Dries Buytaert created Drupal as a messaging board in 1999. The CMS got a community in 2001 and after that has witnessed increased traction. A key factor in its popularity is its open source nature and distribution under the GNU license. As downloading and circulation is easy, the masses are now increasingly enamored with a customizable alternative to clunky, proprietary systems.An interesting fact about Drupal is global popularity.
With an estimated community of nearly a million people now using it in 228 countries around the world, the software is preferred in many places. Although it is touted that people with little technical knowledge can use the CMS, some other platforms are definitely easier to handle for the beginner. There are blogs and forums to potentially assist the newbie.
A large number of sites globally have made the switch to Drupal, indicating that it has emerged as a platform of choice for corporates. Released on Jan 5, 2011, Drupal 7.0 has numerous improvements over the previous versions of the operating system in terms of navigation, usability and security. One of the most important sites constructed on Drupal is www.whitehouse.gov. The robustness and security of the platform is one of the reasons why the United States government opted for this platform. Availability of a widespread development community is also a big positive that works in Drupal’s favor.
High-profile corporate websites are being built on this CMS. Years of experience in Drupal makes Dreamfire a preferred vendor for leading global clients including the United Nations. Global media publications have adopted the CMS for their increasingly dynamic sites.
So, what’s the fuss about? Here are some of the reasons why Drupal is preferred to other CMS alternatives: 1.Taxonomy: Drupal has a powerful taxonomy system to help clients organize and tag content. Each Drupal vocabulary is limited to certain types. Blog content that allowed free tagging, such as Wordpress can assist the potential user. News section can have a different vocabulary, but it is limited to different content types. Hierarchical ordering is also possible. Combined with Content Construction Kits(CCK) and Views, it helps create new content types and has an advanced customized approach without writing any code. 2.User Management: Drupal was designed for community-based websites and has a strong user role and access control functionality. Many customized roles are available such as webmaster, editor, admin etc. are available to users. Advanced user management roles can be tweaked after the website grows to a certain point. 3.Page Titles and Meta Tags: Each page title module gives you customized control of HTML title elements, while the Meta Tags module is important when it comes to the pages individual meta description tags. This is difficult in some content management systems, but it is easy with Drupal. 4.PHP Template: Drupal uses the PHP template theme engine by default. It is also easier in theming than Wordpress and does not require any PHP knowledge. 5.Drupal Cookbooks: Written in a recipe-based style, the code snippets section of drupal.org can help users in integrating business functionality and features into the Drupal site. 6.Revision Control: You can configure Drupal to save a new version of pages edited. This essentially means that reverting to old revisions is possible whenever Drupal is used. 7.Large Community: An existing community of developers and major institutions using Drupal has contributed to a huge eco-system. Drupal support is available.
Another point often made by skeptics is lack of access to proprietary resources. Widespread use has the potential to negate some naysayers, but the task is still hard. Every version of Drupal has its own distros, modules and themes. Code portability with successive upgrades is even tougher, as moving existing modules to successive versions involves too much work. Other criticisms leveled at Drupal include lack of usability, a difficult learning curve, no backward compatibility, along with concerns on scalability.
As compared to other open-source CMSes such as Joomla, Wordpress etc, Drupal claims to be more search-engine friendly and is regarded as suitable for medium and large sites. The latest version of Drupal, 7.12 was released on February 1, 2012. 8.0 is on the drawing board and the release date is still to be decided. Widespread popularity has helped Drupal positioning, but the jury’s still out on the best CMS.