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January 5, 2011

Drupal 7 is Live

By Ross Gerring

Itomic are big supporters of Drupal, one of the leading open source website content management platforms on the planet. The latest and greatest version of Drupal, Drupal 7, just went live today.Very exciting (for us geeks)!

From a business owner perspective, should you care? Quick answer: no. Longer answer: not yet.

Drupal basically works like this: there’s theDrupal Core (think ‘Windows 7’), then there are lots (and lots) of optional 3rd party Drupal modules that extend the functionality of the Drupal core (think ‘all the programs than run on a Windows 7 machine’).

Just like when Windows 7 was first released, not all modules (‘programs’) will work 100% – or be available at all – with Drupal 7 that used to run sweetly under the previous official production-quality version of Drupal, Drupal 6.

If you’ve currently got a site running Drupal 6 – unless perhaps it’s a very simple, basic site – you’d be ill-advised to upgrade to Drupal 7 just yet. It’s highly likely that, during these early days, any attempt to upgrade from Drupal 6 site to Drupal 7 site will end in tears. So our advice is: don’t do it. From previous experience of upgrading sites from earlier versions (4 to 5, 5 to 6) our expectation is that we’ll hold off at least 3-6 months before seriously considering recommending to our clients any Drupal 6-to-7 site upgrades. And only then after we’ve conducted an appropriate level of due diligence to ensure that the upgrade won’t cripple any core functionality (and have a backout plan if it unexpectedly does).

So unless you just love the latest stuff, you’re absolutely fine sticking with your Drupal 6 site for many months, or perhaps even years, to come.

But here’s the rub: new Drupal functionality, in the form of the 3rd party modules, are released almost daily. Whilst this new functionality may not be helpful to your “as is” site today, eventually some of it will be, and eventually you’ll want to be able to access it and benefit from it. New modules have a tendency to only be written in the current version of Drupal, so if you’re still running Drupal 6, you’ll increasingly start to become aware of new stuff that you simply can’t have access to until you bite the bullet and commit to a full version upgrade.

Naturally you’ll be calling on Itomic to professionally and confidently manage your Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 upgrade for you! If you’re not an existing Itomic client but would like us to assist with your site upgrade, we’d be very happy to help.

From a more technical perspective from Itomic on Drupal 7, visit this article on our satellite site dedicated to Drupal: Drupal 7 – what it means to you. Fyi: we’ll be to version 7 from version 6 very shortly in order to start building our experience levels in this regard. In this way we’ll make any “learning curve mistakes” at our expense, and not yours.