Migrating a site of any scale from one platform to another isn’t a light task, and the same holds true for anyone looking to migrate their Drupal site to Joomla!. We get many requests or contacts for people looking to go through a migration to Joomla!. Each one of them has different reasons (as we looked at in our last article on the Drupal to Joomla! Migration Process), but once the decision to migrate a site has been made, there’s a fairly consistent path that’s followed in migrating the site. As a Project Manager, it’s my job to make sure that the process we follow, and the site we end up with, is what the client wants, and that we get there as efficiently as possible. Here’s some tips from our experience with migrating Drupal sites to Joomla!, and the processes that go into it.
You Can Never Ask Too Many Questions
It’s true - in this business, there’s no question that shouldn’t be asked. One of the most time consuming efforts that can drag a project on is having to repeat or redo work because expectations and requirements weren’t crystal clear to begin with. In migrations though, everything it’s about content. No matter what the type of site or industry is, at the end of the day, all we’re doing is migrating (a lot) of content from one platform to another. That means there’s a lot of questions to be asked. Things like:
- Exactly what content needs migrated?
- For each type of content, what data are we expecting to be preserved in the new platform?
- Content Creation Workflow - what is expected? Does the new platform support my existing workflow, and do we need to map that out?
- What about “dependant content”? Things like comments, tags, keywords - are those used on the site?
All of those, and hundreds more, need asked well before starting work on the actual migration of content.
Test, then Test Again
A migration from one platform to another (migrating from Drupal to Joomla! in this case) is about as disruptive a process that can happen to your data. By definition, you’re not only moving the content, but rearranging it, organizing it differently, and even in some instances smashing it together and then storing it. All of that makes it so important to test … A LOT. To some extent this makes it hard to set a definite timeline or iteration schedule for your project, but if you’ve done a good job in the planning and asking questions stage, that makes life here a lot easier. No matter how much you plan though, a migration never happens perfectly the first time. If it’s your first time around at a migration like this, plan on tweaking, and re-doing the migration itself several times, but even if you’ve gotten plenty of experience and have done several migrations like we have at CNP, I’d still plan on at least one “test” migration before your final import of data.
Bottom line, migrating from one platform to another can be tricky, nerve-wracking, and, occasionally, a bit frustrating. So what makes it worth it? The end product - being able to move to a platform that affords your business and website much greater flexibility, and usually much lower maintenance costs makes the process a long term investment that will definitely pay off.