Designed to be a collective blog, Drupal is now put to extremely varied uses: from community portals to corporate websites, by way of intranets and e-commerce sites.
Drupal is a content management system that is both professional and community based.Professional, because it brings together all the major functionalities expected of a CMS. But also because its development has become truly professional, with a dedicated team giving it real momentum.
Community based, because Drupal relies on an open community of thousands of users (integrators like Smile and independent contributors, for example), who are constantly working to develop it further.
These two aspects make Drupal a major player in the field of content management (websites and web apps).
But its relevance stems in particular from its combination of being easy to use, fast to install, and highly expandable, thanks to the thousands of extensions already available today, or to custom functional developments. With this open source solution, you will never be locked into your system, which will always be upgradeable.
Drupal is built on a modular architecture that completely covers content management needs. This is achieved through the use of its kernel functionalities, boosted by some of the most popular modules.Drupal’s strengths as a CMS are: great flexibility in terms of content organisation (possibility of defining page layouts, presentation, automated data feeds),fast update options from the front office (front end editing),and an extremely powerful, hierarchical taxonomy system.In addition, it has a Web 2.0 orientation (social publishing aspects) that cuts across all the content published online.
However, Drupal major asset remainsits expandability.Thanks to its design, it is oriented toward evolution, and many modules have been provided by its community and its integrators, like Smile. The most popular modules are those thatgive Drupal a very strong social networking dimension or that endow it with document management capabilities.
In respect of the ergonomics of the tools made available to functional administrators, Drupal’s modular organisation makes it possible tooffer a custom interfaceby deactivating those modules that are not necessary to a given site, leaving only the functionalities of use to the administrators. This makes it one of the easiest to use CMSs on the market. It considerably reduces costs linked to change management.
Based on PHP architecture, Drupal guarantees you will easily be able to accrue the skill sets needed to develop new modules (giving you your independence). If there are existing modules that perfectly meet your needs, then themajority of the implementation of a site driven by Drupal will involve a configuration process that demands little to no technical skill. These aspects are, of course, strong arguments in favour of the solution, particularly as concerns knowledge transfers.
The cost aspect also pleads in its favour. Indeed, use of the tool is subject tono licensing fees, regardless of the number of servers or users. However, even if the solution is 100% community driven, there isa support package(“guarantee”) – which we highly recommend – offered by Acquia, a consultancy/engineering firm founded by Dries Buytaert, Drupal’s creator.
Lastly, Drupal enjoys an undeniable reputation. Many internationally renowned companies have taken the plunge and now place their trust in Drupal, including: Procter & Gamble, Mattel, Virgin, Universal Music, Intel, General Motors, Fujifilm, Reuters, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Disney, Nike, Sony, and more.
Drupal’s open source license has also made it possible to establish a very active community of users, comprising skilled, faithful experts (with thousands of modules developed and maintained as at present). Conferences are held regularly around the world (2010: San Francisco and Copenhagen, 2009: Boston and Paris, 2008: Washington, DC, and Hungary, and so on).
Smile offers a complete training cycleon Drupal, based on our experience with numerous projects. More information is available on Smile Training.