Drupal Original author(s) Dries Buytaert Initial release January 2001 Stable release 7.9 / October 26, 2011 Development status Active Written in PHP Operating system Cross-platform Size 2.66 MB (core) Available in Multilingual Type Content management framework, Content management system, Community and Blog software License GPLv2/GPLv3 Website drupal.org
Drupal ( //) is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) and content management framework (CMF) written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License. It is used as a back-end system for at least 1.5% of all websites worldwide ranging from personal blogs to corporate, political, and government sites including whitehouse.gov and data.gov.uk. It is also used for knowledge management and business collaboration.
The standard release of Drupal, known as Drupal core, contains basic features common to content management systems. These include user account registration and maintenance, menu management, RSS-feeds, page layout customization, and system administration. The Drupal core installation can be used as a brochureware website, a single- or multi-user blog, an Internet forum, or a community website providing for user-generated content.
As of August 2011[update] there are more than 11,000 free community-contributed addons, known as contrib modules, available to alter and extend Drupal's core capabilities and add new features or customize Drupal's behavior and appearance. Because of this plug-in extensibility and modular design, Drupal is sometimes described as a content management framework. Drupal is also described as a web application framework, as it meets the generally accepted feature requirements for such frameworks.
Drupal runs on any computing platform that supports both a web server capable of running PHP (including Apache, IIS, lighttpd, and nginx) and a database (such as MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, SQLite, MongoDB or Microsoft SQL Server) to store content and settings. Drupal 6 requires PHP 4.4.0+ while Drupal 7 requires PHP 5.2 or higher.
- 1 History
- 2 Core
- 3 Extending the core
- 4 Community
- 5 Security
- 6 Criticism
- 7 Examples
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
Major Version Release Date 1.0 15 Jan 2001  2.0 15 Mar 2001  3.0 15 Sep 2001  4.0 16 Jun 2002  5.0 15 Jan 2007  6.0 13 Feb 2008  7.0 5 Jan 2011  8.0 tbc
Originally written by Dries Buytaert as a message board, Drupal became an open source project in 2001. Drupal is an English rendering of the Dutch word “druppel”, which means “drop” (as in “a water droplet”). The name was taken from the now-defunct Drop.org website, whose code slowly evolved into Drupal. Buytaert wanted to call the site “dorp” (Dutch for “village”) for its community aspects, but mistyped it when checking the domain name and thought the error sounded better.
A community now helps develop Drupal, and Drupal's popularity is growing rapidly. From May 2007 to April 2008, Drupal was downloaded from the Drupal.org website more than 1.4 million times, an increase of approximately 125% from the previous year.
As of July 2010[update], hundreds of well-known organizations use Drupal, including corporations, media & publishing companies, governments, non-profits, schools, and individuals. An estimated 7.2 million sites used Drupal As of July 2010[update]. Drupal also won several Packt Open Source CMS Awards and three times (in a row) won the Webware 100.
On March 5, 2009, Buytaert announced a code freeze for Drupal 7 for September 1, 2009.
Drupal 7.0 was released on January 5, 2011, with release parties in multiple countries. As of the release of version 7, maintenance for Drupal 5 has been discontinued, and only Drupal 7 and Drupal 6 are being actively maintained.
Drupal 7.2 and Drupal 6.22 were released on 25 May 2011.
Drupal 7.3 and Drupal 7.4 were released on 30 June 2011.
Drupal 7.5 and Drupal 7.6 were released on 27 July 2011.
Drupal 7.7 was released on 28 July 2011.
Drupal 7.8 was released on 31 August 2011.
Drupal 7.9 was released on 26 October 2011.
Drupal core is the stock element of Drupal. In its default configuration, a Drupal website's content can be contributed by either registered or anonymous users (at the discretion of the administrator) and is made accessible to web visitors by a variety of selectable criteria. Drupal core also includes a hierarchical taxonomy system, which allows content to be categorized or tagged with key words for easier access.
Drupal Core includes optional modules which can be enabled by the administrator to extend the functionality of the core website.
The core Drupal distribution provides a number of features, including:
- Access statistics and logging
- Advanced search
- Blogs, books, comments, forums, and polls
- Caching and feature throttling for improved performance
- Descriptive URLs
- Multi-level menu system
- Multi-site support
- Multi-user content creation and editing
- OpenID support
- RSS feed and feed aggregator
- Security and new release update notification
- User profiles
- Various access control restrictions (user roles, IP addresses, email)
- Workflow tools (triggers and actions)
Drupal core includes core themes, which customize the "look and feel" of Drupal sites.
For example, Garland, Blue Marine etc.
The Color Module, introduced in Drupal core 5.0, allows administrators to change the color scheme of certain themes via a browser interface.
Drupal localization is built on top of gettext, the GNU internationalization and localization (i18n) library.
Drupal can automatically notify the administrator when a new version of any module, theme, or the Drupal core itself becomes available. This feature can help keep a Drupal installation up-to-date with the latest features and security fixes.
Prior to version 7, Drupal has had functions to assist with accessing database tables. These functions can perform tasks such as SQL query cleansing, multi-site table name prefixing, and helpers for generating proper SQL queries for the database. In addition, Drupal 6 introduced an abstraction layer that allowed programmers to create SQL queries without writing SQL.
Drupal version 7 extends the data abstraction layer such that a programmer no longer needs to write SQL queries as text strings. In addition, Drupal 7 makes use of the PHP Data Objects classes to abstract the physical database from module code. Microsoft has written a database driver for SQL Server.
Embracing Windows developers
With Drupal 7's new database abstraction layer and the ability for Drupal to run on IIS, it is now easier for Windows developers to participate in the Drupal community. A group on Drupal.org is dedicated to these issues.
Extending the core
Drupal core is modular, defining a system of hooks and callbacks, which are accessed internally via an API. This design allows third-party contributed (often abbreviated to "contrib") modules and themes to extend or override Drupal's default behaviors without changing Drupal core's code.
Drupal isolates core files from contributed modules and themes. This increases flexibility and security and allows administrators to cleanly upgrade to new releases without overwriting their site's customizations. To maintain this separation, Drupal does not support altering Drupal core's software.
Contributed modules offer image galleries, custom content types and content listings, WYSIWYG editors, private messaging, third-party integration tools, and more. As of August 2011[update] the Drupal website lists over 11,000 free modules.
Some of the most commonly used contrib modules include:
- Content Construction Kit (CCK): allows site administrators to dynamically create content types by extending the database schema. "Content type" describes the kind of information. Content types include, but are not limited to, events, invitations, reviews, articles, and products. The CCK Fields API is in Drupal core in Drupal 7.
- Views: facilitates the retrieval and presentation, through a database abstraction system, of content to site visitors.
- Panels: drag and drop layout manager that allows site administrators to visually design their site.
Contributed themes adapt or replace a Drupal site's default look and feel.
Drupal themes use standardized formats that may be generated by common third-party theme design engines. Many are written in the PHPTemplate engine or, to a lesser extent, the XTemplate engine. Some templates use hard-coded PHP.
The inclusion of the PHPTemplate and XTemplate engines in Drupal addressed user concerns about flexibility and complexity. The Drupal theming system utilizes a template engine to further separate HTML/CSS from PHP. A popular Drupal contributed module called 'Devel' provides GUI information to developers and themers about the page build.
In the past, those wanting a fully customized installation of Drupal had to download a pre-tailored version separately from the official Drupal core. Today, however, a distribution defines a packaged version of Drupal that upon installation, provides a website or application built for a specific purpose.
The distributions offer the benefit of a new Drupal site without having to manually seek out and install third-party contrib modules or adjust configuration settings. They are collections of modules, themes, and associated configuration settings that prepare Drupal for custom operation. For example, a distribution could configure Drupal as a "brochureware" site rather than a "news" site or an "online store".
Distributions include OpenPublish, Drupal Commons, Open Atrium, Managing News, Tattler, NodeStream, Pressflow, OpenPublic and the Conference Organizing Distribution (COD)
Drupal.org has a large community of users and developers, numbering more than 648,000 user accounts and more than 10,000 developer accounts. The semiannual Drupal conference alternates between North America and Europe. Attendance at DrupalCon grew from 500 at Szeged in August 2008 to over 3,000 people at Chicago in March 2011. The European DrupalCon 2011 will take place in August 2011 in London, UK.
Smaller events, known as "Drupal Camps", occur throughout the year all over the world.
There are over 30 national communities around drupal.org offering language-specific support.
DrupalCon event locations and attendance City Year Month Attendance Site Munich 2012 August http://munich2012.drupal.org/ Denver 2012 March http://denver2012.drupal.org/ London 2011 August 1751pp http://london2011.drupal.org/ Chicago 2011 March 3000pp http://chicago2011.drupal.org/ Copenhagen 2010 August 1200pp http://cph2010.drupal.org/ San Francisco 2010 April 3000pp http://sf2010.drupal.org/ Paris 2009 September 850pp http://paris2009.drupalcon.org/ Washington, D.C. 2009 March 1400pp http://dc2009.drupalcon.org/ Szeged 2008 August 500pp http://szeged2008.drupalcon.org/ Boston 2008 March 850pp http://boston2008.drupalcon.org/ Barcelona 2007 September 450pp http://barcelona2007.drupalcon.org/ Sunnyvale 2007 March ~300+pp http://drupal.org/events/oscms2007/ Brussels 2006 September 150pp http://groups.drupal.org/drupalcon-brussels-2006 Vancouver 2006 February ~150pp http://drupal.org/node/46559 Amsterdam 2005 October ~100pp http://drupal.org/conference-amsterdam-2005/ Portland 2005 August over 100pp http://drupal.org/conference-portland-2005/ Antwerp 2005 February under 50pp http://drupal.org/conference-antwerp-2005/
Paired with each DrupalCon event, "Drupalgangers" meetups occur. The events are defined by the community as gatherings of "friends, partners, spouses, and other associates of Drupal community members to enjoy the "con" - without ever having to participate in the geekdom of the event - by traveling around the town or city together."
Drupal's policy is to announce the nature of each security vulnerability once the fix is released.
Administrators of Drupal sites are automatically notified of these new releases via the Update Status module (Drupal 6.x) or via the Update Manager (Drupal 7.x). Drupal maintains a security announcement mailing list, a history of all security advisories, a security team home page, and an RSS feed with the most recent security advisories. In 2008, eleven security vulnerabilities were reported and fixed in the Drupal core. Security holes were also found and fixed in 64 of the 2243 user-contributed modules.
In a controversial article about the adoption of Drupal by the Whitehouse.gov site, associate editor at Slate Chris Wilson lists some common criticisms of Drupal. Penn State University also outlined a number of criticisms (alongside a number of benefits) of Drupal for their environment. Other criticisms have included:
- Usability: Aspects of the Drupal 6 administration interface can be confusing and intimidating to some, particularly for new administrators. According to Dries Buytaert, Drupal 7 will address 90% of the problems identified by the Universities of Minnesota and Baltimore. Improved usability will close the gap with easier CMSs. To achieve this, Acquia (the company founded by the project lead of Drupal) hired UX and web designer Mark Boulton to work with the Drupal community to design a dramatically improved user interface for Drupal's administration interface. The majority of his team's design work has been implemented by the community in Drupal 7. The 2011 usability test results from the University of Minnesota Office of Information Technology show that all of the major usability problems identified in Drupal 6 are either vastly improved or non-existent in Drupal 7, however some new usability problems were identified.
- Learning curve: Some users describe Drupal as being difficult to master. Drupal's many contributed modules can have overlapping functionality and have been reported as overwhelming to new users.
- Backward compatibility (for software development): Drupal does not commit to backward compatibility across major revisions. This means that module and theme developers may have to rework their code to be compatible. However, Drupal's policy is to not change how it uses one's data. This means that data from previous versions will still be usable without alteration in the new release. Omitting backward compatibility reduces software bloat. Drupal documents any incompatibilities, allowing the user to make informed decisions about when and whether to upgrade.
- Performance/scalability: In 2008, performance tests between Drupal 6.1 and Joomla 1.5 demonstrated that Drupal's pages were delivered "significantly faster" than those of Joomla. Despite this, Drupal is still seen as slow. It is true that Drupal is likely to be slower than a special-purpose application for a given task. For example, WordPress typically outperforms Drupal as a single-user blogging tool. Drupal positions itself for broader applications requirements that are outside the scope of more narrowly focused applications. Drupal offers caching to store various page elements, the use of which resulted in a 508% improvement in one benchmark. When using Drupal's default Page Cache mechanism, the cached pages are delivered only to anonymous users, so contributed modules must be installed to allow caching content for logged in users. Like performance, scalability (the ability to add servers to handle growing numbers of visitors with consistent response) can become a concern on large, interactive sites. MySQL's query caching can help reduce the load on the database server caused by Drupal's high query rate. Drupal caches database schema metadata as well as elements such as blocks, forms and menus. Drupal 7 increases performance in database queries and reduces PHP code usage.
These are examples of websites based on the Drupal CMS:
- alrc.gov.au, Australian Law Reform Commission
- data.gov.uk, data.gov.uk
- fastcompany.com, Fast Company
- nysenate.gov, New York State Senate
- london.gov.uk, Greater London Authority
- mtv.co.uk, MTV UK
- rutgers.edu, Rutgers
- economist.com, The Economist
- ubuntu.com, Ubuntu
- whitehouse.gov, whitehouse.gov
- wfp.org, World Food Programme
- ocean.si.edu, Smithsonian Ocean Portal
- Eclipse marketplace
- List of content management systems
- List of web application frameworks
- Web application frameworks
- List of applications with iCalendar support
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