Drupal: Still the One for Robust Site-Building
March 06, 2017

Drupal: Still the One for Robust Site-Building

Joel Tanzi | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Drupal

In my work with a digital agency, I was building Drupal sites, adding features or modifying existing sites, or debugging Drupal sites for our customers. It was a foundation for most of our site building projects and was used across the company. Drupal's importance as a content management system cannot be overstated as it remains one of the most powerful tools for building robust sites that deliver rich, complex content types with well-designed layouts. It abstracts away much of the code that would need to be written to wireframe a website and allows one to focus on the higher level requirements of the site including design, content management, user management and security without having to spend hours writing baseline HTML, CSS and PHP code.
  • Drupal has the most flexible and robust site building tools available for quick site-building; it is possible to have a Drupal site up and running in your local development environment within a minute and immediately get to work.
  • It expertly uses a modular approach to extending your site, with the Drupal core shipping with most of the ones you will need, but with a vast array of modules available in the Drupal space to quickly and easily add features such as Google Maps, powerful layout designers, block management, menus, and more. Many times you can install a theme that fits the needs of your site and greatly reduce the amount of styling necessary to get a terrific-looking site, as well as the amount of JavaScript necessary to create things like slideshows.
  • It makes user management a breeze with the ability to easily create new user accounts and assign roles that govern access to content types and overall site management. It is therefore much easier to hand off a Drupal site to your customers and be confident they won't break it, while still finding it easy to manage their content.
  • Drupal's flexibility comes at the cost of having a fairly large footprint. It can take up much more space than a site developed using JavaScript, CSS and HTML that has been optimized; it is much harder to reduce the folder size of your Drupal site due to the number of moving parts required.
  • Drupal has many dependencies that can conflict with your local development environment at times and it can therefore be cumbersome to set up a Drupal site on a new machine or one that has other development environments on it that may use different PHP versions or paths to the PHP executable.
  • Drupal lags behind WordPress in terms of the number of themes and modules available, due to its smaller user base.
  • It has a much higher learning curve than WordPress, and to use it to the utmost you will need to pick up some degree of understanding about SQL, PHP, CSS, and Drupal components.
  • Using Drupal for site-building gave our company an edge in building out sites quickly that were robust enough to meet our clients' needs.
  • Faster project completion due to Drupal's code abstraction resulted in substantial overall savings on manpower and time.
  • Handoff of completed projects to clients was far simpler and Drupal sites easier to maintain than most conventional websites.
Drupal is well known for being the most flexible of the "Big 3" players in the CMS space. While WordPress remains the most popular due to ease of setup and use, it lacks the flexibility, depth, and modularity of Drupal, causing it to be less desirable when you want more control over the elements in your layout. Joomla! sits between WordPress and Drupal on the spectrum of flexibility and ease of use, but still falls short of Drupal in terms of granularity of control in theming and content management.
Drupal works very well for enterprise sites with complex content types that require multiple content managers to maintain it. It may also work very well for something like a corporate intranet. Developers for small business sites may find it better to build on a simpler system using JavaScript, PHP, HTML, CSS, and frameworks like Angular or React, but Drupal's ability to make content and site management easy for your clients still drives its use for small businesses.

Drupal Feature Ratings

WYSIWYG editor
Code quality / cleanliness
Admin section
Page templates
Library of website themes
Mobile optimization / responsive design
Publishing workflow
Form generator
Content taxonomy
SEO support
Bulk management
Availability / breadth of extensions
Community / comment management
Internationalization / multi-language
Role-based user permissions