Planning the Migration from Drupal 7 to 10: A Practical Guide for Entrepreneurs
Want to plan the migration from Drupal 7 to 10? Our guide is for you. Indeed, by November 2023, Drupal 7 and Drupal 9 will reach their end of life. Since version 8 of Drupal there has been a radical change. The approach to building websites with Drupal has changed. In addition, the interface seems more intuitive and user-friendly. For this fact, if you are using version 7, you must have noticed the gap. In this article, we will see together how to do the migration. We'll see what this means if you're on version 7 and then we'll talk about the steps for version 8 or 9. Before we start, we'll see the possible consequences of a solution reaching its end of life.
What does software end of life mean?
In the software industry, "End-of-Life" (EOL) designates the phase of the life cycle of software under which support for this software is no longer provided by the publisher. or the developer. This ending may relate to…
- technical support,
- security updates,
- bug fixes,
- and functional updates.
The end of life of software is often announced in advance. This gives users time to prepare and execute their migration plan to a newer version or other software.
What about Drupal?
For Drupal , end of life means that the Drupal community and the organization itself cease to provide official support for these releases. For example, Drupal 7 and 9 will reach their end of life in November 2023. After this date, there will be no more official security updates. Therefore, sites that continue to use these versions could be at risk. For Drupal 7 or 9 users, it is recommended to upgrade to a newer version of Drupal, such as Drupal 10, to still receive support and updates. Migration can be a complex process, requiring careful planning and careful execution to ensure the website continues to function properly during and after the transition.
What does it involve to migrate from Drupal 7 to 10
In the context of Drupal, migration usually refers to the process of moving data and configuration from one version of Drupal to another. This can include things like
- content types,
- the users,
- the files,
- and others.
Migration complexity may vary depending on site size, number of custom modules, third-party integrations, and other factors.
Important to note
Also, when migrating from Drupal 7 to 10, it is crucial to note that there might be crucial changes in system architecture, available modules, and user interface. This could require a site redesign, rewriting custom code, training users on the new interface, among other tasks. In the following sections of this article, we will explore in more detail the steps required to migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 10.
How to migrate from Drupal 7 to 10?
Migrating from Drupal 7 to 10 without web development expertise seems like a daunting task. However, with the right approach and the right tools, it is possible. Here are the general steps to follow, without going into the technical details:
Identify what your business needs. It's important to assess your current website and determine what aspects of your site need to be preserved, what aspects can be improved, and what new elements you might want to add.
Choose the right version of Drupal
You can choose between Drupal 8, 9, or 10. Each has its pros and cons. Drupal 8 is a significant upgrade over Drupal 7 with many new features, but it is already end of life. As for Drupal 9, it is a newer and more stable version, but as you mentioned, it will reach its end of life in November 2023. Drupal 10 is the newest version, has the most advanced features, however, may have incompatibilities with some older modules.
Drupal 7 to 10 Migration Planning
Prepare a migration plan that includes
- the resources required
- and the persons concerned.
Also identify what site data and functionality needs to be migrated.
Find the right development partner
If you don't have the web development expertise in-house, it would be beneficial to work with an agency or freelance developer who has proven experience migrating from Drupal. They can help you perform the migration efficiently and without errors.
Migration and testing
Once the site has been migrated, it should be thoroughly tested to ensure that it works properly. Make sure all site functionality is intact and all data has been transferred correctly.
Familiarize yourself and train your staff with the new Drupal interface and its features. This might take time and resources, but it's an important step to ensure a smooth transition.
Maintenance and support
Once the migration is complete, it will be crucial to have a maintenance and support plan in place. This includes security updates, feature updates, and fixing any issues that may arise. Benefits of migrating from Drupal 7 to a newer version include:
- access to new features,
- better security,
- improved performance,
- and continued support.
The downside is that it can take time and require financial resources. Additionally, depending on the complexity of your site, there might be incompatibility issues that require time and expertise to resolve.
The different migration options from Drupal 7 to 10
To perform the migration of your website, we considered three scenarios. You will choose the option that best suits your situation.
Option 1 – Do it with your internal team
Implications and how to do it : If your company has an in-house team with expertise in Drupal, this may be a viable option. This would involve:
- initially spend time planning the migration. You should also consider training on the new features of Drupal 10. Indeed, as we mentioned, Drupal 7 differs significantly from Drupal 10.
- Allow time for the actual migration and subsequent testing.
It would also be necessary to allow time for troubleshooting and for continuous learning as Drupal continues to evolve. Benefits : Migrating in-house can provide better control over the process and timelines, as well as deeper knowledge of the site and how it works. It can also be less expensive if the required expertise is already available internally. Cons : This can be a long and complex process, especially if the team does not already have extensive experience with Drupal migrations. Additionally, it could divert internal resources from other projects or responsibilities.
Option 2 – Choose a freelancer
Implications and how to do it : Hiring a freelancer who specializes in Drupal might be another option. This would involve
- find a freelancer with proven experience in Drupal migrations,
- discuss and agree timelines, costs and expectations specific to your project.
Pros : It can be less expensive than an agency and gives you the flexibility to choose an expert specifically suited to your needs. You can also have a closer and more direct working relationship with the freelancer. Cons : It can be difficult to find a reliable and highly qualified freelancer. Additionally, a freelancer's ability to handle a large project or deal with unexpected issues may be limited compared to an in-house team or an agency.
Option 3 – Work with experts or an agency
Implications and how to proceed : Hiring an agency that specializes in Drupal can be a good option. Indeed, if you want to make sure that the migration goes well and if you prefer to leave the technical details to experts. This involves
- find and choose an agency,
- discuss project details, timelines and costs, and
- provide them with the information about your site.
Pros : An agency can offer a team of experts, proven migration experience, and the readiness to handle large or complex projects. They may also offer additional services such as training, support, and post-migration maintenance. Cons : Agencies can be more expensive than in-house options or freelancers. Also, you might have less control over the process. Therefore, you must trust the agency to make the right technical decisions. In addition, there may be difficulties in communication or mutual understanding of objectives and expectations. This is accentuated if the agency is not local or if it works on several projects.
What are the big differences between Drupal 7 and 8 (10)?
The migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 (and later to 9 and 10) represents a big step forward in terms of
- flexibilities and
- of user experience.
However, this transition also involves big changes in the way Drupal is built and used. Below are some major differences.
1. Architecture and object-oriented approach
Drupal 8 adopted an object-oriented architecture and integrated the Symfony framework. This marks a significant departure from the procedural approach used in Drupal 7. In effect, you have greater flexibility. And, in addition, it allows you better integration with other PHP technologies.
Drupal 8 introduces a new configuration management system that makes it easier to transfer configuration between different environments (development, test, production). In contrast, Drupal 7 relies on the database to manage configuration. Therefore, deployment seems more difficult.
3. Content Models (Twig)
Drupal 8 replaced the PHPtemplate theme engine with Twig. It is a modern, flexible and secure templating engine. Twig makes theme code more readable, secure, and accessible to front-end designers.
Drupal 8 has greatly improved support for multilingualism compared to Drupal 7. It allows easier and more complete translation of content, configurations and user interfaces.
5. Online Edition
Drupal 8 offers a more modern and user-friendly online editing experience. In particular, you will find in-place editing, which allows you to modify the content directly from the display page, without having to go through a separate editing form.
6. RESTful APIs
Drupal 8 was designed to be "API-first", which means it's easy to build applications that communicate with Drupal through RESTful APIs. This makes it easy to integrate with other systems and create "headless " or "decoupled" Drupal applications.
Drupal 8 includes several important modules that were previously separate contributed modules in Drupal 7, such as Views, CKEditor, and Entity Reference. However, it is crucial to note that not all Drupal 7 modules are available or required in Drupal 8. This is due to the fact that the architecture and new built-in features are completely different.
Migrating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 10 is a major challenge. However, it is a significant opportunity to improve and modernize your website. Whether you choose to do the migration in-house, hire a freelancer, or work with a specialist agency, the important thing is to fully understand your needs, resources, and the implications of each option! It's also crucial to recognize that migrating from Drupal 7 to 10 isn't just an update. It's a complete overhaul that requires careful planning and preparation. But, with the right approach and support, this transition can allow you to take full advantage of the features, flexibility, and power of Drupal 10 to deliver a great online experience for your users. Finally, it is important not to delay in planning and starting this transition, especially with the end of life of Drupal 7 which is rapidly approaching. The future of your website starts today. Contact us if you require assistance.