Updated on September 4, 2020
Choosing a content management system is like choosing a set of building materials: it has ramifications for what you'll be able to create, how much it will cost and how well it will turn out.
Like many other web development companies, mine started off building WordPress sites. However, we soon found that WordPress couldn't always deliver the custom functionality our clients needed. We also built out some applications with Ruby on Rails but ran into the opposite problem: it was definitely flexible enough, but it was too expensive for many of our clients because it required a great deal of custom development.
Finally, we tried Drupal, which proved to give us the best of both worlds: it provided a lot of functionality, but also allowed to us to fulfill our customers' specific needs.
Here are five of the reasons why I continue to recommend Drupal.
- Flexibility and modularity
- Active community
- Multilingual features
- API-first architecture
1. Flexibility and Modularity
As I've mentioned, Drupal allows you to craft exactly the website solution you need. It doesn't assume a particular use case out-of-the-box.
Drupal's flexibility comes from its modularity. There are thousands of modules available on Drupal.org, covering everything from event registrations to embedded videos to analytics. When necessary, you can also create your own custom modules.
In general, Drupal modules are designed to do one thing or add one new feature to your site. Sometimes you need to add multiple modules that work together to get the functionality you want. This means they can be combined in flexible ways.
You can think of them like a LEGO set: whereas other content management systems might offer you a pre-assembled house or car or boat, Drupal provides the blocks to let you build whatever suits you best.
2. Active Community
Drupal is more than just software: it's also the focal point of an open-source community of more than a million people. Developers, designers, trainers, translators, strategists and others all contribute to improving its core, developing new modules, sharing best practices, organizing events and supporting each other with troubleshooting advice, constructive feedback and tutorials.
Drupal's community is one of the reasons why it's trusted by the United Nations,NASA, UNESCO and hundreds of other governmental bodies around the world.
Security threats do arise—and this is inevitable no matter what system you're using—but with tens of thousands of people constantly reviewing the code, these threats are quickly reported to Drupal's dedicated security team and efficiently addressed.
3. Multilingual Features
Drupal is thoroughly multilingual: right from the get-go, the CMS lets you choose from 100 installation languages. Each member of your team can then choose their own preferred language for the administrative interface, which will help them feel comfortable and do their best work.
When it comes to user-facing elements, Drupal gives you the power to fine-tune your language strategy. For instance, do you need tailored information or page layouts for particular languages? What would you like to display if there's no translation available for a given page? Should user searches bring up content from all languages or just the selected one? The choice is yours.
Finally, the Drupal community itself is multilingual, which means you'll likely be able to ask questions and find resources in your chosen tongue. (Good news for Canadians: French is highly supported.)
4. API-First Architecture
Drupal is a platform that can be used as a backend for front-end applications. The latest version of Drupal was created with today's mediascape in mind. It recognizes that people consume content not only on websites but also using mobile apps, email newsletters, social media, wearables, voice assistants, and so on.
Drupal is an API-first system, meaning that it can help you easily create and manage your content in one central location, then display various front-end versions of it, each one adapted to a particular channel.
Out-of-the-box JSON API support comes standard in Drupal 9, making integrations easier to manage than ever.
📖 Read next: What's next for Drupal 9?
It's accessible by default. Drupal is set up to build websites that can be used, edited and administered by people with visual, auditory, cognitive or mobility disabilities.
In fact, internationally recognized accessibility standards—the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) and Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG 2.0)—are built right into Drupal's core code. Some organizations, especially government agencies, are required to meet these standards, and the rest still have every reason to improve their site's usability and reach in this way.
As a nice bonus, accessible sites rank higher in search engines.
Learn more about Drupal and web accessibility in our free ebook! Download your copy of Building a More Accessible Drupal Website: Your Accessibility Guide today.
To discuss how Evolving Web could use Drupal to meet the needs of your web project, contact us.
To try out Drupal for yourself, sign up for one of our training sessions.