Migration, not Upgrading
Drupal 8, released in November of 2015, is a major rewrite of the Drupal core engine and APIs. Because Drupal 8 has changed so much, there is no direct in-place upgrade path to go from any earlier version of Drupal to Drupal 8. Instead, Drupal 7 and earlier sites must be migrated to Drupal 8, which involves setting up a whole new Drupal 8 website and copying into it (manually or automatically) the content of the older website.
Requirements and Web Hosting Support
Drupal 8 requires a hosting environment running at least PHP 7.1 or later, which is available on OIT Web Hosting. What OIT does not currently support is use of Drush and/or Composer, so you'll need to do a traditional installation and traditional GUI based management of upgrade and updates. You can install Drupal 8 from Installatron and use it to manage your updates - just be sure to start with the most current version, and remember that a fresh install of Drupal from Installatron will not include any Georgia Tech specific components (e.g. theme, Mercury Reader, etc.), so you'll have to install those separately after you finish the base Drupal installation.
Georgia Tech Migration Roadmap
Beyond PHP support, each Georgia Tech unit website will need several extra components to be fully usable. The following table is an attempt to start tracking the status of the components needed for Georgia Tech Drupal 8 sites, and it will be updated as releases and additional information come available.
|Georgia Tech Web Theme||In Testing||
An official Institute Communications "release candidate" theme was released in early October 2018 for more seasoned developers to begin testing.
|GT Account Authentication||Yes|
|Mercury News and Events||In Testing||
An "alpha" port of the official Hg Mercury was released in early fall 2018.
An alternative community built approach using the Migrate API is being investigated, but no details are available yet.
|GT Content Types||No||Vertical, Horizontal, and Multipurpose page types are not expected to be ported to Drupal 8. Such pages will have to be rebuilt in Drupal 8. Alternative page layout systems include:
A future release of Drupal 8 (8.5 or 8.6) is expected to have its own layout system that will be similar to Panelizer.
|GT Drupal Express (DX)||No||
A Drupal 8 installation akin to GT Drupal Express (DX) has not been announced or planned. Institute Communications is developing an automated installation of Drupal 8, but this will not be a direct replacement (or direct upgrade path) for existing DX sites.
Current DX websites should remain on Drupal 7 and their developers should consider manual content migration to Drupal 8 in the future, as it is unlikely that a script will be developed to aid DX migrations to Drupal 8.
A Drupal Express migration strategy guide is under development.
The traditional Webform module has been completely rewritten for Drupal 8 and is much more capable than the old version, but also more complex. Existing users should treat it like a new product and go through all available getting started and training guides / videos before trying to build a form under Drupal 8.
Drupal 8 itself comes with a limited Contact Form functionality and a handful of contrib modules (such as Contact Storage) are available to extend that functionality, though not to the level found in the traditional WebForm module. Contact forms are recommended for simple RSVP and feedback forms.
Complete Migration Process
Kevin Pittman has posted a guide to migrating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 that includes a lot of planning tips and technical details.