April 21, 2016

Its been a big week for Drupal 8 here at Chapter Three.

At Chatper Three we fly rocket ships to other planets to pick apples. What are you guys up to?
As mentioned previously, at the beginning of the year Chapter Three made the decision to build all new projects with Drupal 8. Knowing we had the help and Drupal 8 expertise of Alex and Daniel to back us up if we encountered any errors or incomplete contrib ports gave us the confidence to leave Drupal 7 in the dust. Having already had a few successful client projects on 8 last year let me know I wouldn't have a developer revolt on my hands as a result of that decision.

The fruits of that decision are starting to ripen.

Earlier this week we were able to launch Ixia's new site on Drupal 8. Unlike our previous Drupal 8 sites where we leaned heavily on core and built small single-purpose utility modules to take the place of missing contrib we were able to leverage contrib. The big thing we noticed as a result of this sea change was that the previous site's 175 contrib modules were still reduced to just under 30. Not having 20,000 modules to choose from can be a good thing when one of the projects goals is to reduce complexity. More details on this project will be coming soon in a full-fledged case study, but everyone at Chapter Three and the client team are thrilled to be running on the latest and greatest version of Drupal and take full advantage of the many improvements it brings.

In addition to Ixia we were able to re-launch our own site on Drupal 8 last week. This port was promised and started many months ago, and work has been ongoing in fits and starts in the two years since that comment. Luckily for us we were able to start some Drupal 8 client projects in the interim but unfortunately that didn't leave us much time to work on our own site. For this project we purposefully tried to leave out any new features or functionality and went through the exercise of building one to one port from the Drupal 7 site. Similarly to Ixia we saw a steep reduction in the number of contrib modules needed to accomplish the same tasks. On the new site we have 33 contrib and custom modules to replace the previous sites 89. Overall we are very happy with the results. Attempting a migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 while the migration path was still in flux was probably the most frustrating part of the whole process. Luckily for the rest of you the migration landscape is now much clearer than when we started two years ago.

The major takeaway I'd like to share from these two projects are:

  • Don't let the availability of a contrib module hijack your plans to work in Drupal 8.
  • Drupal 8 is production ready, and the functionality is stable for many different types of sites, not just brochure sites.

With three more Drupal 8 sites already in development we've jumped with both feet into the Drupal 8 swimming pool, and based on our experience I would encourage everyone else in the Drupal community to do the same.