With the release of Drupal 8 in November the days were numbered for Drupal 6, as Drupal only supports the current and previous versions of Drupal at any time. Earlier this week the three-month support window for Drupal 6 ended and it reached end-of-life. This means that no more updates (security or otherwise) will released. As of this moment all Drupal 6 sites in production should be considered insecure.
Because of the massive changes in the underlying software when new versions come out, moving between major versions of Drupal is a non-trivial effort. Here are five tips to make your Drupal site migration go more smoothly.
Tip 1: Use the Drupal Migrate module
The Drupal Migrate module is an excellent module for moving content, users, and configuration into Drupal from other versions of Drupal and even from other platforms like WordPress.
Tip 2: Have a solid testing strategy
The secret to successful platform migrations is automation and testing (and sometimes both at the same time!). Make every part of the migration automated so you can run it, test, rinse, and repeat… and repeat, and repeat, and repeat, until it’s perfect.
Tip 3: Pause and rethink your digital strategy
It’s not about the technology or the content management system or the web site, really. It’s about what it’s always been about: people and experiences. Because of the time investment required for migration, a Drupal upgrade is a great opportunity to take a step back and rethink your go-forward digital strategy. Third & Grove’s strategy team conducts on-site innovation discovery labs with our clients to conduct just this kind of exercise.
Tip 4: Don’t implement Drupal the same way
Major Drupal versions are very different beasts, with different opinions and different workflows. Take stock of what worked well and what didn’t for your editorial team by collecting feedback from your marketers and researching the new standards implemented in the new version of Drupal.
Tip 5: Ask yourself if you need Drupal
Drupal is a best-of-breed enterprise content management system. Its strengths include a massive communal collection of freely available features, flexible content-modeling options, excellent security, and support for just about any third-party integration. There are plenty of use cases where Drupal is a great solution, but also lots where it isn’t. If organizational priorities have changed or the requirements are different, challenge your assumption that Drupal is the right choice and evaluate other platforms.