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February 7, 2017

Why Use Drupal?

This is a common question that usually comes up during the initial consultation with a new client. First, let’s start with some basic understanding of what Drupal is and the features it offers.

Drupal is an open source framework that is most often used as a content management system. In its default configuration, it doesn’t offer much. An ability to add pages and menus. Much like other content management systems, it’s a theme-able framework that abstracts the look and feel of a web site from its content. This ability allows the site to change how it looks without having to work with the content on a page-by-page level. Changes to the overall UI are managed from a few template files. Where Drupal differs from other CMS tools, including WordPress, is in the way that content can be managed and utilized over in many ways on the same site.

As an example, we built a site for a company that employs over 300 people. They highlight many of their staff through profiles. These staff profiles include a basic biography, a headshot, their office location and their specific expertise. When they create the new profile, it is automatically related to other profiles in the company. That relationship can be refined using additional terms. When the end user views a specific staff profile they are presented with a sidebar of related staff members. The related staff members block is stylized to include their headshot, name and the first 60 characters of their biography. These same blocks are used when viewing projects on the web site. Using project and expertise terms pulled from the staff profiles, each project can show multiple related staff blocks.

All this content is managed through the single staff profile. With this number of employees, the task of manually relating those profiles to other staff and projects would be time consuming and difficult to manage.
To get a better idea of how this works, take a look at the live site – www.geoengineers.com

Our favorite Drupal Features:

Extensible framework through custom and contributed modules

Ability to create a customized content editing experience for easy site management

Ability to choose from several WYSIWYG content editors

Customizable content types allowing sites to be built to your exact needs

An extensive library of contributed modules to extend Drupal to meet your exact needs