Drupal 7 EOL (End-of-Life) is Years Away

By Famartin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Let's clear up some misconceptions about when to and when NOT to migrate to Drupal 8

I'm writing this post to clear up some misconceptions that we've noticed some website owners have.

We were recently approached by a customer who loved their new responsive Drupal 7 site, but the firm that built it was not being so responsive when it came to ongoing support. The client needed help figuring out everyday tasks like adding photos, video, etc. They also wanted to make some cosmetic improvements, and add a blog. They went shopping around for Drupal support firms, and called us.

During the call, the client let slip that some of the firms they talked to had informed them they would need to move to Drupal 8. I told this customer this is a load of nonsense and a few days later she called back, relieved they would not need to spend a heap of money on migrating to Drupal 8 any time soon. It was surprising and disheartening to hear such bad advice being given to customers. 

Why migrating from Drupal 7 to 8 makes no sense in this case

If you only need some cosmetic changes and maybe a new content type or two, stick with Drupal 7. There's simply no need to switch to 8 for that. Drupal 7 is in LTS (long term support) and won't get new features, but will continue to get bug fixes security support. Drupal 7 will get bug fixes and security support until Drupal 8 becomes the Long Term Support version, and that won't happen until Drupal 9 is in Long Term Support, which won't happen until 2019 or 2020 at the earliest. I would be pretty surprised if it happens as soon as 2019, though.

When would migrating from Drupal 7 to 8 make sense, then?

  • When your site needs major new functionality and not just cosmetic changes.
  • If Drupal 9 LTS is around the corner (2019 or later).
  • If you want to take advantage of Drupal 8's superior offering of functionality, e.g. web services, "features" (a.k.a. Configuration Synchronization), accessibility improvements, improved performance, and more.
  • If you're ready for a major site overhaul. 

Long story short, moving from Drupal 7 to 8 is not a small task, and should only really be considered with sufficient justification. Of course, it would be a good idea to move to Drupal 8 before you become forced to do so due to an impending Drupal 9 release. The good news is that you have a few years to get ready for this, and there is no reason to hastily switch to 8 immediately if your current site is working well for you. 

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