Psychology Today

Building on the Fly - A Seamless Drupal Upgrade

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Solving Dynamic Drupal Migration

Psychology Today needed to upgrade their Drupal site without interrupting the work of thousands of bloggers and editors who deliver valuable content about mental health to users everyday. TEN7 was able to “build the plane while it was still flying.” We created a seamless migration process, allowing content to be added in the middle of the upgrade with no interruption in user experience. 

What We Did

The Challenge

The Psychology Today website attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors who are seeking important information about mental health every single day. Thousands of bloggers and editors work every day to add and update the content on the site to be sure they are meeting users’ needs. 

Because of the dynamic nature of the website, performing needed upgrades poses unique challenges. Psychology Today has partnered with TEN7 to improve their site and add new capabilities without interrupting the vital flow of information.

Our Solution

TEN7 worked with Psychology Today to conduct needed upgrades to their website with particular focus on maintaining a seamless experience – with no downtime – throughout the process. This meant bloggers, editors and users needed to be able to continue creating and engaging through the site even as existing and new content was being synchronized to the new platform. 

The team at TEN7 developed a “dynamic upgrade” process, allowing hundreds of thousands of pieces of content to be migrated to the new website even as that site was still being developed. The developers likened the process to “building a new airplane while still in flight.” They put processes in place to bring all of the existing and newly created content together into an improved website that will be simpler to maintain and upgrade going forward. The site existed in a hybrid state of Drupal 7 and Drupal 9 until all features and content were successfully upgraded.

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Perform a “dynamic upgrade” of the website to Drupal 9

Understanding that the Psychology Today website had to remain operational throughout the Drupal upgrade process, TEN7 developers knew they could not rely on the traditional model of building a new website first and then migrating all of the content into that site. For this project, they had to keep the old website live throughout the process, constantly synchronizing it to the upgraded site until the hundred of thousands of pieces of content could be transferred over. 

The constantly changing nature of the Psychology Today site required TEN7 to set up automated processes that could be scaled to handle hundreds of thousands of pieces of content. Once those systems were in place, the team pivoted to troubleshoot issues related to the new site infrastructure or memory needs for transferring thousands of posts at a time.

Throughout the process, users are interacting with the new, upgraded Drupal site even as content is still being created and synchronized from the old platform.

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Enhance the “editorial workflow” for bloggers and editors

The purpose of the Drupal migration is about more than stability and support, it is also an opportunity to improve the experience for Psychology Today’s contributors and the global audience it serves.

By working closely with the Psychology Today team, TEN7 was able to enhance and simplify the editorial workflow for contributors and editors even in the midst of the upgrade. 

Other features that were improved in the new site included an enhanced search function to help people navigate the vast amount of information on the site. The Drupal 9 site also allows editors to easily translate articles into multiple languages for different audiences around the world.