Drupal 7 end of life was shortly approaching and previously scheduled for November 2021. However, due to the impact of COVID-19 on small business funding, Drupal has decided to extend the end of life for version 7. So why does this matter? This article will explore the benefits of the Drupal 7 end of life extension and how to begin preparation for Drupal 8.
What is included in Drupal 7?
Drupal 7 has been available since early 2011. Drupal 7 includes features that allow for easier content management for both website administrators and developers. Drupal 7 included many enhancements from the previous version including 600 themes, 11,000 modules, multi support features, and more.
Themes: For those new to Drupal, a theme is a set of files that help define the outward appearance and overall look and feel of a website. Unlike template designs and other website platforms, Drupal provides a vast array of customization options for both appearance and functionality, making it a very powerful development platform. This overview provides more detail on customization of Drupal themes.
Modules: While the theme relates more to the outward appearance of a website, a Drupal module is used to provide different functionalities for the site. A Drupal module is a collection of files (written in PHP), and the module code is what helps create new capability for functionality on a website. This overview provides additional details on Drupal modules.
What features does Drupal 8 have?
Drupal 8 was released in November 2015. Drupal 8 provides over 200 additional built-in features compared to Drupal 7 that allow for higher functionality and content customization. Below are some of the new features included in Drupal 8:
- Multi language features,
- New page editor for easier content adjustments,
- Improved security features,
- Faster performance,
- Additional field types,
- Better content management framework,
- Blog software,
- Additional community support,
- Allows for better long term scalability,
- Inclusion of the Twig Engine template, allowing for more customization of themes,
- Inclusion of the CKEditor for more text editing options, and
- Improved responsiveness that transitions a website seamlessly on any mobile or tablet device.
What are the major differences between Drupal 7 and Drupal 8?
Drupal 8 includes the Twig Engine Template, providing more theme customization
Drupal 8 has Symphony framework, making it more powerful than Drupal 7
Drupal 8 offers more multilingual options allowing it to support more languages
Drupal 8 includes the CKEditor, providing more text editing options
Drupal 8 offers 200 additional features compared to Drupal 7 including new modules and themes
Performance and Security:
Drupal 8 provides enhanced security and performance options
Why does the Drupal 7 end of life extension matter?
The transition from Drupal 7 to 8 is not a simple transition. Since Drupal is a highly customizable platform, many websites can not be simply updated to Drupal 8 without support from a website development team. Due to the economic impact of COVID 19, Drupal decided to extend the end of life of Drupal 7 an extra year to November 2022. They also decided to extend the community support through their vendor support program. These adjustments will give businesses plenty of time to adjust and prepare for an upgrade to Drupal 8.
While there is still plenty of time to upgrade to the latest version of the Drupal platform, we recommend not waiting too long as Drupal 7 will soon no longer be supported by the Drupal community.
Drupal 7 End of Life:
The Drupal community will no longer create new projects or fix bugs existing on Drupal 7
There will be no security support from the Drupal community, and may be flagged as an unsecure website to some visitors
The Drupal 7 end of life extension will help provide businesses with the extra time and support needed to make the transition to Drupal 8, but this extra time shouldn’t be wasted and should be used to plan and execute a smooth transition.
Have questions regarding the transition to Drupal 8? Alliance Interactive is a full service digital design and development company in Washington, D.C. We have over 17 years of experience providing Drupal website design, development, maintenance, and migration solutions for clients. To learn more, you can connect with our Drupal team of experts here.