Most customers want to know how long they have to migrate i.e. when is Drupal 7's end of life, so let's start there. According to the roadmap image below, the answer is November 2021, which is when the community support ends. And this is not only applicable for Drupal 7, but also for Drupal 8. Regarding Drupal 8 (if you are already there), there's very little to worry about, since Drupal 9 is basically just the next release of Drupal 8, and upgrades going forward should be a lot easier than before.
Another question we get, which is the main focus of this post, is why make the move now, if there's still time until November 2021? There are many reasons to do so, and here we highlight some of the key ones.
Why to migrate from Drupal 7 to 8?
Performance Drupal 8
Drupal 8 is designed to let your site fly fast. This is due to its flexible approaches to caching, built-in caching modules, and the introduction of BigPipe. Of course just moving from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 will not make your site fast. But if you employ the right strategies, you can see considerable performance improvements when comparing to your Drupal 7 site.
Responsive and Mobile-first
Drupal 8 is architected to support mobile-first initiatives, enabling responsive experiences across screens as well as supporting mobile apps. And the adoption of Twig as a templating engine, means building your site using the latest web technologies, while also making it easier to build great user experiences going forward.
Integrations and Extensibility
Drupal's API-first approach allows you to easily integrate with other systems in your landscape. This also makes it easier to expose content from your Drupal site to other applications, which is the backbone of the next feature we discuss in this post.
If you read our post on building headless applications with Drupal, you know that using React (and other frameworks like Vue or Angular) to deliver more engaging experiences for visitors is on the rise, and this can be easily achieved with Drupal 8.
Content Editing and Media Management
Content editing in Drupal 8 is especially convenient. This is due to opportunities for inline editing, easy image resizing, embedding and reusing various types of media, managing blocks and layouts, responsive admin interfaces, and more. Media management was completely revamped in Drupal 8 as well, making it a lot easier for editors to manage different media types inside Drupal, or integrate with Digital Asset Management solutions if that is your case.
With Drupal 8's new configuration management system, deploying new features between different environments is easy and hassle-free. This significantly improves the process for your DevOps team, allowing you to innovate faster, automate more, and reduce the chances of making mistakes.
You can reach broader audiences with Drupal 8, as it highly respects web accessibility standards. It uses WAI-ARIA practices, obligatory ALT text to describe images, better contrasts, underlined links, HTML5, and more.
It's worth it to migrate from Drupal 7 to 8 now!
There are many other features in Drupal 8 that make it the most powerful version of Drupal yet, and the fact that now moving to new versions like Drupal 9 is easier than ever, there's no better time than now to make that happen.
We have worked with a variety of customers already that made the migration from Drupal 7 to 8. One example is Visit Reykjavic's new website, which was just launched, and it looks fantastic IMHO. :-)