The ABCs of Drupal Web Development
Kaspersky, LinkedIn, New York Stock Exchange, Al Jazeera, Stanford University, PayPal, Twitter, NASA, Yahoo, Warner Brothers. What do these big, powerful, highly-trafficked websites have in common? All of them are powered by Drupal - one of the most popular open-source content management systems to date. Today, at least 2.1% of all websites worldwide use Drupal as a back-end framework and hundreds of well-known organizations, from non-profits to governments, make their choice in favor of this platform.
The story of Drupal: Quick Overview
Drupal was originally written as a message board by Dries Buytaert in 1999. The name comes from no longer functional Drop.org website, which code slowly evolved into Drupal. Within a mere couple years, as more people showed interest in the project, it was made open source. A series of conferences and code sprints in 2005 kickstarted the Drupal community. Soon enough, web development companies began to specialize in Drupal. Today, the official website lists hundreds of vendors that offer Drupal-related services. It keeps winning awards, including Packt Open Source CMS Awards the Webware 100.
Why Would Web Development with Drupal be a good choice for your business?
Choosing a technology platform is not an easy task, especially when financial and time issues are at stack. Here are some of the reasons why it might be good for your company:
- Flexibility – At present, Drupal is the most flexible CMS available. While it takes time and effort to customize commercial software, Drupal is flexible enough to meet your unique business needs.
- Scalability – Drupal’s website boasts over 16,000 downloadable modules which can be added on to the core Drupal CMS with little or no customization. That means, your website can evolve along with your organization. Many companies are able to manage several Drupal sites, and some manage many more.
- Reliability – Following existing standards is Drupal’s “religion”. It supports several authentication and authorization schemes, connects well with web services and mobile devices.
- Configurability - roughly 180,000 active contributors work on add-on modules, security oversight, documentation, which facilitates Drupal’s rapid advancement. With such a vast development community at hand, you no longer need to have dozens of developers working on support, bug fixes, new features, integrations, etc.
- High security – Drupal isolates core files from contributed modules and themes. "Never hack core”, goes the community’s saying. Additionally, Drupal’s large administrator community seeks out and eliminates potential threats before they get out of control.
- No licensing costs – Being an open source software, the Drupal package has no license fees. So, your money can go towards the features that make your site stand out, not a software company.
- To get an idea of what you can do with Drupal, please have a look here.
When not to opt for Drupal?
A great Drupal website is built from the ground up, using community modules as building blocks. This requires a certain level of Drupal proficiency and strengthens the importance of a reliable and knowledgeable company specializing in Drupal development to partner with.
Besides, here are some cases when Drupal shouldn’t be your first choice:
- Significant time constraints. Building a website on Drupal requires no less than a 3-4 months’ time lapse.
- When your team are highly skilled in other technologies.
- When you are in search of a narrowly focused solution. Drupal positions itself for broader applications requirements that are outside the scope of specialized applications. Thus, it is likely to be slower than a special-purpose application for a given task.
How does Drupal compare to other content management systems?
Most of commercially available products similar to Drupal do not allow for such an unlimited customization. Since the underlying code is not accessible, every too often companies have to reshape their business needs to be able to implement additional software features.
Drupal, on the contrary, is more flexible by its open source nature, which allows customers to build flexible solutions. What is more, out of all the open source platforms available, this one boasts the most significant community support.
All in all, any organization should first evaluate its unique and specific needs before turning to a web development company for a CMS solution. However, with its endless customization and expansion possibilities, Drupal seems to offer a win-win for a most picky customer.