Nonprofit Communications Director Discusses Drupal 7 End of Life (EOL)

As many of you know, the Drupal people have decided that Drupal 7 needs to retire. That retirement date is set for November 2022. Meanwhile, D7’s successor is retiring a year earlier, in November 2021. Thankfully, Drupal 9 is out so the pathway for those who have not started their Drupal transition might be to go from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9. Or heck, maybe WordPress?

We spoke with Jeff Barrus, Communications Director of Pulitzer Center, about how D7’s end of life (EOL) has affected the Pulitzer Center and his approach moving forward.

Blake: I am particularly interested in learning how you discovered D7 was retiring.

Jeff: I was, many years ago, a web developer myself. I’m generally aware of what’s going on with Drupal and WordPress, so I knew that D7 was definitely going to be retired at some point soon, already. Our previous agency flagged the date for us, and we began making plans for moving forward.

Blake: How you estimated the level of effort ?

Jeff: I’m a bit of an unusual case, because although I’m now serving as a comms director, I was a developer myself for many years. I’ve managed about 10 redesigns (or original designs) throughout my career, so I have a good sense of about how much a project should cost and what the level of effort should be. The RFP process is just the starting point — agencies respond, and then figuring out the actual level of effort is a conversation between the client and the agency. No matter what, everyone always underestimates the level of effort, I’ve never had a project require less work from an agency. 

Blake: How you decided which CMS to go with?

Jeff: Our site — which predated me by about a decade — was always a Drupal site. It makes heavy use of Drupal’s taxonomies, and our best alternative, WordPress, would have required a significant level of effort to get the CMS to match our existing functionality. It seemed easier to keep the site in Drupal and migrate to Drupal 8. WordPress’s best feature, Gutenberg, is available in Drupal 8. We did seriously consider WordPress, but Drupal seemed like the safer bet.

Blake: Also, how did you react when you learned that D7’s retirement is delayed a year until Nov 2022 yet its successor – D8 – is scheduled to retire a year earlier, in Nov 2021. How does this affect you?

Jeff: It seemed like an odd choice, but given the large number of sites that still run on D7, not a total surprise. We will need to upgrade the site to D9 before D8’s retirement, but our understanding is that it’s a pretty painless upgrade versus previous Drupal version updates, so we’re not too concerned about that.

If you are running D7 and need a way out, please give us a call, maybe we can help.

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is an American news media organization established in 2006 that sponsors independent reporting on global issues that other media outlets are less willing or able to undertake on their own.

To learn more about Jeff please visit:

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