Art, there are multiple things we could do here, but we don't want to be spending any time on them, however easy they seem to be initially. Because as you say, we'd rather spend that time on 9. Especially because things of that nature tend to start easy and then they might easily grow. Ie, if we just do copy / paste of entire drawings from 9 into the Project pane of 8, then we know there will be requests to copy / paste into the drawing / map window of 8 = partial components, and requests to copy / paste the other way around, and requests to do the same with images, etc, etc, etc - and we get that these requests will stem from real needs but the end result will be us spending time working on workflows that are limited right from the beginning by the amount of data that 8 can handle and the flexibility that it has. We'd rather be spending time fulfilling the needs directly in 9. We try to carry over features from 8 every series of builds.
Until we have all you need in 9, let's try to make your current workflow better.
What if you set up a single ODBC data source and then just replace the MAP file referenced in that data source? That way, you'd work with the MAP file in 9, then close 9, open 8, open a MAP file in 8 and that would refresh existing linked components with new data automatically. It would be easy to bring new components using Database Console as well, because if there is just one data source and it has already been defined, this does not take too many clicks.
Alternatively, maybe create a script for 9 to create a DSN file for the current MAP file, then link that in 8? Using the DSN file saves quite a number of clicks in setting up the data source in clients. If necessary, creating the data source for Database Console in 8 could also be done programmatically via UI scripting. The script could, for example, take all DSNs in a specific folder and create a data source for each. Importing and linking components can also be done from a script, even without UI scripting, see the DataSource object. You can, for example, use a single script to link tables / drawings with specific names and copy / paste that script around, changing the name of the source MAP file at the top of the script, then running it to create all linked components in one go with no user intervention. We can help creating such a script.
Alternatively, maybe just share data using SQL Server or PostgreSQL?