Drupal has long been regarded as something reserved for the nerdy. This conception stems from the common rant by CMS users that Drupal is not as user-friendly as its rivals – Joomla and WordPress. Now, who doesn’t agree to it? If you’re into CMSs, it takes no brains to figure out that Drupal is less user-friendly. What people don’t realize is that the three CMS that we compare and contrast frequently are actually designed for different purposes and users.
For example, Joomla target users in the amateur to proficient category and serves as a platform for blogs as well as other varied purposes. Joomla combines the features of both WordPress and Drupal to build sites that are personal or moderately complex. WordPress is synonymous with blogging as it’s best known as a blogging platform, which can be used by anyone with ease by virtue of its design, keeping in mind the lay users.
A class apart
Coming to Drupal, it’s a whole different class. You can literally have Drupal create any site, be it a blog, an ecommerce site, a promotional site or a social networking site; such is its versatility. It’s the ideal choice for an open source technology based website for mission critical purposes. Drupal’s salient features are its robustness, flexibility and documentation; its security aspect is unmatched by any other CMSs.
The irony is that in spite of all these cool features, Drupal still remains unpopular with the “normal users”. The reason is, Drupal is the handiwork of developers, who designed it with emphasis on the functionality rather than usability; which is obvious as it’s the designers are more concerned about the look and feel. Hence if you’re a skilled programmer, taming Drupal would be a cakewalk affair. But if you aren’t, you could probably start off with WordPress and Joomla before trying out Drupal.
Jumpstart your Drupal experience
Due to Drupal’s developer oriented approach, you as an amateur would require considerable lead time to get a good grip on it. The following would help you speed up your acquaintance process with Drupal.
● Custom-written modules
Resorting to shortcuts while adding new elements or sections could be detrimental to your site’s performance in the long run. While Drupal allows for high degree of scalability, it’s always better to do things in the proper fashion. Altering page.tpl file to include new features could invite issues when the incidence increases. If you’ve such a necessity, just write custom modules. An advantage of this approach is that these modules (features) can be reused wherever you want to.
● Don’t overload the nodes
You should be trying to stick to the simple rule – one content per node. Be it image, text, videos, comment or posting, just make sure that each content has its own node. Initially this idea may not make sense, but when more and more content gets attached to a single node, the node loses its important feature such as commenting. This could impair your site’s effectiveness.
● Node listing made easy
View.module has made listing of nodes very convenient. This feature has greatly increased Drupal’s usability by enabling node listing with a variety of values in no time. But as a novice you can initially start with creating modules, which would help you to gain expertise in module creation.
● Missing the tabs
Tabs consist of the various options attached to a node. These options could be anything depending upon the user privileges. As novices you should never be neglecting these tabs because these are the source of features for your theme.
● Something to fall back on
Being a novice, Drupal could be very hard on you. It’s no surprise that you could get lost in the jungle of themes, modules, nodes, content, etc. But don’t you worry!! The wonderful aspect about Drupal is its documentation which is its Bible. No other CMS can claim such a detailed documentation of itself. So when you get stuck, pause for a while and refer the documentation.
The never-ending Debate
It’s been quite a while that we are audiences to the debate over which CMS is the best. It would be a long shot if you expect a clear winner to emerge out of the murky war that’s going on between CMSs. Open source is dynamic, where no prediction or forecast stands valid. All you need to do is look out for the best CMS that suit you or your customer’s needs.