Drupal Review

Do your research, play around with it yourself, figure out if it’s the right fit for you and if so, welcome to Drupal


Valuable Features:

Content creation and management is highly robust with the ability to add any content type you could think of whether it be text, video, imagery, or more functional content like polls or forums.

Improvements to My Organization:

At Appnovation Technologies we leverage Drupal’s out of the box features and functionality in order to speed up development and delivery time for our clients. This allows us to focus more on creating high quality customizations and custom front end development which in the end produces an incredibly high quality and robust content management system.

Room for Improvement:

As with most if not all web technologies, theres always an initial learning curve that can seem daunting. These days however there are excellent online resources such as buildamodule.com that provides video training for Drupal which can be a lot easier to digest than reading documentation sometimes. That being said, there is some great documentation over at Drupal.org that would be a must-read for anyone considering Drupal for their next project.

Use of Solution:

I have been designing and developing using the Drupal CMS for the last 8 years.

Deployment Issues:

Your hosting will likely determine how easy the deployment process is since Drupal relies on various versions of PHP-5.x and above, as well as various extensions. More often than not, starting up Drupal on your local environment will introduce you to some of these dependencies before they would pop up in a production environment. There are various solutions out there for hosting, but the folks over at Acquia definitely have a great setup that is incredibly easy to use, which makes deployment an absolute breeze. Taking this a bit further, knowledge in Git also helps deploying between various environments if you’re in need of a development/staging/production environment stack.

Stability Issues:

Stability is often a concern for large scale deployments, and Drupal can handle those - but expertise in Drupal coding standards, and front end performance are at the forefront of creating a stable environment. Outside of human knowledge, Drupal itself has some great caching functionality included in its core. Page caching and compression, CSS and JavaScript compression and aggregation are also included in core functionality as well.

Initial Setup:

For your first time, you’ll need to read up on the Drupal.org documentation on how to set up a site locally. As you go through that process yourself, if you run into any issues Drupal will show you error messages pointing you in the right direction to troubleshoot. You should be able to do a quick google search for anything that looks foreign to you, just make sure you add ‘Drupal 7’ (or whatever version you’re using) to your search query to narrow down the results. A base understanding of MySQL will be required in order to set up a database, or at the very least you’ll need to know how to use tools such as PHPmyAdmin or other apps like Sequel Pro will definitely come in handy.

Other Advice:

My advice would be to get your hands on an installation of Drupal, get it going and play around with creating content, using modules and just generally exploring the various settings that are part of Drupal core. After that, it’s up to you to determine whether Drupal can meet your goals or use cases. If you’re still unsure, there are various case studies out there to read up on which may help your decision making process. On top of all of that, if you’re really serious about implementing Drupal, finding a good web development team with a strong understanding of Drupal standards is a must have. There are a lot of individuals and agencies out there doing incredible work with Drupal, so I would definitely recommend leveraging that if at all possible.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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