I’m glad you asked!
You may have heard about Drupal from us or your website developer. So let’s dive in and talk at a high level about how this platform can help you build a faster, stronger, and more reliable business.
In the end, we are confident you’ll gain a deeper understanding of why Drupal plays a significant role on the internet and here at Second Form.
Considered one of the most flexible and powerful content management frameworks (CMF) available for developing complex enterprise websites, Drupal wasn’t originally conceived as a CMF. The system’s founder, Dries Buytaert, wrote what would eventually become Drupal as message board software in 1999 while attending the University of Antwerp. It wasn’t until 2001, when Buytaert founded the Drupal open source project, that his software took on its current name and iconic “drop” mark.
Today, Drupal powers a broad range of over 1 million of websites for small to large organizations. The Drupal community has more than 1 million members and 31,000 Developers as of February 2014. The community is working hard on the next version of Drupal—version 8.0—bringing a significant upgrade in many areas, like mobile responsiveness, layouts, web services, configuration management, and HTML5 support, to the popular framework.
Open source roots
Drupal is a free and open-source framework. When software is distributed as open-source, that means the source code is available for modification or enhancement by anyone. The open-source spirit fosters active collaboration, open exchange, transparency and a supportive community. It’s an inspired group of people contributing to an open software project for the entire group to benefit from.
Think of source-code like a base recipe. When you are baking cookies, for instance, you can have a base recipe—sugar, flour, salt, butter, eggs—that you can use to make new flavors of cookies. Although everyone has access to the base recipe, an unlimited amount of possible combinations of new ingredients—chocolate, peanut butter, almonds, and more—are possible to add to make your own recipe.
Now, don’t think because anyone can access the source-code that it isn’t secure.
Drupal powers hundreds of government websites, including whitehouse.gov and nasa.gov. Also, it’s important to note that Drupal has a security team that is constantly working with the community to address security issues as they arise.
Content management systems vs. content management frameworks
A content management system, or CMS, does exactly what its name implies—it helps users manage content. Drupal is often confused as purely a CMS, but Drupal is a lot more—a content management framework. Drupal can be used to build a CMS tuned to your specific business needs.
That might sound confusing, but think of a CMS as prefabricated house and a CMF as prefabricated parts of a house—walls, trusses, doors—that are used to build a completely custom home.
This is one of the main reasons we love using Drupal at Second Form. Instead of just finding a prefabricated home where you have to make compromises on what you want, we can create a custom home that’s tailored to your business needs. Once we’ve uncovered exactly what you want and need in your website, we'll make it your own through the use of themes, custom content types, views, and modules. Having a finely tuned website means your business can operate faster, creating a big advantage over competitors.
What can I build with Drupal?
As you'll see, the simple answer is “just about anything.” Like we stated earlier, by using a CMF like Drupal we can build a custom solution tailored specifically for your business.
Here's a few examples of what’s been built on Drupal:
- Blog: Zappos Blog
- Forum: Cancer Research UK
- Online newspaper: Entertainment Weekly
- Real Estate Property Listing System: EquityPro, a Second Form project
- CRM: CiviCRM
- E-learning site: OpenSesame
Drupal is one of many options you can choose when creating a website. Its flexibility and structure make it our favorite tool for building complex websites and web apps.
What others are saying
Drupal’s thriving community has a lot to share on this topic. Here’s how others have answered the "What’s Drupal?" question:
Also, Drupal.com shares many of the features and benefits of Drupal.
Ready for more?
Interested in finding out more about how we can make Drupal work for you? We could talk all day. Next up, learn more about how Drupal sites work.