Oh No, Not Again - It Might Be Time to Migrate to Drupal 8

Submitted by C B Wright on

Short version: after finally updating all my Linux machines to the latest version of Ubuntu/KDE, I can no longer run my Drupal 7 test environments. This means I can no longer test any changes to Eviscerati.org, which makes me uncomfortable.

Drupal 8 runs fine though. Which means... ugh, I don't even want to say it. I may have to migrate the site from D7 to D8.

Long version: I've been running Kubuntu 14.04 LTS for a long time. I resisted upgrading because I didn't like KDE Plasma 5 (because it didn't do some things I wanted it to do, and the fact that it didn't do those things drove me up the freaking wall). One day, out of curiosity, I decided to put KDE Neon on one of my laptops, and... I discovered that I liked it. Not only did I like it, but it was built on top of the latest LTS version of Ubuntu, which was nice because the 14.04 LTS is about to enter maintenance.

So I updated all my computers accordingly, and they all work fine.

Just one problem, though: I can't get Drupal 7 to run on any of them. It seems to be some kind of problem with D7 and the latest version of php Ubuntu uses. This is a very inconvenient, because I use my home computers as an admittedly imperfect test environment where I test changes before I push them out to the site you're visiting now. I have essentially crippled my ability to (somewhat) safely make changes to my site going forward.

Drupal 8 runs fine, though. Drupal 8 was apparently designed to be super copacetic with the latest versions php and mariadb. And since Drupal 8 has been out for a while now, it seems like the world is telling me it's time to migrate my site from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8.

Here's the thing, though: those of you who remember my struggle to migrate from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 may recall there were no less than three false starts, and that the final move required my site being OFFLINE for MONTHS before it was all back up and running. That, my friends, was a brutally painful experience and I don't ever want to go through that again. And unfortunately there are functional changes between Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 that requires a certain amount of... re-engineering to preserve the functionality of my site. I'm pretty proud of what I've managed to get my site to do, and I'm pissed off that I've got to FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET DRUPAL 8 TO DO EVERYTHING I WANT ALL OVER AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME and I have no idea how long that will take.

I have no idea if I can do it. I have no idea if I even have the TIME to do it. This is why people who actually have money to spend on infrastructure pay other people to solve their problems. I don't have money to spend on infrastructure, so I have to muddle through on my own.

Hopefully this will not be disruptive, but... uh... I have a history with these things.


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You can (should IMO) run your

You can (should IMO) run your D7 sites in a Vagrant box, DrupalVM is perfect for getting this up and running with minimal hassle. Then you don't have to worry about cluttering your main OS with the right versions of PHP, MySQL, Apache, etc OR making sure you can support both D7 and D8 (or even D6!) sites on the host OS.

Oooh, and it uses VirtualBox.

Oooh, and it uses VirtualBox. I already have that installed. Thanks for this link!

Writer, former musician, occasional cartoonist, and noted authority on his own opinions.

For best results, use

For best results, use something like Ansible (my favourite, puppet/salt etc. are also available) to then perform the site installation & backups.

Ansible is my favourite because it can be basically boiled down to a series of commands over ssh written in a list. You might have one set of steps to install the site. Another list to take a backup of the site. A third list to restore that backup.

Here's the quickest way to get started: http://docs.ansible.com/ansible/quickstart.html

Video documentation?

Video documentation? BLASPHEMY! :-D

Writer, former musician, occasional cartoonist, and noted authority on his own opinions.

Assuming that wasn't sarcasm,

Assuming that wasn't sarcasm, 100% with you. Videos by definition are never "quick", much less "quickest"; humans can absorb many times the text information in the same time.

I'm a technical writer. Maybe

I'm a technical writer. Maybe that makes me a horse buggy whip maker, but I'll never believe a video is as useful or as flexible as good documentation.

That said, I wasn't genuinely offended or anything. Hence the smiley.

Writer, former musician, occasional cartoonist, and noted authority on his own opinions.

I might suggest Docker, an

I might suggest Docker, an LXC container, or a SystemD-NSpawn if your local machines support it. Much less overhead than running an entire virtualbox machine just to test out a PHP install!

Although getting it set up for local network access can be a chore, if the machine is using wireless.

All wireless, unfortunately.

All wireless, unfortunately.

Writer, former musician, occasional cartoonist, and noted authority on his own opinions.

Drupal 7 should be running ok

Drupal 7 should be running ok with PHP7 today... or are you having issues with contrib modules?

Yes, the various container/VM options are really the best choice today - but if you need to migrate the existing server as-is from 14.04 to 16.04, you have options. PHP7 should be ok, but PHP5.6 packages are also available for 16.04 from ppa:ondrej/php