We’re working with a charity at the moment, moving them over from Sitecore to Drupal. It is a significant project, rebuilding the site and migrating all their content over to their new platform.
As you might be aware, Drupal 9 launched in early June. So why are we currently building this site in Drupal 8?
For those of you who have experience using Drupal, you’ll know that in previous versions of the platform, an upgrade from one version to another was a big job - a complete rebuild of the website and full content migration. So going from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 for instance was a major piece of work. If you’ve experienced this, you might think we’re mad to be currently building in Drupal 8, when it is reaching end of life in November next year.
Drupal’s innovation model
Released in 2015, the Drupal 8 release marked a significant shift in the process for improving Drupal - its “continuous innovation model”.
Prior to, and including Drupal 8, major Drupal releases put an emphasis on fundamental architectural changes. This meant that to upgrade from one version to another involved a complete rebuild of your website and a full content migration.
However, with the release of Drupal 8 and its continuous innovation model, this changed. The continuous innovation model enables frequent releases of new features, API additions and an easy upgrade path. As a result there are no longer any big architecture changes when upgrading from Drupal 8 onwards. There is no migration needed, and no need to build a new site, unless you want to.
As the founder of Drupal, Dries Buytaert himself puts it, "The big deal about Drupal 9 is that it shouldn't be a big deal."
So why not just build in Drupal 9 straight away?
First off, we started this project several weeks before Drupal 9 was launched and didn’t want to delay. Digital channels are obviously critical sources of funding and support for charities so the quicker they have a secure, robust and future-proofed site, the better.
But also, there is a little bit of catch up to be done, particularly in updating contributed modules to be Drupal 9 ready.
So, by building the site now, in Drupal 8, but with Drupal 9 readiness in mind, we’re giving the community time to catch up (whilst also helping to update contributed modules ourselves!). As we build, and grow closer to launching the site, Drupal 9 and contributed modules will have matured. Before launch we will upgrade the site to Drupal 9. This means that we won’t lose any time and can go full-force with the development of this build, but the site will be secure for years to come on a robust Drupal 9 platform.
Unsure how to proceed with your digital platform roadmap? Get in touch and we’ll happily advise you on your best steps forward. If you have any further queries about Drupal 9, take a look at our ‘Everything you need to know about Drupal 9’ guide.