Making the Move to Drupal 9

Drupal Overview

There is no doubt Drupal 7 set a standard for building robust content management systems. It still powers some of the biggest websites in the world.

Since the introduction of Drupal 7 in 2011, the entire digital landscape has dramatically changed as far as how users access information on the web, with the biggest advance being the utilization of smartphones and tablets. Information is on the move, and websites are being adapted to facilitate a seamless user experience among these devices.

The fundamental technologies driving Drupal have not changed. It still runs on the PHP programming language, uses a MySQL database, and is Open Source. But a significant improvement comes with the implementation of Drupal 9 in the form of the way it renders HTML. It now uses a new HTML templating engine that affords the system awareness of what device is requesting the data.

Today, more focus than ever before is being placed on accessibility and 508 Compliance, and the strategies for incorporating these elements have become more defined. The demand for accessible websites is strong, even mandated by government and academic websites as a policy. Drupal 9 comes with basic accessibility already integrated into its very foundation. Additional assistance is available in the form of modules and a very active community of developers who make accessibility a priority when designing and building modules for Drupal.

Why Upgrade to Drupal 9 lifespan graphic

Migrating from Drupal 7 to 9

Moving from Drupal 7 to 9 first requires a good deal of planning. While migrating data out of the original database can be done, the structure of those databases needs to be considered. In many cases, there is not a direct, one-to-one path to follow. While many modules have been updated to take advantage of the advancements in Drupal, every migration requires examining the content and how it is structured in the particular database.

Content Audit

Starting with a content audit is the preferred method for beginning the transition process. It is part of the Discovery phase The Canton Group uses to conduct a digital inventory audit of what is available on the current site. The content audit gives you a bigger picture of the size of the migration ahead. Many organizations use the audit to:

  • Clean up relevant versus dated content
  • Identify images that should be updated
  • Review designs that allow for faster, responsive page loads

Data Migration

Once the audit has been conducted, we can look at the data that will move to the new database. Throughout our many years of migrating data, we have utilized several strategies based on client and project needs. One such strategy includes automating the process, which is typically the preferred method when a large volume of content is being migrated. While Drupal provides many tools for automated migration, The Canton Group offers Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA automates the migration process using the website interfaces. Our Discovery phase allows us to identify the right migration path for the project and configure it correctly.

Platform/Hosting Drupal

Additional consideration for migration includes the platform on which the site will sit. Our DevOps team supports many Drupal sites and is familiar with accommodating environmental changes required by Drupal. For example, making sure your site is running the recommended version of PHP or MySQL.

Moving from Drupal 7 to version 9 requires a partnership.

And this partnership is not solely based on technology. Throughout the migration, you will have choices to make. Our team is prepared to help you understand the breadth of options, identify associated risks, and develop a quality product that serves your needs and those of your users.

The Canton Group is an expert in Drupal development service aligning speed, agility, and technology to meet your business requirements, implement upgrades, and offer the best strategy to migrate from Drupal 7 or Drupal 8 to Drupal 9.

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