So Long Drupal – It Was Fun for a While

We started with Drupal 6 over seven years ago for a manufacturing website.

Before then, our first tools were a combination of a software builder and PayPal buy buttons. The menus caused many problems and it complicated simple tasks like adding products for sale.

Sunward needed something easier, so we decided to use a CMS – Drupal.

At the time, the website focused on the manufacturing side of the company, with eCommerce as a secondary option. Drupal allowed us to install, maintain and build a website perfect for fulfilling our needs.

Since then, the company expanded to include another eCommerce website and a personal blog. All used Drupal.

Local monthly Drupal meetings introduced us to the helpful community with skills ranging from entry level to the professional level.
When our website aged, we needed to upgrade from Drupal 6 to 7. No more excuses or postponements.

Since then, the community stopped gathering regularly. As the community shrunk, the support vanished.

After multiple attempts to migrate to Drupal 7, errors still plagued the main eCommerce website. The process continued for months with no simple method or module for migration from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7.

The migration of taxonomy, Ubercart, and the catalog introduced new errors every time we solved a previous error.

When an error outlined two missing tax tables, we skipped migration and started a fresh install of Drupal 7. We extracted the two tables and added them to the migrated site. This solved the problem, but then we discovered more missing entries in other tables.

After months of error riddled test migrations, we gave up.

We needed outside help and received quotes from $5,000 to $15,000 USD to complete the migration. This fee was per site. With Drupal 8 on the horizon and an additional migration fees from Ubercart to Commerce, it would cost tens of thousands more. One company even wanted $135 per hour of investigation just to provide a firm migration quote.

Other companies refused due to workload, some stopped supporting Drupal, and others ignored calls and emails.

Open-source CMSs like Drupal were supposed to be easy. This wasn’t.

When Drupal was no longer a cost-effective option, we looked at other CMS solutions.

At one point, we settled on Magento, but it too complicated the website building process. It is not for the average, or even experienced, user. Although powerful, a simple mistake would crash the website and destroy recovery options along with it. This on a dedicated server with root access.

We then settled on WordPress for the personal blog. The simple installation, user-friendly tools and clean interface pushed us to use WordPress and WooCommerce for the eCommerce websites.

After some searching, we found a small company willing to migrate Drupal data to WordPress and WooCommerce. The migration brought its own problems, but it worked. Some additional work post-migration brought the websites to what we imagined. WordPress extensions, themes, and plugins cost anywhere from $30 for a theme for the personal blog to $800 for a heavy eCommerce site. The large pool of users, solutions, and support simplified the migration.

A common expression in WordPress/ Woocommerce is that a plugin exists for everything. And indeed, there is.

Unlike the Woocommerce support, Ubercart for Drupal 7 received its last upgrade a year ago. The Canada Post module for Drupal 7 was last updated 5 years ago and the Drupal 8 version has not even been started. As for Commerce, the Canada Post shipping module for Drupal 7 is still in development mode and nothing for Drupal 8 has started.

Even if future Drupal versions improve its flexibility, these changes won’t matter if no one uses or supports the software.

Acquia has corporate hijacked Drupal and abandoned the community.

Thank you to the Drupal community. It was fun while it lasted

Another thread discussing Drupal 8’s problems is at – “Drupal 8 Feedback from a customer standpoint” for additional reading. I did skim over some soap opera news elsewhere, but didn’t bother with it.