Drupal 7, launched over a decade ago, is reportedly used by 52.2% of all websites using Drupal. But irrespective of this substantial user base, Drupal 7 will reach its End Of Life (EOL) on 28 November 2023, which means it will no longer get security updates or bug fixes.
Given that the EOL date is approaching soon, it makes sense for organizations dependent on Drupal 7 to decide on the next course of action. These organizations can:
- Stay on Drupal 7 using a long-term support provider
- Upgrade to Drupal 10
- Switch to a new CMS
Keep reading to determine which option makes the most sense for your organization.
Option 1: Staying On Drupal 7
Drupal 7 will be supported until 28 November 2023, and even after it, Drupal 7 websites will continue to exist. After the community stops supporting Drupal 7, a group of approved and vetted vendors will provide security updates for Drupal 7 core. The Drupal 7 Vendor Extended Support program will also provide a few modules.
Choosing to stick with Drupal 7 after its EOL is recommended for organizations needing more time to gather the resources required to upgrade or switch to a different CMS. Organizations must remember that this is a temporary solution, as with time, modules and integrations may stop working.
Websites stuck on Drupal 7 will also miss out on innovative new features. Because of this, organizations must be aware of answers to questions like 'when is drupal 7 end of life' and 'what to do next.'
Option 2: Upgrading From Drupal 7 To Drupal 10
Upgrading to Drupal 10 is a good option for organizations ready to use new functionalities and security features. A few benefits that can be experienced after this upgrade are:
As the end of life of Drupal 7 approaches, it will no longer receive security updates or bug fixes. This leaves Drupal 7 websites vulnerable to potential security threats and attacks. By upgrading to Drupal 10, websites will continue receiving ongoing security updates.
Improve User Experience
The user interface and general user experience have been improved in Drupal 9. This will further improve with Drupal 10 as the administration, and user themes will be brand-new, designed using cutting-edge frontend techniques with strict adherence to accessibility guidelines.
Drupal 10 improves performance through faster page load times and scalability. The Caching framework is completely redesigned, and all critical dependencies, such as PHP and Symfony, are upgraded to the latest version.
Superior Mobile User Experience
Drupal 10 includes responsive design features, making it easier to create mobile-friendly websites. It also has technical advancements, as Drupal 10 is built on the latest web technologies and uses modern PHP.
Drupal 10 allows better performance, easier updates, and compatibility with other software. Because of these reasons, upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 10 can help organizations attain digital maturity.
Option 3: Migrating From Drupal To Other Platforms
Migrating from Drupal to other platforms can be a cost-effective solution depending on the website. Organizations can use this opportunity to launch a complete brand refresh. But, if not carried out properly, this transition can be quite expensive and time-consuming.
This is why deciding to switch from Drupal to other platforms must be done with an effective implementation plan, which considers factors like budget, goals, and resources. Organizations can migrate from Drupal to platforms like WordPress and Contentful or opt for headless solutions.
Drupal To WordPress
Migrating from Drupal to WordPress is a good option for organizations that have plans to modify how their website is used. Switching to WordPress can be advantageous when organizations primarily require a user-friendly CMS and a website for ecommerce rather than just content.
But this migration can be complex without the right tools and techniques. The steps for carrying out a successful migration from Drupal 7 to WordPress are:
Back Up Drupal 7 Website
Before making any changes, it's important to back up the entire Drupal 7 website, including the database and files. The backup would be handy if one wishes to revert to Drupal 7. It will also act as a baseline for content migration.
Set Up WordPress
WordPress must be installed on a web hosting account. This can be done manually or using a one-click installer like Softaculous. For sophisticated websites, it is recommended to construct the website in a local development environment before hosting it.
Choose A Migration Plugin
Content can be transferred from Drupal 7 to WordPress by using a variety of plugins, including FG Drupal to WordPress and CMS2CMS plugins. Start by preparing a map between the source, Drupal 7, and the target, WordPress. If the migration is difficult, set up the necessary post types and taxonomies on the WordPress websites.
Export Drupal 7 Data
Export Drupal 7 data, including pages, posts, and media, into a format that can be imported into WordPress. The migration plugin selected during the previous step will typically have instructions on how to do this.
Import Drupal 7 Data Into WordPress
Next, import Drupal 7 data into WordPress using the migration plugin. The plugin will map Drupal 7 data to the appropriate WordPress fields and create the appropriate WordPress pages and posts.
Test The Website
Once the migration is complete, test the website to ensure that content has been transferred correctly and everything works properly.
Set Up Redirects
After migrating from Drupal 7 to WordPress, set up redirects to ensure old URLs point to the correct pages on the new WordPress website.
Developing a Headless application using Drupal consists of Drupal as a backend CMS for managing and storing content and a separate frontend framework like React or Angular to build the user interface. Converting an existing Drupal 7 website to a headless application will upgrade the website’s user experience to a new level.
Here's an overview of how a headless application can be developed using Drupal.
Set Up A Drupal Instance
Set up a Drupal instance to serve as the backend CMS for the headless application. This can be done on a personal server or using a Drupal hosting service.
Define Content Types And Fields
In Drupal, define the content types and fields that will store data. For example, there might be a content type for ‘articles’ with fields for ‘title,’ ‘body,’ and ‘image.’
Create And Manage Content
Once content types and fields are defined, start creating and managing content in Drupal.
Build The Frontend
The frontend of a headless application can be built using frameworks like React or Angular. The frontend will make API requests to Drupal to retrieve and render the content for users.
Use Drupal's REST API
Drupal includes a REST API that allows organizations to retrieve and manipulate content stored in Drupal. Using the REST API in the frontend code is recommended to retrieve content from Drupal and display it in the application.
Deploy And Test
Once the frontend is developed and integrated with Drupal, deploy the headless application and test it to ensure it works as expected.
Migrating To Contentful
Migrating from Drupal 7 to Contentful involves moving content from Drupal 7 to the Contentful CMS. Here are the steps to carry out this migration.
Export Drupal 7 Content
Export Drupal 7 content into a format that can be imported into Contentful. This can typically be done using a Drupal module like the Views Data Export module.
Create A Contentful Space
Create a Contentful space to store content.
Define Content Models
In Contentful, define content models that match Drupal 7 content types. These models will define the content fields, such as text and image fields.
Import Drupal 7 Content Into Contentful
Once Drupal 7 content is exported, and a Contentful space is created, import content into Contentful using the Contentful CLI or the Contentful API.
After content has been imported, test it in Contentful to ensure everything has been transferred correctly.
If a frontend framework like React or Angular displays content, ensure the code is updated to retrieve content from Contentful instead of Drupal 7.
Deploy And Test
Next, deploy the new headless application and test it to ensure it works as expected.
Any of these three options can make sense depending on an organization's requirements. For example, organizations that need more time to gather resources should stick with Drupal 7 by opting for additional support while creating a migration or upgrade plan.
Organizations that want to take advantage of new functionalities should upgrade to Drupal 10. And organizations that want to opt for more user-friendly options can consider migrating to platforms like WordPress, Contentful, or headless solutions.
Are you still unsure about what would work best for you?
The experts at Axelerant can help. Schedule a call to learn more.About the Author
Gaurav Kapoor, Senior Drupal Engineer
Gaurav is a storyteller. An Arsenal FC fan, he also enjoys reading Amish Tripathi's works on Hindu Mythology. He has been spending every Friday evening at his favorite bar for more than two years now. Need a dose of sarcasm? He is your guy!