Ektron to Drupal Conversion: Content Migration

In January of 2015, Accel-KKR, a private equity firm, combined Ektron and the Swedish company Episerver into a single company and CMS platform. This has caused many organizations to choose to migrate off the Ektron platform and onto a CMS like Drupal. Two factors are driving this trend: the higher cost of an Episerver license upgrade, and the fact that the open source landscape has evolved significantly over the prior decade, to the point where many enterprise organizations (from private and public corporations to government entities) have embraced Drupal and the open source community.

When making this kind of migration, there are several factors to keep in mind which require proper planning and careful consideration.

An upcoming Acquia Tech Talk, 3 Tips for a Successful Ektron to Drupal Conversion, will give you a good idea what you need to know to pull off an Ektron-to-Drupal migration, and it's coming right up: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 11:00 EST. Join us!

The speakers will be: Greg Kihlstrom, CEO, Carousel30; Brian Browning, Senior Vice President, Ameex Technologies Inc.; and Ian Shaw - Sales Solutions Director, Professional Services, Acquia.

Among the topics:

  • Best practices for content migration from Ektron to Drupal using XLIFF
  • How get the most out of Ektron templates when converting your design to Drupal
  • What you can do to preserve an environment similar to Ektron’s eSync for your new Drupal site


To give you a taste of what's coming, we asked Greg Kihlstrom, CEO of Carousel30, to introduce the topic of content migration -- how current text and images will be transferred from the older Ektron site to the new Drupal one -- and share a migration tip with us. We'll circle back after the webinar and expand this document with more best practices.

Take it away, Greg.

Content Migration

Content Migration is always a major part of any website conversion or migration, and depending on the size of your current site and the amount of content you wish to bring over to the new platform, this can require different approaches.

An important consideration to keep in mind is that most sites have a combination of structured and unstructured content. Structured content follows a similar, familiar pattern, like a press release or a product page in an e-commerce catalog. These kinds of content items lend themselves very well to automation because they follow a predictable pattern. Unstructured content typically takes the form of basic web page content authored in HTML, for the most part. Many customer web sites contain content of both types – in these cases, it is extremely important to develop a comprehensive plan to address each kind of unique content structure.

Even if you plan on rewriting major pages of your site, there are many types of content which generally do not get modified or rewritten when converting or migrating a site, such as blog posts, press releases, and supporting content or documents. In these cases, you need a good way to get content “as is” into your new system.

There are a few different ways to approach this, including the following:

  1. Manual migration, which is the simplest technically speaking, but can be the most time-consuming if you have a lot of content on your site
  2. Exporting an XLIFF (XML Localisation Interchange File Format) file from Ektron
  3. A custom ETL process, which is the most complex of the three, and will require custom code to be written


Let’s discuss the first one, manual content migration. We'll cover two more migration strategies in the upcoming webinar.

Manual Content Migration

This first method is by far the easiest technically, though in most cases (for anything but small websites), it is time-prohibitive to use as the sole method. Also, even if you automate most of your content migration, you are going to need to manually migrate at least some of it.

Manual content migration is very much what the term implies: a team of humans, copying and pasting content, reformatting styles, moving images and files and re-linking content pages to one another. It’s tedious, but necessary, work and is best done by people with basic levels of HTML and CSS skill, as oftentimes, part of the migration requires removing tags and replacing them with CSS styles.

Experienced manual content migrators can average as much as 4-8 pages of primarily text content per hour if the pages are relatively simple to construct and the amount of linking is at a minimum. More complex pages can take longer to complete.

While every organization may have a slightly different way of approaching a manual content migration, the best approach by far is the most organized one. We suggest creating a map of some kind from existing URLs in a spreadsheet to track progress and ensure that any structural changes needed will be accounted for. For instance, if the old “our team” page used to live in the “about” section, but now will live in a new section when migrated, a spreadsheet can be used to track things like this.

For brand new content that will be manually entered, it is often helpful to create a “content outline” or a document that maps each field in the Drupal content type to the text/image content provided.

This goes for all of the migration methods we’ll discuss: it’s imperative that the new Drupal CMS and its corresponding content types are set up correctly from the start before you begin manual content migration. Especially when multiple team members are involved, it’s important to clearly outline where and how content will be entered. Make sure to articulate when various header tags (H1, H2, etc.) will need to be manually formatted vs. handled within the CMS.

Finally, you should be careful about how much manual content entry you are requiring during your website migration from Ektron to Drupal. In the webinar, we’ll explore two methods that automate content entry and speed up conversion of large sites.

As we mentioned earlier, you will most likely need to utilize at least two methods in order to get all of your content migrated. Depending on the size of your site and the capabilities of your team, you may want to choose different options.

While some manual content entry will always be required, find the best ways to minimize this so that your teams can focus on other important areas during your conversion process. By choosing the right methods and approaches, you’ll be up and running on Drupal in no time!

Be sure to check out our upcoming Acquia Tech Talk, 3 Tips for a Successful Ektron to Drupal Conversion, to get a good idea of what you need to know to execute a flawless Ektron-to-Drupal migration. It's coming right up: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 11:00 EST.