Drupal is seen as one of the best CMS’s for larger enterprises, offering a range of features that make it easy to manage content on large websites. It is also famous for the level of stability that it can offer, as well as the security features that can be used to prevent most forms of web-based attack. As an open source platform, Drupal is free to use which only goes to boost the argument for using it. AND it is supported on all our servers starting from the Drupal compatible UK based VPS’s for more stability to specialized Drupal Hosting with affordability.
Here we will explore the main features of Drupal including how you can organise your content and the options that are open to you if you want to customize the platform.
The Menu bar
Rather than providing a separate admin area as we see with other CMS applications, Drupal provides elements that overlay the content that you wish to work on meaning that you can view your website at the same time you are working with it.
The items that you would usually find in the admin area of a CMS are listed as menu items at the top of the screen when you are logged into your Drupal site as an administrator. This will allow you to quickly add new articles to your website, or on the other hand you can perform more complex tasks such as changing particular configurations or installing a new module.
Drupal defines the section on the left of the main content body as the sidebar and the larger section as where articles will be displayed. As is the case with most CMSs, you can customize the sidebar with the use of what are called ‘blocks’ – you may also be familiar with these as ‘widgets’; these are small blocks of content that are designed to work with different services or modules to serve up dynamic information and examples here could include a Twitter feed or the latest articles that have been posted.
The main portion of the page will be used to display the content that you add to your website. Whether you are creating a website to showcase your products or services or perhaps something more detailed like a knowledge-base, your articles will show up in this section and it is recommended that you use a wide display area to reduce the amount of scrolling that your visitors have to do.
The ‘Download & Extend’ section of the Drupal website contains listings of freely available themes that have been created by third-party developers. If you don’t have the skills necessary to create your own theme, then you can choose a theme from here and then customise it as you see fit. As developers who have a wealth of experience usually create themes, you can be assured compatibility and the theme should be able to function without issue.
Themes can be installed in two ways. If you have a direct link to a theme available then all you need to do is enter the URL and click ‘Install’; Drupal will take care of downloading the theme and installing it. Alternatively, if you have downloaded a theme from a central repository then you can upload the theme file from your computer and again once you click ‘Install’, Drupal will take care of the installation process.
Modules are sometimes referred to as plugins in other CMS systems, but regardless of the name they are given they are used for the same purpose – to introduce and improve the functionalities that aren’t included as part of the core application. Like most popular CMS’s, if there is something that you would like Drupal to do that isn’t included as standard then the chances are that there is a third-party plugin available specifically for that purpose. Plugins can be found in the central repository that can be accessed through the ‘Download & Extend’ section of the main Drupal website. As of writing, there are 1,181 modules available for free download.