Drupal 7

I've had a bit of time now to work with Drupal 7. I've been playing with it since it was still pretty experimental, but I finally put together a whole site with it recently, and am pretty happy with it. It's gotten a big leg up in terms of usability - this was a major focus for this release. The basic user interface is much improved over Drupal 6, and unrecognizable if you've only been using Drupal 5 or earlier. In my opinion, the advantages some CMS had over Drupal (I'm thinking specifically of Joomla and WordPress) in the realm of usability have been diminished or even eliminated - especially in the case of Joomla. WordPress still has a usability advantage if you are creating a simple blog site. But if you're using WordPress to make a more generic website - I'd look twice or three times at Drupal 7. There are also some pretty serious under the hood improvements as well. I'm looking forward to when all of the modules that I depend on are up to speed. Some of the most important ones made it into core, and many others were released with Drupal 7. Some others are close, like Ubercart, which has a version in Beta, and Views, which surprisingly is still in Alpha. If you are running a site in Drupal 5, you need to migrate your site at least to 6, but possibly to 7, if you can. Drupal 5 is no longer supported - which means that if there are security issues, they won't be addressed. There will be no more updates to contrib modules in Drupal 5 (in fact, many modules for Drupal 5 were abandoned a while ago.) Lullabot has a nice article on upgrading your site from Drupal 5 to Drupal 6, in case your site isn't ready for Drupal 7.

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Drupal 6 is very much our staple and serves us well, though we can certainly identify with the usability criticisms. Any thoughts on when would be a sensible time to start using Drupal 7 for serious client websites? The obvious concerns are around stability and compatibility with the whole host of amazingly useful modules we use regularly.

I think core is very stable. As you say, the big issue is whether or not the modules you use most have made it to Drupal 7 versions yet. I'd say do an assessment of those modules, and the ones necessary for your client site, and see if they are out of alpha or beta. For instance views is still in alpha, and is considered an essential component of most Drupal websites. I'd not do a client site in Drupal 7 until views has a stable release.

I do intend to move my personal website to Drupal 7 in the next month, but that's not a production client site. :-)

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