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Drupal

Drupal

Overview

What is Drupal?

Drupal is a free, open-source content management system written in PHP that competes primarily with Joomla and Plone. The standard release of Drupal, known as Drupal core, contains basic features such as account and menu management, RSS feeds, page layout…

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Recent Reviews

TrustRadius Insights

Drupal has been widely used in a variety of industries and situations, proving itself as a robust and extensible platform that can fulfill …
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Drupal! You beauty!

10 out of 10
February 09, 2023
  • To develop content oriented and transaction oriented sites
  • Non technical users can easily build sites using Drupal
  • Drupal 8 and above have …
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Awards

Products that are considered exceptional by their customers based on a variety of criteria win TrustRadius awards. Learn more about the types of TrustRadius awards to make the best purchase decision. More about TrustRadius Awards

Popular Features

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  • Page templates (67)
    9.5
    95%
  • Admin section (68)
    9.5
    95%
  • Code quality / cleanliness (66)
    9.1
    91%
  • Publishing workflow (67)
    9.1
    91%
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Pricing

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What is Drupal?

Drupal is a free, open-source content management system written in PHP that competes primarily with Joomla and Plone. The standard release of Drupal, known as Drupal core, contains basic features such as account and menu management, RSS feeds, page layout customization, and system administration.

Entry-level set up fee?

  • No setup fee

Offerings

  • Free Trial
  • Free/Freemium Version
  • Premium Consulting/Integration Services

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Adobe Business Catalyst was a cloud-hosted system for building and managing web content and online stores with a built-in CRM framework in addition to sales, service, and marketing features including eCommerce and Email Marketing tools. It has been end of life (EOL) since 2020.

What is UENI?

Small business owners don’t have much time to build their online presence, don’t have much money to spend on digital advertising, and don’t want to navigate the complexity of what it means to be online today. So UENI presents a solution built specifically for them. Unlike DIY website builders or…

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Product Demos

Drupal Glazed Theme Tutorial 1: Basic Drag and Drop Controls

YouTube

Drupal Demo

YouTube

Drupal Paragraph Blocks Demo

YouTube

JSON:API demo

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Drupal Link Intelligence Getting Started Demo

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Drupal Content Optimizer SEO Module Demo Video

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Features

Security

This component helps a company minimize the security risks by controlling access to the software and its data, and encouraging best practices among users.

10
Avg 8.0

Platform & Infrastructure

Features related to platform-wide settings and structure, such as permissions, languages, integrations, customizations, etc.

9.6
Avg 7.7

Web Content Creation

Features that support the creation of website content.

9.4
Avg 7.6

Web Content Management

Features for managing website content

9.6
Avg 7.3
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Product Details

What is Drupal?

Drupal is a free and open source content management system written in PHP that competes primarily with Joomla and Plone. The standard release of Drupal, known as Drupal core, contains basic features common to content management systems. These include a dashboard with a menu management system, RSS feeds, page layout customization and themes to aid this, and system administration tools. Drupal offers access statistics, more advanced search features, caching and feature throttling (to improve performance if needed), descriptive URLs, multiple users with controllable privileges, access control and restrictions, and workflow tools (triggers). There are over 30,000 addons or modules to expand Drupal's functionality.

Drupal Video

Why Drupal?

Drupal Competitors

Drupal Technical Details

Operating SystemsUnspecified
Mobile ApplicationNo

Frequently Asked Questions

Drupal is a free, open-source content management system written in PHP that competes primarily with Joomla and Plone. The standard release of Drupal, known as Drupal core, contains basic features such as account and menu management, RSS feeds, page layout customization, and system administration.

Joomla!, Kentico Xperience, and Plone are common alternatives for Drupal.

Reviewers rate Role-based user permissions and Mobile optimization / responsive design and Form generator highest, with a score of 10.

The most common users of Drupal are from Small Businesses (1-50 employees).
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Comparisons

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Reviews and Ratings

(378)

Community Insights

TrustRadius Insights are summaries of user sentiment data from TrustRadius reviews and, when necessary, 3rd-party data sources. Have feedback on this content? Let us know!

Drupal has been widely used in a variety of industries and situations, proving itself as a robust and extensible platform that can fulfill specific needs. For example, Ericsson is leveraging Drupal to develop an internal application for accessing company policies and documents, including a news and events section. This showcases Drupal's capability to serve as an efficient tool for knowledge management within organizations. Similarly, Commercial Progression takes advantage of Drupal's integration capabilities with CRM and ERP systems to develop websites for various industries, demonstrating its flexibility in meeting diverse business requirements.

Another key use case for Drupal is creating uniform intranet sites across different operating units, enabling organizations to convey their identity and provide basic information consistently. This allows companies to maintain a cohesive brand image while providing essential resources to their employees. Additionally, non-technical staff can easily create and manage content using Drupal, addressing marketing web presence needs efficiently without extensive coding knowledge. This user-friendly aspect of Drupal makes it accessible to a wide range of users within an organization.

Furthermore, Drupal proves invaluable in the realm of website development, offering a quick and flexible solution for building test sites or serving as a content management system for clients who require rapid website development with built-in control. Its ability to handle large volumes of content makes it suitable for managing customer service articles, translation services, and industry-standard features like views and revisioning. The platform is also chosen by developers specializing in Drupal due to its ease of use in quickly getting sites up and running for clients.

In the educational sector, the University of Edinburgh's Web Interfaces team has utilized Drupal to develop bespoke web solutions with a focus on security and scalability. This use case highlights Drupal's suitability for academic institutions seeking reliable and customizable solutions for their web development needs. Moreover, Drupal has proven its worth in the online education space, with approximately 95% of websites designed to market and recruit online degree programs being built with this platform.

Overall, Drupal offers a versatile range of use cases, from powering corporate intranets to supporting website development across various industries. Its capacity for customization and its ability to handle diverse content needs make it a compelling choice for organizations of all sizes.

Extensibility and Customization: Users highly appreciate the extensibility and customization options provided by Drupal's wide range of contributed modules. Many reviewers have stated that this flexibility allows them to tailor the software to their specific needs, enhancing the overall value of the platform.

Cost-effectiveness: The open-source nature of Drupal is seen as a major advantage by users, with many stating that it eliminates ongoing licensing costs. Reviewers mention that this cost-effectiveness makes Drupal an attractive option for those on a tight budget.

Strong Community Support: Users highly value the fantastic open-source community surrounding Drupal. Several reviewers have mentioned that they appreciate the community's readiness to help and provide solutions to any problems encountered. This support system is seen as invaluable, ensuring users have necessary assistance and resources to overcome challenges while using the software.

Intuitive User Interface: Some users have mentioned that the user interface of Drupal is not intuitive and requires technical expertise to use effectively. They feel that the platform lacks a WYSIWYG text editor, making it necessary to have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS style sheets to customize the site.

Complicated Development Process: Several users have found the development process in Drupal to be complicated and difficult to learn, even for experienced developers. They express that development is hard to learn and complicated, which can be challenging for those with prior experience in web development.

Time-Consuming Maintenance: Users have expressed that maintaining Drupal websites can be time-consuming due to frequent updates and patches that need to be installed. The continuous need for maintenance can become burdensome as it requires allocating additional time towards keeping the website up-to-date.

Security Concerns with Plugins: Some users have raised concerns about the security of Drupal websites, attributing it to the large number of plugins available from numerous developers. They find it harder to ensure site security due to this vast variety of plugins, often requiring careful vetting and monitoring.

Resource-Intensive Infrastructure Requirement: Users mention that compared to other content management systems (CMSs), Drupal requires a more powerful infrastructure. This makes it more resource-intensive in terms of hardware requirements, potentially increasing costs for hosting and server resources.

Steep Learning Curve with Drupal 8: The learning curve associated with Drupal has been highlighted by users as a challenge, particularly concerning its eighth version. They perceive Drupal 8 as significantly different from previous versions, complicating the learning process further.

Confusing Back-end User Interface: Some users find the back-end user interface of Drupal confusing and clunky. They express difficulties navigating through menus or locating specific settings within the interface, leading them to consider it less user-friendly than desired.

Configuration Changes Hidden in Menus: Users mention encountering certain configuration changes hidden within menus where they may not expect them. This can make it challenging for users to locate and modify specific settings, potentially causing frustration or inefficiencies.

Time-Consuming Setup and Configuration: The process of setting up and configuring Drupal has been mentioned as time-consuming by users. They express that it requires technical skills and knowledge, making the initial setup a potential pain point. Additionally, some changes may require IT assistance and might not be applied immediately.

Limited Ease of Use: While Drupal is generally considered relatively easy to use, some users note that it still requires development skills. They advise that installation and upgrading processes should be handled by someone with technical expertise to avoid potential troubles during these procedures.

Users have made several recommendations based on their experiences with Drupal. Here are the three most common recommendations:

  1. Start with a theme if you don't have much time to learn the system.
  2. Avoid using too many plugins and have someone on-site for day-to-day maintenance.
  3. Consider other options for CRM or shopping cart functionality.

Overall, users believe Drupal is a robust CMS platform but recommend starting with a theme for quicker setup, limiting plugin usage, and considering alternative options for CRM and shopping cart functionality. These recommendations aim to optimize the user experience and ensure efficient management of websites built on Drupal.

Attribute Ratings

Reviews

(1-2 of 2)
Companies can't remove reviews or game the system. Here's why
Eric Batson | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Drupal was the software used to create many of our organization's intranet sites. It was used across the majority of the organization. Each operating unit used it to create sites that conveyed who they were, the work they did, and other basic information. We used it so the operating units' sites would be uniform in their look and feel. Consequently, information would be be found in predictable locations across the operating unit sites.
  • You don't need to be a developer to use Drupal. You just need to learn its functions.
  • We were able to train people with various non-computer backgrounds to use Drupal. It can be learned by a range of people who are not "technical".
  • Drupal sites can include APIs, webforms, slideshows, parent and child pages, and more.
  • The option to compare older site page versions with the current version could be easier to decipher from a visual standpoint.
  • It would be great if the various customizable features included descriptions of how they function for the many non-technical users who work on Drupal.
  • It can be tough for users to find previously added slides (in the slideshow carousel) to edit them.
It is good for organizations like mine where standardization and clarity were the main goals. If you want a fancy and dynamic site then this may not be the solution. This is also a good option if non-technical people will be tasked with its regular maintenance. A little training can go a long way with Drupal.
Web Content Creation (8)
56.25%
5.6
WYSIWYG editor
90%
9.0
Code quality / cleanliness
N/A
N/A
Admin section
90%
9.0
Page templates
90%
9.0
Library of website themes
N/A
N/A
Mobile optimization / responsive design
N/A
N/A
Publishing workflow
90%
9.0
Form generator
90%
9.0
Web Content Management (5)
18%
1.8
Content taxonomy
90%
9.0
SEO support
N/A
N/A
Bulk management
N/A
N/A
Availability / breadth of extensions
N/A
N/A
Community / comment management
N/A
N/A
Platform & Infrastructure (2)
45%
4.5
API
90%
9.0
Internationalization / multi-language
N/A
N/A
Security (1)
90%
9.0
Role-based user permissions
90%
9.0
CMS programming language or framework
N/A
N/A
  • The various operating unit sites are now fairly uniform. When you go from one site to another it is fairly easy to find information.
  • Employees who want fancier options with their intranet sites were disappointed with the Drupal user interface.
  • Employees now know where to go to access predictable information regarding the different operating units.
  • Google Sites
I was not a decision maker when it came to which software we would use. There are pros and cons to any software. I would have preferred to use Google Sites, especially since the organization uses Google Drive and its related products pretty heavily. I see great value in sticking with fewer systems and platforms to minimize employee confusion and frustration.
Various operating units and departments use Drupal for a number of reasons. Human Resources uses it to provide HR related information and resources for employees agency-wide. Other operating units use it to provide articles with the latest information on their work and success stories. In general, it is used to provide information for employees about what each operating unit does, who their leadership is and how to contact each operating unit.
At the very least, some basic web design knowledge is helpful if someone is to truly support users of Drupal. More advanced knowledge of web design is more desirable, since our users had more in-depth questions about what they can and cannot do with their Drupal sites. They often wanted help implementing more advanced features.
  • Inform employees about each operating unit.
  • Uniform communication tool to present information about each operating unit.
  • Tool for providing resources to help employees with their work.
  • More features may be added / allowed in the future, but I'm not sure what they are at this point.
The time and money invested into this platform were too great to discontinue it at this point. I'm sure it will be in use for a while. We have also spent time training many employees how to use it. All of these things add up to quite an investment in the product. Lastly, it basically fulfills what we need our intranet site to do.
  • Online training
  • In-person training
  • Self-taught
I was part of the team that conducted the training. Our training was fine, but we could have been better informed on Drupal before we started providing it. If we did not have answers to tough questions, we had more technical staff we could consult with. We did provide hands-on practice time for the learners, which I would always recommend. That is where the best learning occurred.
The on-line training was not as ideal as the face-to-face training. It was done remotely and only allowed for the trainers to present information to the learners and demonstrate the platform online. There was not a good way to allow for the learners to practice, ask questions and have them answered all in the same session.
If the learner was technically savvy and had a background in website development then the platform could be learned fairly easily. If the learners were not technically savvy, they needed training and continued support after their initial training session. We found that the non-technical learners often contacted us after their initial training with items that may or may not have been addressed in training.
  • Adding a basic page.
  • Adding a slide.
  • Adding content in the rich text editor on a basic page.
  • Finding a slide to edit after you have created it can be challenging for a new, less technical user.
  • Comparing older and newer versions of a page is not as intuitive as I would have liked.
  • Webform creation is a two part process that can confuse the new, less technical user.
Perhaps this is just because our organization limited the functions available to us. I'm not sure about all of the possibilities that exist with Drupal as a result. In our circumstance, it did provide the basics of what we needed (basic site pages, images, articles, webforms etc.), but we could not do anything "fancy".
Michael Sypes | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Incentivized
I have used Drupal in a variety of contexts, including public-facing information and commercial sites, and internal intranets. Drupal provides an excellent platform for content managers to create and edit information on these sites. I have also implemented Drupal solutions for a community word game site, a school fundraising organization, and as a front-end for more complex data collection and analysis applications. It's an incredibly robust and extensible system, so it can be tweaked and modified to fulfill a wide variety of specific needs.
  • Excellent content management system, with a lot of room for customizing, especially due to the wealth of contributed modules. Extensibility is also enhanced by a very good API for creating your own modules
  • Completely open-source, so you're only paying for the time needed to develop and maintain your site. No ongoing costs for licenses, etc.
  • Fantastic open-source community, with experts all over the world sharing their knowledge. If you have a problem, someone out there can help you with it.
  • Security. Another advantage of the strong community is ongoing maintenance and improvements of the software, so it's easy to keep your system up-to-date and secure.
  • VERY steep learning curve for both developers and designers, half jokingly referred to as a learning cliff. If you're going to build something, you need to do a lot of planning and research to ensure that you're following best practices.
  • Difficult to set up a system making it easy for non-technical end users to enter complexly styled content. If the content managers are responsible for layout of individual pieces of content, there is an additional steep learning curve. Alternatively, a reasonable amount of training is required to ensure that content managers know how to use the system.
  • Written documentation for many modules, including some of the most commonly used ones, is often piss-poor or completely lacking. Some UI aspects can seem completely arcane as a result, adding to the difficulties of learning how to use the system.
I am a very big fan of this system and would generally recommend it over any other similar CMS if that is the appropriate category of tool needed to reach your goals. Because it is so flexible, it can be used effectively not only for basic content presentation, but for more complex tracking and collation of data. Drupal is particularly effective for situations where many people are entering small bits of easily defined material that are being combined into lists and other such collations.
Although it is highly extensible and has been labelled by some as a framework, Drupal is still, at its heart a CMS, and as such, falls short in situations where complex business logic needs to be implemented whenever content is created or modified. It is usable in those situations, but you're better off using a true framework in those cases.
If you're dealing with very non-technical people who may need to have extensive control over layout without a steep learning curve, Drupal may be overkill.
Web Content Creation (8)
70%
7.0
WYSIWYG editor
70%
7.0
Code quality / cleanliness
80%
8.0
Admin section
90%
9.0
Page templates
80%
8.0
Library of website themes
N/A
N/A
Mobile optimization / responsive design
90%
9.0
Publishing workflow
50%
5.0
Form generator
100%
10.0
Web Content Management (5)
82%
8.2
Content taxonomy
90%
9.0
SEO support
80%
8.0
Bulk management
50%
5.0
Availability / breadth of extensions
100%
10.0
Community / comment management
90%
9.0
Platform & Infrastructure (2)
80%
8.0
API
90%
9.0
Internationalization / multi-language
70%
7.0
Security (1)
100%
10.0
Role-based user permissions
100%
10.0
CMS programming language or framework
N/A
N/A
  • Quick ramp-up of multiple sites based on a common core, improving efficiency in management of these sites
  • Extensibility/Customizability improved user interface of internal intranet, as another enhancer of employee efficiency for disseminating information across the organization.
  • Saved money on licensing fees and need for outside maintenance, as we were able to move all development and maintenance in-house.
  • Similarly, because Drupal allowed moving development and maintenance in-house, we saved turn-around time on updates, changes, and enhancements.
  • WordPress,Symfony,Laravel,PHP
Drupal is head-and-shoulders above WordPress in terms of extensibility and community support, in great part because it is completely open-source. I would recommend it in almost every case over WordPress. (WP is only better if you already know that system well, and your end users are going to struggle too much with Drupal's complexity and interface.)
Symfony, Laravel, and other frameworks are better if you need to implement a lot of complex business logic every time someone enters or alters content. The advantages of having Drupal's wealth of contributed modules at your disposal will likely be outweighed by the difficulties associated with shoehorning Drupal's defined content structures into such a custom workflow.
If you're looking for an incredibly extensible system for a few or many users to enter well-defined pieces of content for dissemination, or a basic eCommerce site, Drupal is certainly fit the bill.
Raw PHP is only appropriate these days for very simple projects. If you're building anything complex, use some sort of system; it will ease maintenance, portability and sanity for your future developers.
10
Estimate includes IT development and content managers in total. All employees "use" Drupal in the sense that they consume content on our intranet application. Content editors include Human Resources personnel, Marketing, and some in general management
2
Dedicated skilled PHP developers are generally required to support Drupal. This is a complex system, and requires specialized experience to develop and maintain it properly. The only exception would be if you just need routine updates. With some simple training, this can be handled by junior-level personnel. Front-end development with CSS and Javascript also needs some experience on dealing with Drupal specifics, but less so than back-end development.
  • Dissemination of critical information company-wide, such as contact information for employees, benefits providers, upcoming events, and other such news items.
  • Sharing and review of information among group members.
  • Interface for other, external systems from a common jump-off point.
  • Community word game site, where people post responses to a prompt and then vote on their favorites. (Not in my current job)
  • Small scale eCommerce, selling books and other tangible goods, or subscriptions to access digital content. (Not in my current job)
  • Collection and tracking of donations for a school fund-raising site. (Not in my current job)
  • Replace existing WordPress brochure site.
  • Replace an existing WordPress site used by our clients (job-seekers) to create resumes, access job-training materials, and search for positions.
  • Update and enhance our intranet to provide valuable information to our employees
I have not found a better solution to common CMS goals than Drupal. Not only am I actively pressuring a drive to use Drupal more (and WordPress less), I would likely look for another position if our use of Drupal were not to increase. Having long overcome the initial learning curve, this is an incredibly cost-effective method to develop websites necessary to accomplish a variety of business goals.
Yes
In the past I have replaced existing systems in raw PHP and ColdFusion with Drupal. The desire to replace these systems was due to needs to bring development and maintenance in-house, so as to reduce costs. Movement to an established stable system has also been an advantage for handling routine maintenance and updates, keeping the overall code base update with the latest standards.
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
  • Prior Experience with the Product
FTR, you don't "purchase" Drupal. It's a completely free, open-source system. You only pay for the development time, not the product itself. Having had extensive experience with this system, development time is greatly reduced versus other systems that would require ramp-up time to gain the necessary familiarity. So, time and money were the key factors, and since it's been said that time IS money, that's really one factor. Knowing how well this tool can be used and how far it can be pushed makes it a "go-to" solution in most cases.
At this point in my career, I'd be unlikely to choose another solution if a CMS were the right tool to use for a given project. In the time it would take to become equally familiar with an alternative, such as WordPress, I could produce as good a working implementation in Drupal. I am happy in the methods I have used before choosing whether to go with Drupal versus a more general framework, such as Laravel or Symfony.
  • Implemented in-house
No
Change management was a small part of the implementation and was well-handled
Depending on how you handle both change management and your Drupal implementation, this can range from easy to difficult. If content must be reviewed in a test environment, you want to make sure you take advantage of modules such as features and deploy, and make sure that change management systems are aware of the mechanisms needed to move code and database changes among environments.
  • Tracking configuration changes made through the UI and stored in the database during development, so that they could be duplicated in production.
  • For all changes, not just initial implementation, making sure that nontechnical stakeholders are aware of how the system will work for them and how best to use it.
  • General knowledge of any new modules being used, so that developers are using the right ones in the right way.
Plan ahead as much you can. You really need to know how to build what you want with the modules available to you, or that you might need to code yourself, in order to make the best use of Drupal. I recommend you analyze the most technically difficult workflows and other aspects of your implementation, and try building some test versions of those first. Get feedback from stakeholders early and often, because you can easily find yourself in a situation where your implementation does 90% of what you want, but, due to something you didn't plan for, foresee, or know about, there's no feasible way to get past the last 10%.
  • Self-taught
The only paid-for training I took advantage of were some lynda.com tutorials at the very beginning of my introduction to Drupal. They were good, but didn't go beyond the most basic concepts. (This was several years ago, and there may very well be more advanced tutorials available now.) There are also scattered, free, podcasts and videos tutorials across the web, produced independently by members of the Drupal community.
I started with some books (I recall one being from O'Reilly), and online documentation.
Drupal is a very difficult system to learn, no two bones about it. I don't know of any dedicated training centers/courses, although there are purveyors of video tutorials, which have a good reputations.
It is very helpful to be involved with the community to ease the learning curve.
No
One of the strongest selling points of using Drupal as a developer is the community. There is no "dedicated vendor." Support can be variable depending on the individual problem and module(s) involved, but if you are generally active in the community yourself, you can usually find help rather quickly. I have never needed to search for professional support to solve a problem on a project.
As noted earlier, the support of the community can be rather variable, with some modules attracting more attraction and action in their issue queues, but overall, the development community for Drupal is second to none. It probably the single greatest aspect of being involved in this open-source project.
Yes
I have reported several bugs in modules over the years. I have also helped resolve issues in them as my knowledge has increased. With few exceptions, bug reports are taken seriously, discussed among members of the community and resolved satisfactorily. Remember, however, that this is open-source software, so it's best not to take the stance that you are a customer of a vendor of the software, but rather a member of a community driven to improve the software.
Multiple times. I have gotten support from many other users of Drupal modules, ranging from clearing up misunderstandings of how to best use items in the user interface to correcting code ambiguities, thus improving the software overall.
  • Extending content types with contributed modules to store and retrieve specific type of data, such as addresses, emails, product information, or other custom details.
  • Displaying collections of data. The Views module is a tour de force not present in any other system to my knowledge. While not necessarily easy to learn at first, its power and elegance quickly make it indispensable for building a good site.
  • Making modifications on-the-fly. Additions of new functionality and even updates to the core system can often be done with little to no downtime. need to add a new content type and a page displaying a list based on those entries? No problem! The work needed to do this can be done on a live system with no interruptions to active users.
  • Setting up an easy-to-use interface for non-tech types can be a challenge. Basic content entry, while done with straightforward web forms, can be a bit daunting if editors are responsible for full layout control.
  • Initial learning curve. If you're building your first site, this is going to be rough. The "Drupal way" is not always the most obvious to newcomers, and it's easy to go down wrong paths in effort to get something to work without understanding how the system works.
  • Migrating changes and additions through a typical development->staging->production flow can be difficult. Because everything is in the database, both content and configuration, it takes some forethought, and/or a dedicated hosting provider, such as Acquia or Pantheon, to deal with content changes, if there's an expectation that everything go through this typical process.
Yes
Many themes, which are individual projects, just as are modules, are built on "mobile-first" philosophies. The theme-creation tools I've used (Omega & Zen) make it easy to build themes that way as well. Provided you have a front-end developer who knows how to properly construct a theme to take advantage of, and implement, and mobile-ready interface, you're good to go.
Once you've learned how to use it Drupal is a very logically consistent framework for building and maintaining a robust website. The trick is getting to the point where your understanding of the system is full and correct so that you can use it properly and take advantage of all it offers.
Drupal is well known to be scalable, although it requires solid knowledge of MySQL best practices, caching mechanisms, and other server-level best practices. I have never personally dealt with an especially large site, so I can speak well to the issues associated with Drupal scaling.
I have had few issues with keeping a Drupal system up and running. When there have been issues, they've been errors in how I went about implementing a change.
Drupal page loads can be slow, as a great many database calls may be required to generate a page. It is highly recommended to use caching systems, both built-in and external to lessen such database loads and improve performance. I haven't had any problems with behind-the-scenes integrations with external systems.
  • Canvas Learning Management System - using a RESTful API
  • Proprietary MSSQL/ASP.Net database application - using PHP's built-in SOAP client
  • External PayPal payment system - custom code based on PayPal's API
  • Authorize.net and Stripe payment gateways - contributed Drupal modules
Integrations ranged from butt simple (payment gateways) to moderately difficult (PayPal). PayPal integration was difficult primarily due to their difficult to read documentation, and not a reflection of Drupal. Canvas had great documentation, and communicating with its API wasn't hard. For an internal application, I had direct communication with the MSSQL/ASP.Net developer, so it was easy to handle those data transfers as well.
  • I don't have any planned integrations with outside systems at this time
  • File import/export
  • Single Signon
  • API (e.g. SOAP or REST)
  • Javascript widgets
File import and export are easily handled with a variety of contributed modules, dependent on your use case.
Our current implementation uses an LDAP Single Signon system, but I didn't implement it.
I've uses both REST & SOAP based communication with external systems with great success.
Some Javascript widgets are available with contributed wrapper modules. Others will require custom implementations.
I have never had a problem integrating Drupal with an external system. At that point, you're dealing with your own custom code, and the Drupal-specific wrappers needed for those are straightforward.
Some Javascript integrations can be difficult to manage based on the way that Drupal handles Javascript. (Like the old Camel commercials said, "Experience is the best teacher.")
Be aware of how Drupal consumes data for display when it comes time to bring information in from an external source. Also understand how it normally expects to store input data in its own database so that you can properly parse it for export.
If you're doing complex Javascript integrations, read a lot of the available online documentation, and be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them.
Yes
Upgrades of contributed modules and even core are generally smooth and require little, if any, downtime. The few occasions that have required any significant downtime (an hour or so) involved multiple structural changes and updates/additions to content that had to be done manually due to inadequacies in our processes.
  • Enhanced stability
  • Security updates
  • Additional functionality added
  • Keeping up with latest coding standards
  • Easier maintenance mechanisms
  • Additional extensions to functionality
No
No
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