What do they say about a handymans house? Writing and maintaining web apps and platforms for clients means that keeping my own systems up to date can sometimes suffer. Protracted delays to major upgrades are the norm. With every possible minute of personal time being eaten up already with this, that and the other, finding a free day to upgrade my CMS has tended to slip further and further down the list. But it’s looming, for years now, and in my new found spirit of Getting Things Done, I reached for the toolbox.
I needn’t have worried, it’s a doddle! The upgrade path from Drupal 6 to 7 was not significantly complicated, other than some easily avoided issues with custom fields, but the notes linked here (https://www.drupal.org/node/1113358) were not trivial, and the process was rather time consuming to say the least. Moving from 6 to 8 would have been laborious in the extreme, with a required migration from 6 to 7 to be completed first in order to prepare the database for the version 7 to 8 upgrade. But Drupal 8 has now matured and some excellent work has been done to simplify the upgrade path. Check out the 7 modules that you’ll need listed here (https://www.drupal.org/upgrade/migrate). After that, and assuming your web host is on the same machine as your old Drupal 6 database (as is the case with most shared hosting) it’s a simple matter of doing a clean D8 installation, install and activate the 7 modules, aim at the D6 DB, and fire.
I see the huge improvements in UX that modern web apps bring as yet another stage in the process; that which Joël de Rosney would term our evolution towards Symbiotic Man. Increasing sophistication of software will reduce barriers to entry by allowing the user to offset cognitive load onto the system, thereby reducing the need for user training. Software is weaving itself evermore deeply into our cognitive landscape and one might conceivably imagine a future where AI supported tools are the norm. In such a future users might begin to view their preferred set of software tools as extensions of themselves, and thus would set the foundations for a nascent hive mind. Perhaps we have already begun.