A Beginner’s Guide to Drupal

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Content is one of the most important parts of a website. To add content, edit it and manage it to ensure that the viewers only get to see what is relevant to them, a business relies on what is called a CMS or a content management system. There are many content management systems in the market today and Drupal is one of them. Known to be among the simplest content systems in the market, Drupal can be used by anyone for creating and managing content on web pages. If you are planning to use this amazing CMS for web development, this guide is just for you.

Understanding Drupal

The first thing about Drupal that people like is that it is free and open source CMS written in PHP. The modular framework of this content management system makes it popular among web developers, which is why it has been and is being used by developers for developing thousands of websites every year. Content management systems make it easier for you to modify your website content and text as and when required to make the sites search engine friendly. Website scalability is also possible when you use content management systems to build a website rather than just plain HTML for static web pages.

Drupal is a CMS that:

  • Saves all your web content in a database
  • Allows you to keep the website design and the content in it separate
  • Makes upgrading, editing or expanding a website easier

Is Drupal for You?

There are many content management systems you can choose from. So how would you know if Drupal is for you? Here are a few features that this CMS has, based on which you can determine if you should use it.

  • Drupal is easier to use, thus enable quicker website development
  • If you are looking at creating a multilingual site, Drupal can be a great idea
  • It has custom content types
  • Updating web content with Drupal is easier
  • Drupal also has version control, which means if you want, you can always switch back to a previous version of the content anytime you want
  • Drupal templates are simple yet effective
  • The CMS is secure and is protected by password authentication and administrator permissions
  • Excellent support
  • Drupal is open source, which means you spend nothing on it!

The many features of Drupal and the ease of use that it offers is what make it popular among many business and other organizations with a website. Among the most popular users of Drupal include Celebrities like Avril Lavigne, Beyonce and Britney Spears, in addition to CNN Go, The United Nations, Warner Brothers, Forbes, Discovery Channel, Ubuntu, and other large and complex websites around the world.

Installation

Drupal works well on web servers like Nginx, Lighttpd and Apache. It is compatible with popular databases including MySQL, SQLite, MSSQL, PostgreSQL and MongoDB among others. The latest version of Drupal supports only PHP 5.2. Make sure to check the Drupal website for any upgrades and support issues.

  1. Installation of Drupal on your system becomes simpler when the following steps are followed.
  2. The first step is to download the latest version of Drupal from Drupal.org.
  3. Extract the CMS using FTP, Drush or directly from the command line. Drush is a specific command line tool that is used for maintenance and administration of Drupal websites. The site has detailed instructions about how to extract the CMS using one of the above methods.
  4. During the set up, you will be asked to choose your profile and the type of installation. Choose the standard installation procedure, the language and click next.
  5. The next step is to create the database, settings.php, and the files directory. Create a database name and set a username and password for restricting access.
  6. Once this is done, you can move on to install your profile.
  7. After installation, you need to enter the information about the site that you wish to build using Drupal.
  8. To manage content using Drupal, you need to login to the admin page. Then you can add content, specify the properties of the node you will be crating, set a theme or module for the text, and so on. Before you get started, make sure you spend time to learn and familiarize with the terms used in Drupal CMS. That will make using this CMS easier.
  9. Drupal is not for static websites
  10. Drupal is certainly simple and easy to use, but it is not really the simplest of CMSs out there. You shouldn’t consider Drupal to create a simple website or fixed/static WebPages, but to create content for an interactive website. Drupal saves every bit of content of your website in a database, which can be accessed and modified by anyone who has access passwords and permission to do so.
  11. You don’t need any software to be able to modify the content, which is what makes it an appealing option for many web developers. All you need to do is create or add content to the CMS and set the rules, based on which the web pages for your website will be created "dynamically".

Drupal for All

Anyone who is capable of following instructions and wants to create and edit content on a site can use Drupal for web development. You don’t need any specialized skills for using this CMS tool. You don’t even need to learn HTML, graphic design or coding to be able to use this CMS. But you should get a hang of the system before you start using the system for creating a website. Getting used to Drupal and its terminologies may take some time, so don’t rush it.

And don’t panic if you don’t find web page strictures or files created through Drupal, for the system does not store the web pages as files. So if you simply want to create a Drupal website and be able to edit content you have created through it, get started. But if you want to install a website and then add content or modify it, then you might want to take a look at other CMSs too. 

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