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What You Need to Know About Drupal

Submitted by Jerimee on September 6, 2012 - 9:56am

When starting out with Drupal, it can be difficult to grasp all the different features this CMS offers site builders. To help out beginners, here are some of the basic (yet important!) vocabulary and tools for using Drupal:

Content Types:

  • Nodes- basic content type such as articles, blog posts, basic pages, forums, polls, and more.
    Includes a title, body, teaser, author, date, and comments.
  • Blocks- content areas such as sidebar and footer regions.
  • These can be styled and set to show in certain regions on every page or only certain pages.
  • Panels- A drag and drop content manager that allows you to arrange content on a page.
    Integrate views, menus, and control the theme, and are more powerful than blocks alone.

Manipulating Content:

  • Views- making lists of items on your site. This can be pictures, links, comments, taxonomies or tags, etc.
    • These can be styled, displayed, and sorted to your preference.
    • Views can be added to one part of a page or can be a page itself.
  • Taxonomies- added to content for organizational purposes.
    • Vocabulary: category of content; can be tagged or created with a strict hierarchy.
    • Can be linked in Menus to provide a page of the term.


  • Core- These come with the installation of Drupal and have been defined by the development community as being necessary to site-building.
    Types: Content, Development, Media, People, Regional and language, Search and metadata, System, User Interface, Web Services, and Workflow.
    Not all are enabled, or turned on, by Drupal automatically.
    Some are required by Drupal and cannot be turned off:
    Field, Filter, Node, System, and Users.
  • Contributed- These are modules created by professional and amateur developers and offered for free like Drupal.
    • Some are great, some are only ok. They must be evaluated for use:
      • Is there a “green” or approved version of the module?
      • When was the last version released? Is there active development?
      • Are there any known issues?
      • Whose code is it?
      • Is there documentation and a home page?
      • Take a look at overall ratings, total downloads, related modules, and reviews.
    • Custom- Modules written or modified specifically for a site by its developer.
      Use with caution, these are not as rigorously tested as other modules.
    • Some helpful modules for every site:
      • Contact (core)
      • Captcha/Recaptcha/Mollum (all contributed)
      • Backup and Migrate (contributed)
      • Statistics (core) and Google Analytics (contributed)
      • Search (core)
      • Taxonomies/Views/XML sitemap (all contributed)