With Drupal 7 no longer the latest and greatest version of the popular content management system, and Drupal 8 being adopted twice as fast, is it time for you to upgrade already?
What does Drupal 8 mean for my Drupal 7 site?
Drupal 7 is currently the long-term support version of Drupal. This means Drupal 7 will continue to get bug fixes, security support and the occasional new feature. This will continue until Drupal 8 becomes the long-term support version.
With the vast majority of Drupal sites still using Drupal 7, it will be around for some time yet. Official support for D7 doesn’t end until Drupal 9 is officially released, which is more than likely to be at least a few years away.
So there is no requirement for upgrade and your site will continue to function, but if you are thinking about making the move then it depends on the type of site you have and your aims for it.
If you use a lot of custom modules then you’ll need to call your developer in and it could take some time. The more complex the site, the more difficult an upgrade to Drupal 8 will be. So unless you are considering a redesign or substantial overhaul of functionality then it might not be the best use of resources.
If you want to take advantage of the cool new features however and have a simple site that can rely on Drupal 8 core without the help of too many obscure modules, or you are planning that full makeover then upgrading is definitely the better option.
What does Drupal 8 mean for my end-user?
The way we search the internet has changed and Drupal 8 accounts for that. It’s mobile first approach allows for more responsive design and websites that automatically look good no matter what device your user is accessing it on. This is a preemptive, forward step away from the dangers of “one size fits all.”
Drupal 8 puts unprecedented power into the hands of the Content Editor. Content managers can navigate the site smoothly and use the new on-page editor quickly and with ease to revise text on any page without having to switch to the full edit form. Drafts are also much easier to create.
Drupal 8 ships with bucket-loads of field types in the core, thus taking its content structure capabilities up a notch. New field types like entity reference, link, date, e-mail, telephone, etc., aid content creation, and now you can attach fields to more content types, and also use to create custom contact forms.
Better site load speeds
Drupal 8 includes BigPipe caching as part of it’s core — a method for sending pages in a way that allows browsers to see them much faster. So developers can optimise the site load times for the end-user significantly.
If you like this, you should see my other stuff:
How to design websites with a 7.9% bounce rate
To hamburger or not to hamburger? Why it doesn’t matter