This question could be paired off with; what should I use to unscrew this hinge from my door? A wrench? A hammer? A screwdriver?
You will often hear many comparisons and metaphors around web platforms being akin to tools, and while this is definitely the case, many web platforms and frameworks have the capacity to fulfill many of the same functions as the other, sometimes it isn’t quite as obvious to know the tradeoffs between one and another, more often than not, the final decision often comes down to the sellers better knowledge over the other.
So let's outline some of the key elements of Drupal that make it stand out of the crowd and worthy of considering it as the platform for your next big project.
Open Source and FREE
Although Drupal is not the only open source web platforms out there, it is one of the largest and longest running open source projects on the web with countless contributor over the years. One of the many benefits of using an open-sourced platform is being cost-free. Anyone can use, modify, customize the platform to their own need without having to worry about costly subscription fees or licensing fees. Unlike some other platforms, you don’t have to worry about mandatory upgrades and updates that might cost you extra down the road as the security updates, patches and even the platform update has no additional cost.
When it comes to customizability; Drupal really does come out on top. From simple solutions to a highly intricate orchestra of moving components, Drupal really can handle what is thrown at it. At its heart, Drupal is designed to be customizable, containing the core components needed to extend it and tailor a custom solution, without the need to reinvent the wheel at every turn. Words like block, taxonomy, views, content types and entity may sound a little strange, but they are integral to the success of Drupal. They are there to not only cut costs but also avoid confusion for your development team. Once you understand those core Drupal components, you will understand just how much you can do with Drupal.
The ability to be modular is another reason why Drupal is very customizable. But what does modular actually mean? Modular means you can take thousands of existing components from a community of helpful developers and use them to customize your own site. Want that cool flyout menu your competitor has? Want Salesforce synching compatibility or a shopping cart? How about Google Analytics, Credit Card Processing, Signatures, Forms, Captcha, Security, Purchase Orders, Bing, Revisioning, LDAP, Social Media, SEO etc? These have already been done before because chances are, if you’ve thought about something, someone else has. Because of this, you can fast-track a lot of your development by utilizing these components, and of course, you can also build your own when the need arises. Just take a look at Drupal.org and see how many modules the community has put out there. HERE
One of the biggest fears people have about their site, and rightly so, is security. When you work from a more minimal framework and rely on a lot of your own code and in-house development, unless you have a security team, chances are you might have some vulnerable code. Being an open-sourced platform with countless developers, Drupal is always quick to react to security issues. In fact, Drupal has its own security team and pushes out security patches regularly. The same goes for the modules you’re using throughout your site or app. If a problem crops up in a community module, you can check or receive notifications, allowing you to get your team in there to patch it, and the great thing is, patching doesn’t take that long and you can feel at ease when you see your module and Drupal status screen all in the green, without warnings. This is a luxury not all frameworks have.
Another excellent security feature is the ability to have very finite and granular control over your users. While some sites may simply have customer, visitor and admin roles, other sites can have a very complex role structure spanning multiple departments, sometimes using LDAP. One of the great things about Drupal is the permissions system that comes built-in, allowing you to lock down various areas of the system for people you don’t want to grant access to. Not only do you have a community based team of clever programmers keeping your security interests at heart, and an excellent permissions system built in, Drupal also complies to many standards outlined by OWASP, preventing many things like as SQL injections, cross-site origin scripting, that used to plague sites of old before standards came into existence.
To top this off, the community has even more security goodness you can apply to your site if necessary. For instance form CAPTCHAs, honeypots, security kits and all manner of tools to put your mind at ease. Take a look here for more information on Drupal security: HERE
Just because you have an awesome site, it doesn’t always mean you feel you have control over it. With Drupal, you can! How so? Built into Drupal core is an administration interface that gives you power over virtually everything that has administration customization built into it, which is a lot of Drupal and most community modules.
Content management, creation, site structure, page customization, theme customization, users, permissions, site SEO statistics, module management, site statuses, reports, and a help system. These are all baked in, but it has far greater potentials. If the idea of a drag and drop interface to shuffle your pages around sounds interesting for you, this can be added. If you would like revisioning and keep track of content changes, or a more advanced workflow, this can be added too.
Even if the interface doesn’t catch your eye initially, there are themes out there for the administration back-end that can really spruce things up even more. This goes back to what Drupal really is about; making no assumptions about what you intend to do with your site, it doesn’t assume your going to be a blog or even want the functionality, in some instances, you can even use Drupal without a front-end at all. What Drupal is concerned about is giving you as much as you need, or as little, and everything in between.
If this stokes your appetite or pricks your curiosity, why not get in touch with us today and start exploring solutions!
There are more than 1 million live websites that use Drupal, here are a few notable examples:
Being in a lot of discussions lately, the worlds best electric auto-maker is one of the largest Drupal website examples.
Drupal is Pinterest's choice on the business side of things. The site is dedicated to businesses working with Pinterest
One of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world uses Drupal to build the complex website that has all the information about the university.
The worlds leading space and astronomy related organization uses Drupal to provide the exquisite amount of information, research, and news.