Drupal (pronunciation: /ˈdruːpəl/) is a free and open source content management system (CMS) written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License. It is used as a back-end system for at least 1% of all websites worldwide ranging from personal blogs to corporate, political, and government sites including whitehouse.gov and data.gov.uk. It is also used for knowledge management and business collaboration.
The standard release of Drupal, known as Drupal core, contains basic features common to CMSs. These include user account registration and maintenance, menu management, RSS-feeds, page layout customization, and system administration. The Drupal core installation can be used as a brochureware website, a single- or multi-user blog, an Internet forum, or a community website providing for user-generated content.
Over 7000 (as of November 2010) free community-contributed addons, known as contrib modules, are available to alter and extend Drupal's core capabilities and add new features or customize Drupal's behavior and appearance. Because of this plug-in extensibility and modular design, Drupal is sometimes described as a content management framework. Drupal is also described as a web application framework, as it meets the generally accepted feature requirements for such frameworks.
Although Drupal offers a sophisticated programming interface for developers, no programming skills are required for basic website installation and administration.
Drupal runs on any computing platform that supports both a web server capable of running PHP 4.4.0+ (including Apache, IIS, Lighttpd, and nginx) and a database (such as MySQL, PostgreSQL or SQLite) to store content and settings. Drupal 7 requires PHP 5.2 or higher.
Originally written by Dries Buytaert as a message board, Drupal became an open source project in 2001. Drupal is an English rendering of the Dutch word “druppel”, which means “drop” (as in “a water droplet”). The name was taken from the now-defunct Drop.org website, whose code slowly evolved into Drupal. Buytaert wanted to call the site “dorp” (Dutch for “village”) for its community aspects, but mistyped it when checking the domain name and thought the error sounded better.
A community now helps develop Drupal, and Drupal's popularity is growing rapidly. From May 2007 to April 2008, Drupal was downloaded from the Drupal.org website more than 1.4 million times, an increase of approximately 125% from the previous year.
As of July 2010, hundreds of well-known organizations use Drupal, including companies, governments, non-profits, schools, and individuals. An estimated 7.2 million sites used Drupal as of July 2010. Drupal also won several Packt Open Source CMS Awards and three times (in a row) won the Webware 100.
Drupal 6.19, released in August 2010, is the latest release.
There is no date announced yet for the final release of Drupal 7. Test releases include:
On March 5, 2009, Buytaert announced a code freeze for Drupal 7 for September 1, 2009.
On October 7, 2010, beta 1 was released.
On October 23, 2010, beta 2 was released.
On November 14, 2010, beta 3 was released.
On December 1, 2010, release candidate 1 was released.
Drupal core is the stock element of Drupal. In its default configuration, a Drupal website's content can be contributed by either registered or anonymous users (at the discretion of the administrator) and is made accessible to web visitors by a variety of selectable criteria. Drupal core also includes a hierarchical taxonomy system, which allows content to be categorized or tagged with key words for easier access.
Drupal maintains a detailed changelog of core feature updates by version
Drupal core includes optional modules which can be enabled by the administrator to extend the functionality of the core website. The core Drupal distribution provides a number of features, including:
Access statistics and logging
Blogs, books, comments, forums, and polls
Caching and feature throttling for improved performance
Multiple-level menu system
Multiple-user content creation and editing
RSS Feed and Feed Aggregator
Security/new release update notification
Various access control restrictions (user roles, IP addresses, email)
Workflow tools (Triggers and Actions)
Drupal core includes core themes, which customize the "look and feel" of Drupal sites.
The Color Module, introduced in Drupal core 5.0, allows administrators to change the color scheme of certain themes via a browser interface.
By February 2008, Drupal had been made available in 44 languages and English (the default). Support is included for right-to-left languages such as Arabic, Persian and Hebrew.
Drupal can automatically notify the administrator when a new version of any module, theme, or the Drupal core itself becomes available. This feature can help keep a Drupal installation up-to-date with the latest features and security fixes.