Posts Tagged ‘Open Source’

Reader Question: What Is Drupal?

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

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One of the most common questions we’re asked here at Talance is: What is Drupal? It’s the technology that envelopes our every single day, but that doesn’t mean that everyone – or the common Web user – knows what it is. But it’s worth understanding, because a website built on Drupal can make your life a lot easier.

First off, let’s get the name out of the way. “Drupal” is a non-grammatical variation of the Dutch word “druppel,” which means “droplet.” It was invented by Dries Buytaert, who is Dutch, in 2001. It’s pronounced “DREW-pull.” Rumor has it he tried to call it “dorp,” which means “village” in Dutch, but made a typo when he registered it.

Drupal, in a phrase, is an open-source content management system. Now hold on, all of you now thinking, “But what do ‘open source’ and ‘content management system’ mean?” I’ll decompress that phrase.

Content management system

A content management system (CMS) is a used to manage the content of a website. It allows someone who may not know anything about how to create or edit webpages with languages like HTML, to manage the creation, modification, and removal of content from a website without needing the expertise of a Webmaster. Most CMSs include publishing, format management, revision control, indexing, search and retrieval.
(From Definitions)

Open source

Open source software is usually developed as a public collaboration and made freely available. It is intended to be freely shared and possibly improved and redistributed by others.
(From Definitions)

Those two definitions get to the core of what Drupal is. It’s a free piece of software that anybody can use to build and manage a website without being a technical genius.

The “free” part means that you don’t have to pay for license fees, as you would with a system built by a company like Microsoft. You only pay development costs, which boils down to much more powerful websites for much less money.

Websites built with Drupal aren’t any old brochure websites – you can really build on to these. Drupal websites incorporate blogs, forums, e-commerce functionality, contact management, donation management, social networking tools and a whole lot more. Here’s a sample of the things we regularly put into the websites we build.

Top Five Jargon Terms

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Wood Scrabble Tiles

I like to think I'm fluent in English, being born and raised in America and all. But sometimes I feel like I'm learning a new language: technospeak. Every industry is rich with its own jargon, but because so many people use the Internet, the technology industry's jargon frustratingly works its way into common speak (remember when we all laughed about the word "blog"?). You don't need to know what all this terminology means (like undercooked spaghetti not all of it will stick), but here are what I consider the top five most important tech terms that are worth learning.

  1. SEO (search engine optimization): “… the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via … search results. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the search results, or the higher it 'ranks,' the more searchers will visit that site." From Wikipedia. See blog postings on SEO.
  2. Open source: “… a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process.” From the Open Source Initiative. Software code that is created under open source guidelines (such as Drupal – our CMS of choice) is open to anybody to use without licensing restrictions.
  3. RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication or RDF Site Summary, depending on who you ask): “… a format used to publish frequently updated works – such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video. An RSS document (which is called a 'feed', 'web feed', or 'channel') includes full or summarized text … [that] benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS feeds can be read using software called an 'RSS reader', 'feed reader', or 'aggregator', which can be web-based or desktop-based.” From Wikipedia. Here's the Friendly Web Tools Blog RSS feed and instructions on how to use it.
  4. Microblogging: “… the practice of sending brief posts to a personal blog on a Web site, such as Twitter or Jaiku. Microposts can be made public on a Web site and/or distributed to a private group of subscribers. Subscribers can read posts online or request that updates be delivered in real time to their desktop as an instant message or sent to a mobile device as an SMS text message.” From Follow Talance on Twitter.
  5. Social network fatigue: “The ennui induced by persistent solicitations to join new social networks. It is especially acute in those who are already members of more MySpaces than they can remember." From Wired.