I have been using Drupal for over a year now and everyday I just love it more and more. I am mainly a designer that also has programming experience so Drupal is a great match for me as it allows me to use my design skills to tweak the front-end and then use a bit of programming to make everything hook into the back-end smoothly.
Every day I am seeing people still developing web sites from scratch and doing tons of hand-jamming on the same code over and over. There is absolutely no need to do any type of site completely from scratch these days. With systems like Drupal that handle basically all the core programming aspects for you, your time should be spent on the direction and marketing of the site and not the intricate perfection of programming details. Drupal is great for a number of reasons: it has very high quality code, it is always being updated, it has a plethora of modules, the search engines love it and it has full community involvement.
High Quality Code
The core code of Drupal is so dialed in that it’s insane. I really don’t think people fully understand just how great this type of a thing is. For over 5 years a team of very smart and experienced people have been re-working the core aspects of Drupal over and over again. Anybody that’s programmed before will know that with any application you usually don’t see the problems until after you’ve created the application. The same is true for a web site. You’ll create a piece of code and as you complete new parts you will go, “ah crap, maybe I should have done this differently.” Well yeah, that’s just how it goes, you can’t foresee all the details and bugs that will arise before hand. That is why time becomes a valuable piece of the coding puzzle. Well guess what? Drupal has been being re-worked for over 5 years now and the code is very high quality and scalable. So many details of complexity have been covered that make it a totally valuable asset when building any web site, large or small.
Drupal is updated continuously. Everyday something new is added. It is just so great to be using a system knowing that even when I am not working it is being built out stronger and stronger day by day. In the days before open source you would have to pay a team of experienced programmers every time you wanted some new feature or something fixed. With Drupal people from around the world are collaborating all day, everyday to help make Drupal the best it is. It is kind of like Apache… Yeah that’s right, you all know the open source software Apache that virtually every server runs on these days. But did you know that when it was first started there were other PAID servers being developed by people like IBM? Because of its open source nature and its team of smart, passionate developers IBM’s best programmers couldn’t even keep up with Apache. The same can be said about Drupal. A team of smart, passionate developers moves a project by leaps and bounds compared to some paid solution.
Tons of Modules
The modules is really just icing on the cake for Drupal. As if the CMS isn’t all ready badass enough, it allows for full integration of custom built modules that interact with virtually any feature of the core code (remember what I was saying about the high quality code that gets reworked over and over again). Anybody who has Drupal is able to create a module that can do any custom task they want and at the same time, update any part of the site or have anything on the site do something. Say you want a custom voting module. Done. Say you want to allow for new users to automatically be associated with something. Done. Say you want to add a new way to display your content. DONE. Modules allow you to do pretty much anything you can think up with Drupal.
Did I mention there is already about 1,000 FREE modules already submitted by the Drupal community? Yes that’s right. Chances are most things that you would need a module for already have a module. You can just cruise over to Drupal, download the module instantly and slap it on your site. Done!
Search Engines love Drupal!
I have been an SEO for a while now and I can say without trepidation that Drupal is absolutely brilliant for the search engines. Pretty much everything the search engines are looking for Drupal covers.
- Search engines love content web sites. Drupal sites are all about the content and they make it easy to do so. Rather than having to contact your webmaster to add a new page so you can finally get some new content up Drupal allows you to go in and insert and edit content on the fly! It almost makes you create more content just because you can. Got some spare time at the office? Go write some content and get some more rankings!
- The title tags and headings are perfect. I’m not going to cover any other on-page aspects of SEO basically because you have full control over every piece of code on your site. But by default, Drupal’s title system is set up perfect. You control what you name your content and Drupal uses this as your title tag and as your page heading. Brilliant I tell you!
- Clean URLS – I really don’t think this does much but everybody else is super in to it so hey! Drupal has clean urls. And yes, they can be generated automatically with some complex elements in them if necessary (a la pathauto module).
UM, what else? That’s pretty much all you need for SEO – good content, titles and the links is up to you!
Full community involvement
Everything in Drupal is made to be done by any user, whether it be the admin or a user from another country – it doesn’t matter at all! With a customizable degree of permissions any user can be assigned to any permission that allows for very efficient collaboration of users. Yes I know, vBulletin is a great piece of FORUM ONLY software and it doesn’t even compete with Drupal when it comes to building out a full scale community. What if you want to allow users to create articles or reviews? If you’re like any other vBulletin (or other forum software) user you’re probably sick of having users write reviews or things of this nature as an actual forum post itself. Is this really a thread? Does it belong in a forum? Why not have a REVIEWS section on the site rather than a forum (Sorry, just a pet peeve of mine). But serious, what if you want people to be allowed to comment on articles you post? Drupal says a big fat “DONE!” What about custom profile pages like MySpace? DONE. What about allowing users to upload their own content? DONE. DONE. DONE.
I hope this little write-up serves everyone well in understanding just how badass Drupal really is. There is only one thing better in life than Drupal and that ISN’T Joomla.
Filed under:Internet / Tech, Drupal, Web, CMS