Combining Drupal 7 and 8: a new public site in Drupal 8, maintaining a separate login site for customers or members in Drupal 7
Often websites are upgraded to Drupal 8 because the time has come for a new, fresh look in order to generate business and attract new customers or members. This does not affect the separate member or customer section per se. There the emphasis tends to be on integrated tools for providing support to the users and these tools do not need to be upgraded that often.
We combined Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 in three recent projects: Biogazelle, the Klim en Bergsportfederatie and Vlaco. The separate sections with a login for customers or members have been maintained in Drupal 7. This section of the website is usually also linked to other platforms.
Biogazelle, for example, has a link to Zendesk for ticketing, Freshbooks for invoicing and a license server for their software. This has all been maintained in Drupal 7, because transferring all this from scratch to Drupal 8 is a very time, labour and cost-intensive process.
Need for a responsive design
The main reason for the upgrade of the sites of KBF, Vlaco and Biogazelle, all early Drupal projects developed around 2011, was the need for a responsive design. At the time these sites were developed, responsive was not yet the standard.
Moreover, a business model can also change significantly over a period of three to five years. The products and services of companies and organisations may even change to such an extent that the entire website needs an upgrade.
We started from this premise to redevelop the canvassing part of the websites of KBF, Vlaco and Biogazelle in Drupal 8, with a new – responsive – design and additional functionality for content editors. The technical section for customers or members (requiring login with a password) has been maintained in Drupal 7. Both sections have their own, separate URL so they can operate seamlessly alongside each other.
Extending the new Drupal 8 design in the Drupal 7 section of the website with minimal adjustments
The new public website has a new, fresh look in Drupal 8. Some small adjustments have also been made to the separate member or customer website in Drupal 7, which is in line as much as possible with the new design.
A more affordable transition, spreading the budget
The combination of Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 makes the transition to an upgrade more affordable, in the first phase for the public site and in the second phase for the customer or member site. This gives organisations the time to make plans and set aside a budget for a completely new member or customer website in the next two years.
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