Why Choose Drupal?
There are many obvious advantages to leveraging a CMS when creating a new website or web application, in that they allow non-technical contributors manage their own content, separate content from structure and design, and help enforce standards for metadata, images, etc. In addition, most decent CMS tools also include a significant list of features to facilitate common tasks such as search, administration, collaboration, blogging, ecommerce, workflow, email notifications and so on.
Drupal shares most, if not all, of these characteristics with many of the better CMS tools available today, but also has several characteristics which give Drupal a distinct advantage. Many of these advantages stem from the strong Drupal community of developers, testers, documenters and other supporters. Here are some of the advantages which keep Drupal in the lead:
- Cost: As an open source tool, Drupal is completely free to download, install, configure and use in its fully functional form. It’s also freely available to modify and extend to suit your needs. Modules, themes and tools created by the Drupal community are also freely available.
- PHP: Although not completely unique to Drupal, the community takes full advantage of the fact that Drupal is build using PHP. When we consider the learning curve, it’s a much simpler language to learn when compared to Java, C, Python, and Ruby etc.
- Internationalization: Not only can Drupal be installed in several languages of your choosing, it can also be configured to serve content specific to the language of individual users. Menu links will automatically update to reflect the language being utilized. Translations are continuously maintained by the Drupal community through the Drupal Localize project (https://localize.drupal.org/).
- Resource Availability: When working on a large-scale project, staff attrition can cause significant delays due to the difficulty of finding replacement staff. While finding quality staff is always a challenge, Drupal’s extensive open source community support can help to soften this blow.
- Performance: There are numerous tools within the Drupal core, and even more contributed by the community, for enhancing performance in many diverse ways. Historically, the one of the main performance bottlenecks was that for authenticated users, each page load performed the Drupal “bootstrap” which required loading a tremendous amount of code, forcing you to choose between personalization and performance. With the recent release of Drupal 8, with its powerful cache API, less dependency on hooks, and defining dependencies for files, Drupal can often perform even faster.
- Integration: As new technologies emerge and old technologies still support legacy processes and data, the challenge of integrating them becomes acute. Drupal’s extensible, open source model can help bridge the gap. There are thousands of modules (16,000+) that were developed by community members and organizations to solve these types of problems within their organizations, and they’re freely available for you to use or modify to fit your specific case. If you can’t find a module to meet your needs, you can develop a custom module using examples or resources available through the Drupal community.
- Headless Drupal: This emerging technique means using Drupal as the backend and exposing content via a REST service, which can then be consumed by any platform – independent of the language being used. This provides a couple of potential advantages: front-end and back-end development teams can work relative independent from each other and content is kept truly distinct from presentation. Drupal and its powerful tools can be used by content creators and editors without placing any limits on front end presentation on your website, mobile app, intranet sites, etc.
- Modification: Every tool is capable of being modified to some extent at least, to meet the needs of an application, but too often this modification impacts the scalability of the tool. The further the tool is bent to meet the applications requirements, the further is can be pulled from its core strengths, thus creating a bottleneck. This is where Drupal has perhaps its best advantage as highlighted by the wide variety of available distributions which can solve your specific business need. These distribution are very diverse in nature, for example: CRM Core (CRM), Open Atrium (Collaboration), Commerce Kickstart (ECommerce), Open Publish (Publication sites), Open Outreach (non-Profits) etc. Apart from this, Drupal StackExchange, Drupal Facebook, and Drupal Twitter, to mention just a few, are built on Drupal which demonstrates the scalable nature of this leading software platform.