I am sure you are all aware that in November 2021 Drupal 7 was due to become "End of Life", however due to the Covid 19 crisis this was extended to November 28th 2022. However this has now been extended again, to November 1st 2023 and then reviewed annually. https://www.drupal.org/psa-2022-02-23
So this means you can forget about upgrades right?
Wrong. This just means that Drupal 7 will continue to get security updates for at least another year. However most development is now done in Drupal 9 so there will be more risk of modules becoming problematic or stopping working completely going forward. It does reduce the urgency but it doesn't change the need to upgrade completely.
So what does this mean then?
This just means that there is now a little bit longer before we have to update your sites from Drupal 7. Though the sooner this happens the better for everyone.
Drupal 9 and CiviCRM
Drupal 9 works extremely well with CiviCRM, the new Civi Entity and Webform integration are even better than Drupal 7. Also, all the Drupal development work in the community is based around Drupal 9 now, so this is where the new features will appear.
I don't want to use Drupal are there any other options?
There are two main options, one is called Backdrop. This is basically a new community led project, as Drupal is, that is based around Drupal 7. This should be a much simpler upgrade path and currently is being tested on over 70 sites in the CiviCRM community. For more information check out https://backdropcms.org/ However there is a risk that this becomes a dead fork as there is a lot less innovation and developer interest in working with this, so we don't recommend this route.
The other obvious option, and for some sites that are independent of the website or don't need any search functionality, is WordPress. This is a much simpler front end for web users but does limit what can be done. Forms work, but not as easily as in Drupal and you cannot have Views, as this isn't as well supported. For more information on WordPress click this link https://wordpress.org/
So what are the next steps:
The senior dev team has been doing a lot of work to get this upgrade process tested and standardised where possible and there has been some excellent progress. As always though, there are still some big challenges.
The Theme is still the big one, if you have a website. There is simple no migration path, however the plan is to use some simple themes that we can quickly install and style to look like your old site. Some sites may be quicker using this method, others might be too complex for this path though. Old modules. There are a lot of modules that are no longer supported in Drupal 9 and may not even be needed. So we would be looking at removing those wherever possible.
View and Webforms. The main bulk of the work. So firstly I'd recommend reviewing any webforms to see if they are still required and unpublish or delete them if not required. then check to see if the views you have are needed as well.
There are a couple of chargeable options to help you on this.
- We can start with a basic audit of your content, views, modules and so on.
- We can also offer a discovery workshop to help you work out the best next steps. This includes a 2 hour session with 2 of our team and up to 5 of your team, followed by a write up of the options and indicative pricing.