How We Archived Outdated Tutorials

You might have noticed some changes on Drupalize.Me lately. We've just wrapped up a huge content archiving project and I'd like to share what we did and how this will help us move forward with a library of tutorials for Drupal learners that we're committed to keeping up-to-date.

Drupalize.Me has a long history of Drupal training that started with in-person workshops, DVDs, and even a multi-year conference (Do It With Drupal or DIWD) from Lullabot. Those DVDs on site building, module development, theming, jQuery, SEO, and more -- they were the start of the library of Drupal training videos on Drupalize.Me. And they've been on the site for a very long time.

During Drupal 7's life cycle (up to Drupal 8's release), we produced videos on core competencies such as module development, theming, and site building. We also covered a number of contributed modules including Views, Panels, and Webform.

When Drupal 8 was released in November of 2015, we were already daunted by the burden of our outdated content. Video-only tutorials made updates that much more cumbersome. We wanted a developer-friendly, code-copy-pasteable format as well as a feasible way to keep Drupal 8 content up-to-date with the new scheduled minor releases. So, we switched to a written-first format and augmented with video.

While this allowed us to move forward more rapidly with Drupal 8 tutorials and keep them updated with every minor release, we still had the baggage of the Drupal 6 and 7 (and other non-Drupal) video tutorials.

As the primary content manager for Drupalize.Me, I felt the pain of trying to manage approximately 1900 published tutorial and video nodes keenly. I felt that if we were going to effectively move forward with new content for Drupal 8 and 9, we needed to address the old content that was intermingling with the new, misleading learners and causing confusion. Frankly, it was overwhelming.

So what did we do? First, we inventoried our content. I was able to divide our material into manageable buckets by content (Drupal 6, Drupal 7, Drupal 8, and non-Drupal), and by format (written+video and video only). I then created a policy -- an outdated content flowchart -- that would help me decide what to do with different categories of outdated content. I presented my policy recommendation and flowchart to the team and got the "green light" to move forward with an audit focused on identifying outdated or misleading content.

One key takeaway during this point in the process was we decided to provide 2 levels of "archiving":

  1. Archive with a disclaimer and provide alternative resources if possible.
  2. Unpublish and redirect to a relevant page if possible.

I audited every single last one of our videos, tutorials, and collection pages and decided whether they should be archived, and at which level. In the process, I dug up alternative resources, updated pertinent topic pages, and basically went a little crazy with spreadsheets. I even tinkered a bit with Google Data Studio.

After our tech team implemented some new archiving and alternative resources fields on our content types, I got to work editing nodes and marking old content as archived, providing alternative resources where possible, and unpublishing the whole of our Drupal 6 and DIWD videos (except jQuery videos that also pertained to Drupal 7). It was amazingly tedious, but it's now done!

  • Drupal 6 content has been removed. Some of it was redirected to Drupal 7 counterparts.
  • Drupal 7 content has not been removed. We know there are still a lot of Drupal 7 users and site maintainers out there. This content has been marked as archived and you will see a banner across the top indicating so. Where possible, alternative resources are listed to point you to Drupal 8 material.
  • Non-Drupal content was archived or unpublished on a case-by-case basis. The bulk of it was marked as archived and remains on the site.
  • Drupal 8 content is here to stay for the time being. We will be forking our tutorial repository and maintaining Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 versions of our tutorials through Drupal 8's lifetime. Given how major releases now work in Drupal, these branches will be the same for a while and will diverge over time.

With content archiving complete, we hope this will provide clarity to our members about which content we are actively committed to keeping up-to-date and which content we consider archived and provided as-is. We also hope in many cases you will find more pertinent Drupal 8 content in the additional resources listed for much of our archived content.

So much for the past. What about the future of Drupalize.Me content? Here are a few of our content goals for this year.

  1. Our #1 priority is to update our Drupal 8 content with each minor version release. We are currently up-to-date with 8.8.0.
  2. Currently undergoing final stage peer review: a revamp of our popular React and Drupal tutorial series!
  3. Add videos to more of our Drupal 8 written tutorials. We will be starting on this immediately, creating videos for both our Content Moderation and Views series.
  4. Review and update Drupal 8 series, including contributing updates to the Drupal 8 User Guide community project, of which we host a fork.
  5. Create new tutorials for Layout Builder, now in core.
  6. Create new tutorials for Media, now in core.

We're excited to move forward with new videos and written tutorials on Drupal 8 (and 9). We'll be focusing the blog on #d9readiness posts in anticipation of both Drupal 9's release sometime in 2020 inspired by this State of Drupal 9 presentation (check out the open sourced slide deck). Sign up for our newsletter (see link in the footer) to get an email when the blog is updated.

Comments

Well done - thanks for the update.

Thanks for the hard work. It is appreciated :)

Much love and respect. Your energy and diligence has formed a solid base that elevates all site users. Rock on.

Please do not remove outdated content, as it may still be useful. Have you considered making it freely available instead, by moving it to a platform like Vimeo or Youtube?

I think your changes will make my experience better when I need to dive in again. Another dive will happen sooner or later, your content has, in the past, helped me in many ways. Hopefully when you say archived you mean separated from primary search results but available via search of your archive if need be.

Great! Good job! I am waiting for React in Drupal :)

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