Life after D7: The Why and How of upgrading to Drupal 9

By Ashish Goyal Apr 13, 2022

Armageddon was one of the highest-grossing sci-fi/action movies of 1998. The surreal plot based on ‘what if the world was about to end in the next 18 days?’ made viewers go wide-eyed and this movie, a classic summer blockbuster. The engaging factor about this movie was how the end-of-the-world was evaded by a bunch of blue-collar, deep-core drillers. The plot connected with millions because the news of the world’s end was not met with inaction but with the required action and valour. It showed people that by taking the necessary steps to survive an asteroid collision, the world could escape the said end-of-life (EOL).

Similarly, in the digital world, platforms and systems also run the risk of reaching their end of life. After serving their purpose, they also run out of upgrades and eventually become obsolete.  When they reach such a stage, they need constant support to be able to function as-is, which isn't always freely available. Without support, they become fragile, vulnerable, and susceptible to cyber threats. 

Customers and businesses in the digital world suffer from this technical dilemma of what will happen when the current tech comes to an end. So, what are the necessary steps they should take to survive the ‘end-of-life’ asteroid heading their way?

That is exactly what’s happening with Drupal 7. The solution is Drupal 9.

Drupal 7 EOL is imminent. What does that mean for you?

After having a great run of meticulously serving businesses for over a decade now, the magnificent Drupal 7 is officially going to be retired on 1 November 2023. But before we understand what D7 EOL means to its users, let's first understand what it means to have D7 up and running.

In a normal scenario where the D7 EOL is not looming over like the asteroid in Armageddon, it means that the Drupal community is guarding its users and customers against all online threats. Their dedicated team of security professionals is constantly watching out for all vulnerabilities that the core modules or the platform per se could be facing. In light of any such vulnerabilities, the security team immediately springs into action, post notification. They tend to the exposed code and restore balance. Finally, when the vulnerability is fixed, they send out an announcement to the wider community about the recent change and the required upgrade that everyone needs to make.

Now in the current scenario, the fast-approaching D7 EOL means that:

  • There will be no support from the community

  • There will be no more core updates available

  • Critical security issues will not be addressed

  • Contributed modules will no longer be tested and reviewed

  • D7 users have to heavily rely on internal resources to mend patches and tend to security vulnerabilities

  • Sites will become prone to hacking. Given the shocking data of about 30,000 sites being hacked globally every day, solid community support and robust security makes much more sense

Enter D9 - Your Drupal CMS Savior

Decreasing developer community support for D7 on one hand and the rising community support for D9 on the other makes D7 maintenance a rather tedious and costly affair for organizations. As D7 is shortly going to be obsolete, the Drupal community has therefore shifted its attention and focus to D9. With D9 offering access to the latest features and innovations, this Drupal CMS is the go-to solution, as it is more reliable, scalable, durable, resilient, integrable, and secure than ever before.

D9 retains the best traits of D8, but also delivers an improved authoring experience with Layout Builder. It is an API-first architecture that supports decoupled CMS, enhanced design capabilities with the TWIG templating engine, and new built-in web integrations. Also, as part of strategic initiatives for Drupal core, D9 offers a new front-end theme and automatic updates. Apart from all this, it is backward compatible, meaning no more complete re-platforming like in the case of D7 to D9, but only upgrades. Now during future releases of patches and updates, the upgrading experience will be seamless. Clients and users will not be asked to migrate as and when new versions are released.

With such great features and support already in place, businesses are adopting Drupal 9 at a rapid pace. The numbers throw light on the strength of D9 and the diminishing powers of D7/D8. When D9 was released, it went from 0 to 60,000 websites in only a month!  In comparison, D8 took 3 months to reach about 60,000 websites and D7 took about 7 months to reach the same milestone. Clearly, many organizations have recognized the benefits of D9 and have weaved it into the fabric of their business.

Sow the seeds of your Drupal 9 upgrade and migration

If your business is stuck in the middle of this transitional phase, which was extended due to the pandemic, or you still haven’t thought of migrating to D9, it's high time to reassess your digital business strategy and website plans. Also, you must be 100% sure that your next platform solution makes your business future-ready.

Of course, you still must be wondering about how or where to even begin. Not to worry; we have the answers to all your migration woes right here.

Stop waiting for judgment day, migrate now!

Organizations pause and course-correct themselves, as they realize that the right CMS technology can give them the much-needed edge over their competitors. Technology is changing and so is the way through which it is being consumed. Your CMS should empower you to deliver enhanced customer experiences and fast-track your digital transformation journey. Seize the opportunity and build the right launchpad for your innovative ideas. 

We can help you get started by auditing your site and help you pick the best-suited migration strategy for your business. To initiate your Drupal 9 migration journey, reach out to us now. We will make sure that you deftly dodge the Drupal 7 EOL asteroid.

Shared Success

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