News & views

Why upgrade from SilverStripe 2.4?

Knowing that a lot of local businesses have difficulty understanding why their website needs to be upgraded, we sat down with our senior web developers Myles and Will to run through the key reasons any SilverStripe 2.4 website should be upgraded ASAP.

Myles and Will are the brains behind our recent SilverStripe professional partnership and know a thing or two about SilverStripe.

What's the number 1 reason businesses should consider upgrading from SilverStripe 2.4?

Myles: I think security is the biggest overlooked factor for upgrading. No more security patches are being released for version 2.4 so any vulnerabilities found in the system will remain open to being exploited by hackers. That's a real concern for businesses who rely on their websites for sales, the last thing anyone wants to have to worry about is an unsecured website.

Will: Yeah I agree with Myles - security is a biggie. Upgrading a website also becomes harder the longer you leave it on 2.4, and depending on the website it's getting near the point where an upgrade may not be possible without a lot of work.

I thought SilverStripe was a secure CMS?

Myles: Don't get me wrong, it is! SilverStripe 3 is constantly being updated with the latest security patches. But 2.4 is simply so out of date now and web technology moves at such a fast pace that vulnerabilities are bound to happen.

When you're talking about Content Management System (CMS) security, it's all about keeping up with development progression. When an issue is found, how quickly it is resolved and how thoroughly it is patched is how I would measure how secure a CMS is. SilverStripe 2.4 just doesn't have that luxury anymore.

SS25 SS4
Silverstripe 2.4 interface Silverstripe 3 interface

So can businesses still upgrade to the latest and greatest version without a full rebuild?

Will: In most cases yes, although as Silverstripe 3 evolves it is growing harder. I am looking at every 2.4 website on a case by case basis to determine the best approach for upgrading. For basic websites without too much advanced functionality, an upgrade is still possible. If a site has a custom piece of functionality or uses an out-dated third party module there's a chance that functionality will have to be re-engineered to work in the Silverstripe 3 CMS.

Myles: When we come across businesses who need an upgrade, we also tend to take the time to see if their business needs have changed or any other reason that they could benefit from a website redesign.

Is the CMS getting out of date a SilverStripe thing, or does it happen to all systems?

Will: Mate, it's a fact of life with the web that technology moves at a fast pace. No CMS has an endless shelf life and any other system you can think of will also go through major release upgrades. If a local business is facing that situation, we tend to help them assess whether upgrading to the next version is the best move, or whether SilverStripe might be a better fit for them.

""The best thing you can do with your website is get expert advice. We'll happily sit down with you and run through what you need your website to be able to do.""

Security aside, what other reasons are there for upgrading to SilverStripe 3?

Myles: Well firstly the interface is MUCH easier to work within - the old 2.4 user interface is feeling really clunky these days but the newer SilverStripe 3 UI is much cleaner. As a developer that means we can configure client's websites to best suit their needs as we know what it feels like to manage CMSs that are hard to find your way around.

Will: An example of that would be a new module for SilverStripe 3 called ""Lumberjack"" - it's a handy module that cleans up the SiteTree - the list of pages found on your website. If you have a blog, event calendar or something with a lot of sub-pages, the Site Tree can become a pain to manage. Lumberjack tidies that right up for you. It's the little things like that which make the newer SilverStripe much easier to work within for a website manager, saving time and effort for our clients in the long run.

Myles: Lumberjack is an example of the SilverStripe developer community being of value to local businesses. We also do a lot of in-house customisation. When we see an opportunity to improve how our client's content can be managed, we package that up for the benefit of all our new website builds. That's just something you don't get with SilverStripe 2.4 anymore, y'know?

What advice would you give to anyone considering an upgrade?

Will: To come and talk to us. The best thing you can do with your website is get expert advice. We'll happily sit down with you and run through what you need your website to be able to do. Once we've had a dig into your current website we can make recommendations on how and what to upgrade.

Even if you don't need a redesign or added functionality, touching base is worthwhile. We can chat about your content needs and explore any improvements that can be made during the upgrade to make your life easier when it comes to updating your website.

In Summary

New versions being released of Content Management Systems is inevitable. You need to keep your website up to date with the latest version to ensure security and ease of future upgrades. Don't forget that SilverStripe 3 comes with an intuitive user interface and has killer features and add-ons. If your website is still on SilverStripe 2.4, you should consider an upgrade in the near future.

Will nailed it with that last question - if you need some help with your website, be it built in SilverStripe 2.4 or some other CMS, get in touch. Heck, if you don't know what type of Content Management System it's built on that's okay too - we'll find out for you.

Published: 26 Aug 2016