Why You Should Use Drupal for Your Next Website Project

June 15, 2011
Advantages of Drupal CMS

A couple of years ago Mark wrote about Drupal 6 Selling Points on the Digett blog. Since Drupal 7 is now mature enough to build sites upon, it seemed like a good time to look again at the reasons why someone would want to use Drupal to build a website.

Open Source

Open Source means that the code used to run Drupal can be copied, modified, and shared with others. Anyone with the skill can download and use the Drupal code, make whatever changes they want, and send those changes out to anyone else, or even contribute the changes back to Drupal for others to use and share.

The advantages of the open source model of software development are numerous:

  • Free to download and use.
  • No licensing fees.
  • No proprietary “black box.” (Everything in the Drupal framework is transparent to a programmer with the knowledge to look at the source code.)
  • A community of developers. (More on this below.)

Drupal Community

While the above advantages will be mostly true of any open source project, some of the unique stats about Drupal are:

  • Huge developer community:
    • Nearly 1000 developers contributed code to Drupal 7.
    • Over 8000 modules are listed on Drupal.org.
  • Over 10 years of development.
  • 600,000+ users on Drupal.org
  • Nearly 400,000 websites run on Drupal

Why should the size of the community matter to a client who is considering Drupal for their next web project? The main reason is because someone with a Drupal website has leveraged the work of thousands of developers in the production of their site. There aren’t too many companies in the world who could bring together that many minds to work on one project.

Drupal Features

The Drupal CMS (Content Management System) has the following features:

  • Clean, Extensible, & Modular Code
    • Many high quality modules that extend the functionality of the core code
    • Custom modules can be written to perform any desired function
    • Theming layer separate from content and functionality for easy visual refresh
  • High Performance
    • Built-in caching
    • Scalable to multiple servers (database, caching, and web services)
    • InnoDB default
  • Easy integration with 3rd party applications using
    • XMLRPC
    • SOAP
    • REST
    • JSON
    • And many more
  • Search Engine Friendly
    • Standards-compliant HTML/CSS
    • Meta tags
    • Page Titles
    • Customizable, friendly urls
    • Google Analytics integration
    • RDF support
  • Unparalleled Security
    • 43 official members of the dedicated security team
    • Modules with unresolved security issues are unpublished
    • Password security is compatible with the requirements for US government agencies
  • Management of Content by End User
    • Well documented
    • Specific focus on usability
    • Word processor-style content editing
    • Image handling
    • File handling
  • Commercial Support
    • Many companies who build and support Drupal sites
    • Many qualified developers for hire who can customize Drupal code
    • Training and educational support available
    • Industry- and feature-specialized commercial firms

Drupal Websites

Some sites that you may recognize that were built using the Drupal CMS:

Also, Drupal.org has some great case studies.

Business Case for Drupal

All of these features are nice, but why would your business benefit from a Drupal website as opposed to any other type of site? It really boils down to these three things.

  1. Standing on the Shoulders of Giants. Your website benefits from the work of many great minds who laid out the foundation, built great modules, and left easy ways for everything to be customized for your needs. Hiring a team of developers of this caliber of can be difficult and expensive.
  2. No Lock-In. Your website and data will not be stuck inside a proprietary system that only a few select companies or individuals know. And while Drupal-specific developers are currently in high demand, there is a much bigger pool of PHP developers who can get up to speed on Drupal relatively quickly and assist you with your ongoing support. Also, depending on your needs and comfort level, you can find Drupal expertise in the form of freelancers and all the way up to large companies to help with your Drupal needs.
  3. Extensibility. A programming methodology may not seem like a business case argument, but actually Drupal’s extensibility means that it is usually not necessary to rebuild a website when new features need to be added. The modularity and extensibility also facilitates the option of phases during development in order to break down cost into manageable portions.

At Digett, we are heavily focused on Drupal site development, and we contribute to the community as much as we can. While not everyone chooses Drupal, we believe it is the best option for most business websites — not only from a development approach, but also from an ROI approach. In the long run many businesses will see a stronger ROI from Drupal than from the various proprietary options, or even other open source options.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have questions about whether or not Drupal would be a good fit for your particular situation.

This article has been translated into Polish & Chinese.

Comments

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Great article. You listed a

Great article.

You listed a mishmash of technologies under databases:

XMLRPC
SOAP
REST
JSON
Many more

None of which are actually databases. Perhaps a better list:

MySQL
PostgreSQL
SQLite
MSSQL
MongoDB
Solr
Memcache

hello, would You mind if I

hello,

would You mind if I translate this and put on drupal.pl (polish Drupal community site)?

It could be put in our faq section :)

PS. mollom configuration is somewhat broken on this site, please test and check as anonymous

Dalin, The list of

Dalin,

The list of technologies was not intended to be database technologies, but instead technologies that connect external applications/databases to Drupal. I will try to rephrase the main bullet point to clarify better.

Thanks for the feedback.

Art

Great article, but one thing

Great article, but one thing I think needs some discussion is the line, 'there is a much bigger pool of PHP developers who can get up to speed on Drupal relatively quickly . . .'

I've seen organizations get into trouble when they think that PHP developers can QUICKLY get up to speed on doing things the Drupal way. It takes a bit of adjustment in thinking as to how things are built. And adjusting to the Drupal way can, at times, be a challenge.

Skowyra, Thank you for your

Skowyra,

Thank you for your comments and you make some excellent points.

In response... I'm not advocating that anyone go the route of bringing in PHP developers and expecting Drupal brilliance. While I do believe a PHP developer CAN get up to speed quickly if s/he wants to learn the Drupal way, it doesn't mean that all PHP developers WILL catch on quickly. The main point of my statement is that there is a large pool of developers (Drupal & PHP) so a company isn't locked in to proprietary system with a limited set of capable developers.

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There's a link to this

There's a link to this article and received pingback. However, the comment is not showing on this page. Why?

bluepal, Our comments are

bluepal,

Our comments are moderated, so your pingback is here now.

Thank you for translating the article and linking back to us!

Thank you! Good article. We

Thank you! Good article. We are referencing it on the Chinese community site. It's some effort to push Drupal in China.
Looking forward to seeing more good articles on your site.

It looks like that list is

It looks like that list is labelled as '3rd party integration' which makes total sense (though it doesnt stop there!).

also, for your supported DB list, don't forget MariaDB!