I recently ask “What is Drupal?” as a way to introduce Drupal. The next question that comes to mind is “Should I use Drupal?”
This is a great question. Many times you see a technology and something about it prompts you to think about using it. In the case of Drupal you may have heard that some pretty mainstream websites are running on this open source content management system: Grammy.com, WhiteHouse.com, Symantec Connect, and the New York Observer, to name a few (more “Drupal used here” case studies on Drupal.org)
People use Drupal because:
- Community of developers is strong and engaged. Contributed modules are a main staple for Drupal. These contributed modules, made by thousands of people, extend the functionality of Drupal to help meet specific requirements beyond core Drupal. Today, there are over 5000 contributed modules for Drupal 6 (the current release). The contributors to these modules are also working on making Drupal better and useful by developing the next versions of Drupal. Drupal 7, just released January 5, 2011, contains enhancements to make Drupal easier to deploy, support, and develop over time. And Drupal 8 is just kicking off with a plan make Drupal even better.
- Vibrant Drupal business ecosystems exist. As an open source project, viable and thriving businesses have developed around Drupal. This means there are companies developing web sites and integrated systems with Drupal to support the needs of large and small clients. This also means Drupal is highly considered when hard problems needed strong solutions. Example companies offering Drupal products/services include Lullabot (consulting and training), Acquia (specialized hosting and support), Phase :// Technology (customized design, community Drupal distributions, consulting), Volacci (Drupal SEO), and Palantir.net (design and interactive). Many, many more are available on the Drupal.org Marketplace.
- Regular Drupal meetups occur across the world. There are people to turn to when experts are needed. In person meetups occur regularly in many large and small cities around the globe. Additionally, the whole of Drupal meets up during DrupalCon. This twice yearly event (North America and EU, alternating) brings together over 3000 people to discuss, learn, teach, discover, and have fun around Drupal.
- Drupal has been supported by other industry communities. Drupal has received support from: Google, under its Summer of Code program, to help expand Drupal functionality and features; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provided grants to advance the idea of efficiently publishing content online; Sony Music provided dedicated teams to help extend Drupal and then contributed those enhancements back to the Drupal community; and Thomson Reuters helped develop and integrate Calais into Drupal to help extend the semantic, usable web.
Drupal is not just a piece of software that is free to download and try out. It has real people involved, solving real problems, and working to make the web, information, and technology easier to use for the rest of us. This means there are people you can easily turn to to help make your website better.