Drupal CMS software allows individuals and organizations to organize, manage, and publish web content using the latest technology. The useful software originated as an online message board in 1999, but viewer interest ignited participation from many contributors. The application elected to become open source software, and many software designers contribute their expertise to keep the software current with emerging trends and technology.

Dries Buytaert and Hans Shijder, University of Antwerp students, set up a wireless board to share Hans’ Internet connection with fellow students. After graduation, the group decided to keep the online connection to stay in touch with each other. Dries later decided to release the software so other online viewers could contribute to the software in the interest of experimentation and growth. The idea caught on with the online public, and the software has become a favorite choice of website designers, community organizations, and independent website owners.

Drupal

Technology

Individuals and organizations must have equipment that meets the following technical requirements in order to use the software.

  • Web servers must be Apache or Microsoft IIS.
  • The computer must have PHP 5.2 or higher installed. PHP stands for hypertext preprocessor, which is a scripting language for code similar to HTML, but the code remains invisible to the eye, returning information in HTML form. Browsers can read the code, but individuals cannot, creating a secure way to transmit sensitive information.
  • Database servers must have minimum operating technology of MySOL 5.0, PostgreSQL 8.3, or SQLite 3.3.
  • Minimum disk space for downloading the basic software is 15 MB, but extra modules for practical applications will require greater free space.
  • Drupal.org can provide useful information for determining system capabilities and troubleshooting problems with downloading and installing the software.

Types of Editions

The software can be downloaded without cost because it is open source. A vibrant community of over half a million users and developers contribute code and their assistance to users worldwide. However, upgrading operating systems could involve some expense. An older version of the software might provide some utility for systems that do not meet current technological qualifications. The General Public License allows anyone to download, use, and share the red-hot technology. Open development allows altruistic designers to contribute their expertise to keep the software current.

Installation

Basic installation often involves little difficulty, but people sometimes encounter problems with advanced modules. The first step for success requires the operating system to meet the technical requirements. A comprehensive installation guide for beginners can be found at drupal.org. Most web hosts meet the minimum technical requirements, making the downloading process simpler for new users.

To download the software to a dedicated web server, navigate to: http://drupal.org/project/drupal. Choose the version of Drupal to download and click on the corresponding button. People should note where the files get stored on their computers.

To upload to a web host, site owners must log into the host’s control panel and navigate to their individual HTML directories. The Internet service provider should allow compressed uploads. The software should now be available on all hosted site locations. Owners should be able to access administrative functions directly from their sites without needing to navigate to the administrative page.

The beauty of the system comes from the thousands of contributors who will offer help if people have installation difficulties. People without hosts can receive recommendations of suitable hosts to meet their needs. The Drupal community offers support, guidance, and technical advice to solve common problems.

Features

Drupal features grow daily, but basic features and benefits include the following advantages.

  • Owners can manage their website content more effectively. Module flexibility allows owners to add video, podcasts, and text.
  • Drupal emphasizes social connectivity, so the software helps people create polls, surveys, sites, and applications where viewers can express their opinions.
  • Website design becomes very intuitive. Designers can build new sites quickly utilizing basic designs from their other projects.
  • Currently over 6000 modules allow owners to update their sites, creating better customer experiences.
  • Social networking connections are made quickly and easily, helping owners to interact with a wider audience.

Strengths

The main strengths of Drupal software lie in the support community that backs the applications. The code is available without charge, and the system offers tremendous scalability because new updates keep the system current. Website owners and organizations can customize their sites by adding modules for advanced aplications. Owners can publish and interact online without knowing HTML, making website design intuitive.

Weaknesses

The complexity of an avalanche of technology might overwhelm new users learning the ropes. Plenty of support is available, but no guarantees come with free software. The support might take a while, when people need immediate information. Changes might require upgrades, and owners have no control. Some of the code uses PHP, which is older technology. The technology works well, but lacks the pizzazz of cutting-edge advances. Some modules lack documentation, making it risky for business to entrust their livelihood to sources that provide no accountability.

Who Should Use Drupal?

Teachers, community organizations, and news sites make perfect candidates for Drupal use. Any charitable organization or service agency can stretch their dollars further but utilizing open source software. Independent blog publishers, people who maintain niche news sites, or online magazine publishers can benefit from the social interactivity the software facilitates. SEO organizations, website designers, artists, and authors can benefit from the free publishing capability Drupal provides.

What Kind of Websites Should Use Drupal?

Any Drupal CMS review must acknowledge that the software could provide enormous benefits to a wide variety of sites. Publishers and news sites where the audience provides content make perfect Drupal venues. Businesses that wish to engage their communities could gain many benefits. Resource directories can allow viewer additions after careful screening by administrators. Aficionado sites make excellent use of Drupal resources. Art, music, and educational sites will find no better content management system for their needs. E-commerce websites are easy to design with additional modules to handle coupons, shopping carts, and payment options.

Conclusion

Drupal provides scalability, the latest technology, great support, and customization options for building websites and managing online interactions. The software and modules cost users nothing to try, so interested people should at least investigate the possibilities.

Categories : Web Development, CMS
Tags : cms, Drupal


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Author : Susan Haynes

I have been in software industry for more than 10 years. I have developed different type of software using different languages. I have knowledge in languages such as Ruby, Python, PHP, Flash, .NET, Java, and jQuery. Currently I am working as a Tech Lead in Singapore.

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