Why are Drupal sites being built with Drupal 7 in 2019?

It’s sensible to assume that Drupal 7 would have become less appealing a choice compared to its newer counterpart, especially now that it’s been several years. But there are still many reasons that developers choose to use the much-loved Drupal 7 over Drupal 8 in 2019.

Using Drupal 7

It’s been a few years since Drupal 8 saw its first official release. By now, the Drupal community is well into playing catch up, with many of the most popular contributed modules now ported to and supported by the latest version of the CMS.

That being said, there are still many new websites being built with Drupal 7 in 2019, and this raises the question — why are so many sites still being built using Drupal 7, instead of Drupal 8?

It’s a good question.

Understandably, you may have thought that with a new and much-improved version of the software, Drupal 7 would have by now unanimously lost support by the millions who make up the Drupal community.

It’s sensible to assume that Drupal 7 would have become less appealing a choice compared to its newer counterpart, especially now that it’s been several years.

But there are still many reasons that developers and businesses alike choose to use the much-loved Drupal 7 over Drupal 8 in 2019.

One of the most prevalent reasons for this is the sheer number of contributed modules that are still available for Drupal 7 so many years since its release.

A huge number of these modules are not yet ported to Drupal 8, and potentially may never be. We can’t speak on the future with definitive certainty, but it doesn’t take much to identify that this is indeed the current state of affairs.

As a very established, and still widely used software, Drupal 7 was perhaps one of the most famous and most-cherished versions of Drupal, taken up by so many websites running the CMS. Drupal 7 was and still is, powering millions of websites across the world.

Drupal 8 is, quite rightly, a complete rewrite of the content management system, integrating new technologies and utterly changing how the software works and behaves under-the-hood.

Quite simply, many businesses are just not ready to yet adopt these changes in technology, and even with the innovation and advancements they bring.

There are a variety of reasons for this, which we’ll explore later.

Some businesses may find that Drupal 7 is simply a better fit for their current requirements, in terms of integrating the CMS into their own bespoke or third-party applications. One of the key reasons for this is Drupal 7’s key reliability on traditional PHP.

Drupal 8 has replaced a lot of this technology with the Symfony framework, changing the way modules and themes are coded using Twig.

Many developers may find that, at this point in time at least, this doesn’t work quite as well for their projects as plain old PHP.

Additionally, there may be other dependencies which developers also have to consider, besides the Drupal website itself.

Drupal 7 is still and will remain, a very powerful piece of software.

A lot can be accomplished with it in much the same way that Drupal 8 is able to achieve dynamic, intricately complex results.

In fact, it’s only since Drupal 8.6 that upgrading from previous versions of Drupal has become easier. For this reason, it takes time for websites and projects built with earlier versions of Drupal to catch up.

Moreover, Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 now have two slightly different demographics for use and adoption.

Drupal 8 has definitely overtaken Drupal 7 in terms of out-the-box feature availability and complexity of API support and integration, which allows sites built on the CMS to perform and function in ways that Drupal 7 never quite allowed for by design.

The way that Drupal 8 has been written will now allow for pleasant forward compatibility with a host of very modern technologies, which will undoubtedly become increasingly more prevalent in the web, app, and software development worlds.

Drupal 7 currently has its strengths in allowing developers to build upon it as primarily a website content management system, letting it deliver powerful experiences to users from within the browser.

Drupal 8, on the other hand, boasts greater flexibility and is capable of performing as a completely headless CMS, in a way that Drupal 7 largely lacks. More inflexible, Drupal 7 is a great choice when you aren’t tasked with using Drupal as a headless content management system.

As great as Drupal 7 is, admittedly it is lacking in many of the areas that Drupal 8 outperforms.

If you’re looking to use Drupal as an intricate content management framework, making use of innovative technologies or to build headless solutions, Drupal 8 is probably the way forward.

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