What is Drupal?
Drupal is a free open-source web content management system. It is used to easily create and manage various types of websites, such as e-commerce, blogs, forums, social networking, corporate, etc.
The latest major version – Drupal 8 – was released a year ago and has already earned an excellent reputation among small and large businesses alike. It boasts over 200 new features compared to the good ole Drupal 7, which was released in 2011 and was a de-facto standard for a long while.
What makes Drupal stand out from the competition is primarily its ease of use and flexibility. With no technical skills, you can build and launch a professionally looking website in a matter of hours. Here are some more features that make Drupal a go-to software maintaining thousands of websites worldwide:
- Scalability – Drupal can handle any load that can hit a website; be it a regularly high-traffic site, or a spiky pattern, it will all be taken care of.
- Business-orientation – Drupal’s API allows it to seamlessly connect to other sites and applications in your business ecosystem, giving you the opportunity to experience a synergetic effect from their joint use. In addition, Drupal includes a rich arsenal of its own digital marketing tools and other complimentary business utilities that can be customized to your exact needs.
- Security – as open-source software, Drupal relies on an extensive community to get reports of poor performance and possible “holes”. Free from bureaucratic hassle, Drupal gets updates and patches more quickly and has them tested by peer Drupal developers around the globe.
- Content anywhere – in Drupal all data are stored in a special framework that allows you to output it in multiple layouts, send it to other applications (using API), change formats, etc.
- Drupal is available in a multitude of languages, supports multiple websites, adapts to any device and screen size, and much more…
- Drupal features a collection of thousands of modules that can add desired functional elements to the website. For example, Drupal Commerce is an elaborate tool for construction e-commerce websites of any scale. The distinctive feature of this module is that it follows a framework approach, rather than more standard application approach, focusing on what you can build, not what you can do. This means that no assumptions are made regarding the business model used which leads to greater flexibility and better fit for each particular business. Drupal Webform is another interesting module that facilitates forms and surveys setup and allows to send notifications to submitters and administrators. It also provides basic statistics and has rich API to expand its functionality and connectivity endlessly.
What if I need more?
Even though Drupal has thousands of modules to solve most problems and tasks on this planet, your company may require something unique, tweaked, or improved. This is the time you will need a Drupal developer (or a few of them) to step in and do the heavy-lifting. Drupal development entails not only creation of modules from scratch, but also fine-tuning of existing modules, customization of Drupal themes, tying in marketing and company resource planning systems with Drupal, including social media connectivity, enabling an e-commerce engine, and a lot more. And although some of the above tasks can be accomplished without a single line of code, Drupal developers will make sure you get the best performance, unparalleled usability, specific features you need and no unnecessary excess features, and, finally, consistency is style, design, controls, etc.
Drupal vs. WordPress
Being two of the most popular content management systems out there, Drupal and WordPress are often the primary options to consider when planning a new website. We will outline some key differences and peculiarities to simplify the choice:
- Drupal is focused more on the enterprise segment (WhiteHouse.gov and CNN are among its users), while WordPress was initially designed as a blogging platform (although it has gone far beyond that).
- Drupal has by far the best security and site scalability options.
- WordPress is more intuitive and user-friendly in terms of configuration.
- A Drupal developer will cost you more than WordPress one, because of the steep learning curve and more complex tasks that can be implemented with Drupal.
- Drupal offers a lot of additional functionality, but if you don’t need it, or don’t know how to go about attaching it to your site, you may well go with WordPress.
Drupal vs. Joomla
Joomla occupies the middle ground between WordPress and Drupal regarding complexity and usability. Let’s see what makes them preferred choice in certain cases:
- Drupal e-commerce functionality is slightly more complicated to set up, while Joomla lets you fly through this process.
- Joomla is also best suited for creating social networks (forums, newsrooms, membership features) quickly and easily.
- Joomla can be operated by a non-technical person but offers power comparable to that of Drupal.
- Joomla security options are rather advanced, but not enough to match the flexibility and sophistication that Drupal can offer to its clients.
- Joomla has better architecture than most other CMS which makes it easier to understand and manage without making your hands dirty as Drupal would require.
To wrap up, Drupal has its niche, but it’s not intended to please everyone. If your company is seeking stability, scalability, and security, and the cost is not the rigid constraint, Drupal developers will be able to build a state-of-the-art website to your specifications and requirements.