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9 reasons to upgrade to Drupal 9 or 10 from Drupal 7

The end-of-life date for Drupal 7 is approaching. Here are 9 reasons to upgrade to Drupal 9 or 10 now. 

One of the key reasons Drupal has been successful is we have always made big, forward-looking changes. As a result, Drupal is one of very few CMS platforms that has stayed relevant for 20 years.

Dries Buytaert
Drupal Founder and Project Leader

The end-of-life date for Drupal 7 was originally announced as being November 2021 but this was later extended to November 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you have a site that is running on Drupal 7, it is now time to start planning your upgrade to Drupal 9 or 10.

What's the difference between Drupal 9 and Drupal 10?

Drupal 9 was released in June 2020 (see our blog on our own Drupal 9 upgrade here), and has continued the Drupal 8 trajectory which saw over 200 new features added!

Drupal 9 comes with many additional new features and security upgrades. This upgrade was the most innovative and user-friendly version of Drupal yet, especially as it provides some neat improvements for site builders and developers.  

Drupal 10 was released in December 2022, and came with even more benefits. However, at the time of writing, there are still some Drupal modules that aren't yet fully compatible with Drupal 10. That's why we recommend upgrading to Drupal 9 immediately and then to Drupal 10 later when all the modules you want to use are working well with Drupal 10. 

Don't panic though - this doesn't mean you have to do two big upgrades in quick succession. Moving on from Drupal 7 requires a rebuild, but going from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10 should be very quick and smooth. For most of our clients we'll take care of their move to Drupal 10 as a part of our support contracts at no additional cost to them.

Your #Drupal7 site is still working, so why do you need to upgrade now? Here are 9 reasons.

At SystemSeed, we are ready to support organizations as they make the upgrade, and have taken our time to share with you the top 9 benefits of upgrading to Drupal 9:

1. A More Secure CMS:

A Content Management System (CMS) is software that helps organizations with creating and modifying their website content.

Thousands of Drupal community members are continuously testing the Drupal platform, which keeps it extremely secure and makes it the CMS of choice when it comes to managing large amounts of highly structured data.

A large number of high-profile businesses (think Fortune 500s), as well as many national governments, and NGOs like the UN, have chosen to use Drupal, because of its reputation of being the safest CMS system out there.

Drupal 9s layout builder is highly visual

2. Built-in layout tools:

Drupal's Layout Builder now allows content editors to easily build and modify pages visually using drag-and-drop, meaning website content editors will now have the ability to manage many layout management needs themselves without relying on developers.

This unique tool caters to layouts for templated content and customization of templated layouts. For further information, take a look at our article on how to use the Layout Builder, here.

We work closely with our clients on design and UX to create a set of templates that they can work with directly and also provide guidance on how to best use Layout Builder to make changes further down the line. It's a positive partnership approach that allows client budgets to be spent more effectively over the course of a project.

3. Mobile responsiveness:

Being mobile responsive is so important for user experience and accessibility. With Drupal 9, each view has been thoughtfully designed to keep mobile accessibility in mind.

For example, the administrative interface is now fully responsive and allows for a seamless content management experience, from a wide array of devices. So if your website content manager is away from their desk, it's still easy for them to post an urgent update from their tablet or mobile phone.

Drupal 9 is perfectly suited to an Agile workflow. This diagram shows how we do Agile at SystemSeed.

4. Agile workflows:

With an increasing amount of businesses using Agile methodologies for their project management, adopting an Agile workflow process has never been more popular, and Drupal 9 is particularly well suited to an agile project approach.

Agile encourages a rapid and flexible response to change, placing particular emphasis on individuals and interactions over processes and tools, working software over extensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation and responding to change over following a plan. You can find out more about our Agile Web & App Development practices here.

We see that we can deploy more smoothly and quickly in Drupal 9 through our multi-dev approach, which means that different developers can be working on different user stories at the same time. 

5. Built-in HTML5 support:

Drupal 9 now leverages HTML5 to provide additional support for libraries, accessibility enhancements, and enhanced base themes.

For example, the simpler HTML5 base theme allows users to develop a single-page website quicker as it provides a cleaner and simplified code and file structure.

6. Improved performance:

Website performance refers to how quickly a website loads on a web browser, as well as the quality of the website’s usability, interactivity, and reliability. Website performance really is key to your organization's success! Nobody enjoys a website that is slow to load, and websites with better performance have improved SEO, conversion rates and provide an overall better user experience.

Drupal 9 comes with enhanced performance results, which can be seen with the newer and quicker CMS release.

Additional key contributors to improved performance in Drupal 9 are the upgrades in Symfony and Twig. Twig is the new theme engine, which is 15% faster than the one used in Drupal 8.

This platform for the World Health Organisation and Unicef uses Drupal 9s multilingual capacities and has a sticky language switcher in the top right of the screen

7. Multilingual capacity out-of-the-box:

Deutsch, čeština, español? Drupal 9 now has most of the interfaces translated, offering improved multilingual capabilities. This is great news! Why? Because when your website content is localised to the user, you provide a much more personalised experience, which in turn will improve customer engagement, SEO and higher conversions.

Drupal 9’s multi-linguistic support also provides great benefits for both the site administrators and end users. Once you have configured multiple languages, you will then be able to easily apply them to various types of content across your website - including the admin views used by your content managers.

8. Built-in media library:

The new Drupal 9 Media Library is a media management tool that enables users to easily upload, search, and insert documents, videos, and images to your site. Media types that are available to import are as follows:

  • File: txt, doc, docx, pdf, xlsx, zip
  • Image: png, gif, jpg, jpeg
  • Video File: can be imported from YouTube or Vimeo

The enhanced media library makes it much easier to find existing media items, which is especially useful and time-saving for websites that have a large amount of content.

9. Better user experience all-round:

With Drupal 9, there have been many improvements made to the overall user experience. For example, one focus has been to improve user experience for first-time admin users, which will make it easier for first time users to experience Drupal in a context that is applicable to them.

The Drupal admin theme has been inspired by Material Design, which was created by Google. Material Design improves the user experience, as it standardizes everything and makes content more accessible.

Take a look at the case study, “Drupal 9 and MaterialBase for SystemSeed.com”, we wrote for Drupal.org about the ongoing development of Material Base - our base theme for Drupal which uses Material Design.

A final note

In summary, the Drupal community continues to support businesses with their content management through regular upgrades and improvements. With Drupal 9, a huge emphasis has been put on user experience, alongside many of the other features we have touched on.

Future-proof your website, by upgrading to Drupal 9 from your current Drupal 7 site. Whatever your current situation, at SystemSeed we are here to help you stay ahead of the curve. We can assist with everything from digital strategy, through UX (user experience), interface design, software development, to support, DevOps, and hosting.

System Seed’s team of experts would love to support you with your migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 (or 10). Our team has extensive Drupal knowledge and experience and has been implementing Drupal-based enterprise-level solutions across a range of industries for 13 years.

Get in touch here for a no-obligation chat: systemseed.com/contact 

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