10 Reasons Why You Should Use Drupal
This blog post represents the first part of a presentation I made at DrupalCamp Ottawa 2015 called "Why would you use Drupal?".
Drupal has grown from a regular CMS to a large-scale application almost able to compete with Enterprise Systems in that it can support business processes, reporting and data analytics in complex organizations. We currently call it a Web Application Framework as it allows for delivering performant and efficient web applications and web services.
Drupal works on a very simple equation where Core Code + Contributed Modules + APIs = everything you want. At least, in theory. It striked me in my job how little people know about available Content Management Systems, which makes it really hard for them to choose the right software to support their needs. This is why I decided to gather 10 good reasons that will help decision-makers understand why Drupal is a great tool.
1. Business Agility
Time between releases fits with your strategic planning: This is a great bonus for organizations since new functionality is added more quickly than what you could expect with other CMS's, which allows you to quickly adapt to market and environmental changes in productive and cost-effective ways. Adaptability serves your business since you can achieve high performance quickly at lower costs, and increase user engagement. And it's going to get even better with the next releases, which should have shorter timeframes for releases.
Drupal supports the world's busiest sites (examples are weather.com, Twitter, the White House, The Economist, etc.) and is capable of handling both traffic spikes and regular streams of high volume traffic.
3. Integration Capabilities
I believe this is one of the most important things that makes Drupal great: it fits within your ecosystem. On top of providing sophisticated content management and digital marketing capabilities, Drupal also enables data modelling and integration with an endless variety of applications and services, which makes it easier to adopt within an organization (note that I said easier, not easy, because I believe any software or system always runs into resistance to change). This gives organizations a great opportunity to implement functionality in the most appropriate technology and then simply connect to it via web services or other means. It can be particularly useful when integrating with “internal” services - services that you don’t intend to expose to the general public (CRM, accounting software, etc.). It is also a useful way to start using Drupal as a new part of your ecosystem, consuming existing services and presenting them through Drupal to minimise the amount of architectural change taking place at one time.
Drupal's integration capabilities make it a sofware that can fall into the "Software-as-a-Service" (SaaS) category.
As a Content Management System, Drupal is obviously a great tool for managing content, but has a definitive advantage in comparison with other similar systems:
- It’s already SEOptimized (with tools like Keyword management, Content optimization and reports, Content tagging, Page titles, Redirect management, XML sitemap, Google Analytics w/ API integration);
- It allows for great Digital integration with all media platforms, and handles a great deal of file types.
- It can support your content strategy over different media, making content adaptable to different channels and devices.
Drupal features a set of tools that greatly support COPE (Create Once, Publish Everywhere, "COPE" strategies allow a lot of work to be done by a reduced staff, saving time, effort, and overhead) in a user-friendly way. These tools allow content maintainers to make their data more manageable, create lists of content curated by content types and categories, dynamically pull content from one page to another and present the information in different formats on different pages or devices. I will talk more about COPE and Drupal in a separate post very soon.
Drupal is by far the most accessible CMS, as it integrates accessibility standards in the core code. That's great, because Canada, and specifically Ontario, are leaders in pushing organizations to adopt inclusive solutions, and WCAG 2.0 and AODA standards need to be enforced by Canadian organizations. Drupal is known for sticking to standards and has been spearheading changes since Drupal 7. There's a lot to say about accessibility in Drupal, and I will recommend to read Mike Gifford's blog on Accessibility Tips for Management for a good overview of its capabilities.
Drupal has a dedicated Security Team working on security patches, not to mention an entire community of over 1 million users that report bugs and security threats on drupal.org. Being an open-source software forces transparency and efficiency: you benefit from others' reporting and your site is kept secure before it’s even at risk, providing that you update it when security patches are released. Reporting issues is done through a public and very active Issue Queue.
7. Multilingual Capabilities
Great news for Canada or any organization with an international reach: Drupal has great multilingual capabilities and allows you to create a language strategy (decide whether all content should be translated or not, if English content or blank pages should be displayed when there are no translations available, etc.), and to have a multilingual administrative interface. French is the second-most supported language (after English) which offers Drupal a great competitive advantage for adoption by Canadian organizations. Giving your team and users the ability to use their preferred language when using your solutions is a great way to improve engagement.
Also, language-specific communities offer excellent Drupal related resources and information. Theses sites have already proven themselves extremely useful to their respective languages or countries and have fostered progress in multilingual capabilities development.
Unlike most other CMS's, Drupal has very few limitations to meeting an organization's needs. It supports your specific business logic and provides organizations with personalized application, without damaging the usability. You can also customize roles and permissions of your users.
Drupal provides easy content authoring with essential tools for content creation and publishing, like a customizable WYSIWYG editor for content and marketing professionals, authentication and permissions for managing editorial workflows as well as content. Authors, publishers, translators, site administrators and developers all use Drupal to meet their requirements, with a workflow that offers them just enough access to features they need.
Drupal supports responsive and adaptive development and delivers effective content across multiple devices.
10. The Community
Last but not least, and actually the greatest force of Drupal: its community. Drupal's tagline is very appropriate: Come for the Software, stay for the Community. Open-source software would not be the same without its powerful community. Here are a couple of figures to illustrate this:
- 38,695 active developers
- 1.2 million accounts
- 2,000+ commits / week
- 31,199 modules and 2,141 themes
- 2,400+ events each year
The community maintains a platform for digital innovation and ideas, with marketers, designers and web developers creating and managing great web, mobile and social experiences. Not only does the community drive innovation and represent an endless source of resources and support, but it also guarantees the quality and sustainability of the modules your solutions rely on.
In short, Drupal offers:
- Business Agility
- Integration Capabilities
- Content Management
- Multilingual Capabilities
- A Great Community
These 10 things should convince any Manager to adopt Drupal for your next project.
References and useful read:
- Drupal Integration Patterns by Tom Phethean: http://capgemini.github.io/drupal/drupal-integration-patterns/
- COPE: Create Once, Publish Everywhere by Daniel Jacobson: http://www.programmableweb.com/news/cope-create-once-publish-everywhere/2009/10/13