The last big migration
Roughly 60% of the Drupal community still runs a Drupal 7 installation. With COVID-19 impacting a lot of businesses, the Drupal community announced that it would extend the EOL for Drupal 7 into 2022. That being said, the jump from Drupal 7 into Drupal 9 is pretty significant, mainly because of the underlying framework being a total rework based on Symfony. There is also no direct upgrade path being provided from Drupal 7, so in some cases we must rebuild the website completely.
Do I need to upgrade to Drupal 9?
There are little to no reasons not to upgrade to Drupal 9. Having your software up to date is essential; postponing the upgrade will only increase the gap between 2 versions and make the upgrade harder. So, from a cost-effective point of view, it is better to start your migration sooner than later.
What’s in it for me?
When moving to Drupal 9 you can benefit of a continuous innovation and delivery cycle of new features twice per year. Drupal 9 also offers a lot of benefits compared to Drupal 7:
- The same structured content-based system which you love,
- Reusable media in an out-of-the-box media library,
- Better performance and scalability,
- Craft layouts with the built-in visual layout builder,
- Reuse block and customize all parts of the page,
- A user-friendly new back-office theme that has great support for accessibility,
- API first by design, allowing to be used for headless or decoupled frontend and back-end,
- Multilingual out of the box.
(Re)discovery of what you need
A lot of businesses have had their Drupal 7 installation for many years with a lot of maintenance and content creation. A lot of the decisions made have been good, but usually not all of them.
This offers a fantastic opportunity to take a step back and start over fresh. Reviewing the requirements of your business today might be quite different from what it was when initially setting it up.
Review your old site
When gathering the requirements for your new website, you can use your old website as a great asset for mapping your requirements. Ideally this process will highlight the features you still need and the ones you no longer need.
Since the underlying architecture of your Drupal 8/Drupal 9 website is very different of the one in Drupal 7, there are probably a lot of technical solutions which you wouldn’t blindly redo. A recommended step would be to map out your content architecture and start from there on the rebuilding process.
How to prepare for the migration?
Drupal 9 significantly changes the way content and configuration is stored in the database. Because of this, an update can't simply be applied to an existing Drupal 7 site. Instead, the content and configuration data from the Drupal 7 site must be migrated to a new Drupal 9 site.
How does this migration work?
- Preparation audit
We review your existing website and check if the features and content structure still meet your daily needs. We also analyse the back office from an administrator’s point of view.
When we have the report from the preparation audit, we will review all the modules, content types, … This way we have a clear view of what we need to rewrite and migrate.
Creating a brand new Drupal 9 site
The easiest way to start the new website is from scratch. Depending on your needs your design can stay the same, or you can have a complete redesign.
Content and configuration migration
One of the most important steps is data migration. Depending on the type of data this is usually a combination of an automated process and a manual process.
Testing and deployment
The last step of the process is checking the data and migration. We do a thorough test of all the functionalities, performance and usability to guarantee a perfect deployment.
What about Drupal 10?
One of the biggest dependencies of Drupal 9 is the underlying Symfony framework, so at some point Drupal must adopt the latest version. Drupal 10 is currently targeted to be released mid-2022.
Fortunately, the functionality of Drupal 10 will be added to the Drupal 9 releases so development can be adopted very fast and easily. Since Drupal 10 is identical to the latest version of Drupal 9, there are no last-minute big or unexpected changes resulting in an easy upgrade compared to a Drupal 7 migration.
In other words, an upgrade to Drupal 9 is a great investment to reduce the cost of future ownership.
Conclusion: Don’t wait too long!
The clock is counting down to the end of Drupal 7. So best start planning today on your move to Drupal 9. Waiting too long might result in rushed migrations and technical pitfalls which you don’t want as the base of your new website.
Carefully review features and make as many necessary improvements as possible. Drupal 9 is a futureproof upgrade with a lot of incredible enhancements.
Wax Interactive can assist you in:
- Performing a website upgrade audit to calculate the costs.
- Upgrading your project, including migration to become futureproof without losing any data.
- Upgrading your existing project to perform better by embedding our SEO, SEA, CRO, UX and other expertise.
The talents behind this project
Because teamwork makes the dream work.