Migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 complete

Submitted by Hugh on 4 May 2018

Lingopolo has just completed a hugely-complex migration from the old software platform (Drupal 7) to a new one (Drupal 8).

I don't normally talk about technical things going on in the background in these blog posts, as I like to focus on the changes which directly improve the language-learning functionality.

However, today I wish to make an exception.

This migration has taken nearly a calendar year of work in the background. For many months we were doing 50% development on the old functionality, and 50% development on converting the old code to run on the new system. In the last few months we've been spending 95% of the time on the migration: recoding the old software in the new software version, testing a migration of a language from scratch, bug fixing. Repeat. And again.

Finally we got close enough that we decided to migrate, and so, one by one, each of the languages (Dutch, French, Thai) have been migrated over. And then finally the home page with the common content (such as this blog).

Another thing we've done as part of the move, is changed from a .COM domain name to a .ORG domain name. This is more in-keeping with our change to a non-profit organisation.

There are still quite a few little bugs which we need to fix, but overall I have to say that I'm extremely pleased, and relieved, that the migration has successfully completed. A massive thank you to our key developer Alex, without whom this would have been impossible.

What it means for you

Normally when we make changes to Lingopolo, they're about making direct and obvious improvements for your language-learning experience. The migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 though, is a lot more subtle. In some ways the difference is hopefully this: nothing at all! What I mean by this, is that the immediate objective of the migration was to have everything that was working in Drupal 7 working  exactly the same way in Drupal 8, without any changes whatsoever.

If the aim was to have everything working the same, what was the point?

Let me explain.

It's a bit like changing operating system, from, say Windows 95 to Windows Vista. You want all the programs you used to use still working without any problems. That's what we've done; we've moved from a relatively old platform (Drupal 7 was released in 2011), to a much more modern system (Drupal 8 was released in November 2015), and we've tried to keep everything working. Although we have not added any new functionality, what we have done is prepared the ground for Lingopolo to go forward for the next 5 years. It's like we have made it so that all the old programs correctly run on the new operating system.

Once we've cleaned up any bugs caused by the migration, we'll be able to concentrate again on improving the platform, and making Lingopolo the best place to learn any language.