Drupal 8 Recommendations from Information Technology and Institute Communications

Georgia Tech’s primary supported content management system (CMS) is Drupal. The majority of websites at the Institute using Drupal are currently on Drupal 7.

Since Drupal 8’s release, there has been increased interest in transitioning to Drupal 8 across the Institute. Georgia Tech Information Technology and Institute Communications (IC) would like to share additional information and recommendations on this for campus.

The Drupal 8 platform is a significant departure from Drupal 7 and is, at this point, only recommended if you have a web developer on your team who is comfortable taking on a project like this.

In particular, there are a few roadblocks which make this more complex in the short term:

  • Composer: Composer, a dependency manager, is a key tool needed for successful management of Drupal 8. The current Plesk hosting environment that the majority of sites at Georgia Tech reside on does not easily allow for site deployment using Composer. Georgia Tech Information Technology is reviewing this situation. In addition, there is a project to seek a new hosting solution for the Institute.

  • Drupal 8 editor: There is not currently a strong out-of-the-box solution available to use as an editor tool in Drupal 8. The IC web dev team will likely need to use an existing solution as a base, customizing it to meet our needs. This project will require research, effort, and testing to execute properly.

  • Training for site admins: Related to the above, the editing experience for website admins will be different in Drupal 8. It is in the Institute’s best interest that those in charge of their unit’s web presence be well-equipped to do so.

Georgia Tech Information Technology and Institute Communications are tentatively planning to have some of these barriers to entry addressed by November 2019. We recommend that any units without an experienced web developer or the funds to hire a third-party agency to execute such a project hold on transitioning to Drupal 8 until after that time.

In the meantime, the new Georgia Tech “Tech Gold” branded website header and footer theme is available for Drupal 7. The WordPress team is similarly working on updates to align with the new branding as well.

Prior to the Fall, Georgia Tech Information Technology and Institute Communications will work with campus web developers to identify and outline training opportunities for campus website admins and draft a recommended path to transition to Drupal 8.