Basic Lingo for Drupal Newbies

Basic Lingo for Drupal Newbies

My Drupal experience dates all the way back to April of this year - needless to say, I'm still learning. Luckily I work with some very talented developers who are there to help, and mock, me along the way. The thing I found most difficult about getting started with Drupal was learning the terminology. Don't let Drupal vocabulary intimidate you! Check out this list of basic terms that will get you on the road to becoming a renowned Drupal expert.

  • Node: This word is a blanket term used to refer to any piece of content on your site. Examples would be a blog entry, any page on your site, etc.
  • Content Type: These are types of nodes. In other words, each node (content) has its own specific content type, such as a blog post, article, forum, etc.
  • Modules: Modules are essentially add ons that you install for added functionality. There are thousands of modules on drupal.org that you can explore and install to build your site into an online masterpiece.
  • Core/Contributed: When a Drupalite says "core" he or she is referring to the files (modules, themes, etc.) that come with the initial Drupal install. Contributed modules are those that developers have created and shared within the Drupal community.
  • Entity: The most basic form of every "thing" (object) in Drupal. The term "object" in this case could be described as a package of information and functionality for a "thing". A real world example would be a car (object). Every car has a make, model, year, and color (information). All cars go forward, reverse, and you can honk the horn (functionality). Keep in mind that all entities are nodes, not all nodes are entities. The difference is that nodes are strictly any piece of content, whereas an entity does not have to contain content.
  • Field: Pieces of information that are connected to a node or entity. So, if we had a Blog Post node, some fields within that node might be "author's name" or "pictures".
  • Roles: There are two default types of roles for users on your site: authenticated and anonymous. Authenticated users are those who create an account and can log in. Anonymous users are those who don't have an account or are not logged in. You can create other roles for your site and grant permissions to specific users.
  • Taxonomy: A way of categorizing your content. You can think of taxonomy like categories or tags. Taxonomies are used for everything from menu links to search boxes. Let's say you have a fashion website, some taxonomies you might have would be Dresses, Pants, Skirts, etc. And within those taxonomies you can have other taxonomies like color, size, designer, etc.
  • Views: Views are essentially a list of data in some form or another. Views can come in the form of lists, teasers, etc. If you wanted to display a block of your 3 most recent blog posts in Drupal, you would use the Views module.
  • WYSIWYG: Pronounced like wizzywhig (...yeah). It's an acronym for What You See Is What You Get. You probably already have experience with this function as most sites like Wordpress or Blogger have a default WYSIWYG. Basically it's a way to enter and edit content through an interface that looks similar to the final result.

So there you have it - ten terms to get you started in Drupal speak! Of course, this is just a basic list of vocabulary. There are plenty of education tools and forums you can visit online. As always, drupal.org is a great resource for getting started. Check out our Drupal 7 tutorial training videos or join the Drupal Users Meetup group for upcoming events. Or if you are looking for a more in-depth, hands-on training consider signing up for one of our Drupal Training courses.

Do you have any other introduction to Drupal questions? Leave your comments below.