Drupal rocks

Drupal Rocks

Drupal is an open source content management system that is changing the way businesses, individuals, and organizations present themselves online. Open source means its code is available to use and modify free of charge. This, along with its advanced functionality, translates to a powerful, innovative social publishing solution that is very cost effective. __
Chances are you’ve heard the term Drupal, or you have read about it recently. But, you may not be sure exactly what it is or even how to pronounce it. First the pronunciation: DREW-pull. Drupal is an open source content management system that is changing the way businesses, individuals, and organizations present themselves online. Open source means its code is available to use and modify free of charge. This, along with its advanced functionality, translates to a powerful, innovative solution that is very cost effective. Simply visit Drupal.org to download the latest version.

Before you do that, however, you’ll probably want to know a bit more about Drupal and what it can do for you. What is Drupal?
Firstly, Drupal is a content management system. Put simply, a CMS allows an individual or enterprise to create, edit, manage, search, and publish content on the web. Drupal can do all this, and more. What truly makes Drupal special is its ability to act as a social publishing system. Social networks have participative features like blogs, wikis, or forums where anyone can contribute—social publishing is really about connecting people.

Drupal has all the functionality of a CMS, but allows users to create advanced applications for social interaction as well. Secondly, Drupal is open source software, which by definition means that anyone can use it, change it, and distribute it freely. Examples of open source software you may be familiar with are Apache, Java, Firefox, or Facebook. There are a few different types of open source software, but one thing the most successful ones, like Drupal, have in common is what Roy Felding has termed “open architecture.” This means that the core architecture serves as a platform to support any additions that a user might make to increase the software’s functionality, based on their specific needs.

The project team ensures the security and continuity of the platform and that any extensions that the community develops are compatible with one another. Also, as continual improvements to the base structure are made, the functionality of any add-ons is preserved. So together, these two aspects make Drupal a lean, mean, website-building machine. Drupal is basically a “website in a box,” ready to go from the moment you download it, and is designed so those who use it do not need to have HTML knowledge.

Drupal’s core platform has a certain functionality, and advanced features are packaged in “modules.” Currently, Drupal comes with some 1,200 modules, which can be disabled per the user’s needs. If you decide you don’t need some of the modules, you can simply turn them off. Because Drupal is open source, the community is constantly developing and sharing new modules. The open architecture model will ensure that everyone can implement everyone else’s modules along with their own, without affecting the core functionality. Because of the compatibility of these interchangeable parts (modules), one can combine them however they wish to create a custom website tailored exactly to their needs.
There are basic modules that allow you to control the color of the text or the layout of your home page. But there are also modules that allow you to create multi-user blogs, forums, voting widgets, questionnaires, podcasts, and picture and video galleries. You can manage lists, directories, events, and statistics. You can build a corporate website, community portal, or e-commerce website—the possibilities are endless. Last, but certainly not least, Drupal is a community. Over 1.5 million people downloaded Drupal last year, and the number continues to rise.

Drupal.org offers education and support to this active community and hosts hundreds of user groups where users connect and contribute. Benefits of using Drupal
It’s easy to see why Drupal continues to gain popularity. In short,
• It’s free.
• It’s easy. No HTML required. Build powerful websites with little effort.
• It’s the best of both: a CMS with the ability to build dynamic social websites.
• It’s up to you. With over a thousand modules to choose from, create the website you want. And, whenever you need to, change the design or content without going through someone else.
• It’s safe. Different levels of access are available for different admin users and Drupal’s security is top-notch.
Who uses Drupal? Over 100,000 thousand people download Drupal each month, everyone from individuals, to small business owners, to corporate web developers. Yahoo!, Forbes, Harvard University, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, The Onion, Lifetime Television, SonyBMG, Best Buy, and the Kentucky Derby have all gone Drupal. Some of these organizations use Drupal for their front-end web presence, while others use it for projects such as intranets, forums, blogs and podcasting. Is Drupal for You?

Though more and more organizations are going Drupal, you’ll want to evaluate the system. Here are some things to consider:
• Implementation and Support: Have a plan in place. Who will implement your project? Who will help other users manage the project? Become familiar with Drupal forums and documentation, and assign the implementation and support tasks to a member of your IT staff.
• Research: Speak with other organizations who are using Drupal as their web content management system. Find out what the product’s strengths and weaknesses are before you begin your project.
• Scalability: What type of project do you plan to use Drupal for? Will you be creating a blog, an intranet or a complete web presence? Evaluate the ways in which your project team will use Drupal to achieve these goals.
Once you have researched and planned your project, you will be ready to join the vast community of organizations, businesses, and individuals now using Drupal. Commercial Support for Drupal
As a member of the global Drupal community,Acquia, Inc.helps accelerate Drupal usage by contributing to the advancement of the core platform. They also recognize that as the Drupal continues to advance, the community requires more support to fully take advantage of what Drupal can do. Acquia offers products, services and technical support to simplify the deployment and management of Drupal websites. Acquia Drupal combines the Drupal core with a unique collection of modules, designed specifically to simplify the development of social publishing applications. The Acquia Network is an operations portal for managing Drupal web sites, offering site developers and administrators remote network services and professional technical support.
The Future of Drupal The term Web 2.0 has been used to refer to the latest developments in internet technology and design, more specifically referring to collaboration, information sharing, and social networking. Drupal as a social publishing platform has been a big part of making this possible. It’s exciting to think of how Drupal will be involved in the next phase, Web 3.0. Part of this hypothetical next phase is the idea of the semantic web, involving the evolution of data exchange. There is a wealth of data on the world wide web but it is not universally accessible.

Data may be stored in a language humans can’t read, and vice versa. Applications may not be able to communicate or share data with one another because they are written in different languages. The goal is to have data truly connected in a web, in a language everyone can read. While certain permissions would be assigned to your digital identity, you could access any information, on any mobile device, from anywhere. The internet could satisfy any request for information from either human or machine.

Because of its architecture and the way data is stored, Drupal could effectively support this movement towards true data mobility. By incorporating semantic technology to Drupal core, Drupal will make a notable contribution to the future of the web.

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