Drupal site-building: why that's more than a trend

A year ago Dries Buytaert told that those are the content authors and site-builders who should be favored when making product decisions. That what the survey he had taken says: 75% of the focus is to be given to site-builders and authors. What does it mean? Now and onwards new Drupal releases should be oriented not only at developers but at people who are not that much into coding. Drupal should be more intuitive and easier to adopt for such groups. That is the matter of an outstanding importance: the easier the entry barrier, the more popular the platform is.

We’re not undermining the significance of back-end and front-end developers experience. It’s them who contribute the most and push Drupal growth forward and let it flourish among the competing CMSs. An emphasis on Drupal site-building features is not just a tribute to fashion: Drupal has a lot to offer both to novice developers and seasoned gurus.

But if it’s a long game that we want to win, we - the Drupal Community - have to show Drupal’s benefits and power to the most possible number of people.

Drupal site-building
Drupal site-building

So why build on Drupal?

I don’t know who you are, but if you’re reading this article you probably were looking for “Drupal site-building”, “Drupal content editing” or something like that on the web.

I’m happy to give you a few notes to consider: I’m using Drupal features in my everyday routine and I don’t have to disturb my team’s developers. I create content - they create clean code.

You’re either a non-tech person or a novice developer, and that’s two groups that I want to address in this article. So why should you consider building on Drupal?

Content editors can take part in the website development

I’m a content editor in our Drupal team. It means I should be able to create particular content types, make them go live and present an article, a case study or our new Drupal contribution without bothering the rest of the team. Drupal is a great solution for me since it’s a brick-like one. I can add different nodes, promote our bits of knowledge and tell about our expertise and I’m sure that company’s content will be rendered well. So what Drupal offers for content authors, editors?

  • An ability to create standard content types without developer’s involvement

Create more content, release time on more important development issues. Below you’ll find a “knowledge” content type in the editing mode and then you'll see how the content is displayed within this content type. Please note that the following pictures capture the modified content type from the website of ADCI Solutions.

Content type: knowledge
Content type: knowledge

And below is how the "knowledge" content type looks in the view mode.

Сontent type "knowledge" in the view mode
Сontent type "knowledge" in the view mode
Сontent type "knowledge" in the view mode, preview
Сontent type "knowledge" in the view mode, preview
  • An enormous amount of ready-made themes, installation profiles, and modules.
  • A content editor, a site administrator, an author - the list to be continued - can make separate pages/websites and play with their look for the sake of set goals.
  • Here’s a small experiment that we held in 2016 at the Drupal Global Training Day: our manager Marina built her first Drupal website following the simplest instruction of another Marina who’s a back-end developer. All in all this process took about 20 minutes and showed the guests willing to learn Drupal that the learning curve is not such a nightmare. If you know Russian or just love watching someone coding - you’re welcome to check this video.
  • I know what I will get before publishing the page: thank you, the preview mode. I don’t have to worry about HTML markup or CSS styles.
  • handful of modules for content editing.
  • New hot features, such as Drag and Drop, that Dries was telling about at DrupalCon Baltimore recently, a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor (in-line and in-context editing).

Novice developers adopt Drupal easier and enlarge the Community

  • A module ecosystem of Drupal: it’s not necessary to be able to code to build a website. 
A module ecosystem of Drupal
A module ecosystem of Drupal
  • Drupal is free. That lowers entry barriers even more. Play with it, learn it, try your start-up ideas and don’t lose money on your experiments.
  • You as a novice developer have as much documentation and trainings as one could ever wish. Just start with a drupal.org page. Drupal is not being kept in secret - it’s an open-source system and there is more than 1-million community of Drupalers who can and want to help you. Find them at drupal.org groups and other chats, create your own issues and get help.
  • Thousands of other plug-ins such as themes, distributions (installation profiles). I mentioned this advantage above. From a developer’s point of view, this one is beneficial due to an amount of time those plug-ins save. In the most cases, developers are paid hourly and a client seeks for a time-savvy technology. That what Drupal is like: a deploy of a simple Drupal site would take only several hours. Take care of your client’s budget and see him or her coming back to you with new projects.
  • Drupal is mobile-friendly, so you as a beginner shouldn’t be bothered with adjusting it to different devices: it doesn’t matter if you don’t have such an experience because Drupal does this work for you. You can even edit your website from your mobile!
  • Rich functionality out of the box: install Drupal and have fun with Configuration Management, Comments, Fields, Forums, Menus, Quick Edit, Polls, Search and many more. The full list of Drupal 8 Core modules is available here.
  • Drupal is scalable: start with a simple splash page, get back to it after getting some development experience and extend your website functionality.

Keep learning: instead of a conclusion

Drupal keeps improving. Drupal keeps being adopted fastly. Drupal keeps charming content managers, website administrators and novice developers with its easy to implement solutions, feature richness and the scale of possible customization.

Drupal usage statistics
Drupal usage statistics

Look how many people are using Drupal, too. They learn, they dig into, they master Drupal.

These figures above make us think that Content editing focus that was set in 2016 at New Orleans has the strongest foundation: a number of people joining the Drupal Community is growing. And you’re welcome to join, too!

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