Migrating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8

Drupal 8 is the biggest update in Drupal’s history. It introduced a lot of enhancements and content creation has become easier. It’s available in 100 languages and its integration tools make it a great hub for complex ecosystems.

Advantages of Drupal 8 over Drupal 7

Priority on mobile

Drupal 8 is specially designed to put mobile first. This includes full HTML5 support, responsive images, themes and tables and a mobile admin toolbar. With all these and more, mobile’s not just easy, it’s default.

High speeds

With the help of their new cache API and its associated tools, Drupal 8 allows the creation of high performance, top speed sites. This effect is further amplified by the default asset optimisation and front end architecture.

Views as a core module

Drupal 7 requires developers to to use views as modules. In Drupal 8, on the other hand, views are a core component, making work with views significantly easier and less time consuming. As developers can now access views directly from several administrator screens it’s become a lot easier to access and customise them without a need for extra time and effort.

Inline editor tool

Let’s be honest, editing was never Drupal 7’s strong suit. Drupal 8 is a different story though, its inline editing tool allows you to hover over an image or text block and edit right there. This makes editing a whole lot easier than the days of navigating to “Content” and trying to search for the page name.

Symfony framework

By adding Drupal module support onto the core layers of Symfony, Drupal 8 has achieved an excellent balance of organised custom modules, OOP styling, high speeds and an extremely flexible CMS layer.

Multilingual capabilities

With multi-language features ready to use from the get-go, Drupal 8 allows for easy and extensive localisation. Not only can it be installed in over 90 languages, it also contains four core modules aimed specifically at language support and translation.

REST API solution

The Drupal 8 core contains a ready made REST API making solution that doesn’t require any code to be written at all.

Secure

The security measures used in Drupal 8 protect against a range of attacks from CSRF to XSS and SQL injection. Secure API’s like the Database abstraction layer come as highly recommended and developers are encouraged to use them to insure against potential vulnerabilities and reduce the potential exposure to attacks.

Migration process

Drupal 8 includes modules to aid the migration process. In terms of structure and content, these make migration very quick and easy. An average site will likely take 1 to 2 hours to migrate the site structure and content.

Unfortunately, that’s not where the story ends. There can be some complications.

Migration difficulties

There’s no fixed process for migration of Views, which ends up meaning it can take several days to recreate your views and custom blocks (depending on the number of views you have on your site). You’ll also need to rewrite your theme to run with the new Drupal 8 template engine, which will likely take a few more days, even for a relatively small site (depending on the number of templates you use).

If you use any custom modules, these will also need to be written again in line with Drupal 8. This will be the hardest part of any migration process.

Reasons to migrate to Drupal 8

Despite those challenges, there are at least three big reasons why it’s preferable to start the migration process as soon as possible.

Investing in the future

It’s not a question if you’re going to do it, only of when you’re going to do it. If you’re committed to Drupal 7 now, at some stage you’re going to need to commit to Drupal 8. The sooner you invest in that change, the easier it will be and the sooner Drupal 8’s benefits will start having a knock-on effect on your site.

Speed up your website on desktop and mobile

High speed performance has come to be an expected part of most people’s browsing experience. If your site doesn’t keep up, it instantly detracts from the impression your visitors have of your business. Drupal 8’s speed optimisation tools ensure that from a technical standpoint, your site is fast, the experience is positive and your reputation is boosted.

Security

As well as ongoing business concerns about maintaining the security of one’s property, growing public and media attention on data security mean that the stakes have never been higher. Keeping up with the latest security developments has always been important, and Drupal 8 makes it significantly easier to make sure that your sites are covered.

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