Why Drupal is the Most Powerful Open-Source CMS
Why Drupal is the Most Powerful Open-Source CMS
Former zu Account Strategist, Ryan is now putting his B.Comm in Marketing and years of experience to good use by creating strategies, experiences and content that help our current and future partners navigate the complex world of digital.
Many content management systems (CMS), both open and closed source (proprietary), have been implemented over our 25+ years of providing development services. Drupal, however, is the first to truly win us over. With over one million users worldwide, Drupal is a scalable and flexible open-source CMS serving the primary purpose of creating highly robust and integrated external websites and/or internal intranets.
Some of the largest companies in the world leverage Drupal for their websites including the likes of Tesla, General Electric, The Government of Australia, Mint.com NASA, Twitter, and for the March Madness fans out there, the NCAA.
First, what is open-source software?
Before diving into Drupal, let’s quickly define the difference between an open-source and closed-source CMS.
- Open-source software (OSS) is released through a specific license that makes its source code legally available to developers; meaning developers can examine, copy, and enhance the software’s code. The source code can be repurposed to help in the creation of new websites, intranets or platforms, but it’s important to note, they can not change the code of the original source.
- Closed Source Software (also known as proprietary software) falls on the other side of the spectrum. It’s software that is developed exclusively by a single company or group; how it is created is kept secret from the general public, and is available only to the developers that created it. No one other than the owner can see the underlying source code, and other users cannot easily (and potentially legally) examine it, copy it, or enhance it.
- A Content Management System / Framework delivers the content authoring, editing, publishing and administrative management large or small organizations require. If you have ever made a request to have a new feature, functionality or content added to (or updated) on your organization's website, this is often what powers that ability.
In open-source software, developers have the flexibility to tailor the code for the specific requirements of their project. Open-source software ultimately gives developers the freedom and versatility to build a robust, custom foundation that can be tailored for their current and future needs.
Top 5 Reasons to choose Drupal
As mentioned, over our years of web design and development, we’ve designed and developed within many Content Management Frameworks and watched several come and go. Here are the top 5 reasons we believe Drupal is the leading CMS now and into the foreseeable future of web development:
Your users’ experience in interacting with your website is part of your organization’s brand. Users are demanding more personalized, interactive and friendly experiences and interfaces regardless of the newness or legacy systems backing them.
Drupal’s front-end flexibility means we can create an interface well-suited to accommodate the differentiating themes and emotional tone supporting your brand. We deepen user engagement through the functional and visual design finesse that Drupal makes possible to a much greater degree than the more rigid templating of proprietary systems.
2. Flexibility & Scalability
Content Management Systems have long struggled to balance flexibility with simplicity. If a solution is simple, its function is limited and if it’s flexible, it has often been too difficult for users to learn. Drupal is designed to be the perfect content management solution for simplicity and flexibility. It accomplishes this through its modular approach to site-building. Unlike other CMSs, Drupal isn’t a prefabricated toy truck, but rather a collection of wheels, windshields, axles, frames, etc. with over 44,000 modules in its toolkit.
With Drupal, a maker could create a toy truck and also make an airplane, submarine or robot. For this reason, Drupal is often described as both a content management system and a content management framework; one unified system that strives to have the strengths of both, while offering a true decoupled experience.
3. Integration Capable & Ready
Drupal provides a useful hub for publishing content and accepting input from many data sources. Known as a decoupled CMS, Drupal supports Open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), facilitating integration with third-party systems and data sources like CRMs, messaging automation platforms, e-commerce solutions and social media platforms. Your organization may have additional industry-specific platforms like credentialing systems, call centre software, customer portals or syndicated content, for example, to leverage through the web application. Drupal is ready to integrate with existing legacy systems and applications and positions you to take advantage of changing digital opportunities.
Additionally, there are software vendors offering economical and full-featured subscription applications for use in your website or web application. Drupal’s digital readiness means your organization can take advantage of this growing toolbox of third-party offerings. Leveraging existing and emergent third-party tools delivers enhanced capabilities to your users at near-zero development costs. With some configuration by our team, your Drupal platform is ready to support advanced training tools, teleservices and the Internet of Things (IoT) including personal devices, big data, augmented reality, virtual reality, imaging viewers, artificial intelligence, chatbots, payment gateways, scheduling tools or experiments with disrupting technologies.
4. Support & Security
Drupal.org forms the central hub for Drupal users worldwide. By hosting all of the activity required by Drupal developers in this manner, Drupal has encouraged an active long-term community to be built around its CMS. The Drupal community is healthy with 114,000 active contributors all committed to increasing the effectiveness and security of the platform and its components.
Drupal’s community also has a Security Team committed to keeping Drupal and its provided modules’ code secure. This team is dedicated to discovering and resolving exploitable code, investigating and preventing ways for the system to be hacked. They provide a security best practices checklist for all modules to ensure security before being recommended for use. The Security Team has a dedicated release schedule for security patches, so developers are aware of the date and time of security patch releases and can plan accordingly. My non-technical take... if NASA, Twitter, GE, and Tesla are using Drupal, this security must be pretty good.
5. Cost, Control, and ROI
Proprietary, profit-driven CMS systems often come with exorbitant customization and support fees. Their tightly-controlled frameworks are designed to generate licensing and training fees at all levels, which serve to reduce the supply of skilled support staff. Drupal, on the other hand, has no licensing fees.
There are more than 16,000 free, prebuilt Drupal modules offering all types of website & web system functionality. Your organization has the control to adapt your services and user experience more rapidly with these Drupal resources, all while saving money. This means that investment can be diverted to new services and further customization or to ongoing maintenance and enhancement, yielding a more capable and flexible offering for users and administrators.
Proven & Growing
More than 1 million websites are powered by Drupal. Given the platform’s extensibility, security and workflow management, it’s not surprising that it is ranked as the top CMS by Forrester Research and is also ranked among the few leaders by Gartner Research.
Industries such as the public service sector are an area of specific growth in open-source adoption. Our Top 5 was created from a design, development and business perspective. Many groups and organizations are moving away from single-vendor or proprietary CMS platforms in favour of vendor-neutral platforms like Drupal, the first CMS in 25 years to truly win zu over.