Welcome to the "Getting Started with Drupal" tutorial
In this course we will show you how to start building next generation web sites using the world’s most popular open source enterprise-ready web platform: Drupal. Drupal is a type of online software application called a web content management system, or CMS for short. Content management systems enable non-technical people to administer sophisticated web sites without having to write code. Once installed, CMSs enable you to manage content users using just a web browser. One of the things that makes Drupal so popular is that it goes way beyond content management. It has a unique way of enabling non-coding site builders to add advanced functionality using just its web interface.
A great way to think of Drupal is like a Lego set for constructing web sites. Drupal provides a large diverse chest of building blocks that work together to create dynamic functions.
If you know how to put the pieces together you can create practically any kind of website. But Drupal is not just a toy. It is robust enough to scale into enterprise-class deployments. Some of the world’s most prestigious brands depend on Drupal to be a reliable high performance solution for delivering the ultimate user experience. Yet Drupal is also free and open source, making it accessible for small organizations, ventures, and even personal web projects. It is supported and developed by a vast worldwide community of developers, designed, and enthusiasts.
The Drupal community is the real force behind the project. There is a unique culture of collaboration where the sum of the whole is greater than the parts. Drupal is extremely flexible. It is used by numerous sectors to build a wide range of websites, from traditional businesses to non-profits, to academia, government, publishing, and entertainment.
I should mention that there are literally hundreds of other CMSs. Many are proprietary and have associated fees. It is not unusual for enterprise content management systems to cost into six figures for licensing and annual maintenance. There are many others though that are free and open source like Drupal.
Virtually all CMSes have similar core functionality, enabling you to build basic websites where you can post content and customize the look and feel of your site. Many even offer advanced features such as search, content workflows and multi language supports. While Drupal certainly could be used to build traditional websites, where it really excels is Web 2.0 style sites that drive human interaction. Social engagement is woven into Drupal’s DNA. Drupal doesn’t just publish content, it enables virtually limitless ways of getting your site visitors to interact with your brand, creating a deeper and more engaging user experience. Drupal can even be used to build full online communities, such as intranets, extranets, and social networking sites. It can facilitate team collaboration, enable your staff to directly interact with your audience and even facilitates user dialogue and lets users problem-solve as a collective.
Other Drupal Benefits
Drupal also excels at marketing and sales. It is fantastic at driving traffic from search engines, social media, and online PR efforts. Via a wealth of social interface tools. Drupal can even help you integrate and expand your digital footprint, leveraging other websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Once you have the eyeballs, Drupal can even help you convert visitors to customers by capturing leads, facilitating your sales process, and even selling directly online via integrated e-commerce systems. And of course, Drupal helps you keep track of all the onsite metrics. So you can quantify your initiatives and tune your efforts.
Finally, I should mention that Drupal can also be used as a tool set for enhancing productivity and improving business processes. Many organizations use Drupal’s social features to facilitate team collaboration, customer service automation and knowledge management. Drupal also provides a robust set of administrative site-building tools, enabling you to quickly prototype a wide range of web-based applications. Finally, Drupal is built on a mature web framework.
If you are a developer, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort when deploying custom functionality by reusing Drupal’s well tested libraries. All this power comes form one piece of software, but there is a major hurdle, the learning curve. While Drupal reduces the low level complexity of building next generation sites, there has traditionally been a significant investment in time to learn how to use Drupal and to properly harness its seemingly limitless possibilities. Luckily, a modest amount of knowledge can go a long way to getting you down the right path. This course is designed to help you quickly understand Drupal’s essential principles understand what is possible with Drupal and get you well on your way to building next generation web sites. Let's begin.