Training in Drupal 6 vs Drupal 7

On my second day at Chapter Three a great event happened in the Drupal community: Drupal 7 was released. One of the questions soon asked was, “So, when are you going to offer training in 7?” Since that day, we’ve received the question of training in Drupal 7 vs Drupal 6 in a variety of permutations about once a week at the minimum. Certainly the topic comes up in every private training session we teach. After much thought we’ve come up with this analogy: Up a mountain there are two paths to get you to the top. One is well worn, smooth, a fast trip. While it may seem like the obvious choice, there is another path. This one is new. It holds greater potential, maybe better views, but there are clues that it is not complete. Boulders may still be in the way, mud to slow the traveler down. A lot more people need to be brave and travel down this trail, fixing it as they go, before it becomes a better trail than the old one. For people new to hiking up mountains, the new path may not be the best choice. Even for people who are experienced hikers, sometimes the goal is to get to the top the fastest way possible. Currently, we still teach publically the well-worn path, Drupal 6, and it is our preference to do so. We believe that it is essential that everyone we train have as rewarding an experience with Drupal as possible. Why? Because this is where we see the growth in the community happening. We want to set people up for success with Drupal. We want them to leave our workshops happy and excited, itching to get home to dive in and build their websites. We want them to tell all their friends about this amazing platform they are using, and how easy it is to create their visions. Private clients, however, may want to go the harder road. Most of these clients have the few extra resources, and especially, the time, needed to tackle Drupal 7. We get out our machetes and hack through the woods with them, teaching them how to deal with the problems they will face. Their launch dates, usually six months to a year out from when we come and teach, give them the time needed to take the harder path. We know that our decision to teach 6 opens the door for concerns about upgrading from 6 to 7. While we will be teaching classes about how to upgrade in the future, we see an upgrade as an opportunity to make a site even better. A really great website is under constant evolution, changing as new ideas around design, content and features become vogue. An upgrade is a chance to revisit many of the initial decisions made in a site and improve it. While every week that Drupal 7 road is getting better, we will lead down that road when we believe anyone taking our workshops will be able to go home and have the same success as with Drupal 6.