I had an interesting conversation with a client recently about updating his business’ website to Drupal 8. The company’s site is on Drupal 7, and like many Drupal users, he felt it best to wait a while before upgrading. After all, he figured, there probably were some kinks in the new version and it’d be best to let those get worked out before he and his business made the change.
After he said that, I asked him how long he thought he would wait. He said that, arbitrarily, he thought about two years. With the two-year anniversary of Drupal 8’s release coming this November, I asked him how he’d know when it was time to upgrade.
The room got silent.
Photo by Wynand van Poortvliet.
After a few seconds, he repeated the question back to me. “OK Michael, how do I know when it’s time to upgrade?”
“I’m glad you asked,” I jokingly replied.
In all seriousness, though, I told him the answer isn’t complicated. In order to determine whether your Drupal 7 site is ready to move to Drupal 8, you need to look at the modules that you’re using on your current site and see if there is a Drupal 8 version available.
If all the modules are available, then your site is ready for an upgrade. If all of your modules do not have Drupal 8 versions, then you have a choice. You can either wait it out and hope that a new version will be created, or you can look and see what alternative modules there are with D8 capabilities.
Now in my opinion, the first option really is just delaying the inevitable. You’re not going to be able to keep your site on Drupal 7 forever. Just look at what happened with Drupal 6. Three months after Drupal 8’s release, Drupal 6 was no longer maintained. That meant site owners had to upgrade in order to protect the integrity of their site.
I’m not saying Drupal 7 is going to disappear tomorrow — I’d say that version is probably in “middle age” right now. What I am saying, though, is it’s never too early to start the planning process for upgrading your site to Drupal 8.
At Duo, we offer site audits to determine whether your website is ready to upgrade. The foundation of that audit is a site assessment, where we:
- Review each module used on your current site
- Document where the modules are found in Drupal 8
- Find out the priority of each module’s transition to Drupal 8
- Grade each module based on priority and status
We use the information gathered to provide you with a roadmap to upgrade to Drupal 8.
We offer these assessments for a nominal price, but we also offer a free template for anyone to conduct an assessment of their own. It’s not a complicated process, but I’ll be honest, it’s a little tedious. Allow me to walk you through the six-step process:
- Once you’ve downloaded the template spreadsheet, record the name of the first module installed on your site in the “name” column of the spreadsheet. To find the name of modules used on your site, log in to your Drupal site and click on the modules tab. You will be able to view a list of modules being used on your site under the “name” column. If your module is inside a package, list each of the modules within the package on separate lines.
- Using the dropdown in the “Enabled” column of the spreadsheet, indicate whether or not the module is currently enabled on your website.
- Record the version of the module you’re using in the “Version” column of the spreadsheet. Record steps 1-3 for all modules installed on your site.
- Once you’ve documented the above information about all the modules on your site, check the status of each module by searching on Drupal.org. Here’s how:
⟩ Log in to www.drupal.org.
⟩ In the “Search” section, type the name of the module.
⟩ Make sure you refine your search by selecting “Modules.”
⟩ Hit “Enter” to search.
⟩ Choose the search result of the module you’re looking for.
⟩ Scroll down to the section for recommended releases. Look for a blue box that indicates the module’s status.
⟩ Record this information in the “D8 status” column of the spreadsheet.
- Record how important the module’s functionality is to your site by using the dropdown in the “priority” column.
- For your modules that are not ready for Drupal 8, investigate any potential alternatives, from a different module to an adjusted layout.
And that’s it. Like I said, it’s not complicated, but it will take a little time. Once you have your spreadsheet filled out, though, you’ll quickly be able to see if your site is ready for Drupal 8 and all it has to offer.