First thoughts of Drupal
Like any good Gen-Y-er, knowing I would be starting a job at a web development company that specialized in Drupal technology, my first step was to Google “what is Drupal?”.
Upon reading the Wikipedia definition (like 3 times), even more questions popped up; “what is a content management system?”, “ok, I know PHP is a programming language, does that mean I need to learn it to use Drupal?”, “what does Drupal Core mean?”, “so…if this is a back-end system…how do you make the website look the way you want it to?”…..etc….
Over the course of the past 3 months, I have learned the answers to the majority of those questions and hope with this blog to share my insights with others who are pondering similar questions.
Let’s start with content management systems. The best way I can explain what a content management system is, would be to start by explaining what it’s not. Remember back in 1998 when you had your friend down the street who was learning html create you a kick-ass Geocities website? (the url to mine is permanently imprinted in my brain) A few weeks later when you’d want to make a change, you would either hunt through lines of code for where and how to make the change and do it over and over again for each individual page or you would just give up on figuring out how to make the change and page your friend to come help you (yes, I said “page your friend”). Content management systems make it so you could have made that change once, yourself, in an easy to find input field, and implement it on all the pages of your site (or wherever you want it). Once that idea clicked in my head, it made it so much easier to learn the concepts behind Drupal. So essentially you can eliminate the need for a webmaster and allow the end-user the ability to edit their website without technical training.
There are numerous content management systems on the market, but Drupal has advantages that make it a growing trend in web development. Some of them include:
• It’s free!!
• Thousands of people develop modules (chunks of code that do stuff) that you can very easily integrate into your website
• The community surrounding Drupal is super active and friendly and is able to provide you with quick help if you do get stuck
• It’s extremely flexible (you can do just about anything with it)
• It’s easy to use (once you understand the basic concepts)
There are lots of other advantages, but I figured we’d just start with a few for now.
The book Using Drupal is a really good intro book.
Thu, 06/10/2010 - 15:57
Thanks for the suggestion of the book Using Drupal!
I actually have it sitting on my desk right now :-)
It is a really good learning tool.
I'm glad I could give a couple people some insight into what Drupal is, keep posted for part 2 of the blog next week :-)
Thu, 06/10/2010 - 13:01
Welcome to the world of Drupal!
I'm currently of the opinion that your third bullet point (re: community) is almost the most important one.
Books, magazines, videos, and blogs are great for showing you how to do things - but in many situations, there's more than one way to accomplish any given task. Where the community shines is in the ability to help you select *which* option to choose for any given situation.
Thu, 06/10/2010 - 15:28
I had no idea what Drupal is/was or does. Interesting seems so much easier now than before.
Thu, 06/10/2010 - 15:41
I was learning Drupal as well. Once you get past the initial learning curve, it's a GREAT tool for web development/management.
Thanks for the research!!!
Thu, 06/10/2010 - 15:43
Awesome explanation! Thanks for the research.
I had started playing around with Drupal and once you get the initial learning curve mastered....it's a GREAT tool!
Wed, 06/16/2010 - 14:58
I had never heard of Drupal, after reading your blog, I had to go do more research of this. What a great program, I cant wait to read more from you.
Fri, 06/25/2010 - 11:40
I tried several content management systems before sticking with Drupal. One thing that kept making me come back to Drupal was the community aspect - other people were willing to help out when I wanted/needed to know how to do something.
If anyone has any Drupal questions, take a look at my website where I run my Drupal blog, as well as my development portfolio, testimonials etc. Please feel free to contact me with any Drupal-related queries!
Thu, 06/10/2010 - 00:04