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Deciding whether to use Drupal

From: Drupal 7 Essential Training

Video: Deciding whether to use Drupal

The decision of whether to use Drupal is based on three things: first, the kind of site you want to build; second, what resources you have available to you; and third, what alternatives are out there, and whether one of them might be a better fit. Let's look through each one of these. First, consider what kind of site you're building. Drupal is especially good for sites that go a little bit beyond the basics, or that have to be updated frequently. So if you have frequent updates, you won't have to upload files and rewrite text on the server; you'll just bring it into the CMS, and it will be done.

Deciding whether to use Drupal

The decision of whether to use Drupal is based on three things: first, the kind of site you want to build; second, what resources you have available to you; and third, what alternatives are out there, and whether one of them might be a better fit. Let's look through each one of these. First, consider what kind of site you're building. Drupal is especially good for sites that go a little bit beyond the basics, or that have to be updated frequently. So if you have frequent updates, you won't have to upload files and rewrite text on the server; you'll just bring it into the CMS, and it will be done.

Drupal is also good if you have multiple contributors, because it automatically handles user accounts. Drupal is good if it's a membership site for the same reason. You can set different levels so that some people contribute to the site and some people simply have more access to read the site. Drupal is good if it's going to be interactive. You can post a story, for example, and then allow people to add their own comments to it, and add comments to the comments. There are some things that Drupal is not as good for. First of all, if you have any special design requirements, it's a lot easier to do in other systems, specifically in plain HTML.

It's possible to make any kind of design you want in Drupal, but it's a little bit complicated. If you want to learn how to do that, watch Chris Charlton's course on lynda.com about creating Drupal themes. Drupal is also a really overkill if your site doesn't require any maintenance. If you just want to put up something that announces your business or announces your family, and you don't expect to have people coming there and leaving comments, and you don't expect it to change very much, Drupal is probably going to be more than you really need. Secondly, consider what resources you have available to you.

Technically, you need to have an Internet service provider that will give you the sort of access you need in order to run Drupal on their web hosting service. That means that they either set up Drupal for you or they allow you to set it up yourself by giving you enough access to put the files there, change permissions, and do things of that sort. Drupal does also have some specific server requirements. I don't go into those very much in this course because they're low enough that most web hosts already have those taken care of. If you do have any problems with your web host, however, check the documentation on Drupal.org.

In addition to these technical resources, there are some things that you personally also have to be able to do. First of all, you have to be able to move files between your computer and the server. You have to have enough knowledge to get around the server itself, as well. You also need to have the time and willingness to perform maintenance from time to time. There are two kinds of maintenance. One is the human maintenance, where you look over the comments people are leaving to make sure that they're not things you don't want on your site. You also have to update Drupal every once in a while. The third resource that's good to have is some knowledge of the languages that make up Drupal: that is, PHP, CSS, and JavaScript.

Now, I can tell you personally, I'm not very good with any of those, and I manage okay, so you don't really need these, but if you have them, all the better. The third thing to look at when considering Drupal is whether there might be a simpler alternative. On this particular point, I agree with Albert Einstein who said that everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. Too often in the Drupal world, the focus is on, which CMS do I need? But often plain HTML will give you exactly what you need. Or you might be happy with a hosted solution. There are a few different types of hosted solution.

First, there are those things that are sort of like CMSes, although you can't actually take your data off and then re-host it somewhere else. Examples of those are Facebook, LiveJournal, and Yahoo Groups. Although quite honestly, LiveJournal does let you take your stuff off. It's just a little bit hard then to re-host. If you like Drupal but you don't want to have to deal with the server, you might want to consider Drupal Gardens. It's a real Drupal setup, but it's being hosted by Acquia, and you never have to do that kind of maintenance. If you're interested in this, see Drupal Gardens Essential Training, also on lynda.com. Or you might be happy with a simpler CMS; the big one in this category is WordPress.

Or perhaps you don't want something simpler, just something different, in which case you have many, many choices-- among them Joomla! and MediaWiki. So why did I choose Drupal? Well, for me it was the right solution when I wanted to build a site to promote a book I wrote in 2008. I wanted to put a lot of things onto the site. I wanted to have news feeds and original blog posts, and other information of that sort, and I couldn't do all that I wanted using just WordPress. I certainly couldn't do it with HTML. So the site demanded it. That's the first requirement met.

I already knew a little bit about working with servers, and I had the time to spend on it, so there is the second requirement. Finally, I looked at all the other CMS's out there, and then I looked at Drupal and played around with it a little and found that it was really the best option for what I wanted to do. So in the end, Drupal was right for me. Your task is to go out and look at your requirements, what you want your site to do, and consider the other options, and decide if Drupal is right for you.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Drupal 7 Essential Training
Drupal 7 Essential Training

83 video lessons · 47494 viewers

Tom Geller
Author

 
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  1. 10m 29s
    1. Welcome
      56s
    2. Getting a Drupal site up fast
      4m 37s
    3. Using the exercise files
      4m 56s
  2. 35m 18s
    1. Managing content with Drupal
      6m 0s
    2. Comparing Drupal with other content management systems
      6m 24s
    3. Deciding whether to use Drupal
      5m 4s
    4. Looking at Drupal-built sites
      3m 20s
    5. Exploring the Drupal universe
      7m 7s
    6. Getting help with Drupal issues
      7m 23s
  3. 22m 18s
    1. Checking Drupal's requirements
      4m 34s
    2. Investigating Drupal's inner workings
      2m 54s
    3. Learning Drupal's basic workflow
      5m 24s
    4. Understanding key terms in Drupal
      4m 39s
    5. Touring Drupal's interface
      4m 47s
  4. 11m 19s
    1. Installing Acquia Dev Desktop
      3m 19s
    2. Importing core Drupal into DAMP
      3m 3s
    3. Running Drupal's installer on top of DAMP
      4m 57s
  5. 23m 20s
    1. Uploading Drupal with SFTP
      4m 56s
    2. Uploading Drupal with SSH
      7m 42s
    3. Creating Drupal's MySQL database
      3m 32s
    4. Running Drupal's installer
      3m 45s
    5. Installing Drupal using Acquia's Debian/Ubuntu package
      3m 25s
  6. 22m 14s
    1. Using the toolbar
      5m 31s
    2. Using the shortcut bar
      6m 4s
    3. Touring the administrative controls
      4m 48s
    4. Customizing the Dashboard
      3m 47s
    5. Differentiating administrator and visitor views
      2m 4s
  7. 22m 33s
    1. Understanding nodes
      2m 6s
    2. Creating basic content
      7m 48s
    3. Changing site information, graphics, and interface
      5m 27s
    4. Giving visitors a way to contact you
      7m 12s
  8. 51m 24s
    1. Creating content summaries
      5m 53s
    2. Revising content
      4m 29s
    3. Categorizing content with tags
      4m 28s
    4. Going further with content categories
      7m 23s
    5. Publishing content via RSS
      6m 52s
    6. Using text formats to prevent content damage
      9m 16s
    7. Setting the comment policy
      7m 45s
    8. Managing comments
      5m 18s
  9. 33m 52s
    1. Adding blogs
      5m 13s
    2. Adding discussion groups
      9m 52s
    3. Adding polls
      6m 29s
    4. Subscribing to RSS feeds
      7m 25s
    5. Categorizing RSS feeds
      4m 53s
  10. 37m 33s
    1. Creating new content types
      4m 58s
    2. Adding fields to content types
      9m 6s
    3. Exploring field types and options
      8m 22s
    4. Adjusting field display
      4m 38s
    5. Customizing field display by context
      2m 53s
    6. Modifying image styles
      7m 36s
  11. 34m 59s
    1. Defining new user policies
      7m 59s
    2. Creating user accounts
      6m 45s
    3. Setting up user profiles
      5m 19s
    4. Defining user roles
      2m 47s
    5. Controlling access permissions
      6m 0s
    6. Canceling user accounts
      6m 9s
  12. 29m 2s
    1. Understanding Drupal page layout
      4m 34s
    2. Taking advantage of block regions
      4m 43s
    3. Creating and modifying blocks
      5m 41s
    4. Selecting and installing downloaded themes
      7m 35s
    5. Building themes the traditional way
      6m 29s
  13. 15m 54s
    1. Understanding Drupal default menus
      5m 33s
    2. Creating multilevel menus
      3m 46s
    3. Creating easy-to-navigate books
      6m 35s
  14. 23m 54s
    1. Installing and uninstalling modules
      7m 38s
    2. Configuring modules
      4m 48s
    3. Surveying popular modules
      6m 15s
    4. Enabling styled text with a WYSIWYG editor
      5m 13s
  15. 17m 23s
    1. Understanding views
      4m 46s
    2. Creating views
      6m 27s
    3. Modifying views
      6m 10s
  16. 23m 31s
    1. Launching a Drupal site
      7m 39s
    2. Troubleshooting a Drupal installation
      5m 12s
    3. Backing up and restoring a Drupal site
      3m 44s
    4. Updating Drupal
      4m 25s
    5. Deleting Drupal
      2m 31s
  17. 15m 47s
    1. Monitoring performance
      5m 27s
    2. Improving administration skills
      3m 18s
    3. Reviewing security and permissions
      4m 50s
    4. Adopting best practices
      2m 12s
  18. 11m 27s
    1. Programming modules
      6m 2s
    2. Joining the Drupal community
      5m 25s
  19. 1m 20s
    1. Next Steps
      1m 20s

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