As a designer/developer, every now and then you stumble on something that is a "God-send," something that is helpful and wonderful and too good to be true. In 2007 I stumbled onto Drupal – and what a difference that has made.
Firstly – What is Drupal?
Drupal is software that is installed onto your website – and it manages a LOT of things. It saves time by having many features that websites need already coded and ready to go. It also manages all the content on the website and can make life much easier for the programmer, and for the website owner. More on this in a minute.
Drupal is Open Source which means that a lot of programmers have collaborated to get it where it is – and they continue to collaborate. On January 7, 2010, Drupal version 7 was publically released in beta version. However Drupal 6.20 is also an incredible content management system.
During the course and the maintenance of Drupal – on average there have were 1000 active programmers working together on Drupal 7– compare this with the Linux Operating System which had 1500 – and you'll see that Drupal has drawn a lot of interest from the Open Source Community. Drupal is a great product.
In Comparison To Other Content Management Systems
There are a lot of other software products which attempt to do similar things – and each content management system has its advocates. Over and over again however, the experts keep saying good things about Drupal. Here is what some of the experts have had to say about Drupal:
"Drupal beats … other [content management] systems with the range of its add-ons." www.theopensourcery.com
"If you are in need of a search engine-friendly website built with an open source content management system (CMS), Drupal is your knight in shining armor." www.volacci.com
“The world’s best content management system just got better.” www.imageworksstudio.com
Drupal Is Award Winning Software
In addition to being a great content management system, Drupal has won a large number of awards and as the software develops and improves, the awards keep on coming. For example.
- Webware 100, 2007
- Webware 100, 2008
- Webware 100, 2009
- Packt Publishing - Best Overall CMS - 2007
- Packt Publishing - Best Overall CMS - 2008
- Packt Publishing - Best PHP CMS - 2008
- Packt Publishing - Hall of Fame 2009
- Packt Publishing - Hall of Fame 2010
Drupal is Used by a LOT of Websites
According to experts, Drupal already powers about 1% (over 7 million) of the websites in the world, with that figure tipped to increase. In fact, some quite significant websites and companies are already using Drupal to power their system. For example:
The Benefits of Drupal For Your Website:
Drupal as a system offers huge benefits to you as the owner of your website. Firstly Drupal gives you the opportunity to login to the backend and to add new content, edit content or delete or unpulblish without having to know any HTML or fancy codes. As a designer - I personally prefer the code, but with WYSIWIG (What You See Is What You Get) this gives owners the real ability to actually be a webmaster to their own site.
Drupal is also Search Engine Friendly. With some administration settings modified and a few modules added in, Drupal is able to present itself to Search Engines in a way that the content is easily crawled and added to the Google Index. (or Other Indexes) With the use of Clean URLs (no question marks and funny squiggles in the page name) and the use of Meta Modules, Analytics Modules and XML Sitemap Modules you website will be optimised on site for best Search Engine Results. All that is left is to build some site popularity and watch the rankings rise.
Drupal has over 7000 contributed modules to choose from. Chances are that if you require a fancy add-in, there will probably be a module for it. This saves a LOT of time and also saves having to reinvent the wheel. It means that as a developer, I can install and configure rather than spend weeks writing code. Recently on a website, my customer decided he wanted a guestbook. I had a Drupal Guestbook module installed and configured in 3 hours - for the cost of $120. This was far cheaper than me having to write a whole guestbook script myself. Sometimes very rarely there is no contributed module for the functionality that we want - that's OK - because I will write the code for it and this code would have had to have been written anyway, so nothing was lost.
Drupal also comes with many themes - and a lot are free. This means that you can change the look and feel of your website quickly and easily. As a developer, I like to give your site a unique theme and appearance. Often the easiest way to do this is to choose an existing theme which is similar and modify that. This avoids your site looking the same as somone elses. However, having many themes to choose from is a good starting point and saves a lot of time.
Finally, with Drupal you website content is all stored in a database. This makes it easy to backup, easy to restore and easy to take with you. If you upgrade your software or even port to a different system, you don't have to rewrite all those pages again. Everythign is done very well with Drupal.
What May Be Included in the Drupal Web Design Package?
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- The latest version of the Drupal core installed
- Custom Modules/Programming to Achieve Virtually Anything
- Graphical Based Web Header
- Minor Theme Customization
- Home Page
- Clean URLS for better search engine indexing
- Installed Blog
- 10 Feature Pages
- 5 Other Pages
- Spam Proof Contact Form
- Merchant Facilities via Paypal
- Google Analytics Setup
- Google Analytics Monthly Reports
- Google Webmaster Tools Management
- PLUS Optional Extras (request at time of payment)
- Project Duration - 28-48 Days