Class in Session: Intro to Drupal

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This blog post is dedicated to giving a basic understanding of Drupal for anyone who doesn't already know.

It's ok to admit it. Many people feel the same way you do. I didn't know what Drupal was until I started working here. Let's start at the beginning, ok?

Drupal is one of the most powerful open source web content management systems. It began in 2000 as an academic project created by Dries Buytaert in Belgium. Drupal was originally titled Drop until its public release in 2001 when it was renamed. Over the past ten years, Drupal had several major releases.The most recent release being Drupal 7.0 on January 5, 2011.

Drupal is a versatile system that enables users to develop different types of websites. To name a few...

  • Website with Static Content - Drupal is extremely efficient at creating traditional websites with static content. Drupal lets users build as many pages as they desire while allowing any page to be the homepage.
  • Website with Dynamic Content - The core Drupal gives the ability to create a blog, upload files, and pull content from other sites, in addition to creating static pages. Unaffiliated people can subscribe to the dynamic content on a Drupal site by employing one of the RSS feeds available on the system.
  • Single or Multi-Author Blog - The blog module allows each user to have a blog. Even though a site only has one “author”, Drupal allows all users to access some of the functionality. Bloggers may freely add tags to each post. Drupal also provides methods for spam protection. Developers can require visitors to sign up before commenting or they can use modules that provide stronger spam protection.
  • Community Website - Community publishing sites are another possibility with Drupal's features. The user account system allows people to register for an account with a website and create a custom profile. The scope of information included in the profile is determined by the developer.
  • Open Data Platform - The Drupal system enables users to import and save data from the database in the form of tables, file downloads, and charts.

Drupal is beneficial beyond its variety. Drupal is economical because it's an open source system. There is no fee required to utilize the software. Another benefit of Drupal's open source system is there is a large pool of people around the world that can provide help to each other. Drupal is also expandable. A Drupal website can start as a blog and can convert to a community website without changing platforms.

There are technical requirements that must be met before beginning work on a Drupal site. All Drupal websites require a web hosting account. The chosen host must have MySQL Database and PHP in order to be useful. Drupal sites also need FTP, short for File Transfer Protocol.

The Greatest Challenge with Drupal is handling the overwhelming amount of constantly evolving features and procedures. My advice to those who want to develop using Drupal would be to tap into to all available resources. Take advantage of Drupal Groups, the Drupal Association, Druplacon Events, and the countless publications meant to help build Drupal knowledge. I also have advice for anyone who simply wants a Drupal site; find someone who already tapped into their available resources and open your checkbook.

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