Should You Upgrade to Drupal 8 Right Away?
There is a lot of buzz surrounding Drupal 8 right now. And why not? There is a lot to like. It's fresh, it's hot, it promises to bring a lot more to the table than any major release before it.
Drupal 8 has been (mostly) rebuilt from the ground up, leveraging the Symfony2 framework as the underpinning to free developers of many "Drupalisms", bringin in outside technologies, and enable better integration of external packages and components.
While this means that we get to use new things like Twig theming, Views in Core, Configuration API, Plugin API, BigPipe caching, and cool tools like the DrupalConsole to aid in development, what does that mean for you?
When selecting what version to go with, there are a few things to consider.
Keep in mind that Drupal 7 will still be a viable platform to build on, as it will be supported and maintained for the next three to five years until Drupal 9 is released. That is plenty of time, so don't feel rushed to build on Drupal 8 and that anything less would be inferior.
Drupal 7 is mature, which means it has a lot of options available for building out your site. While there is a huge effort underway to make a lot of the great contributed community modules available for Drupal 8, not all of them are ready yet, and it will take a little longer for the community to catch up.
Drupal 7 is well supported and battle hardened at this point, finding help and assistance online or from experienced agencies is not hard. On the flipside, finding help and documentation for Drupal 8 is still sparse right now. It will come in time, but if you need a lot of documentation, walkthroughs, and training materials, Drupal 7 is still your best bet.
Another thing to consider is your project timeline. If you are looking to have a project turnaround of 3-6 months (thats the entire lifecycle of the project, not just development), you may be best suited to going with Drupal 7.
However, if you have a fairly straightforward site that will be driven by content and not require a lot of custom development, Drupal 8 can be a viable option. A thorough review of project requirements by a solutions architect and an experienced developer can help determine this with you.
On the other hand, if you are looking at a longer term project (extending beyond 6 months) it makes sense to start your build with Drupal 8. Chances are by the time you enter the development phase, pathways to building solutions in version 8 will be more documented and clear.
So, what is the verdict? Well, honestly, it really depends on three things: your timeline, your budget, and your needs.