To deliver and manage content across channels and devices, it is not just enough to create a website, you need to use a suitable content management system or CMS like Drupal that is completing its two decades of impressive existence in 2020. Being an open-source platform, Drupal comes with all the flexibility and versatility of open source software that is not only free but allows you to change, distribute and even sell templates. The CMS has 97,000 volunteers making more than 5,300 comments and 2,000 commits.
Way back in 2000, Drupal made its appearance as a chat platform created by a student, and the following year Drupal 1.0, the first public version made its appearance, quickly followed by Drupal 2.0 and Drupal 3.0 in the same year. It marked the beginning of a remarkable journey as users soon discovered the enormous powers of the CMS and were so happy with its user-friendliness that they could not help but ask for more. This resulted in the launch of Drupal 4.0 in 2002 followed by Drupal 5.0, 6.0, and 7.0 in close succession during 2007, 2008, and 2011respectively. The latest stable version Drupal 8.0 came in 2015 and still going strong.
Over time, Drupal has become a core content management system that has modules or add-ons, and themes and the White House, celebrity singer Lady Gaga and the Harvard University are some of the notable users of the CMS.
What’s so good about Drupal?
If you are wondering what draws such big names to Drupal. Then you must know the flexibility and the options of customizations. Besides free availability from the open-source are the fundamental reasons for choosing Drupal. The CMS can support your creative endeavors to the fullest. And you can experiment a lot to improve the performance of your website. With the support of the large Drupal community that is always ready to help you. You can adapt the CMS on mobile devices that makes managing it very easy and access it from anywhere. Anytime and it has enormous powers to support big projects that involve feature-rich websites and enterprise websites.
Not only can you use Drupal for various devices but also for various channels by using the features of social media integration that widens the exposure of your online entity several times. Drupal is easy to use and has searchable features that allow users to search for content that they are looking for. It becomes easy to identify the choicest content very quickly and enhances the attraction of websites many more times.
Drupal is compatible with most browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. but you must plan well before you set out to use Drupal for creating a website. Seeking guidance from a web development company will make things easy because they know the ins and outs of the CMS and can help to get the most from it. You must have a clear idea about the various factors that contribute to creating websites. Have a blueprint ready to implement by taking care of the aspects like content type, taxonomy, field, view, display, path, feature, layout, permissions, role, menu, and many more.
At the minimum, you need a database version of MySQL 5.53 or Percona Server 5.5.58 or Maria DB 5.5.20 with PDO and a compatible primary storage engine like InnoDB, SQL Lite 3.6.8, or PostGre SQL 91.2 with PDO. You must have the equivalent PHP version 5.5.9 and keep the magicquotes_runtime, magic_quotes_gpc and safe_mode turned off.
By installing Drupal, you become the primary administrator user of the CMS, also known as the superuser of user no.1. It allows you to have complete access and control over the platform. The access and control of superusers are irrevocable and but it can get revoked for other administrators and users.
The administrator toolbar appears at the top of the website, and it contains multiple options for managing the site.
- The first option facilitates content creation, the second relates to the website structure for viewing the structure of the website, and the third option of appearance facilitates designing the website.
- By using the fourth option ‘extend’ you can search for modules that allow adding more features to the website and the ‘configuration’ option that allows multiple setting of the website.
- The option named ‘user’ is for managing users and user permissions.
- Reports and Help are the last two options with the former helping to view the website statistics, and the ‘Help’ option is for viewing the documentation related to Drupal.
You will also find a shortcut button and a button for the user name. The shortcut button allows creating shortcuts for quickly accessing the administration screen while the button for user name is the profile button for editing personal information and logging out from the system.
On clicking on an area on your backend, you will see the tabs, sections, and sub-sections that include specific options. There is a parent-child relationship between the three with tabs being a parent to sections and sections being a parent to sub-sections.
The Drupal concepts and terminology
To work with Drupal, you must be conversant with several terminologies that are special to the CMS, and its understanding should help to familiarize with workflows easily.
Content or Node
When you hear about a node in the context of Drupal, it refers to content. To create content or node, you must go to the context menu where you can view the options – own content, comments, and files. Pressing the blue button that resembles Add Content helps to create your content. You will be able to create the titles, tags, text, images and have access to other important options mile menu settings, URL path settings, comment settings, promotions, and author information. Clicking on the save and publish button is the last step in content creation.
When you click on the content, you can see the content type, title, author status, operations, and update time.
The structure encompasses the activities involved in website creation, and you must use the options to build your website. Here you will see the block layout which relates to the basic design of the site. And there are options for content type, comment type, contact forms, menus, display modes, taxonomy, and view. By using the options, you can create blocks, sidebars, and other interesting design features of the website.
The choice of templates determines the looks of your website and the option of Appearance gives you an overview of the available themes. You can choose a theme that matches your goals of creating the site. And have the option of editing the theme to customize it for your requirements and can view updates too. You can use the option like an artist uses the color palette to create a color scheme for your website. And create a new logo for your online entity if you feel so.
However, After installing the modules if you want to see them. Then you must go to the Extend area that gives a view of the installed modules. Besides viewing the list of active modules, you can also install new modules and even activate other modules. Extend is the area from where you can access additional features.
Only superusers have full access to the Configuration area. From there, you can access and edit multiple settings. Like site information, account settings, user interface, content authoring, regional language, media development, web services, and search and Metadata.
The menu related to people allows you to monitor all other users that include your staff by making use of the list of permissions and roles. This is the place from where you can add or delete users by using the editing feature.
To monitor the website performance. You must have access to data related to various metrics which are nothing but statistics of the website. By analyzing the data. You can get a fair idea about how much fruitful are your efforts in gaining mileage from the site. Reports are the section that houses all statistics like recent log messages, available updates, status reports, field lists. And top page not found errors, top access denied errors, and top views.
Drupal is the world’s most widely used enterprise CMS and Drupal 8 has something for everyone who supports digital experience. From business decision-makers to digital marketers and site administrators. As well technical architects, web developers, content managers, and IT professionals can make good use of Drupal.
To create a CMS for global users and to deliver a great digital experience and all-around support across the globe. Drupal 8 has become multilingual that allows translations of the Drupal interface thereby enhancing the acceptability of the CMS to the widest section. Drupal integrates very well with the other digital assets of organizations like email, marketing automation, analytics. And other digital technology solutions.
With Drupal, you can deliver the right content to the right people at the right time.