To upgrade or to migrate? To keep supercharging your current Drupal 7 site with new cool features or to get it straight to the next league? A so much more than just another Drupal 7 vs Drupal 8 debate: it's a decision impacting your budget and future-proofing (or not) the enhancements that you're about to implement.

In this respect, our web development team in Toronto has done its best to “pile up” the crucial pros and cons for each one of the two paths that you're now challenged to choose from.

Think them through, give honest answers to all the strategically chosen questions included in our little “questionnaire” here and you'll find your (own) way of leveling up your website:

To Upgrade or to Migrate? And a Few Other Key Questions to Ask Yourself

So, here you are: facing the challenge of taking your Drupal 7 website to the next stage of its evolution! But which one is it: the upgrade phase or the migration one?

Now here are some preliminary questions to ask yourself right now. It's the answers to these particular questions that will weigh heavily, later on, on your decision-making process:

1. To what extent will this “maneuver” influence my website's stability, lifetime and level of flexibility?

An extra boost of flexibility, reflected in the “edit content on-the-go” functionality, or the perspective of ongoing support for many years to come will undoubtedly influence your decision!

2. Will my site's code get easier to maintain?

And this is a crucial question to be asking yourself at this phase of the whole decision-making process: how convenient will it be for your Drupal developers to maintain/update your site's code on a long term?

3. How many resources of time do I need to invest?

For time sure is money! How long will it take to implement those new enhancements on your website? Does it involve a lengthy training process for your team, as well?

4. How easy will it be for my administrators to manage content on my website?

A simplified content editing/publishing process is what will guarantee you an independent editorial team. Empower your editors and your site admins and you'll streamline all non-coding processes on your website!

With each question that you'll answer you'll be sketching your company's “specific context”. The one favoring either the upgrade or the migration way for ramping up your Drupal site!

Drupal 7 vs Drupal 8: Key Comparison Notes 

Does its “age” automatically give Drupal 7 an advantage over Drupal 8?

No doubt about it! Drupal 7 is now capable to “tempt” you with a heavier load of modules, stable modules and with a longer period of time that the Drupal community has spent constantly improving it.

And yet! Drupal 8, although “younger”, is taking advantage of Drupal 7's weaknesses and shortcomings. Basically, it's equipped with all the functionality that its predecessor lacked.

Speaking of which, here's what Drupal 8 brings new to the table:

  • top popular modules have been moved to core
  • an advanced, easy to handle configuration management system
  • mobile-friendly backend: jump on the “edit content on-the-go” trend
  • a new era for the “content as a service” movement, thanks to its API approach to content delivery
  • object-oriented code: by using Symfony and Twig Drupal 8 “surprises” you with a more logically structured code (do take into account, though, that your developers will have to be already familiar with object-oriented coding)
  • easier-to-edit content: the very essence of content management 
  • one-click code deployment: deploy your code faster and (therefore) as frequently as you have to
  • pre-built multilingual support: you no longer need to leverage a whole “fleet” of modules for supercharging your website with multilingual capabilities
  • ramped up performance and scalability: 2 enhancements you just can't underestimate especially if it's a large-scale, content-packed website that you own (one carrying a heavy ecosystem of third-party technologies “pomping” data into it) 
  • easier third-party integration

Your Final Decision Depends Greatly On...

  1. the number of custom-built elements on your current Drupal site: the more of them, the more complex (lengthy and pricey) moving it over to Drupal 8 will get
  2. the goals that you're aiming to achieve via your new enhancements: is it just a new basic feature (just a few hours' work) that you're planning to add or a major enhancement, which would justify the migration process?
  3. the “weight” of your Drupal 7 site's load of data: and its complexity, as well
  4. whether you have a standalone website or a multi-site: needless to add that you should have all your sites (if it's a “cluster” of sites that you own) running on the same version of Drupal 
  5. your company's resources of time and money: an upgrade of your current Drupal 7 website won't, indeed, impact your budget to the same extent as a migration process would 

Upgrade Your Current Drupal 7 Site If...

  1. it's mostly custom-built: it features custom modules, custom-made workflows which would take longer to recreate and to adjust to Drupal 8's particularities
  2. you need to have your new enhancement(s) up and running on your website in no time
  3. it's basic features only that you're planning to upgrade it with
  4. you're constrained by a tight budget: a factor which will weigh heavily in the Drupal 7 vs Drupal 8 balance

Make the Leap to Drupal 8 If...

  1. the specific workflow on your website depends greatly on a streamlined content editing process
  2. you need to make code deployments on a regular basis
  3. it's complex enhancements that you want to implement 
  4. your current Drupal 7 website is a low-complexity one
  5. the overall success of your upgrade strategy depends on high levels of performance and scalability
  6. you value the ongoing support which, well, the Drupal 7's support team will stop offering you at some point

So: Drupal 7 vs Drupal 8? Will you stick to the former or level up to the later? Which direction do our “questionnaire's” results point you in?            


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