before we switch over to the new version.
Do we have to upgrade?
If you wish to remain a LYRASIS Islandora hosting client, yes. We strive to maintain a safe and reliable hosting service at an affordable price. Supporting Islandora 7 past its end-of-life would not be compatible with those goals.
What if we prefer the old version?
LYRASIS and the rest of the Islandora community is working hard to make the new version of Islandora better than Islandora 7. Already, lots of improvements have been made, responsive to years of feedback and feature requests. That said, we understand that change is hard, and sometimes we simply preferred the old way of doing things. Fortunately, the effort to develop and improve Islandora is perpetual and ongoing. If you feel that you have an unmet need, you will have an opportunity to discuss it with us before your site gets migrated. We'd like to help you figure out how to get it satisfied.