Site Development Overview

Web Site Development Overview

This web site is developed with the Drupal content management system (CMS). The name Drupal probably sounds somewhat unusual to English speaking ears, but it is simply an anglicized version of the Dutch word for drop, as in a drop of water. Drupal LogoDrupal is an open source software tool that is developed by a community of people who are interested in state of the art web site development and management. The Drupal community is a global network of people who are interested in web site development software. Unlike some projects that claim "open source" status, Drupal truly is a community project.

The Drupal CMS employs the open standards based: Linux operating system, Apache web server, MySql (MariaDB) database, and PHP software language; software development platform.  Over the course of several years, Drupal has evolved and matured into a truly remarkable and highly modular web site development tool. Volumes could be written about its current design and feature set. Many of Drupal’s amazing features aren’t actually part of the core Drupal software distribution, but are instead maintained as extension components called modules in Drupal parlance. Drupal extension modules are the product of Drupal’s fundamentally modular design. With its extension modules, Drupal supports countless features, large and small, including powerful content and layout management tools, customizable site layout themes, commerce systems for online sales, image and media management tools, image galleries, and hundreds of other web site feature tools.

This site is currently using version 7.x of the Drupal CMS, plus a few dozen community contributed extension modules. This site’s current display theme is a customized version of a theme called corporateclean from a theme development group called drupalizing.com. To customize the theme, I first removed some PHP code in the template files that was used to implement some aspects of the theme's demo. Then I used the theme's own interactive color customization user-interface to customize its colors. After that I made a few small modifications to the custom.css file that is included with the theme. The custom.css file is a very thoughtful feature, making it possible to modify some of the theme visual characteristics while keeping its core files intact as much as possible. Although this site's theming still needs various adjustments and tweaks, it has at least reached a point where it is basically functional, at least at a utilitarian level. For now, my focus has shifted to completing the site's content organization structure, and to delve into the primary activity of writing, creating, and publishing its actual content.

The displays of most of the landing pages within this web site are generated dynamically, with a powerful Drupal page automation feature called Views. With Views it is possible to quickly create what are actually complex queries into the Drupal database, that assemble a page or a sidebar block layout dynamically, based upon criteria from the web site's content itself, including tags and other types of keyword indexing (call taxonomy) that Drupal provides.

This web site also uses a variety of Drupal modules that provide a host of amplifying features. Some of the community contributed modules this site employs include:

There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the power and ease that Drupal provides anyone willing to learn its metaphors and become familiar with the details of its many features and its core and extension modules. However, much of the content that is currently publicly visible on this web site only hints at the power of the CMS tool that manages it behind the scenes. Thousands of commercial, corporate, government, and mass media, web sites,  all over the world, use Drupal to implement their online presence. Using Drupal has been worth the time investment it requires. Drupal seems likely to remain an open source standard for quite some time as well. The community that supports Drupal is huge, global, and constantly working to improve and evolve it as its supporting web development components evolve along with it.

Marilyn Perry