From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Drupal is a free software modular content management framework, content management system and blogging engine which was originally written by Dries Buytaert as a bulletin board system. Today, it is used by many high-traffic websites, including The Onion, Spread Firefox (CivicSpace, see below), Ourmedia, KernelTrap, and the Defective by Design campaign. It is particularly popular for building online communities, and has the tag line "Community plumbing". Drupal is written in PHP. As of October 18, 2006, the current version is 4.7.4.
Meaning of Drupal
Drupal is an English transliteration of the Dutch word “druppel” which means “drop” (as in, “a drop of water”). The name was taken from the Drop.org website (now defunct), whose code slowly evolved into Drupal. Dries actually wanted to call the site “dorp” (Dutch for “village”, referring to its community aspects), but made a typo when checking the domain name and thought it sounded better. The project was started in 2000.
Content Management System
Drupal has a basic layer, or core, which supports pluggable modules that enable additional behaviors. The modules available for Drupal provide a wide assortment of features, including e-commerce systems such as the Amazon Items module, work-flow, photo galleries, mailing list management, and CVS integration.
Drupal's modular design and well-documented, clean codebase make it easier for individuals with knowledge of PHP to write code for additional features. Drupal is often used to build sites that focus on user communities.
Drupal's taxonomy or categorization system is especially customizable as it enables any content to be classified in a way entirely determined by the site administrator. This is one feature that sets Drupal apart from similar systems with its high degree of flexibility provided without the need for coding. Once set up the taxonomy module can “automatically classify new content”. The flip side to this advantage is that the configuration is more demanding. In some cases it may take more time to create well structured setup.
A more extreme example is the high degree of automation possible with the Actions and Workflow modules. This requires the two modules to be setup using features from both. Thankfully there are extensive support documentation and videos to help configure the Workflow and Actions modules to achieve tasks such as sending out notices of new content.
Drupal achieves clean integration between the core and the modules via a system of hooks, or callbacks, to allow modules to insert functions into Drupal's path of execution. Drupal core provides protection against many of the usual security problems, like SQL injection.
Most themes for Drupal are written in the PHPTemplate engine or the XTemplate engine. Earlier templates used hard-coded PHP.
In earlier versions, Drupal's theming system has been criticised  as being less design-oriented and more complicated than the systems for Mambo and Plone. With the inclusion of the PHPTemplate and XTemplate engines, these criticisms are generally no longer valid.
Some of the more specialized roles that Drupal has filled include company intranets, online classrooms, art communities, and project management. It has been used for applications including the following:
- The Ann Arbor District Library used Drupal in building an award-winning website that includes a number of custom-added features, such as enabling individual library patrons to create their own personalized card catalogs.
- A number of political campaigns, such as the Jack Carter for Senate campaign in Nevada, have created Drupal-based campaign websites.
- CiviCRM, a contact relationship management system that integrates with Drupal, has made Drupal an attractive platform for nonprofit organizations such as Greenpeace UK. 
- Drupal has also been used to create hyperlocal citizen journalism websites in towns such as Bluffton, South Carolina and Watertown, Massachusetts.
Drupal requires the user installing the program to have the ability to assign genuine full access privileges to the database user-administrator, including such things as CREATE temporary tables and lock tables which are sometimes optioned-out of some hosting services control panels or phpMyAdmin installations. It also requires the hosting service allow the install script to execute full connection privileges to the database from the script when it is called in a browser window from the base URL, a provision which some hosting services deny on their shared hosting accounts.
Drupal has been considered by some to have a somewhat steeper learning curve and a slightly more difficult installation procedure compared to some simple CMS programs or basic blogging tools such as WordPress. Drupal 5.0 will come with a web-based installer to answer these criticisms.
Drupal 4.2  was the basis for DeanSpace, a content management system used to power many independent websites supporting the 2004 presidential campaign of Howard Dean. After the Dean campaign ended, the DeanSpace project grew into CivicSpace, a Drupal-based "grassroots organizing platform that empowers collective action inside communities and cohesively connects remote groups of supporters." CivicSpace includes CiviCRM and other features useful on websites for nonprofit organizations and political campaigns.
There are several other customized Drupal distributions. Most are simply drupal repackaged with third party modules, but some also include modifications to the core. They include:
- DrupalEd, for classroom and educational use.
- DrupalART, aimed at artists and musicians using Drupal.
- vbDrupal, Drupal integrated with vBulletin.
Drupal has been discussed in several books.
- Drupal: Creating Blogs, Forums, Portals, And Community Websites by David Mercer
- Building Online Communities With Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress by Robert T. Douglass, Mike Little, and Jared W. Smith
- The revolution will not be televised: democracy, the internet, and the overthrow of everything by Joe Trippi
- The power of many: how the living web is transforming politics, business, and everyday life by Christian Crumlish
- We the media: grassroots journalism by the people, for the people by Dan Gillmor
- Drupal. Community-Websites entwickeln und verwalten mit dem Open Source-CMS. (German) by Hagen Graf
A new book called Pro Drupal Development is due out in spring 2007.
Notable sites using Drupal
Notable websites using Drupal or one of its distributions include:
- Ain't It Cool News
- The Allerian Empire, a play-by-post collaborative fiction website (using vBDrupal)
- Bureaucrash, a freedom activist network
- Defective by Design, a political campaign by the Free Software Foundation
- Ecademy, a social networking site (modified software)
- Esperanto League for North America, which is on the cutting edge of Drupal use in the Esperanto community
- mariposaHD, a high definition television program distributed over the Internet
- Moby.com, the band's official website.
- MTV.co.uk, British MTV's site
- KernelTrap, a computing news website
- New Democratic Party, a social-democratic political party in Canada
- The Onion, a satire magazine
- Ourmedia, a community media archive
- Rant Media, an Internet media outlet (Drupal is used for the community section)
- Spread Firefox, a campaign to increase distribution of the Firefox web browser
- TWiT, a technology podcast network
- Chris Pirillo former TechTV host and internet entrepreneur.
- ^ Amazon Items drupal module
- ^ Taxonomy, Drupal's category management system
- ^ videos to help configure the Workflow and Actions modules
- ^ "PHPTemplate theme engine", Drupal.org.
- ^ "XTemplate theme engine", Drupal.org.
- ^ "How does Drupal compare to Mambo?" discussion thread, Drupal.org.
- ^ Ann Arbor District Library's award-winning website
- ^ "American Library Association Awards Ann Arbor District Library Website Best of Show" (news release), June 13, 2006.
- ^ Greenpeace UK CMS Selection
- ^ Bluffton, South Carolina
- ^ Watertown, Massachusetts
- ^ Alister Lewis-Bowen et al., "Using open source software to design, develop, and deploy a collaborative Web site," IBM, July 11, 2006.
- ^ Drupal 5.0 beta 1 October 31, 2006. Accessed November 3, 2006.
- ^ http://drupal.org/node/4877#comment-7552
- ^ CivicSpace, a significant contributor to the Drupal project
- List of content management systems
- Drupal website
- Directory of websites using drupal
- Drupal Theme Garden - gallery of visual designs available for Drupal
- Documentation for developers
- Polish Drupal Community