• July 3, 2007
  • Avatar for jacob

So you've got your LAMP server up and running, you have some basic pages set up and have maybe even tried WordPress - but what do you do now?

Say you have a big site that could potentially have a large userbase. What do you do? Well, you install Drupal!

Drupal is a modular open-source content management system. The "modular" aspect of it means that you can remove or add any feature you like to and from the system. Almost everything in Drupal is a module, from content editing to forums to stat tracking, and yes, even blogging. There are many sites that use Drupal as their backend, and while you may not notice by the footer, it is all there. Drupal leaves no footprints on your site.

All Drupal requires is PHP 4+ and some sort of SQL database. The default install comes with a wide assortment of modules to get you started. In addition to basic modules for content posting and managing, they include:
  • Aggregators - make your own news feeds
  • User-by-user blogs
  • A module that lets your members write a book in collaboration
  • Stat tracking and site throttling
  • Forums
The system modules themselves include even more, including page caching, and color changing of certain themes.

The default theme is one of the ones that supports this color changing. As long as you have an image library for PHP installed (most hosts do) then you just head on over to Theme Settings and change the colors around - it even generates some background gradient samples for you.

A great thing about the modular system is that you can make Drupal be whatever you want it to be. If you just want a simple blog, then just deactivate all of the other modules that you don't want or need. If you want to program a large customer tracking application, there is plenty of documentation available to help you write your own modules.

The upcoming release of Drupal 6 includes even more goodies such as OpenID support, a themed installer, and open proxy support. Version 6 is expected sometime later this year (the code freeze began today).

Admittedly, Drupal does have its flaws. The most notable of these is lack of a built-in WYSIWYG editor found in many other CMSes and blogs. This problem is easily fixed with the tinymce module. It also lacks comment spam protection, but again this is easily fixed by the trainable Spam module.

Overall, Drupal is one heck of a content management system. If it feels bloated to you, just shut off some modules. If it doesn't have enough, add modules to it. With that said, go give it a try. This is truly one of my most favorite pieces of software.

Avatar for jacob Jacob Peddicord

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