We are living in a digital era, where online portals and e-commerce websites are ruling the roost. Every business wants an e-commerce solution, that can help them to reach out to millions of untapped customers and enhance their revenue potential.
However, if you are already in the e-commerce domain or planning to venture into it, then you should never undermine the vital role of technology that can help you meet all your business objectives.
Considering this fact, Drupal has emerged as a lucrative and capable solution for creating robust and scalable online stores with an attractive design that leads to intuition and engagement.
Drupal has proven to be the most reliable and popular CMS in the market, and it has become an ideal choice for startups and scaled organizations.
To run a successful business, you must take calculated risks that can help you generate rewarding outcomes. You can minimize the potential business risks by choosing Drupal CMS platform, as it offers the most reliable and trusted framework with utmost flexibility.
Well, that’s the reason why more organizations are planning to migrate to Drupal 9 to explore enormous possibilities for their business.
Why should you migrate to Drupal 9?
As Drupal 7 and 8 are approaching the end of life, it will be cumbersome to operate your websites and portals with these products, as you might encounter Drupal security or functionality issues in the future.
However, most of the websites are still running just fine on Drupal 7/8, but websites owners do realize that they have to migrate to Drupal 9 somewhere in the future. You may have some confusion about whether your organization should go for Drupal 9 migration.
So, here are 3 important reasons why you should consider migrating your existing website to Drupal 9:
- Drupal will no longer offer support and security advisories for older versions, which will wean the security of your websites and users.
- All the project pages developed by Drupal 7 and 8 will be flagged as ‘not supported’.
- Drupal 7 and 8 websites may be flagged as insecure in 3rd party scans, which will make 3rd party integration difficult.
What unique benefits does Drupal 9 offer to your Business?
Drupal acts as the backbone for your digital experiences, and it enables organizations to think ahead and implement next-generation strategies to transform their customer engagement. Drupal offers some unique benefits to businesses.
- Offers adequate Protection and Security
- Enables exceptional scalability
- Ensures content available to the widest possible audience
- Offers unimaginable possibilities due to Open-Source
- Enhances ease of content editing
- Provides class-leading customer experience
- Multilingual support helps businesses to speak the language of their global users
- Editors can create content once and publish it from anywhere
What’s New in Drupal 9?
You are planning to migrate to Drupal 9, but do you know how it is different from the previous versions and its competitors?
Drupal 9 offers some amazing features due to the robust framework and innovative technology it is based on. It is certainly an incremental upgrade from Drupal 8 as far as security, performance, innovative capabilities are concerned, although there is not a humongous change in the code.
Here we see what’s new in Drupal 9.
Better and Faster Performance –
Drupal 9 offers way better performance than its predecessors. It uses PHP version 7.3 that has improved the page loading speed and user experience.
It uses Symfony version-4 framework, which significantly reduces the time to create new modules and update the existing ones. Drupal 9 comes with a fresh theme engine, which makes it at least 15% faster than Drupal 8.
Cleaner Code Base –
Drupal 9 scores big as it doesn’t have any deprecated code. This ensures cleaner code for your solution once you migrate to Drupal 9.
Experts need to remove any deprecated codes from all modules while performing the migration. This makes the final product clean and ensures it offers top-notch performance for end-users.
Headless CMS –
Earlier the developers were using Drupal as a full-fledged platform solution. Drupal was used for developing both frontend and backend components, right from creating pages or displaying the dynamic content.
Drupal 9 has changed this approach completely, as it has transformed into a headless CMS.
Now developers can develop the backend content repository on Drupal while using other frameworks and technologies to build frontend elements.
Drupal ensures seamless communication of these front-end technologies with the backend via dedicated APIs (application programming interface).
Backward Compatibility –
There is a general concern among people while undergoing a migration, that whether they will be able to use modules, data, configurations, or previous Drupal version.
Well, Drupal 9 diffuses all such concerns, as it offers seamless backward compatibility with previous versions so that users can access the data and configuration without any hassles.
The promise of innovative features from Drupal 9.1 –
When Drupal 9 was launched, the developer communities did promise to roll out the next versions soon, and we have already got the Drupal 9.1 update.
Drupal 9.1 offers unprecedented features with an innovative Olivero frontend theme, that transforms the web experience like anything.
The Drupal communities are working relentlessly to develop additional capabilities so that organizations can avail exceptional business value.
Easy Upgrade Process –
Drupal 9 upgrade has been lauded for its simplicity and efficiency. Drupal has promised to toe a similar approach in the future; hence we can expect such simplicity in the upcoming releases.
Organizations would never have to re-platform their site, as it will be quite easier to upgrade with Drupal’s dynamic offerings.
Innovative Layout Builder –
Drupal 9 comes with an innovative and highly capable layout builder. Web development and Content creators can use the layout builder to create intuitive layouts for their websites.
Drupal used to come with the PlaceBlocks module approach, but Drupal 9 comes with Layout Builder which is known for its robust drag-n-drop abilities, that help content creators to develop and display content with ease.
Twig and Symfony Updates –
Drupal 9 offers exceptional 3rd party integration capabilities for Twig and Symfony. Drupal 9 uses the latest versions of Twig and Symfony, which helps developers and content creators to utilize the latest features and functionalities and transform a website into a full-fledged dynamic web portal.
Types of Migration: One-shot vs continuous
While developing a Drupal 9 migration roadmap, you must use either of the below migration approaches.
One-Shot migration –
In this approach, the source website’s snapshot is used to carry out the migration, as your fresh Drupal 9 website will be based on this snapshot.
Here, you are required to maintain both the existing and new Drupal 9 website, while the new website is being developed and launched.
This approach works when you don’t have a lot of user-generated data or when the website activity and traffic are minimal. Drupal provides several tools to execute migration update from the existing Drupal version to Drupal 9, which allow us to cleanly perform the migration.
This approach is easiest to perform and most cost-effective as well. However, you have to rebuild the Themes and Configurations such as Views.
This approach helps perform migration for straightforward websites, that are less on user data, configurations, and modules.
Continuous Migration –
This approach is highly recommended when you have abundant user activities and user-generated content on the website, and it is mandatory to preserve this information before switching to the new Drupal 9 website.
For example, an e-commerce site must preserve customer information, order details, and several other information while migrating to the new platform.
The biggest advantage of continuous migration is that data is visible throughout the development process. It allows developers to set up a pace of executing the continuous migrations so that you can keep the old and new sites in sync as far as user data is concerned.
Continuous migration also allows migration experts to compare the data throughout the process, which relieves most of the issues before going live with the new website.
Drupal 9 Migration – Best Strategies while building a Migration plan
While preparing the Drupal 9 migration plan, you must follow the below strategies :
Identify Modules and Content Structure –
You must Identify the modules, website configuration, and content structure that are lined up for migration. You should utilize the ‘Migrate UI Drupal 8’ tool and select the /upgrade path to list the modules that can’t be migrated to Drupal 9.
The migration scripts must be developed keeping the content catalog and data in mind, then content types must be mapped to the Drupal 9 platform.
Ensure thorough Preparation –
Undertaking the Drupal 9 migration involves a great level of preparation with some primary steps. In the case of your existing website on Drupal 7, you must ensure it must be incrementally upgraded to Drupal 8 along with its extensions.
You must take the backup of your existing website and new installation for Drupal 8 should be executed in a stable form.
Utilize the Drush Method for Drupal 8 –
You must define the database connection details, that can help you to connect with the local database and import data from previous Drupal versions.
Utilize a manifest file and build a migration set using Migrate Manifest module. You can list the migration set in arbitrary order while executing them while addressing the apparent dependencies.
Website Compatibility with Drupal 9 –
Once your website is migrated to the Drupal 8 version, you must upgrade the contributed modules to the themes of Drupal 9.
You must ensure that custom code themes must be compatible with Drupal 9. You have to eradicate the deprecated code, APIs, and manage dependencies by using the Composer from the Drupal 8 tool.
Identify the Skillset –
The Drupal 9 migration is reliant on the technical skillset of your developers. They must be familiar with the newer Drupal attributes and technical aspects.
Your Drupal 9 migration will be seamless if your developers are capable of utilizing the innovative features and improvements.
If possible, you must engage a resource who can comprehend your business processes and workflows. Experienced resources could be proved valuable while performing the migration.
Phased Approach for Successful Migration –
It is important to implement a phased migration approach to avail success. Before you migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9, it is necessary to migrate to Drupal 8 in an incremental fashion. A robust migration plan, adequate team experience, and skill set will guarantee fruitful Drupal migration.
Technical considerations while performing Drupal 9 Migration
You must keep a close eye on these aspects while migrating to Drupal 9, as missing any of these steps can jeopardize your website migration, which could lead to data and configuration loss, or may turn your website inaccessible for the end-users.
- Ensure your website is upgraded to the latest version of Drupal (8.8 or 8.9)
- The minimum system requirements such as supported PHP version, database extension, PHP extensions, cURL extension, and image library are readily available with the hosting environment before initiating the migration process.
- Identify and remove any deprecated code.
- Ensure that hosting tools must be upgraded to meet all the system requirements and remain compatible with Drupal 9.
- Move your website to maintenance mode during the migration process.
- Apply the new patches and codes and implement modifications to all the files involved.
- Ensure you update all the core dependencies.
- Update your website’s database and take your website off the maintenance mode.
Drupal 9 Migration Steps
Now once you have decided to perform Drupal 9 migration, you must follow the below process to execute it with finesse.
The Drupal migration steps include the following activities:
- Prepare and Analyze the source code
- Identifying the content that needs to be migrated
- Perform End to end testing
- Rollback and Re-Test if any issues are observed
- Release to the production environment
While these are the common steps to perform Drupal 9 migration. Now we will discuss how Drupal 9 migration could be performed on Drupal 7 and 8 versions.
Upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9
Step 1 – Detect and remove deprecated code: Run a command-line utility – drupal-check to identify the modules and deprecated code instances.
Step 2 – You can use Drupal 9 Readiness (GUI Tool) in the Drupal 8.8 version, it helps you to prepare for Drupal 9 migration.
Step 3 – Set up a Testing infrastructure to find and analyze the deprecated code.
Step 4 – Implement necessary and pre-requisite updates for Drupal 9 migration.
Step 5 – Update the depreciated code or substitute them with the ‘search and replace function for the Drupal 9 version.
However, it is important to understand that some deprecation needs complex and detailed processes. In that scenario, you will have to engage professional Drupal developers, who can help you tackle these technical issues.
Upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8
If your website is on Drupal 7, then you must migrate it incrementally. You must migrate to Drupal 8, then only eligible to migrate to Drupal 9.
Here are the steps to migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 :
Step 1: Take the backup of your website.
Step 2: Download the recent version of Drupal 8. You can also utilize the composer for Drupal 8 installation.
Step 3: Install and configure the Drupal 8 website on a local system. It will act as a destination site for the migration activity.
Step 4: Please ensure that Migrate, Migrate Drupal UI, and Migrate Drupal must be enabled in the Drupal 8 website.
Step 5: Access the “Extend” tab of your website and check all the modules available in the core, past that click on the ‘install’ button.
Step 6: Now open your web address and add /upgrade in the address bar, then follow the given instructions.
Step 7: Click on Continue, and then fill in the source database information.
Step 8: Once the system validates the database credentials, you will see the upgrade review page, which displays a status summary of all the installed modules on your old website.
Step 9: Review the modules that are not going to be upgraded, and ensure your website is capable to work without them. Please don’t move further without installing the missing modules of Drupal 8.
Step 10: Click on the ‘Perform Upgrade’ button to initiate the migration process.
The migration process may take a longer time based on the type and size of configuration settings and data on your source website. Once it is completed, you will be directed to the front page of the website, where the result of your migration will be visible.
Drupal 9 Migration – Challenges you may encounter
You may encounter the following challenges while taking the Drupal 9 migration steps.
Although with Drupal 9, we are expecting to have a negligible dependency on deprecated code, though that is not always possible.
Hence, you need to engage more developers, who have to put a lot of effort to identify and fix the deprecated code and ensure the final code is compatible with Drupal 9.
While most of the contrib modules are compatible with Drupal 9, but for some instances, you have to put manual efforts to update them, which is indeed a time-consuming activity.
Your entire migration activity will turn futile if the hosting environments are incompatible. Hence, before moving any further, you must verify if the hosting environment is compatible, and you must validate all the updates carried out while switching to Drupal 9.
One of the biggest challenges you may encounter while porting the features. In most cases, web owners force the code to be abandoned away from the deprecated functions and libraries, which are supposed to be eliminated anyway. As an outcome, the transition could be challenging based on the website’s code.
As older Drupal versions are going to be end-of-life, organizations are looking for a credible option that can keep them competitive in this ever-changing and dynamic technology paradigm. Using older versions can lead to lagging performance and security threats, that may disengage the users and loss of revenue as well.
Amid such a situation, Drupal 9 comes as a boon for organizations, as it offers the right set of features and functionalities. Here we must understand that every business is different, their websites have a different purpose and have slightly dissimilar organic growth paths. That’s the reason why everyone performs migration for different reasons under specific circumstances.
So, instead of adhering to a gold standard migration approach, you must carry out a thorough analysis before implementing a migration plan according to your business requirements, as that will help you overcome the challenges you encounter along the way.
For a seamless and easy Drupal 9 migration, you can consult our Drupal Experts, and rest assured to get the pathbreaking solution with innovative features and functionalities without causing any hassles to your existing setup.
Let’s build something great together!
Just take one step forward and we can build history.
Want to build something good for the business but still good for the customers?