Drupal 8.6 Upgrade: What Should You Expect?

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by Ian Cassidy|Marketing Manager

Welcome Drupal 8.6. There are more changes to the Drupal-verse landscape and new features to look forward to. This will obviously affect all current D8 users, so what should you look out for in this update? Let's examine how it might impact your site and what unexpected issues may occur.   

The Rundown

As we know, Drupal’s open source CMS is maintained by the vast community of Drupal engineers. Within this space, users release contributed modules that are used on many sites across the web. With every upgrade, Drupal tends to incorporate features based on existing functionality that already exists in the contributed module space. This sounds great in an ideal world, but with it comes an underlying issue.

With each release process, new features are continually added. Once those features are added to the core Drupal space, what happens to the contributed module it was based on? As those functions become incorporated in the core, the contributed modules become obsolete. Moving forward, the modules are no longer maintained and supported. This leaves sites potentially facing some issues, and with that, decisions that need to be made.

The Upgrade

This upgrade may affect certain sites differently. Some may not be heavily impacted while others will have more changes to make. However, in some scenarios these upgrades are inevitable, so what should your organization expect and what kind of decisions must be made in light of an upgrade?

Some issues when upgrading to Drupal 8 include:

  • Possible UI changes.

  • Version upgrades that can be pricey.

  • The risk of breaking areas of your site depending on the number and nature of the changes in the upgrade.

During upgrades, a problem that often occurs is changes to the UI. When this happens, users have to relearn the system. It can be frustrating having to relearn how to use certain functionalities on your side. However, the benefits of these changes will undoubtedly be seen across performance, usability, and overall experience.

Another area to consider is deciding whether or not an upgrade is worth the cost and risks. A version upgrade can be costly. If your site is complex, it may be worth noting that it will take time and effort to upgrade your site.

Depending on the changes, the upgrade could also present a possible risk of breaking your site and lengthening the process overall. For stable sites, this will be something you and your team will have to discuss moving forward.

These decisions and scenarios, regarding upgrades, come with the nature of owning and managing a site. Upgrades have future developments in mind. They promote improvement, enhancement, and are (if carried out correctly) always a step forward for your digital environment and your business. Regular upgrades are important to maintaining the security and reliability of your site. Officially, Drupal.org only supports the current release and one previous release of Drupal 8. By performing timely upgrades to the new releases, you ensure that your site is protected against the latest threats and risks.

Upgrading with the aid of a professional team can greatly help in providing a smooth transition to an enhanced environment and will undoubtedly minimize risks along the way.

Conclusion

Drupal will continue to evolve with future upgrades. It will push for a better user and customer experience and an overall enhancement in security and performance. This step forward will come with its challenges, but what’s important is that we are proactive about these issues and address them as early as possible to prepare the next course of action.  

Contact Achieve today to discuss how your roadmap to 8.6 might look.

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