What is Drupal?

What is Drupal?

Drupal is Content Management System. It’s used to make many of the websites and applications you use every day. Drupal has great standard features, like easy content authoring, reliable performance, and excellent security. But what makes it different is how flexible it is; modules are one of it’s main features. Its tools help you build a structured, dynamic site exactly how you want.

You can extend it with any one, or many, of thousands of add-ons. Modules expand Drupal’s functionality. Themes let you customize the way your site looks. Distributions are packaged Drupal bundles you can use as starter-kits. Mix and match these components to enhance Drupal’s core abilities. Or, integrate Drupal with external services and other applications in your infrastructure. No other content management software is this powerful and scalable. Drupal is open source software. Meaning anyone can download it, use it, work on it, and share it!

 

What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

A content management system, or a CMS, helps you manage your website’s content without having to touch the code. Which is great. It means you can make updates to your site without having to touch your code.

Content management systems make life easier for businesses by allowing them to control the content on their website without having to know how to mess with code. When you see the process that would have to go into making changes to the content of a website without a CMS, it begins to make a lot more sense why we have them, and the really important role that they play.

Before there was such a thing as a CMS, businesses would have to call their Developers, tell them the changes to make, and the Developer would then have to make those changes directly to the code. In order to get under the hood of a web site, you needed to open a text editor (such as Notepad++ or Visual Studio), do a lot of messing around with HTML and CSS files, and then push to the server.

The Most popular Content Management Systems are Drupal, WordPress and Joomla.

 

The Views Module

As I previously said, Modules are one of Drupal’s main features. They expand the functionality of the site and this is the Views Module:

The views module allows administrators and site designers to create, manage, and display lists of content. Each list managed by the views module is known as a “view”, and the output of a view is known as a “display”. Displays are provided as either a block, a page, or both. By default, views may be created that list content, content revisions, or users. Views can also be restricted to certain users via permissions. This means a view for a user admin page, can be made so that it is only accessible to Admin users, and not accessible to any other user.

For more technical users, views can be understood as a user interface to compose SQL-queries, pulling information (Content, Users, etc.) from the database and showing it on screen in the desired format.

 

The Context Module

Context allows you to manage contextual conditions and reactions for different portions of your site. You can think of each context as representing a “section” of your site. For each context, you can choose the conditions that trigger this context to be active and choose different aspects of Drupal that should react to this active context.

Think of conditions as a set of rules that are checked during page load to see what context is active. Any reactions that are associated with active contexts are then fired.

 

The Display Suite Module

Display Suite (‘DS’) gives you the power to control how your site content is displayed using a drag and drop admin interface – without any of the coding or deep Drupal-technical knowledge of theme template files. With Display Suite, you don’t need to ask your developer colleague, Drupal service provider, or geek friend for help arranging your nodes, views, teaser lists, search results, comments, user data, etc. You can just get on with arranging how your content is displayed.

By using this module and creating a set of useful view modes, you’ll create a flexible CMS (Content Management System) which editors would enjoy using. If you have a requirement to handle different layouts for content types then give this module a go!

 

The Webform Module

The Webform Module (in my opinion) is the best module for creating user forms on a website. It’s nice and easy to use, and great for beginners! It allows you to use lots of ‘Format Types’ such as Text-Fields, Emails, Phone Numbers, Labels, Radio Buttons, Check-boxes and more!

After a submission, you can send users a thank-you email as well as sending a notification to administrators. Results can be exported into Excel or other spreadsheet applications. Webform also provides some basic statistical review and has an extensive API for expanding its features.

If you need to build a lot of customised, one-off forms, Webform is a more suitable solution than creating content types and using the CCK or Field modules.

 

Summary

Although this is just a few modules listed here, there are thousands of Modules and Themes available for your Drupal Site which can mainly be found here: https://www.drupal.org/download.