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OTT Explains: What Is Drupal?

Content management systems like WordPress are the architecture of millions of websites on the Internet. A CMS allows users, even those without extensive programming knowledge, to manage and coordinate the flow of content to their website in an organized, efficient and easy way.

According to W3Techs, WordPress holds 35% of the website market on the Internet. That’s over a third of all websites – insane, right? That being said, for content-oriented websites, why consider another option at all?

This is where Drupal comes in. But what is Drupal? As the leading content management framework on the web, it provides a level of modularity that you won’t find in a CMS like WordPress. A CMS is a web application used primarily for content management, but a framework like Drupal lays the foundation for a website with a lot of content that can be customized in very reliable ways.

Drupal vs. WordPress

The best way for the average user to understand what Drupal is is to compare it to the very popular open source content system WordPress. The main function of WordPress is to provide users with a system that allows them to manage both static and dynamic pages of their website. WordPress maintains a plugin architecture and templating system, both of which have received tremendous support from the community.

When you go to a WordPress site, it is often easy to see that it is powered by WordPress. WordPress websites usually have the same structure, the same URLs and file naming convention, and other key features. However, you’ve probably been to dozens of Drupal-powered websites without even knowing it. This has to do with how flexible and customizable Drupal is.

Drupal is more of an enterprise solution for building dynamic websites. It sets up a solid codebase that developers can customize and use for much more than building blogs or news sites.

While WordPress is modular in the sense that you can always install third-party plugins and integrations, Drupal is modular in nature – it is designed for extensive customization so you can turn Drupal into an e-commerce site, intranet, forum. , social network and more.

How Drupal was built

Drupal includes many popular web technologies, but most of its code is written in PHP and MySQL runs on the database side. Drupal is completely open source, so you can freely check all the code behind it whenever you want.

Drupal includes HTML5, YAML, Twig, jQuery, Backbone.js, and more. The more familiar you are with these technologies, the better you can turn Drupal into a custom solution.

However, Drupal only requires knowledge of the basics of HTML to get started building dynamic pages and building functional websites.

Drupal Hawks Explained

Like WordPress, Drupal supports modularization to add more to it than what you get out of the box. To fully understand and appreciate how this works, you need to understand the Drupal hook system.

In Drupal, a module can be thought of as a collection of PHP files that provide advanced functionality not available in the Drupal core. Hooks are the way these modules interact with other modules or the kernel. Drupal core comes with a long list of supported hooks, which you can read more about here

Without getting into the confusing technical jargon behind hooks, you can think of them as simple event listeners that change the basic behavior of Drupal. A hook call allows you to effectively “borrow” functions from another module or Drupal core and add them to your own module.

Thus, while WordPress plugins offer instant “plug-and-play” gratification, including a new and complete feature, Drupal hooks are more development-oriented and are intended to be used in one or many other modules.

How to get to Drupal

The latest version of Drupal, Drupal 8, can be downloaded from the official Drupal website On the same page you can get a list of all modules, themes, distributions and translations. Other recommended versions can be found here

While the official Evaluator Guide site shows you how to deploy a temporary local Drupal 8 demo, there are several web-based solutions available. OpenSourceCMS.com is our favorite and will allow you to use the auto-reset public demo of Drupal or even request your own instance with a 24 hour lifetime.

While Drupal is completely free to download, it is not entirely “free” in the sense that it requires significant development. WordPress is more community oriented than Drupal, and during the day you can probably create a WordPress site using your own theme and set of plugins.

Drupal as a framework requires a lot more internal work. If you are not a web developer yourself, expect to hire someone with experience in programming and design on the platform.

So, in a nutshell, what is Drupal? It is one of the most powerful and robust content management frameworks out there, allowing developers to create fully customizable websites that can efficiently deliver content but don’t have to revolve around content entirely – an important difference from WordPress.

Have you learned anything new about Drupal, or have a question not covered in this article? Write us a comment below and let us know!

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