No Upgrades? You’ll Scare Your Users Away

Today is Halloween so it’s a good time to addresses a scary topic.

After a baby-hiatus this summer, I’ve been back on the road again teaching a lot of Joomla and Drupal. I’m talking to a lot of end-users and finding that there’s something really scary In our open source platforms.

No Upgrades? Your Customers See an Exit Door

I tweeted a while ago that a lot of people are migrating to Joomla and Drupal from the Vignette / OpenText system. Why? Because OpenText are dropping support for an old version and moving to the new version requires a major migration. People are using that opportunity to shop around. If they’re going to have to rewrite their whole website, why not see if there’s a better alternative out there? Every time there’s a difficult upgrade, your customers seen an exit door.

The worst part of every class with Vignette users is explaining that neither Joomla or Drupal are better with upgrades. It’s not comforting to explain to new users that they got out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Times Have Changed

Here’s the thing: people’s expectations have changed. This isn’t 2005 when phones never updated and new Windows versions often required buying new computers.

In 2011, your phones, computers and tablets update automatically. In 2011, WordPress runs 15% of the web and its updates are like butter. In 2011, we all run on the cloud and we never even notice the updates. That’s today’s standard. Any system which doesn’t provide an easy update path isn’t living in the 2010’s.


I hope that Joomla devs provide a smooth upgrade from 2.5 to 3.0 and that Drupal devs provide a smooth path from 7 to 8.

I fear a scary experience for the users of either platform if they don’t.

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