Just a question after reading an article posted here back from January 21, 2016 on Drupal 8, why Freelock.com has not moved to Drupal 8? Just wondering if there was a particular reason we should avoid before jumping in? Thanks.
Ha! What a great question!
Three reasons: Time, requirements, priorities.
Time, Business Value
Major upgrades are time-consuming, especially if you have a non-trivial site. That translates directly to cost, even if the only cost is the time we spend on it -- that is time we don't have to spend on billable work or other priorities.
Any time you're considering an upgrade, you really need to weigh the cost against the expected "return on investment" -- any business person will tell you that. You also need to consider the risks associated with not upgrading.
For us, the current cost of upgrading is still high, and the added value is low. Our Drupal 7 site works perfectly fine for us. If we invest more time in it, we would improve the mobile experience first -- which we can do just as easily in Drupal 7 as in Drupal 8. There are years of support remaining for Drupal 7, so we don't really see much risk in staying put for now, other than the potential opportunity cost of not having our site be a shining example of Drupal 8 in all its glory, for the marketing benefit.
As it is, we think it's better to have really nice client sites to demonstrate our competence, and leave our site upgrade to another day.
Beyond that business assessment, there are two requirements we have that are not yet ready for Drupal 8: E-Commerce, and the Drupal 7 - 8 migration system.
Both are "close enough" that we could proceed, but we would have to invest quite a bit more time to make the move now, than if we wait another few months when these are completely ready.
Drupal Commerce for 8.x is still in Alpha, meaning they don't support upgrades to the next release (until they reach Beta status). We would feel comfortable building a new store in Drupal 8 now, given that it will likely be stable "enough" for use by the time the site is ready to launch -- but moving a store that is already in production? Not if it still has years of support remaining. Not yet.
The migration system, on the other hand, is getting very close. We've done several successful Drupal 6 - 8 migrations. There are still a few migrations that aren't there yet for Drupal 7 - 8 -- mainly entity references, some issues around taxonomies, and others.
In short, if you're coming from Drupal 6 it is time to move now -- you're on an unsupported platform now, and Drupal 8 is close enough just about everywhere, though if you're doing e-commerce, domains, organic groups, etc you need to be prepared for some upgrade pain...
As a business owner, there are always more projects you want to do than you can possibly get done. When looking across the portfolio of tools and systems we have and use, there are others that are in far more dire need of an upgrade than our main website. Our main client project management system, for example, is still running on an old OpenAtrium install on Drupal 6. We have 4 other internal sites that integrate with it, or we use alongside to compensate for its shortcomings.
We've limped along with these systems not quite up to snuff because we've been hard at work building out our DevOps systems, which are the backbone of our core products and services. Our priority, aside from customer work, has been building out the infrastructure to test and deploy critical security vulnerabilities across up to 200 Drupal sites in a matter of a few hours.
All the while doing our best to take care of our current clients, many of whom need their sites upgraded much more urgently than we need ours.
Our project management systems are next up on our internal queue for an upgrade... once those are dialed in, I'm sure we'll be migrating our public site soon thereafter!
I think our decision-making process here is very sound, and I would highly recommend that other site owners use a similar process, asking some key questions:
- Is the cost of doing an upgrade within my budget?
- Is there a significant downside risk of not doing an upgrade now?
- Is there a significant opportunity/benefit I can capture by upgrading now?
- Is there some other business need I don't currently have met that might be possible to roll into this project?
- Are all my requirements met by Drupal 8 today?
- If my requirements are not met, can I live without them for the short term? Can I provide enough budget to get the missing pieces developed? Can I wait a little longer for them to get finished?
- Out of all my priorities, is this currently the best use of my time/budget?
As always, let us know if we can help!