Announcement - Drupal 9 Upgrade Project

Please Note

Some changes have been made to the migration process:

  • Editing D7 sites will not be blocked until the Department Staging phase.

Information Technology, working with Strategic Communications and the campus Drupal Team, is nearing the last phases of our Drupal upgrade project:

  • Scheduling department websites for upgrade
  • Training for content owners/editors
  • Migration of content from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9/10

This communication includes details about these next phases, what content owners/leads can expect, and how departments will need to participate in the upgrade.

Drupal Upgrade Tasks for Departments

  1. Read this communication in full.
  2. Review the Draft Migration Schedule to find your proposed migration start date.
  3. Talk with your web coworkers and leadership to determine if that date will work for you.
  4. Reply to the Drupal Migration ticket created for you by the Web Team to confirm your availability, or to request a different migration date.
  5. Access your Sandbox to explore the Drupal 9 training.
  6. Drop in to a Sandbox and Migration Support Zoom session as needed.
  7. Participate in the migration process (described below).

What is Drupal?

Drupal is the web content management system used by SSU schools, departments, programs, divisions, and affinity groups to build and maintain their public-facing websites. These websites are an important part of the way the University provides information and services to our students, employees, and other members of the campus community.

Why Upgrade Drupal?

SSU currently is using Drupal version 7, which was originally released in 2011. Drupal 7 is scheduled to meet its end of life in November 2023, and will no longer be developed or maintained by the Drupal development community. Drupal 9 is the latest version and offers many improvements to content owners and editors, Drupal developers, and visitors to our websites. Drupal 9 allows SSU to adopt modern development practices, better improve and control accessibility for visitors with disabilities, and increase the security of our websites.

Training for Department Content Editors

Drupal 9 has many features that will be familiar to Drupal 7 content leads and editors, but also many important differences. To prepare department web editors for using D9, Information Technology has created Sandbox sites for all department sites.

Sandboxes are for exploration and learning, not for making production content. Department content editors should delve into the sandboxes with our Drupal 9/10 Training Guide to see what’s updated and experiment with new features. Sandboxes are a safe place to try new things — nothing in a sandbox will be copied to a production site.

Sandbox Sites

A D9 Sandbox site is available for each existing D7 site. Content leads on D7 sites will have access to their department’s Sandbox sites.

Sandbox sites are based on SSU’s starter templates, and include all the content types, blocks and views available in SSU Drupal 9 standards. They do not contain any of your content migrated from existing sites.

URLs for Sandbox sites are similar to D7 sites.

If your D7 URL is,
your D9 Sandbox URL is
and your D9 Sandbox login URL is

Logging in to Your Drupal 9 Sandbox

Drupal 9 uses SSU’s single sign-on system.

Note: Sandboxes have an additional level of HTTP authentication to prevent search engines and other unauthorized access. This won’t be required once your migrated department site is launched.

  1. Go to your Sandbox URL. Be sure you are using https and not http.
  2. HTTP authentication dialog will be presented.  If you don't know this shared username and password, please consult the email sent to you via Drupal-Announce or the Drupal Migration ticket sent to you by the IT help desk. (Note: You will not receive this email until a slot has been scheduled for your site's migration.)
  3. Go to the Drupal login URL by adding “/user” to the URL in the browser.
  4. Click SSU Single Sign-on.
  5. Authenticate with SSU’s single sign-on system.
  6. You are returned to the Drupal Sandbox and logged in as a content editor.

If a user doesn’t already have a Drupal account on the specific Sandbox site, one will be automatically created by logging in.

Migration Process

Drupal 7 and 9 are very different applications, and the migration path is complex. The Drupal Team has developed a process to export content and files from a Drupal 7 department site, and import it into SSU’s Drupal 9 platform and standardized content types. Parts of the process are automated, but other parts require human review and code development by the Drupal Team, and other parts require human review on the part of the website owner/editor.

Note: During a department’s migration, Drupal 7 site edits will be disabled to prevent Drupal 7 and Drupal 9 from getting out of sync. It will be important for all parties to complete their tasks as quickly as possible. Drupal 7 sites will still be accessible to all viewers until the migration is complete and the Drupal 9 site is launched.

Here is an overview of the process:

Migration Process Overview
Task Description Who Does This? Duration
Disable edits on Department’s D7 site Done to prevent disruption of migration and D7 & D9 getting out of sync. Notification/reminder will be sent to content leads. Drupal Team .5 hours
Export Department content Process that exports all D7 department content, moderation, files and configurations. Drupal Team 1-3 hours
Import Department content Process that analyzes the export, adjusts the migration configuration to reflect differences in the department’s D7 configuration, and recreates new nodes with department content and SSU’s D9 content types. Drupal Team 1-3 hours
Quality Assurance (QA) Automated Testing Ensures that migration is successful; content types, blocks, and other elements were created and functioning properly. Drupal Team 1 hour
QA Human Acceptance Testing Review migrated content to confirm it meets SSU D9 technical standard, and to identify, investigate and register bugs. Drupal Team 3 hours
Fix identified issues Fix identified bugs, and remigrate as needed. Drupal Team 1-8 hours
Notify Department content owners and editors Email to the department that includes links and instructions for QA and registering bugs. Drupal Team .5 hours
Department Data & Files Migration QA Review all pages. Submit a Drupal/Website ticket to report bugs to Drupal Team. Are any pages, files, or other elements missing? Does anything look wrong or function incorrectly? Department content editors and owners 1-4 days
Bug fixes Fix identified bugs. Drupal Team 1-8 hours
Disable edits on Department’s D7 site Done to prevent disruption of migration and D7 & D9 getting out of sync. Notification/reminder will be sent to content leads. Drupal Team .5 hours
Department review and stage for release Review fixed bugs, make menu updates and other content staging edits. Department content editors and owners 1-2 days
Department approval to launch Department signs off on migration and approves to launch to production. Department content editors and owners .25 hours
Launch Department D9 site Update domain name system for D7 and D9 sites Drupal Team 2 hours
Archive Department D7 site Make backups of the site's database and files, to store locally in IT. Drupal Team 1 hour
Department Migration Complete - Close project Migration project records updated and closed. Drupal Team .5 hours

Migration Schedule

SSU has 144 Drupal 7 sites. The migration process allows us to run the export and import for 1 site at a time. The Drupal Team estimates that we will be able to start one department migration a day beginning in April.

Because department content editors and owners must be part of the process, we have made a preliminary schedule that begins April 26, 2023.

The schedule order is based upon the complexity of the site, whether the site is primarily student-facing (an academic department or school) or administrative. Simple sites are scheduled ahead of complex sites so we can identify and fix as many bugs as possible early in the migration process. This will make it easier to migrate complex sites later in the schedule, and reduce the number of issues complex site owners will encounter.

Draft Migration Schedule

Fifteen simple sites have been identified for early migration testing starting April 7 through April 25. These are labeled Group 0. The migration process for those is slightly different, requiring less review and staging work by the departments. The Drupal Team will work with the content editors and owners to ensure the sites are ready and approved before launch, then move to prioritizing and migration the rest of the sites.

Confirm or Change Your Department’s Migration Slot

The Drupal Team will use a Drupal Migration help desk ticket to send and manage invites for migration work and due dates. Invitations will be sent approximately 2 weeks before the migration window begins.

If your department’s content editors and owners are not available in that timeframe, please let the Drupal Team know immediately by responding to the Drupal Migration email and suggesting a timeframe when your team will be available.

Migration and Sandbox Drop-in Support Hours

The Web Office is offering drop-in support hours via Zoom for D9 migration and sandbox use.

Mondays, 2:00-3:00 pm
April 10 - October 16, 2023

Join Zoom Meeting: