First things first, let's talk about why you're here. You've got a DNN website that's starting to show its age, and you're eyeing that sleek, modern Drupal CMS like it's the latest iPhone. OR you just love checking out our blogs 😉

From DotNetNuke to DNN Platform to DNN Evoq-sometimes simply called Evoq-this CMS has seen a series of transformations. Once an extremely popular CMS solution for organizations (mostly enterprise-level), DNN Evoq has faced the inevitable challenge of staying relevant over two decades. It's hard for any software to remain popular for over 20 years, especially with the changing world of web development and content management.

Drupal, despite being older than DNN (okay, a year older), is thriving! Over time, it has only evolved into a more modern, user-friendly, and robust CMS. Moreover, Drupal excels at what it was designed to do: effective content management. 

However, this is not intended to be a comparison blog of DNN vs. Drupal, even though we'll touch on a few reasons to consider the switch. This article aims to shed light on the DNN to Drupal migration process and why you should consider making the move. Additionally, we will share a case study of one of Specbee's successful DNN to Drupal migrations. 

Why you should migrate from DNN Evoq to Drupal

To those who need to know some history of DNN, it was created by Shaun Walker and launched in late 2002. Written in C#, DNN is open source and relies on .NET framework and ASP.NET Web Forms. DNN soon became a platform known for its extensibility and seamless scalability which also brought in a lot of consultants and agencies to offer DNN development services. 

However, over the years, DNN has experienced significant changes. The shift to the ASP.NET MVC model in 2009, coupled with some acquisitions, led to a decline in its user base and community support. DNN started relying on outdated technologies (since the .NET framework stopped development in 2019) and is unable to adapt to modern technologies and advancements. This evolution made it less appealing for businesses looking for a robust and active platform. 

Now, why should you consider moving to Drupal, especially Drupal 10?

  1. Active and Vibrant Community: Drupal has one of the largest open-source communities. This means continuous improvements, a wealth of modules and themes, and a support system that's always buzzing.
  2. Continuous innovation: Drupal's constant innovation, driven by its passionate community, keeps it ahead with advanced features and enhancements. New strategic initiatives like Drupal Starshot, Project Browser, Experience Builder, Recipes, and Automatic Updates are poised to revolutionize the Drupal experience, making it more intuitive, efficient, and adaptable than ever before. 
  3. Cutting-Edge Features: Drupal 10 comes packed with modern features. It leverages Symfony 6 and Twig 3, ensuring your site is not just robust but also future-proof. The new admin theme, Claro, and the front-end theme, Olivero, offer a more intuitive and visually appealing experience.
  4. Effective editorial workflow system: With Drupal, end users can easily create and manage workflows tailored to their organization's needs and adjust them on-demand as necessary which is becoming more and more of a demand today.  In comparison, DNN's customization options and support for complex editorial workflows often require extensive coding knowledge. 
  5. Scalability and Flexibility: Like DNN, Drupal is known for its scalability. However, Drupal takes it a step further with its flexible content architecture, allowing you to create and manage various content types with ease.
  6. Security: Drupal is renowned for its strong security track record. The Drupal Security Team actively monitors and addresses vulnerabilities, giving you peace of mind.
  7. SEO and Performance: Drupal 10 includes out-of-the-box features that help improve SEO and site performance. From clean URLs to advanced caching mechanisms, it’s designed to help your site rank better and load faster.
  8. Accessibility: Drupal is committed to web accessibility standards, ensuring your site is usable by everyone.
  9. Extensive Ecosystem: With thousands of modules and themes, Drupal offers a vast ecosystem to extend your site's functionality without reinventing the wheel.

By switching to Drupal 10, you're stepping into a future-ready, secure, and highly customizable environment. It's a move that can significantly improve your digital presence and provide a solid foundation for growth.

Preparing for the migration

Before you begin your DNN to Drupal migration, we recommend reading this article to get yourself prepped for a migration regardless of the version. It covers what information you should share with your Drupal development partner. This migration is also a perfect time to add those extra features or third-party integrations you've always wanted. Additionally, it's a great opportunity to revamp your website's design and user experience if needed. Consider your website’s current SEO positioning and how you would like to optimize it.

Once you've considered everything, create a backup of your website to avoid any accidental changes or data loss. Next, make a checklist of your content structure, including content types, URLs, metadata, and media files. After this, let the Drupal migration experts take over.

drupal migration

DNN to Drupal migration process

Here’s a 4-step migration process that is (or should ideally be) followed by your Drupal migration partner:

1. Migration Audit

  1. Identify your DNN website features, functionality, modules, and content structure
  2. Conduct a detailed analysis to understand the digital landscape
  3. Catalog content views for easier replication
  4. Develop a strategic content migration strategy

2. Build Application

  1. Meticulously rebuild content structure and theme
  2. Replicate website features, add new features
  3. Conduct thorough regression testing
  4. Ensure a solid foundation, seamless functionality, and flawless performance

3. Migrate Content

  1. Content extraction from your database in a CSV, XML or JSON format
  2. Ensure a seamless transition from DNN to the latest Drupal version
  3. Import all contents and valuable assets, match them with the freshly created content types and fields
  4. Meticulously validate the entire data migration process for data accuracy and completeness.

4. Testing

  1. Thoroughly test migrated data for sanity and integrity.
  2. Subject replicated features to smoke testing and load testing.
  3. Guarantee seamless performance under various scenarios.
  4. Conduct meticulous security checks.

Watch this video of our step-by-step Drupal migration process, regardless of the CMS you are coming from.

Watch Drupal Migration Process | Specbee on YouTube.

A DNN to Drupal migration case study

The client (Stamats) approached us with a two-fold issue. They had three magazine sites on a legacy version of DNN that was riddled with malware and needed major work for the migration to Drupal. Among those sites was MeetingsToday.com. 

Meetings Today was several years old, and had more than 20,000 articles in DNN. There was also extensive functionality related to their physical magazine, events, podcasts, webinars, and more. Their primary goal was to retain and grow their audience. They were experiencing issues with editing, and an uncertain future. The challenge came to Specbee to create a Drupal distribution that could serve the core publishing needs of several online magazine sites built in DNN. 

So we built a custom Drupal distribution to save them time and money in the long term. This approach allowed any new feature developed for one site to be easily implemented across all sites while preserving their unique designs. It also gave them the ability to spin up a new publishing site without building a brand new website from scratch getting them to market 10x faster. 

Specbee delivered a solution that allowed for Drupal's powerful editorial controls and publishing tools for multiple sites while allowing those sites to retain their unique functionality.

References

Final thoughts

We understand that migrations are never an easy decision for any business. While entrusting a reliable technology partner can alleviate some concerns, it's crucial to dedicate your attention and time before handing over the reins. By choosing the right Drupal partner (such as Specbee, a certified Drupal migration partner), you can streamline the migration process, making it as seamless and painless as possible. Still wondering if you should migrate your DNN website to Drupal? Give us a call and we’ll help you make the right decision.

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