There are long-lasting discussions on the web about migration to Drupal 8. We will explore in this article some of the key decision factors that should be taken into account when deciding to put it as milestone in your company technology roadmap.

You are still under Drupal 6, what should you do ?

Unless you were exploring some new code's planet outta space in the past couple of years, you probably know that Drupal 6 was put out of the production line in February 2016 so security of your site is not ensured from a module perspective.

drupal migration

But that is probably a good news, that is a good opportunity to do a full relift of your website both from a look and feel, user experience and Drupal version !

You are running Drupal 7, are you safe ?

Take away : The best reason to migrate which is the interruption of security patches, will probably not materialize before 2019 at least.

Drupal 7 is in Long Term Support and will not get new features, but will continue to get bug fixes security support. Drupal 7 will get bug fixes and security support until Drupal 8 becomes the Long Term Support version, which won't happen until 2019 or 2020 at the earliest. 

How does it work with Drupal version support ? As a rule of thumb, Drupal Version X Long Term Support receives :

  • normal bug fixes until (X+1) LTS + 3 months
  • security fixes until (X+2) LTS + 3 months

Any other good reason that would motivate a migration to Drupal 8 ?

  • If you need a new major functionality, for instance you wish to expose your new views by default into JSON or propose a responsive and native HTML5/CSS3 administration interface to your web editors
  • If your planning a major revamp of your  website, new design and new content and potentially a new agency

You believe you are in one of these two scenarios above ? Do no hasty decision as we are not talking about a small migration, continue reading if you want to convince yourself.

Ready to migrate ? The process in a nutshell

It will start with making sure that you are meeting some of the prerequisites

  1. List of core modules and contributed modules that  you used in your current site
  2. Check migration status for each of these modules and pinpoint any that went through a major rewriting or is still in migration preliminary stage

There are big chances that you will decide to stop here : Drupal 8 took a radical turn in technology and approach.

  • Any custom code that uses Drupal 7 functions and hooks will need to be rewritten from zero
  • For contrib modules in many case the module used in Drupal 7 does not have a direct port in Drupal 8. Either the maintainers used an entirely different approach or set of modules, or the migration will never be performed by them. For the sake of illustration, using field collection in Drupal 8 is not recommended, so we would need to map field collections to paragraphs and this is far from trivial.

Far from an automated migration

Unlike Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 migration, upgrading your site from Drupal 6 / 7 to Drupal 8 uses significantly different approach as a brand new site has to be built followed by the migration of configuration and content.

  1. Install a fresh copy of Drupal 8
  2. Migrate configuration and content : theorically it can be done with Migrate but there are many pitfalls on the way.