Drupal 10 and the socPub Family of Websites

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Drupal 10 and the socPub Family of Websites

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A quick overview of my Drupal upgrade experience and a look forward for our websites. 

During the past seven days I've been upgrading our websites from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10. There are four of them which includes socPub, CMS Report, INFOTECH Pub, and After Work Pub. While one is never quite done with the work, we're quickly moving from the upgrade back to the maintenance phase of these website. As the dust settles down it will soon be time to start focusing on the content and presence of these websites.

Quick Overview of the Drupal 9 to Drupal 10 Upgrade

The four websites I manage share some of its content from one another using the Domain contributed module. Managing four websites under one database and one Drupal install provides some advantages but also presents some unique challenges. Luckily, the beta version of the Domain module was developed enough to not present too many upgrade obstacles for me.

I also had some Views and Theme issues with this upgrade to Drupal 10. The Upgrade Status module had warned me of the compatibility issues with the News+ theme.  I've been using this theme ever since I rebranded the primary website as socPub on Drupal 8. With the Drupla 10 update, the theme wouldn't fully render due to how it was tied into Views. The Views were "corrupt" enough that I couldn't even edit them and I concluded I had no choice but to delete them and start over.

While I eventually want a new theme for these websites, I wasn't ready to really dig deep into a new theme given my time constraints. So instead, I decided to purchase the latest version of NEWS+ from More Than Theme we've been using, install the new theme, and synchronize the needed configuration changes back into my own site. So far, everything seems to be working fine since installing the newly configured Views and the new version of the theme.

Upgrades in Drupal continue to promise to get easier in the future. I hope so, because more and more I'm starting to feel like I'm getting too old to do these upgrades as a "one person show". However, looking back at the many Drupal updates I've done since Drupal 4.6...I'll take this update as another win for me and my sites' visitors.

Looking forward to 2024

With content for this website originating as far back as 2006, there is a lot of history here for how we started as one website and are now four different websites. For the past two years a lot of the changes have sadly been an acknowledgment that I'm unsure what content still resonates with readers. I'm continually experimenting and seeing what sticks and what doesn't. What makes a website popular and what doesn't?

The most recent addition to the family of websites I've introduced is INFOTECH Pub. This website is quite obviously focused on information technology.  More important than the technology itself, the site is also intended to acknowledge the IT workforce of developers, designers, managers, and engineers behind the work. Having worked in government IT for two decades the topics we highlight are a special interest of mine and hopefully others too.

As my own personal life transitions from a focus on career to the life outside of work, I'm really excited to see how the After Work Pub evolves. Most of the visitors to my websites are professionals that have spent 40 or even 60 hours a week on their career. They're the type of people that too often focus not on themselves but serving their customers, their companies, or their own business at an expense to their personal life. Almost everyone gets to a point in life realizing those bicycle rides, the music you're listening to, the hobbies you spend time with, and the family vacations are the memories you will be taking to the grave with you. No one on their deathbed talks about that big software project they completed. No one!  What we do outside of work matters and this is where I want to focus the story telling in my posts.

One of the reasons websites like socPub and CMS Report have had an audience is because it's not just my articles that are presented but also stories from our guest writers. I'm not the most popular author found on my own websites. Some of our guest writers have written articles read more than my own with one author nearing a quarter of a million views for a single article. While most guest writers typically don't get this many views for their content, all of them have had a part in giving our readers a reason more than me to visit. Next year, I hope to open the doors a little more than we've done the past few years and introduce our readers to a new generation of contributing authors to our websites.

Finally, 2024 promises to be a year of transition and a gateway into 2025. In the next couple years, we'll not only find out what works for our readers but also what doesn't work for them. Perhaps we don't need four different websites but instead should consolidate down to two? There is also a possibility that perhaps we need to evolve the websites further than we have with less focus on past content and more focus on the present and future? I think the next year will have a lot of the answers for these questions and additional ones too.