As the CMS of choice for several enterprises, Drupal has been immensely popular among big brands that feature websites of high pedigree and functionality. Naturally, many enterprises prefer to rely on an expert to employ the best strategies for Drupal migration to the latest version, which is Drupal 9. The platform‘s periodic upgrades have time and again allowed developers to leverage the best features of next-generation technologies coupled with an enhanced website experience. No wonder every company that hosts a Drupal website needs tips for Drupal migration in right earnest.
Drupal 7 is a popular version of the platform and is incorporated in several well-known websites spanning a broad spectrum of industries. With the end of the road of Drupal 7 ( imminent by November 2022), brands are now willing to migrate to Drupal 9 sooner than later. Some are wary about its potential pitfalls but rest assured, it all depends on how one can adhere to the following tips for Drupal 9 migration to ensure smoothness of the upgrade.
Essential Tips for Drupal 9 Migration
Since you are keen to migrate your website from your present Drupal 7 implementation to Drupal 9, the ideal path could be to migrate to Drupal 8 first so that there is not much effort in moving to Drupal 9. Migrate to Drupal 8 with the help of migration scripts after fulfilling the prerequisites and workflows for content & configuration. Choose one of the two approaches to get this done:
- Build an entirely new Drupal 9 website from scratch and migrate content OR
- Build a new Drupal 8.9 site with the same fields and migrate the existing content from Drupal 7. Then upgrade to Drupal 9.
Some Crucial Steps to Follow
- Organise architecture for source & destination sites before undergoing the migration plan.
- Rely on a migration planner that will query the database and create a pertinent Excel file for the plan.
- Allow the site capabilities to migrate along with the content automatically.
- Choose the standard contributed fields or choose a custom migration strategy if your existing site is built with a lot of custom code.
- Add Drush support for non-core fields, use migration processors, and lookup to ensure the correct entity to refer to.
- Investigate all platform requirements before migrating to Drupal 8 from older versions.
Best Strategies for Drupal 9 Migration
1. Ensure the Preparation Is Thorough:
Undertaking the migration process to Drupal 9 through Drupal 8 does involve a great deal of preparation with some preliminary steps. Update the Drupal 7 core to the latest version combined with its extensions. Have a backup handy of the present site before the migration process. The fresh installation for Drupal 8 should have migrated modules enabled and should be in a stable form.
2. Identify Content Structure and Modules:
Identify the structure and content types and the modules that need to be migrated with possible site configurations. Use the Migrate UI Drupal 8 module and choose the /upgrade path to automatically list the modules that cannot be migrated to Drupal 8. Install and enable Drupal 8 modules since they are not the same as in the previous version. The migration scripts should be built based on the data and content catalogue, then map the content types to the new platform version.
3. Use of the Drush Method for Drupal 8:
Utilise the method to act on commands for data migration with prompt status message delivery. Define the database connection details to connect the local development database and thus import data from Drupal 7. Use a manifest file and set up a migration set with the help of Migrate Manifest module. List them in random order but execute them based on perceived dependencies.
4. Upgrading the Site to Drupal 9:
After ensuring that the site is upgraded to Drupal 8, update the contributed modules to Drupal 9 themes. Use the contributed modules to upgrade them to Drupal 9 with patches when needed.
Ensure the code for custom themes is compatible with Drupal 9. Remove the deprecated APIs and use the Composer from Drupal 8 to manage relevant dependencies.
5. Skillset Is Critical to the Migration Process:
The migration exercise is hugely dependent on the skillset of your team of Drupal developers. They should be well versed with the newer versions of Drupal and its attributes. The migration will be smooth if they are capable of using the platform embedded with significant improvements. The team of Drupal developers needs to upgrade and update themselves with later versions of Drupal for performing a speedy process that could ensure a lower budget for the migration. Use a Drupal development agency as a partner who could understand your business workflows and have enough prior experience for the migration.
6. Consider Your Resources:
Set out a budget for the migration process. A detour through the Drupal 8 migration route could be pricey, but you could also opt for phased upgrades. Consider the factors like business goals and objectives and assess the design whether the site promises a great user experience or not.
7. Check for Relevant Feature Updates:
Before finalising the migration process:
- Perform a comprehensive audit and assess the content types fit for removal.
- Utilise the taxonomy that is futuristic and merge content types during the Drupal 9 upgrade.
- Check the additional features like the dynamic front-end that could help users.
- Assess the site as it leads through rigorous checks and balances.
- Consider that the Drupal 9 upgrade requires the site to be compatible with Drupal 8.8.x or 8.9.x versions.
Phased Approach for Successful Migration
Before you undertake website migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9, it is necessary to opt for a phased approach by first migrating to Drupal 8. A sound migration plan, team skillset, and experience with the latest versions will ensure successful Drupal migration always.