The name often pops up in discussions with developers, content editors, and other professionals in the digital industry.
Drupal at its core is a content management system (CMS), meaning that it gives you the tools to layout and manage your content. It also allows you to build flexible content publishing workflows and various dynamic features around that content. For organisations that are looking to transform and expand their digital presence you can integrate it with customer relationship management systems (CRM’s such as CiviCRM), payments, analytics tools and social media.
Drupal is ideal for projects where you want to combine high-quality content with a full range of features and marketing tools.
Why Use Drupal?
Most websites share a common set of features. They typically have navigation menus and lists of content, content pages with nice URLs, a logo in the header, a footer with contact info and the ability to search content, etc. At the same time, each website has some components that make it unique. Websites often have their own custom information architecture, a unique set of content, a particular visual design, and sometimes customised features.
Drupal is perfect for both the default features and the customised ones. It provides you with the most common functionalities any website needs but is also flexible enough to allow you to create a unique, customised experience. Below is a list of some of Drupal’s main benefits:
- Flexible, easy-to-use content authoring tools
- “Create once, publish anywhere” approach to content management
- Highly customisable features
- Numerous, freely available modules (add-on functionality)
- Constant innovation powered by a massive, engaged open source community
To accomplish that, Drupal provides numerous out-of-the-box features. As with most systems, the more you can learn about the features and how Drupal works, the more you will get out of it. Below is a list of its main features:
- WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) text authoring and editing tool that allows editors and admins to easily search for, draft, edit, preview, archive, publish, and update content
- Layout Builder – A powerful no-code solution to easily build engaging pages with templated layouts and drag-and-drop UI for placing content on the page
- Customisable workflows and approvals, as well as revisions, so that you can track every content update and revert to a previous version
- Media supports local audio, video, images, files, as well as remote content from YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, etc.
- Media Library allows users to add existing media assets to a site as well as upload new items directly into the library
- Performance-optimized caching mechanisms
- Theme system enables you to create a completely custom, responsive front-end according to brand guidelines and using your framework of choice
- Recommended add-on modules
- Easy-to-use webform builder to create anything from a simple contact form or survey to complex, multi-step application forms
- Schedule when your content is published in advance
- Customisable, user-friendly URLs and configurable metatags for every piece of content
- Robust search experience and integration with enterprise-grade search engines
- Migrate system allows you to feed data into Drupal from existing content sources
- Accessibility compliance
What Is Drupal Used For?
Given its flexibility and features, there is a wide range of projects that Drupal can be used for. All these out-of-the-box features make Drupal a favourite for large, complex websites, plus the fact that Drupal is open source makes it the platform of choice of many charities, universities and colleges, membership organisations, government agencies, healthcare institutions, and global non-profits.
The reason that so many large organisations choose Drupal is that it has one main advantage over other content management platforms: flexibility. While most other CMSs focus on serving specific use cases, Drupal has evolved to accommodate almost any use case that involves digital content.
A Quick Drupal Glossary
Below is a list of Drupal terms that will help to understand its features and how it works:
- Node – A template for a specific type of node (blog post, event listing, landing page, etc.) Usually, each content type has a set of fields that authors use to create it. A piece of content. Usually, every node has a unique URL.
- Content type – A template for a specific node type (blog post, event listing, landing page, etc.) Typically, each content type has a set of fields that authors use to create it.
- Taxonomy – Vocabularies and terms used to organize your content. For example, this allows you to tag and categorize blog posts or news items.
- View – A list of content (a simple news list or a more exciting list like a map or an online directory)
- Module – Code that you can add to your Drupal website to enable new functionality
- Theme – Defines the layout and design of the user interface
- Block – Container for displaying anything on a page (the search form, the logo, the copyright notice in the footer)
- Permission – A task that a user can do (e.g. viewing content, posting a comment, editing an event)
- Role – A type of user (e.g. author, editor, or member)
- Drupal core – The out-of-the-box features and functionality that Drupal provides
- Contributed module – Add-on functionality, made available by the Drupal community
- Custom module – Add-on functionality, built in-house to address the need for a specific project (e.g. a module that integrates with a custom CRM feature)
Facts About Drupal
- Dries Buytaert created Drupal in 2001, which makes it one of the first open source CMSs ever created.
- The word Drupal comes from druppel, which means “drop” in Dutch. It was picked after Dries tried to register the domain “dorp.org.” (Dorp means “village” in Dutch.) He mistyped it as “drop.org,” and the mistake stuck.
- There are over 1 million Drupal-based websites out there.
- And what language is Drupal written in? It’s PHP, the programming language that powers nearly 80% of all websites. The latest version of Drupal uses modern, object-oriented code techniques and takes advantage of the Symfony framework.
- Drupal is one of the most popular CMSs among higher education institutions.
- Drupal’s logo is a stylized drop. The Drupal community also widely uses the Druplicon, a cartoon-like drop that is, in the spirit of open source, adopted by local communities around the world.
- Drupal 10 released in December 2022.
- As of February 2022, 1.3 million people are using Drupal, including developers, designers, content writers, sponsors etc.
- More than 120,000 users contribute to the Drupal community, resulting in more than 46,800 free modules available and over 1,000 commits per week.
For more information on Drupal, go to https://www.drupal.org/about