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February 17, 2016

Ascend to Something Better: Move from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8

Thought by Ricardo Osuna, Director, Marketing Communications
Why Switch from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8

After months of anticipation, Drupal 8 is finally here. Our offices are already buzzing with questions: who will benefit the most from D8? How can all departments utilize the many features of D8 to get the most out of this powerful new platform? And what new best practices can we follow to ensure our sites last?

If you’re currently running a site on Drupal 6 and asking yourself if you should upgrade to Drupal 8, the answer is clear. It’s time to upgrade your Drupal 6 website to a new Drupal 8 website, and here’s why:


Drupal 6 is nearing the end of its life

You may have already heard that on February 24th 2016, Drupal 6 will reach end of life and no longer be supported. What does this mean for you? 

Your organization could be vulnerable to security risks, bugs, and more. Moving forward, the Drupal community will no longer create new Drupal 6 modules, fix bugs in existing D6 modules, and write documentation around Drupal 6, and there will be no more commits on Drupal 6.x to the official tree. In the future, update status may stop working for Drupal 6 sites as well.

Good news: upgrading your Drupal 6 site to Drupal 8 is easy! Drupal 8 core provides a Migration path directly from Drupal 6 as an experimental feature, so sites can update directly to Drupal 8 using either a user interface or with Drush. See Executing an Upgrade from Drupal 6/7 to Drupal 8 for more details. The Migrate feature will be fully supported in a later minor release of Drupal 8.


Drupal 8 is secure

One of the most important effects this will have on organizations is that Drupal’s security team will no longer provide support or Security Advisories for Drupal 6. FFW (and the Drupal community as a whole) strongly encourages anyone with a Drupal 6 site to upgrade to Drupal 8 because of its many advantages and secure framework.

Drupal 8 is a mature and highly-secure CMS framework, with a global community of experts and peer review processes dedicated to maintaining security. Community members from all around the world guarantee Drupal 8 is strong enough to mitigate common vulnerabilities. Some of the largest organizations in the world trust Drupal for its stable and well-supported platform that will keep sensitive information (such as user profiles, documents, and other data) secure and private at all times. 


Drupal 8 has countless advantages

Our FFW Center for Excellence recommends upgrading from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 because D8 offers a variety of new benefits that make the platform better than ever before. Drupal 8’s native web service integrations are mobile-driven (while Drupal itself serves as the data source), ensuring your stable D8 site looks great on any device. Drupal 8 also offers unmatched ‘future-proofing’, meaning your new Drupal 8 site is built to last. D8 is compatible with the most current versions of all major internet browsers and will remain compatible with future versions. But this is the best part: D8 is built with more widely-used coding practices than ever before, guaranteeing that the platform’s flexibility and scalability are accessible more developers and development teams than previous versions of Drupal.

By contrast, Drupal 6 is already incompatible with several prominent browsers. This shortcoming is due to outdated coding standards and markup that Drupal 6 supports. While Drupal 6 and 7 provide some core functionality with the standard installation, Drupal 8 is the first to offer unprecedented out-of-the-box capabilities that provide feature-rich websites without having to install, configure, and maintain numerous add-on modules to achieve the functionalities that matter most to your organization.

Still not convinced? Here are some more advantages to adopting Drupal 8:


Mobile-friendly, mobile-first 

All built-in themes in Drupal 8 are responsive, and administration pages are even designed for use on mobile devices. At last, data tables automatically scale according to screen size, eliminating the previous struggle for content editors working with Drupal 6, and even Drupal 7. This is a key feature for sites that report and distribute statistical data.

Easy in-place content editing

With the new editor functionality and bundled CKEditor WYSIWYG editor, Drupal 8 allows your to perform in-place content editing without ever having to load the full edit form.

More field types in core

Drupal 8 extends its signature content structuring system by including more field types in core and allowing fields to be attached to more types of content. You can also attach fields to forms to create custom contact forms.


We believe in Drupal 8

Did you know FFW launched our own website on Drupal 8? Our confidence in this new platform isn’t unprecedented; we have been involved in the development and refinement of D8 and supporting tools and modules throughout development. FFW is also currently in active development of several Drupal 8 projects with reputable clients, including a multilingual site for a publicly traded biomedical company and a new site for one of the largest open source organizations in the world.

One of our own Drupal 8 developers, Jesus Manuel Olivas, is the lead contributor to the Drupal Console project, a suite of tools that you run on a command line interface (CLI) to generate boilerplate code and interact with a Drupal 8 installation. 

We trust this platform, and we can’t wait to work with you to ensure your website is as stable, secure, and long-lasting as possible. Make sure to visit our events page to sign up for one of our free Drupal 8 trainings. Talk to us about how we can help you move from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any additional questions about D8.

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