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Website Development Overview

Web Site Development Overview

This web site is developed with the Drupal content management system (CMS). The name Drupal probably sounds a bit unusual to English speaking ears, but the word is simply an anglicized version of the Dutch word for drop, as in a drop of water. Drupal is an open source software tool that is developed by a worldwide 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 (i.e. "stack").  Over the course of several years, Drupal has evolved and matured into a truly remarkable and highly modular website 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 terminology. Drupal extension modules are the product of Drupal’s fundamentally modular design. With its extension modules, Drupal implements countless frontend and backend website 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 components.

This website is currently developed using version 7.x of the Drupal CMS, plus a few dozen community contributed extension modules. This website’s current display theme is a customized version of a theme from the theme development group/company The theme includes a local.css file, a very thoughtful feature, which makes it possible to easily customize the theme's visual characteristics while keeping the theme's core intact. For now, the focus of my efforts with this website is primarily writing, creating, and publishing, content for it over time, as personal time to do so is available.

The layouts and displays of most of the landing pages within this website are generated dynamically, with a powerful Drupal page automation feature called Views. With Drupal 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 and content dynamically, based upon criteria from the website's content itself, including search tags and other types of keyword indexing (called taxonomy) that the Drupal infrastructure provides.

This website also uses a variety of Drupal modules that provide a host of amplifying features. Some of the community contributed modules this site employs include, but aren't limited to:

There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the power and ease that the Drupal CMS 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 learning 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