Frankenseven

Most Content Management Systems progress through certain versions sequentially but Drupal 7 is an interesting case. Take Drupal 9, it actually has an end of life (EOL) that’s earlier than Drupal 7!

👉 Drupal 9: November 1, 2023
👉 Drupal 7: January 5, 2025

Drupal 7 is very powerful when you have qualified people to make use of it. There’s no doubt about it. And it fits well for enterprise level organizations that have the budget for this. But the thing is the CMS market is entirely mature at this point with copious amounts of niche solutions to fit your needs very closely.

Drupal 7’s end-of-life (EOL) has been a moving target with a first EOL in November of 2021. Then a 2 year extension to 2023 and yep, one final?? One to January 2025.

Just when you think the end is coming, it lives on again!

Now there is a shop (herodevs) that’s ensuring it will live on for eternity with “never ending support”. They actually specialize in supporting open source software that is at EOL.

I can’t take credit for this name, but don’t you think Frankenseven is a playful, light-hearted and on point depiction of Drupal 7 at this point? I do.

But seriously, if you are on Drupal 7 and thinking about staying the course with Frankenseven, now is the time for careful planning exercises and re-assessment on what is best for your nonprofit long-term.

And to this point, how does this all relate to what’s happening in Civiland with CiviCRM?

  • Right now, there is an uptick in Backdrop implementations and it’s a lower friction migration path as a fork of Drupal 7 so I’d definitely give that a good look. And I’m happy to point you in the right direction toward CiviCRM experts in the Backdrop CMS.
  • Upgrading to Drupal 10 is a non-trivial job and while there are powerful tools to help that also translates into hiring an outside shop because it’s no small lift. On top of that, it’s just a hard sell because the end user doesn’t see the gain.
  • Moving to WordPress: If you don’t utilize complex features like Drupal Views this is the easiest and highest ROI move. And even with more complex functionality, CiviCRM’s Search Kit can start replacing this natively. But what about Webforms? Check out Form Builder and add in a little dash of patience. Essentially, these Drupal features are coming into CiviCRM and will continue to get better.
  • Moving to CiviCRM Standalone with any CMS: I’d keep this on the horizon of where things are going with a de-coupled approach. What this means is the needs of a website and a CRM are often divergent especially with how short-lived a CMS is when compared to a CRM asset. Making these connected but not under the same roof has a lot of benefits.

So what’s the takeaway?

My pick for most nonprofits using CiviCRM under Drupal 7 today is to carefully consider either WordPress, Backdrop or CiviCRM Standalone integration. And surely the standalone will only grow in popularity over the next few years.

PS: I regrettably have conversations about the best tool of choice. Should I go with X tool or Y tool based on sparse reasoning, not on goals and strategy. Frankly that’s a mine-field and not the right mindset. As a nonprofit leader, you really aren’t concerned about the particulars of the tool, you care about how it will help you further their mission. FWIW: us techies can still banter on about tool comparisons though, and that’s alright. 🤓

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– Tara DeSisto, Development Director
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