Reader Question: What Is Drupal?

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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.

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