January 18, 2016

The Drupal Three Year Plan

By Johanna Bates

We keep hearing this question: "Should I build in Drupal 7, or Drupal 8?"

The answer to this question will differ depending on your organization's needs and your project goals. But here's one thing we can tell you: right now, if you build in Drupal 7 or Drupal 8, you should do so with a sound content strategy and a three-year plan. Why? Because Drupal is at a major transition point, and either path will need attention in the next three years.

One thing we know for sure: there's no reason to panic! What's happening in Drupal now is part of the normal evolution of open-source software. Going into a technology project with a three-year plan is ideal no matter what platform you're on. We see this transition point as an opportunity to help more people build this kind of strategic thinking into their work and their organizational cultures.

What do these three year plans look like?

If you build on Drupal 7 now, we feel confident that it will be supported for the next three years at least. But you will want to build with very a very sound information architecture so that it will port more easily when you move to Drupal 8, and there are ways to build in Drupal 7 that will help your site be more "Drupal-8-ready".

As for Drupal 8, it's a powerful, flexible new system, but as is usually the case in open source software, building early in a new release isn't for everyone. Many of the modules used to make Drupal more user-friendly and integrated with external platforms like Salesforce are not yet stable. If you build in Drupal 8 now, you will likely have to sacrifice some bells and whistles. This may be a great opportunity for sites that are simpler but that want to scale up in the next two to three years. But if you build in Drupal 8 now, you will have to plan to update functionality and complexity in as it matures.

What's our plan?

We can help you decide whether Drupal 7 or Drupal 8 is the best choice for your project, and help you come up with a three-year plan. Contact us, or find us at the NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference in March or at DrupalCon in May.