Why you should start planning your migration to Drupal 8 and 9 now
- Adrian Bateman
If your website is hosted on Drupal 7 or you're considering making the switch, then this is a great time to take the initiative and move to Drupal 8. In this blog, I'll outline seven reasons to choose Drupal 8 over its predecessors.
1) It's the most stable environment to date
Drupal 8 is the latest major release of the content management framework. It was launched in 2015 and is now in a very stable state. What's more, new features and improvements are added every six months in minor releases (we're now on version 8.6.)
2) A simpler, more streamlined user experience for editors
Drupal 8 has a whole host of benefits for content creators. Such as:
• It's easy to build pages using Paragraphs
• Create new page templates with Layout Builder
• Organise images and documents with its in-built Media Library
• Edit directly on a page with Quick Edit
3) Responsive across all devices
Over half of all web traffic happens on mobile devices. Drupal 8 was designed from the outset to be mobile-first. It includes support for responsive images so mobiles can display the best sized images and download less data.
4) Faster and better performance
Pages load much faster with the new caching features. BigPipe allows visitors to start reading the content before large images have finished downloading. Meanwhile, cache tags allow each part of a page to be cached separately in the database. This works brilliantly with content delivery networks (CDNs) for purging just the right pages when content changes.
5) Modern Object-Orientated Programming (OOP) language
Drupal 8 is written in PHP 7 on the Symfony framework. It is much easier for new PHP developers to get up to speed on Drupal 8 than the old and obscure ways of Drupal 7. It won't be long before Drupal 7 developers are hard to come by - once they try Drupal 8 there's no going back!
6) Design and build with components
7) Headless CMS
Get ready for Drupal 9
What, Drupal 9 already? Yes, it's coming next year! But don't worry, it's going to be very similar to Drupal 8, so the upgrade will be a much smaller jump than Drupal 7 to 8. Drupal’s founder says “the upgrade to Drupal 9 will be easy”. We'll hold him to that.
Should you wait for Drupal 9 and skip over Drupal 8? That could be a risky option. The window between the launch of Drupal 9 and End Of Life for Drupal 7 is less than 18 months, which is pretty tight for medium and large projects.
The best approach is to start now. Build your website in Drupal 8 and get most of the pain and risk out of the way. Migrate your content from your old website (Drupal 7 or anything else) using the new Migrate tools. Make sure your developers get the website 'Drupal 9 ready'.
For example, choose contributed modules that are actively supported and make sure custom modules do not use deprecated code. Launch your website as soon as you're ready.
When Drupal 9 is released you'll have plenty of time to plan your upgrade. This could be a change to just one file (composer.json) if your Drupal 8 project was planned well.
Dates for your diary
• 3rd June 2020: Expected release date for Drupal 9 and the last minor release for Drupal 8
• November 2021: End Of Life for Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 (Free support will end for security issues and bug fixes.)
If you would like help making the migration to Drupal 8 or 9, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on +44 (0)117 929 7333.
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