Why You Should Use Drupal for Your Next Website Project
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 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.)
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.
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
- 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- Modules with unresolved security issues are unpublished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
Some sites that you may recognize that were built using the Drupal CMS:
- The White House
- The Economist
- Symantec Connect
- Fast Company
- New York Observer
- The Pulitzer Prizes
- Warner Brothers Records
- Popular Science
- Amherst College
- MTV UK
- and of course Digett
- plus thousands more.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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