At Marker Seven, our engineering approach embodies the concepts of Open-Source Software. We believe in the collective fostering of growth in web technologies, which is why for the last 12+ years we have been an active member of the Drupal Open-Source community. We have served as contributors, hosts, and sponsors for community events such as local Drupal Users Group meet-ups, BADcamp and the national DrupalCon.
With such a long history working with Drupal as a framework, we’ve skillfully navigated upgrades for our clients as they have moved between Drupal 5, 6, 7, 8 and now 9. In our experience, the structural differences between Drupal 7 and Drupal 8/9 are extreme and require careful planning for a successful migration. At the heart of the challenge is Drupal’s move to utilizing the Symfony framework and Twig templating. Our engineering team is well versed in both; we have worked with them in the context of Drupal development as well as custom non-Drupal implementations.
The major difference between Drupal 8 and 9 is that Drupal 9 is on a new version of Symfony and Twig. It is a cleaner and more modern version in web development terms. It's also worth noting that Drupal 10 is on the horizon, and the technology intends to continue utilizing and upgrading versions of Symfony and Twig.
In a migration from Drupal 7 to 8 or 9 we have identified general key takeaways to keep in mind:
- Templating upgrades to Twig in Drupal 8/9 would mean that any existing Drupal 7 templates would need to be rebuilt.
- Many Drupal 7 Contributor modules do not have an equivalent or smooth upgrade path to Drupal 8/9. Suitable substitutes will need to be identified or implemented as custom code.
- Fortunately, many of the widely used Drupal 7 Contributor modules have been made available as core functionality in Drupal 8/9. Custom modules will need to be assessed in terms of their function and whether a full rebuild will be required. This is particularly important for those that leverage Drupal 7 hooks.
- Databased stored configurations and content can be migrated through Migrate Drupal (a Contributor module). However, it is important to keep in mind this generally gets us about 70% of the way there. Often the last 30% will need to be done by custom-built APIs.
- In some cases, particularly with implementations that are heavily customized, it may be best to do the migration effort entirely through custom-built APIs.
Our team is actively ramping up on Drupal 10, targeted in June 2022, as we are receiving a lot of interst on this platform upgrade.
To learn more about these projects, watch this space for site launch news, or contact us today to discuss your own migration needs. You’ll be in good hands.