This is a transcript. For the full video, see Drupal 7 Extended Support: What you need to know and how Tag1 can help, Pt. 1 - Tag1 TeamTalk #028.1.

Preston So: [00:00:00] Hello! And welcome to another episode of Tag1 TeamTalks, our webinar series here at Tag1 Consulting about emerging web technologies. Today, we're going to be talking about the end-of-life of Drupal 7 with Tag1 Quo.

I'm Preston So. I'm editor in chief at Tag1 Consulting. And today I'm joined by two of my dear friends, Jeremy Andrews, based in Toscana, Italia, Founder and CEO of Tag1, and Michael Meyers based in the Berkshires, Massachusetts, Managing director of Tag1. This is the first of several parts in a series about what exactly is happening with thE Drupal 7 end-of-life. The first part today is going to be about what exactly the end-of-life with Drupal 7 means for you, and what are your options coming up as the end-of-life approaches. In the next two installments, we're also gonna be talking about an overview of Tag1 Quo's, exceptional extended support program and how it works. Having worked with Tag1, myself, it's an amazing, amazing product, and I'm excited to hear more about the LTS for Drupal 7.

And then finally, we're also going to be talking about what exactly is the plan for today now that the end-of-life for Drupal 8 is also coming up very quickly around the corner.

So without further ado, let's go ahead and get started. First things first, Michael, let's go ahead and start and start with what exactly the end-of-life of Drupal 7 entails what it means for you and what your options are.

What exactly does Drupal's end-of-life in Drupal 7 mean to the larger community and users in general.

Michael Meyers: [00:01:31] It, it means, you said the Drupal open source community is no longer going to be supporting, developing or Drupal 7. So there are a lot of things that go into making a version of Drupal happen.

There's the, you know, the development itself and when Drupal 7 goes end-of-life. There will be no more Core enhancements, no bug fixes. There will be no Drupal Core development. In fact, the issue queue on where Drupal 7 happens is going to be locked. So you literally can't contribute to the Core of Drupal 7.

Once it goes end-of-life. and all of the tooling is going to be locked and decommissioned as well. So, the queues where people work, and, post patches, the testing infrastructure, which is a critical component of Drupal 7 success, you know, the automated testing that checks every patch that's been contributed, that's being turned off. Security.

This is probably the most important component, you know, they're going to be no more security updates, no more security advisories. And , this is important because, you know, you know, from time to time, you know, vulnerabilities are always found and, if you don't have updates, your site, your systems are gonna be vulnerable to attack.

And then of course there are all of these dependencies, you know, you know, simply Drupal is dependent upon PHP. And, you know, the version of PHP that Drupal 7 uses is going to go end-of-life as well at some point. So all of these Core components of what makes Drupal happen are, are no longer going to be available to you. So effectively

You know, you're no longer going to get any updates. At all from the open source community, when it reaches end-of-life.

Jeremy Andrews: [00:03:23] It's worth noting that it's not just Core that's affected as well, but also contributed modules. It's the interesting thing about contrib modules is it's not as strict as it is with Core.

So you individual maintainers will be able to support their modules if they choose to. but it's, it's going to be sort of a tapered effect where different module maintainers decide they don't want to maintain it anymore. They'll start shutting them down. With Drupal 6, I actually saw community pressure to kind of get people to let go of Drupal 6 and move on to 7 and 8 in the future.

I don't know if that'll happen again with Drupal 7.

But it seems likely so with (Tag1) Quo what our purpose is, is to make sure that not just Core, not just your version of PHP, but also your contributed modules, all of them, are covered with, you know, security, patches and up to date.

Preston So: [00:04:16] I think that really kind of highlights the amount of attention that Tag1 gives Tag1.

One for all of the customers who are on a Tag1 Quo, you know, it's incredible and an incredible service, especially because, you know, very, very, recently here we actually had the Drupal 7 end-of-life extended. Isn't that right? Michael?

Michael Meyers: [00:04:38] Yeah, I think things have gotten really confusing for people.

A Drupal 7. Initially it was going to go end-of-life when Drupal 9 was released. And that was a few months ago now, almost four months. Initially it was extended around a year and a half to November 21. Just because, you know, there's such an insanely large install base of Drupal 7 users.

And so, you know, that was an important thing. And then, you know, COVID-19 has really wrecked havoc on society in so many ways. We're going to talk more about this later, but upgrades can be expensive. They require time and resources, and so to help support people using Drupal, we extended it another year.

And so now Drupal end-of-life for D7 is November, 2022. And so, you potentially have two years to put together your plan, but something that you need to factor is what Jeremy has mentioned. You know, even though Core has been extended to 22, contrib, a lot of developers have already abandoned their Drupal 7 contrib modules.

And so that's something you need to factor, you know, for many standpoints, Drupal 7 end-of-life is already here.

Preston So: [00:05:52] Absolutely. And I think, you know, this is one of the biggest concerns that people have right now. I think, you know, obviously with what's happening right now with COVID-19, obviously having that extra time is really valuable. Now I understand also that Tag1 Quo is going to be doing something to help out folks who are still on Drupal 7 as well.

Isn't that right, Jeremy? is there going to be a free plan? Is that what I'm hearing about? Tag1 Quo?

Jeremy Andrews: [00:06:17] That is correct. So, the community is doing a great job. I want to say first. Certain key modules are guaranteed to be supported up until 2022.

So not just core, but some contribute is going to be covered.

But there's lots of modules out there. Some people, somewhere, some modules are only installed on a handful of websites, and so what our plan with Quo is, is to make sure that. Anybody can be, can afford to be covered. If community support is not enough. So starting November of 2021.

We're going to just give Quo Free to anybody that wants to use it, to maintain their sites. And that means that they'll get the complete support, which means that if they have a module on their site that no one else is using

The maintainers abandoned it, we will back port those patches for them and, and keep it secure for free for that full year and give people a chance to try out the Quo product. So the goal of quo in general, though, yes, is to just keep everyone's websites, secure patches up to date and make sure that everyone is running a maintained website.

Preston So: [00:07:21] I think one thing that you both mentioned, Michael and Jeremy is, is the fact that, you know, we live in an open source environment where a lot of maintainers have moved on to other things projects have, have, have given up, maintainer-ship of a lot of the, you know, modules that a lot of the Drupal community still relies on.

So, I think that's a great incentive and motivation for people to take another look at Tag1 Quo, especially with this Free year from November 2021. So 2022, I think that's a wonderful program. but one thing I think is really important for our audience to understand as well is, why exactly is it that so many of these Drupal versions that so many people still use?

I mean, we saw this with Drupal 6 as well, back when that, end-of-life came around, you know, a lot of folks who were still on these earlier versions of Drupal, Michael, why is it that so many of these very popular versions of Drupal continue to be end-of-life so early? Is there something, you know, I think you mentioned earlier dependencies and things of that nature. Are there other factors involved in this?

Michael Meyers: [00:08:24] Yeah, I mean, it is, it is shocking. The number of organizations that still rely on Drupal 6. What is it like five years now after it's, you know, end-of-life. It's, it's crazy to see, but, you know, we'll get into this more later, if there is no reason for you to migrate from a business standpoint, the fact that there is extended support is fantastic.

So yeah. Related to, you know, these contrib module developers moving on. You know, Drupal 7 has been around, what almost 10 years now. by the time, you know, November 22 rolls around and it's going to be a little over 12 years, that's a really long time for a piece of technology to be around.

Right. You know, there isn't a ton of software on my machine that's that old. Certainly my phone, you know, people rotate through phones faster. So putting it in context, Drupal 7 has been around for a really long time. Another, a big factor is bandwidth. You know, if the community is developing 9 and they're the branch that's already opened for 10, it's just not practical for people to support 7, 8, 9, 10 simultaneously.

You know, there are some people that are paid to develop Drupal. The vast majority are not. and you know, even the ones that aren't working on their own personal time, you know, the people that are funding them are funding them to work on innovative things. And that no longer is Drupal 7, as you know, Drupal 9 and 10.

So, there's, no interest, there's no bandwidth. And you know, it's frankly, in the best interest of Drupal as an open source project, that, it focus on innovation, you know, people aren't going to stick with Drupal or adopt Drupal because Drupal 7 has been around for 12 years. They're going to continue to drop.

You know, Drupal because 9 and 10 are fantastic. And so, you know, given that limited bandwidth and interest, we need to move forward as a community.

Preston So: [00:10:25] Well, you've certainly convinced me, Michael I'm I'm I'm on board. I definitely want to get, you know, the innovation train, with the rest of the, of, you know, all these amazing versions of Drupal coming out.

You know, I think we've talked quite a bit on Tag1 TeamTalks to episodes about some of the amazing things that are coming out, in Drupal 9, Drupal 10, so on and so forth. But, you know, you know, I still feel you get the, get the sense that. The CTO type of stakeholder type is very worried about this.

So, you know, when it comes to Tag1 Quo, when it, when it, when it comes to, the options that are available, is there both a sort of, you know, a normal option and the lower cost option available, especially for folks who are dealing with more cash strapped budgets right now with the ongoing pandemic, what's the high cost and low cost option when it comes to preserving stability and keeping our Drupal sites intact.

Michael Meyers: [00:11:18] Yeah, I think this is the big question people want to know, okay, it's going end-of-life. So what does that mean for me? What, what, you know, what can I do? And there are a handful of options as you mentioned. And some of them are very high cost, the first, which is to do nothing. And you know, that may seem like there's no cost to it because you're not doing anything.

But, you know, we talked about how security releases are no longer, no longer going to be happening. And so not doing anything, which a shocking number of organizations are going to opt to do. It's going to expose you to, very likely it's going to expose you to being hacked. You know, we know that people, you know, when vulnerabilities have been announced, create automated tools to scan your site and take advantage of those vulnerabilities.

You know, these are, you know, these are like script kiddie level tools at this point you don't need to be an advanced hacker. So there is a very high degree of likelihood. That if there is a major vulnerability, your site if unprotected, you know, today or after end-of-life is going to be hacked. And so, I beg you, please, please.

Don't do nothing. It's a ticking time bomb. You know, I think what, you know, most people are going to be looking at on the high cost end is a migration. You have two options on that front. You can migrate to Drupal 9, or you can upgrade, you know, or move over to another CMS or platform. And this is really expensive.

You know, replatforming can cost you as much, if not more than your initial build, it's time consuming.

It takes a level of expertise. And so, you know, a lot of organizations don't necessarily want to take that on. You know, now or in the future. And so, you know, it it's, you know, it's a very challenging proposition and you don't want to be forced to do that.

And frankly, you know, migrating from Drupal 7 to 9, they're entirely different platforms, right? Like 7 was functionally, you know, developed 8 is largely object oriented. they're really two different software packages. And so the effort and energy, the skill sets required are vastly different between the two and, you know, you might as well at that point, we consider migrating to any platform and doing a technology assessment. So all of a sudden this becomes, you know, a rather large, you know, planning and execution initiative. and, and now not everybody can or wants to do that. And so, yeah, your other option, you know, you could shut down an archive, the website, you know, that's on the table, you know, again, I don't think that's something that.

People really want to consider under most circumstances, but I'm going to throw it out there because it is an option. and, and I think, you know, what we're going to be talking about more today is you could purchase Drupal 7 Extended Support, and, you know, you can decide when you move off of Drupal 7.

And I think that's really the, that's the exciting thing about Drupal Extended Support for people that have been using Drupal is make it a business decision. You know, when, when you're ready, when you need to move off of Drupal 7, you can, you shouldn't be forced to migrate your platform. And, we're one of only a handful of companies that are approved to offer Drupal 7 Extended Support.

And, you know, we're really proud to be one of them and we're going to help make sure that you guys are successful in that process.

Preston So: [00:14:39] One of the things I think that's really important to mention though, you know, is that only a few companies, only a few vendors have been approved to offer, Drupal 7 extended support and Tag1 with its long history of the Drupal community, long history of being at the forefront and the vanguard of Drupal innovation.

You know, it's no, it's no question that Tag1 is also helping those who are further behind catch up and stick with their currently, kind of, stable versions of Drupal they're happy with. So, so, you know, I know that Tag1 Quo is the extended support service for Drupal, you know, how does it, how does it help Drupal 7 users, Jeremy?

Jeremy Andrews: [00:15:18] Yeah. So the thing about Drupal 7 is it's actually a fantastic platform. Drupal 8, Drupal 9 are a nice evolution. but Drupal 7 remains very powerful. You can do a lot with it. It's an incredibly mature ecosystem. And so there's no need for people to be forced to migrate off of it if they're getting what they need from it.

So what Quo is designed to do is, is to make people be able to stay there. it allows us to easily monitor what modules are being used, what versions, and make sure the security patches are provided and applied. Yeah. So with the extended service program, we're guaranteeing that a minimum of a four or five years Quo will provide updates.

Realistically, it's going to be much more than that because the Drupal 6 extended support is still running and going strong. We have no intention of ending it. So as long as people are interested in Drupal 7 support, we'll continue providing it through Quo. One of the important parts of this was not just to, to be accurate.

And to give people what they need, but to do it affordably and so Tag1 Quo was, is it has a couple of options, but there's a self service option, which is intended to be very affordable so that anybody can continue to participate and to stay up to date. It's also worth noting is there's no long term commitment.

You can go month to month, so anybody can try it and use it for a few months, apply all the updates, and then cancel. If they choose to, on the flip side, of course we can make longer commitments. Some companies, you know, require a longer commitment so that they can, you know, know that they have that provided for a long time.

And we do that as well.

Preston So: [00:17:05] That's amazing. You know, I think we're going to talk much more about Tag1 Quo very shortly. Once we get into part two. But, just, just briefly, what sorts of, what sorts of notifications does Tag1 Quo give you in terms of patches and updates. I know that, you know, one of the things that Tag1 Quo is going to be really, really wonderful for is maintaining some of those modules that have, you know, falling by the wayside a little bit.

What sorts of notifications are going to be part of the Tag1 Quo service?

Jeremy Andrews: [00:17:36] Yeah. So the default notification is just the standard email.

But it can also integrate with Slack, ticketing systems, pretty much any system you need directly into your source code repository as necessary. so to make sure that you have quick access.

Do the patches can review them, get them applied and, and get them deployed quickly. we also have a more expensive enterprise model where instead of just sending you push notifications, we actually have access to your systems and we can apply those patches. We can help you deploy them to production, and make sure that your website stays up to date.

We're looking to develop quite a few new features and tools over the next couple of years. So that this is a very full featured product by the time, that it's very important to people.

Preston So: [00:18:27] Absolutely. I couldn't agree more how important it is and, Edison, that's all the time we have today for this episode.

But once again, I hope that you all enjoy hearing a little bit about what the End-of-Life for Drupal 7 entails. What exactly it means for you and what your options are. I think we know very clearly know that Tag1 Quo is an exceptionally well positioned option for anyone who needs to maintain a Drupal 7 site past EOL. Without further ado.

Thank you so much. If you have any suggestions or feedback about our episodes, or if you want to hear us talk about a topic, remember to reach out to, Thanks to Jeremy and Michael, for Part 1 of this series on and Drupal 7 end-of-life with Tag1 Quo. See you next time.