Drupal 6 migration to Drupal 7

kgee's picture

Upgrades. Everyone has to do them from time to time. Whether the upgrade is triggered by a dying support cycle, security flaws, architectural improvements, or even just a desire to be on the bleeding edge, migrating a large amount of content can be a hassle.

In the reading I've been doing, it seems Drupal is pretty awesome at upgrading content in the core components between versions, yet there are many headaches when moving third party modules (or even worse, complex custom in-house modules that integrate with other third party services within your network) and even themes and custom appearance hacks.

Just to test the waters and see where everyone is at, what version of Drupal do you have deployed? What are the pitfalls you have come across in terms of migration? I have personally seen theme issues come up when custom javascript navigation bars have come into play, and I have been looking at themes categorized as 'responsive themes', which means extremely scalable, allowing mobile clients to view the site without too much trouble.

Comments

What Drupal site(s) do you maintain from Thunder Bay?

mmetcalf's picture

It would be great to connect with other people working with Drupal in Thunder Bay and area. Been doing some reading lately regarding upgrading from D6 to D7. I initially assumed this would be a easy, straight forward process, but there appears to be quite a lot involved in upgrading core. There are apparently some tools to help, but complicated regardless. The plans for D8 appear to be what lots of people need/want with a heavy focus on mobile feature and integration in core if things go according to plan.

Murray

Migration and Outsourcing.

kgee's picture

as ttronslien mentions, when it comes to migration many D6'ers are waiting for D8. Personally, I find D7 is just beginning to feel 'polished and usable' now, so it may be a while until D8 is ready, even after the initial release.

The migration tools in D7 should help out, but since you mentioned them I assume they are not working as well as you had hoped... I figured the core components would transfer well, even if the custom database bits and third-party modules had trouble post-transition. Are you saying that even the core update is troublesome?

As for other CMS's, Joomla is well-used. Wordpress is easy to use, but also very simple. If you want complex features, you will end up re-inventing the wheel and making your own custom CMS.

As for using someone else's in-house custom CMS, I find that support drops off the face of the earth once the developers finish taking your money and move on to the next project. Whats even worse, at that point you cant even take control of the project yourself, as all your data is locked behind their closed gates. If you were to outsource a project, at least be sure they are using open technologies. That way, when they are unavailable yourself or another third party group can take over their position.

D7 and documentation

ttronslien's picture

As I'm learning Drupal just now I've been using Google extensively to find answers and I have to say, many, many results and answers are based on Drupal 6 - which may speak to what you are saying, that D7 is just now really being polished.

I totally agree with you on the other two points as well.

"I've never tried it before, so I'm sure I can do it!"
- Pippi Longstocking

Drupal 7

ttronslien's picture

At Lakehead University we are in the process of implementing our first Drupal site - with Drupal 7. I went to DrupalCon in Denver earlier this year and there were a few sessions that mentioned Drupal 6 to 7 migration and how challenging this could be. It sounded like some were even planning to skip 7 and jump straight to 8, but I did not get a sense of tools, challenges etc.

"I've never tried it before, so I'm sure I can do it!"
- Pippi Longstocking

Drupal 7 vs other options

mmetcalf's picture

What influenced your choice for Drupal? Did you investigate many other CMS's such as WordPress, or Joomla, etc.? What about commercial software options? Also there is a local CMS company ... Sencia. Not sure they would have everything needed to run a large site?

How's development going? Any anticipated date for launch yet?

Did you find DrupalCon a worthwhile experience? Did you get an opportunity to make any good connections there?

Murray

Why Drupal

ttronslien's picture

A number of factors influenced the choice of Drupal

  • The answer from other Canadian Universities that had already moved to Drupal in the last few years when asked, “would you choose Drupal again,” the answer was simply - Yes!

  • We did not only need a content management system, we needed a system that could support continuous growth and request for new services/functions. This is where both Wordpress and Joomla in my opinion fall short (and commercial products in terms of cost and support.) The University website being so large and complex it seemed Drupal was the best tool to support our work. There seems to be a discussion whether Drupal is a CMS or Framework. I call it a Framwork for us as developers and a CMS to our site administrators – which to me is a perfect fit.

  • Available Resources/Support. The many resources available online through documentation and generous volunteers and contributors provides a sea of opportunities. Of course, we are also looking at how we can contribute back.

  • Cost and cost efficiency – which I think answers a couple of your other questions. BTW Korkola Design also offers a CMS

Development is going really well; with a small team I’d say we have achieved great results. We will assess the feedback from the beta testing, which is currently taking place before an official launch date is set, however, we are aiming for this side of the calendar year. Having over 200 website on the domain this is a large project and we anticipate that the migration will be completed 12 months from the launch date.

The most important part of the project is however what went into the work before we choose Drupal. Extensive stakeholder and user interviews and usability study, and iterations of design and IA were conducted before we started developing anything – which also in part why we chose Drupal - we needed a system that could support what we are trying to achieve.

Both Canadian and US post-secondary institutions were very well represented (as was US government and private industry,) so yes, DrupalCon was well worth the trip and I will make an effort to make it to Portland next year. Most sessions I attended had value. Speakers and participants were willing to share. We went there with a set of questions and most were answered either during a presentation, a BOF or via conversations. Lasting connections were made, that’s for sure.

"I've never tried it before, so I'm sure I can do it!"
- Pippi Longstocking

Framework out of a CMS

kgee's picture

I have to echo the part where you mention Drupal goes beyond the role of CMS and creates an entire framework. My depth-of knowledge on drupal module building is a little slim, but I've noticed that PEAR and drush tools combined with drupal7 core itself really bring the feel of an enterprise-level software and provisioning workbench.

Just today I was reading the drush man pages and see that it has support for synchronizing the update cycle of multiple sites. Neat!