So you have reached a web development skill level where you are very comfortable with the requisite technologies and techniques. You know your techniques and technologies inside out. You eat OOP and design patterns for breakfast and best practices is second nature to you.
You can crank out a web application of just about any variety of requirements that can be analyzed. And I bet you have also standardized on your development processes. In deed you have your skeletal development framework all worked out. With your home-grown framework you can easily initiate any new project without repeating a lot of common functionality because they are already integrated into your framework.
At this stage you may begin to wonder if there's any more rooms for improvement beyond just extending the functionality in your framework or optimizing the codes you already have there.
Well, am here to be right in your face and tell you that there is. Roll out the drums people! Enter DRUPAL.
So what exactly is Drupal and how exactly can it make a significant improvement on what you already know? Well, don't get too far ahead of your self, we are here to explore those and more in a series of quick articles I will be pushing out in quick succession, of which this is the introduction.
If your first guess is that Drupal is a Content Management System(CMS from now on), then give yourself a 40% mark. From the school I graduated from that's considered a weak pass. If all you need is a CMS then the popular Wordpress and Joomla! are worthy competitors you might consider along with Drupal.
Drupal is a CMS and a CMF (add the adjective 'powerful' before the last acronym) all rolled into one. In fact the power of Drupal derives more from its CMF capability than the CMS one.
As a teaser, here are a few reasons why I think you should start taking Drupal very serious if you are a web developer:
- A lot of top governments from around the globe are converting to or creating their websites using Drupal. The most prominent being www.whitehouse.gov. Doubt me? Then check out this post: http://buytaert.net/us-house-of-representatives-using-drupal. Also note the “Related posts” list on the right side bar. Now consider this: Which entities in the world would be most keen on robust and secure solutions?
- A lot of high profile corporate websites now runs on Drupal. A lot more are joining the bandwagon. Check the following links, see how many brands you can recognize. http://www.whousesdrupal.com/logos and http://egressive.com/article/who-uses-drupal.
- A lot of global and regional media publications houses are adopting drupal as a technology of choice for their web front. For example The Economist. Go through this insightful white-paper as to why this is so: http://www.tomgeller.com/portfolio/guide-large-scale-publishing-drupal.
- Read here a web development organization share its experience with Drupal. Aten Design Group: On Becoming a Drupal Development Shop
- Read this recent article from cnn.com: http://articles.cnn.com/2011-01-04/tech/websites.to.watch.mashable_1_wik....
- Google the word 'Drupal' to get a feel of the general consensus on it.
I have been brandishing some terms around assuming you already know what they mean. So what exactly are CMS and CMF. How are they different? The logical next questions, that is, if my assumptions were wrong. These questions and more will constitute the topic of the second part of this series.
Here is an overview of the structure of this series:
Part 1: Introduction (The one you are reading now)
Part 2: CMS, CMF and Drupal. Here we will be exploring what the two terms, CMS and CMF, really means and what Drupal is bringing to the table as regards the concepts these two terms embodies.
Part 3: The Drupal Way. Here we will explore the characteristics/features of Drupal that sets it apart from other rapid web applications development solutions, ie What makes Drupal, well, Drupal.
Part 4: The Drupal Developer Mindset: We will investigate the shifts in mindset necessary to make the transition from being just an excellent web developer to a Drupal developer.
Part 5: The Road Map: Finally, we'll explore the possible set of approaches and resources that might prove helpful towards a Drupal development mastery.
Now let's get started. Watch out for the next part.