We're approaching that time when it is becoming increasingly difficult to decide which version of Drupal to use for a new project. There are those of you out there who would probably say all projects should be in Drupal 7 from now on but that isn't reality for everyone yet. Each project we are starting right now we are having to evaluate the pros and cons and make a decision. Since the beginning of the year we've decided used D7 for about half our projects and D6 for the other half.
So how do we make that decision?
When we start a project we start with requirements gathering, wireframes and gathering user stories to get an overview of the site. Then we have a site engineering meeting to start designing the site. We talk about content types, views and any special modules or functionality that will need to be added or built. Any third party integration points are also looked at.
With that information in mind, we then look at the status of all the modules we need and see if there is a (relatively) stable D7 version out yet. For most common modules or anything in core, there is usually a fairly stable build already available. The trouble comes when you get into that edge functionality. Often times the smaller modules are just not there yet. While we are certainly capable of porting/creating the modules we need, this all really depends on the client's budget.
If we run into the situation where the site is fairly simple and everything is available, we definitely choose D7. This rarely happens though. Usually there are a couple of unknowns/negatives that just aren't going to be quick and ready for D7. We then look at the client budget and see if we have time to port/create the needed functionality. Many times we just don't have the time to make it work in D7 and that is when we still choose D6.
It really breaks my heart when we have to do this because I'm in love with the new Views UI (after a small adjustment period) and the new Fields is fantastic. I'm also excited about the Media and Styles modules and what all that is going to allow us to do once it is a little more done. But at the end of the day we need to look at the budget we have, the available tools and the knowledge of our staff and if we can get it done cheaper and faster (although probably not better) in D6 we should probably choose that route. Our themer is also really excited about the new theme layer and especially the inclusion of semantic views in Views 3. These help him a lot in getting sites themed faster.
A few times we've had the situation where the client needed something in jQuery 1.4 or some core functionality that is significantly better in D7. In that case we choose D7 since cleaning up the outliers is going to be much less work than trying to backport some cool new functionality.
We are finding it more and more difficult to make the decision on our projects and D7 gets better and better and more modules get ported to it. Hopefully soon we will not have to think about D6 any more and can go full force into D7. The only thing really holding us back right now is budgets and the fact that we can still get some things done faster in D6 than we can in D7.
What are some of the things you think about when deciding what version of Drupal to start your new project in?