Why migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8
It’s really awkward when our clients or prospects ask: “Why do you suggest moving to Drupal 8 while it’s about to reach the end of life as well as Drupal 7? I’m not buying this.”
Well, first of all, Drupal 7 is not going to be abandoned - it will be set for the Drupal 7 Vendor Extended Support at least for 3 years.
As for Drupal 8, its last minor release (8.9) will be put for the LTS program from June 2020 until the end of life in November 2021. Also, this very last release will be the basis for Drupal 9.0.
So let’s check out why we think it’s high time for Drupal 7 update that we all love.
Updated Drupal 8 means being Drupal 9-ready
Staying on Drupal 7 means the necessity to execute a migration to Drupal 9. Moving from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 will look like a minor website update that you usually do in less than a day.
So we don't see the reason to wait for Drupal 9 to do Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 straight away. Migrate to something familiar - Drupal 8.
Limited Drupal 7 support
Drupal 7 will be supported by vendors (not by the Drupal Security Team nor the Drupal Core team) at least until 2024.
What this support means:
- No more core commits
- Features development on-demand only
- No community support at large when it comes to massive bug fixing, documentation writing
Besides, it’s supposed to be a bad practice to use unsupported software due to Drupal security issues.
No new Drupal 7 websites will appear as well: this point should be taken into account by the dev teams who maintain some specific Drupal 7 solutions.
Drupal 8 utilizes a widespread tech stack and approaches
Drupal 8 has a tech stack that allows more developers to embrace this CMS.
- Symfony components
- Twig -” the flexible, fast, and secure template engine for PHP” as it’s described on the official website
- OOP approach
- Composer support
- RESTful Web Services
Drupal 8 is more secure and has minor releases more often
Drupal 8 has a minor release once in 6 months which is quite nice: the new functionality can be added to the core more frequently. For example, these features were added within minor Drupal 8 releases (ask your developers why these features are cool):
- Media (standardized and improved media management)
- Workflows and Content Moderation
- Layout Builder (page layout management and the possibility to add different elements and blocks through UI and drag-n-drop)
- BigPipe for better performance
Also, the patch releases provide consistent secure updates, bug fixes and peace of mind.
Drupal 8 is feature-rich
One might think that migration is just an act of creating a hassle for no reason. Say, a website works well, the workflow is okay, and web developers always find a way out.
Cutting the costs on web development also throws you back on your way to improvement. You won’t pay more for development but you also won’t earn more money with the help of your website.
These features in Drupal 8 will ease website development and management:
- New editor convenient for non-tech managers
- Quick Edit right on the page
- Drupal 8 is mobile-friendly out of the box
- Responsive images
- Better accessibility (which is trending now)
- The better multilingual feature implementation and its support
- Built-in Web Services: RESTful Web Services and JSON API out-of-the-box. All of this opens the world of the Internet of things (the devices that can be connected and communicate some data to each other), mobile apps and multi-channel integrations (PC, TV, tablets, etc), internal services and so on.
- The decoupled approach allowed out-of-the-box, including the static websites generator Gatsby
- The convenient migration tool Migrate API will ease the migration from Drupal 6 and Drupal 7. Also, there are tools that allow migrating from Wordpress.
It’s worth saying that now popular contributed modules have stable Drupal 8 versions and that significantly reduces the migration effort.
When it comes to Drupal 9, in April 2019 46% of contributed modules were ready for Drupal 9, states Dwayne McDaniel from Pantheon.
There are big changes (planned) for new Drupal versions
Below are just a few things that are already in progress or planned for the nearest future.
- New admin user interface managed by a React application
- The API-First initiative
- New Configuration Management
- Content workflow improvement
- Further improvements for Media management
- Automatic updates for Drupal websites (!)
Are you ready for the big changes already? Invest, not cut costs - it will pay off.