Drupal for Enterprise Content Management

Drupal is well-known as a web content management system (CMS) that has adopters ranging from novice administrators all the way to Amnesty International and the White House. Its high adaptability gives it wide, effective use in many problem domains. There is a growing application for Drupal that happens to be one traditionally filled by proprietary vendors such as Microsoft – enterprise content management. Spurred on by the platform’s open nature, wide adoption, flexibility, and a boost by Drupal founder Dries Buytaert’s company Acquia, this popular CMS system is finding its way into enterprise.
Acquia launched in 2007 with a model very similar to that of commercial Linux vendor Red Hat: become profitable with the wide distribution of an open source technology by becoming its trusted support and maintenance partner. It should be noted that Ac quia and the Drupal community are separate, even with the presence of Drupal’s founder as Acquia CTO. Acquia could be thought of as the commercial advocate of the Drupal community; furthering its use in industry as well as the web, developing enterprise Drupal tools, and helping companies master its intricacies.

Acquia has shown no signs of slowing down as it secured $30 million in a recent round of funding. This new captial is expected to help it scale out Drupal’s enterprise presence.

Drupal not only has shown itself to be a strong commercial-level content system, competitive with Sharepoint, it also has a presence on cloud PaaS solutions such as AWS. Whether it is installed locally or on a cloud service, the following are some of the specific benefits of Drupal for enterprise:

  • no licensing hurdles,
  • enterprise support (from Aqcuia, other commercial consultants, and of course the Drupal open source community),
  • build quality and proven reliability as it is the underlying platform behind roughly 2% of all websites,
  • platform independence, unlike Sharepoint and Umbraco.

A Close Look at Joomla: How Does it Compare to WordPress and Drupal?

WordPress gets a fair bit of publicity as the most widely installed content management system (CMS). Drupal, another popular CMS, is widely known but technically thought of more as a “content management framework” because it is a little heavier on the technical side and taking advantage of it requires a bit of a learning curve.

Where does this put Joomla, the other major player in open source CMS? Joomla is installed on 8.5% of websites in which the CMS can be identified, which is 2.7% of websites overall. With its significant presence in the field of site management, let’s take a look at Joomla in reference to the alternatives.

Installation of Joomla is much like installation of WordPress or Drupal. Hosting providers typically present one-click install options that give a webmaster the ability to quickly deploy the CMS to a ny domain.

Joomla is very flexible but also takes a very friendly and guided approach to getting a website up and running. The default page under the administrator login provides a helpful, streamlined guide to getting started and puts heavy emphasis on providing sample sites in order for the webmaster to get a sense of what is possible. The administrator is pointed to helpful links on both using extensions and modifying templates.

Joomla’s main strength is that it provides much of the flexibility of Drupal but with a design rather than tech-oriented focus. WordPress is a blogging platform foremost, and extending it to function as a general enterprise website – as for e-commerce – takes about the same level of expertise as managing Drupal. Joomla allows the designer a great deal of plug and play flexibility to move away from the blog paradigm but without having to grind as much with configuration files, CSS, PHP concepts, and hunti ng down correct the right versions of modules as you would with the Drupal.

Unlike WordPress and Drupal, one drawback to Joomla (at least version 2.5) is that the admin interface is not as cleanly integrated into web browsing. WordPress uses a convenient top menu bar and side navigation pane. Drupal 7 uses an extremely intuitive top menu interface that calls up dropdowns and  hovering dialogue panes. Joomla 3.0, however, has an interface that is similar to that of Drupal 7.

Sometimes the choice of CMS is a matter of website needs, and other times it is a matter of preference, but as Joomla combines the best of all worlds in CMS it is an extremely safe bet for any website.

Content Management Systems – A Look at Drupal

It is generally held that there is a “big three” of content management systems: WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Each one of these platforms is open source, built from PHP, easy to install on a host or web server, and is extensible with themes and third-party extensions. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but out of the three the award for greatest out-of-the box customizability goes to Drupal. A designer or administrator that is skilled in Drupal can provide a great deal of quality and features in a relatively short time. This CMS also has a bit of a learning curve but it has much value as a flexible and powerful platform that it is well worth mastering.

Drupal started out as a message board backend made by a Belgian developer named Dries Buytaert but became an open source project in 2003. Since then it has evolved due to a very dedicated developer community. It is used by roughly 808,000 sites worldwid e, including www.whitehouse.gov.

Development and administration for Drupal does not take formal programming experience, though it may help because much can be done with a knowledge of the Drupal API and the administrator can place “blocks” that define the regions of the webpage and embed them with HTML and even straight PHP code. Anyone who is familiar with open source communities such as Linux, Perl, and Python would feel at home within the large and dynamic community of Drupal developers that are always providing fixes, improvements, and modules that extend the power of the system and reduce need for new development.

Thanks to the 20,100 modules developed by the community, common functions such as eCommerce, social media, email subscriptions, and many more can be easily integrated into a website with just a quick download and install. Better yet, the administrator dashboard for Drupal lists all dependencies and versions needed for the modules and displays which require updates. This helps with securing a Drupal site because it is easy to stay up to date with security patches.

Content Management Systems for Everyone

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, starting your own blog or website was mainly for people who had existing knowledge about HTML, or had to do so through someone that could publish your content for you on the web. And then, you had to contend with creating a logical sitemap that will allow your visitors to read and discover pages on your website. Maintenance, updating, and creating all of that content was an arduous process.

Fortunately for us born in this generation, content management systems(CMS) have become more widely available and user-friendly. A web CMS allows users to create, edit, and store HTML files in a more efficient way, making it simple and easy to publish content on the web. Ease of use aside, a CMS also allows you to customize your website from the backend to the front end like never before. Supported by hundreds and thousands of plug-ins, extensions, and themes, the only limit to your website is your imagination.

CMS such as WordPress and Tumblr have become extremely popular these days, thanks to the fact that they’re free to use and are easy to set-up. To get started on either of these two CMS, you’ll just need a working e-mail address, a password, and a title to use for your blog. Even if you’re a complete newbie to blogging, there’s no need to fret – both systems provide you with starter tutorials as well as supplementary FAQs and Help pages that can guide you throughout the process.

If you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur who wants something more advanced than WordPress or Tumblr, then you may want to give Drupal a try. Though it does have its disadvantages such as being a bit slow compared to WordPress, Drupal is a robust open source system that includes several modules, tools, and templates that allow you to set up a complex website fairly easily, so long as you know what you’re doing. Another popular and more advanced, open sourced CMS option is Magento, which is specifically geared toward those of you who want to sell products online through a website. This CMS has everything that an e-commerce website would need, and is supported by a large community of developers and users that create Magento templates, widgets, modules, and extensions.

All in all, there’s a CMS for every need. Whether you’re new to the web or an experienced veteran, your website will benefit greatly from a content management system.