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Upgrade to Drupal 7 and Drupal Commerce

Hitchhiking in Norway

In 2008 I built my first Drupal site. It's also proven to be one of the more successful sites I've done, saving the family business in times of economic downturn. My brother broke his leg in Spring, started building some prut with some web building software. Then I quit working for Hyves in May, later I registered as an independent freelancer and thanks to some random events, such as a ride towards the ferry to Denmark with Drupal expert Hans Rossel during a hitchhiking trip towards Nordkapp, I decided to work with Drupal.

Since then I learnt tons about Drupal. It's an amazing system with of course some issues that come with being amazing. In 2008 I still thought multilingual Drupal sites are cool. We added versions in German, French and English. Later I learned otherwise, especially if you care about search engine optimization. You can end up with tons of duplicate content.

So in 2010 or so we decided to split up the sites. We're still dealing with issues related to that but overall I'm happy with it. We also tried building something with Ubercart, which turned out much less nice than expected. It's a very boxed system and finally we decided to not even use its e-commerce features so we ended up with a weird site based on Ubercart without any shopping functionality.

Early 2011 Drupal 7 was released so we had to come up with a strategy to move forward. It took some time to decide upon Drupal Commerce. I'm still not 100% convinced about Commerce but meanwhile we managed to take our D6 site and upgrade it nicely to D7. There were quite a few issues that we had to solve on the way, even in the standard upgrade procedure. Our pretty standard site appeared to be not that standard after all and even a simple thing such as permissions needed some hacking to fix. And even now that we released a brand new site for teak furniture on the German market there are some loose ends that need to be fixed.

Back in 2008 we used tons of image nodes, which I managed to upgrade with some fiddling around. Unfortunately the images are not showing anymore! Drupal Commerce is nice but when we started building with it still wasn't ready to use out of the box. I decided to take a course with Commerce Guys, which learned me a lot and which also seemed a good way of giving back in the form of funding Drupal development. Unfortunately there was a set back in the form of a broken arm and I wasn't about to get as much out of it as I would have with 2 hands to type. In general I can recommend CG trainings, but only if you're fully able to type and concentrate (pain doesn't help).

Teakmöbel.com

Looking back almost 4 years I think Drupal has been an excellent choice. Not just for the furniture business but also for the big conversion project from ASP to Drupal I did for one of Israel's biggest and most serious NGOs and many other smaller projects. And consequently I managed to establish myself as an expert in SEO, Drupal and other free software systems without being tied to a cubicle.

Next post something about how I finally made money thanks to FB by entering the heart of capitalism.