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D7 vs D8: To update or migrate?

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Out with the old and in with the new? Or is it better to stick with the tried-and-true? This sort of debate can extend to anything from cars, to clothes and even your content management platform.

With the release of Drupal 8 back in November 2015, the question for many has become whether they should update their Drupal 7 website or migrate to Drupal 8. Both have their benefits, making it a tough decision. Our friends at Symetris understand that this isn’t a decision that comes with an obvious answer. They have a few ideas to help you to make an educated choice.

Symetris, a Montreal based web development company and proud Acquia partner, builds effective and scalable digital solutions for brands facing communications and organizational challenges. Their team has worked with Drupal since 2008 and has the most certified Drupal developers in Quebec!

Symetris president, Brad Muncs, had the opportunity to present at DrupalCamp Montreal last month. His presentation set out to help you make the right decision on whether to stay on Drupal 7 or to migrate to Drupal 8. Muncs explains the answer isn’t clear cut, and that it depends on an organization’s specific needs.

Items to consider before making a decision

With a 5 year age difference, Drupal 8 offers both technical and business enhancements over Drupal 7. As for technical updates, Drupal 8 has a new configuration management system that provides back-end developers with a more intuitive configuration maintenance. Additionally, popular modules, such as Views and Multilingual are now in Drupal 8 Core. This allows more functionality out-of-the-box so site builders can build sophisticated sites without having to install multiple contributed modules.

Drupal 8 also brings an improved authoring experience for content authors. Tools such as in-place authoring, WYSIWYG editor, and content workflows make content authoring more intuitive. Drupal 8 authoring experiences are also responsive, which means that people are able to edit on mobile and on the fly. Finally, open source frameworks like Acquia Lightning, allow developers to build Drupal 8 sites and applications faster than ever before. Lightning focuses on four functional areas of authoring, layout, workflow, preview, and media.

Muncs continued on to highlight elements that could influence the risks and benefits for both scenarios:

  • Current D7 Setup
  • Quantity and complexity of data
  • Budget (time and money available)
  • Scope of upcoming enhancements
  • Projected lifetime of existing website
  • Completely new/standalone project

With these factors in mind, the benefits of D7 vs. D8 relative to your organization becomes a little clearer. Read Muncs and Symetris’ presentation to understand where your organization stands in relation to these factors, to help you make the decision to update or migrate.

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