Drupal 8: Should I Upgrade?

Though Drupal 8 is much improved, it certainly doesn’t render Drupal 7 useless. We think there’s still a place for Drupal 7, and there probably will be for quite a while to come.

It’s a great time for Drupal, with the impending release of Drupal 8 just days away (November 19, 2015, in case you didn’t get the memo). After several long years of development, and with contributions from over 3,200 members of the Drupal community, Drupal’s codebase has been rebuilt from the ground up to be more powerful and versatile than ever.

On the official Drupal 8 page on drupal.org, it’s noted that the new major release of the world’s leading open source CMS includes more than 200 new features and improvements. Among the top new additions are enhanced mobile capabilities out-the-box, Views now enhanced and included in core, and effortless front-end editing. There’s so much to love about Drupal 8, and though tools for developers and API integration are now much advanced, it’s never been easier to navigate through the CMS’s administration interface and manage content.

Though D8 is much improved, it certainly doesn’t render Drupal 7 useless. We think there’s still a place for Drupal 7, and there probably will be for a while to come!

Here’s what we have to think about the effects of Drupal 8’s release on the much-loved Drupal 7.

Module Support is Stronger for Drupal 7

Currently, there is greater module support offered for Drupal 7. If your site utilizes a large number of modules, it’s possible that a number of these won’t currently be available for the upcoming release. For module developers who have begun porting their modules to D8, as of the present time, most of these are development releases, which means that they could be unstable or contain usability issues or vulnerabilities. We can expect that within several months of Drupal 8’s official release, the number of stable Drupal 8 modules will gradually increase, but for now, Drupal 7 modules are more likely to be secure, well-tested, and feature-rich. For some modules, it may take many months before porting to D8 is complete, so be sure to research available equivalents for Drupal 8 before making the decision to migrate.

Bluespark has a great page featuring the top 100 contributed Drupal modules for Drupal 8, and their current development status.

There are More Themes Available for Drupal 7

During the development of Drupal 8, a lot of things were constantly changing, which prohibited the release of stable themes for the upcoming version of Drupal. Now that Release Candidate 2 is available, and Drupal has announced that D8 will be officially released on November 19 (2015), more premium (and free!) themes are expected to be released over the forthcoming months. However, for now, there are hundreds of free and premium themes available for Drupal 7, offering a wide choice for site builders, designers, and developers.

Drupal 7 Core is More Stable than Drupal 8

As can be expected with a new major release of any software, there is a strong possibility of yet-undiscovered bugs and performance issues with Drupal 8. Of course, as a larger number of sites adopt the new release, any bugs will be weeded out and pragmatically over a period of weeks and months. Drupal 7 has been in development since 2008, and has since grown to become a mature, secure, and highly stable content management system, with a great ecosystem surrounding it.

Although Drupal 8 will be released in merely a matter of days, it may take several months before any undiscovered teething problems are identified and resolved.

There’s Still a Place for Drupal 7

As a mature CMS, with years of development behind it and a strong community, not to mention tens of thousands of contributed modules available for free via drupal.org, Drupal 7 is still a wise choice for new projects, and will be for quite some time.

If your project utilizes a large number of contributed modules, or you rely on support of premium themes, there’s no reason not to continue using Drupal 7 for several years to come. After all, official support for D7 doesn’t end until Drupal 9 is officially released, which is more than likely to be at least a few years away.

If you are currently on Drupal 6, however, official support is coming to end, and as such it’s recommended that you begin planning your upgrade to either Drupal 7 or 8 in the near future.

We like a lot about the new and improved Drupal 8, including the revised template engine and the introduction of Views into core. We will be porting some of our existing Drupal 7 themes to ensure compatibility with Drupal 8 in the near future, and these updates will be available to those who have already purchased Drupal 7 versions of our themes.

We’re looking forward to the prosperous future ahead of Drupal with this new release, but will definitely continue to support Drupal 7 for at least a few years to come.

What do you think? Will you be migrating to Drupal 8 soon?