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.