Thinking about migrating to Drupal? - Part Two

Thinking about migrating to Drupal? - Part Two

FFW Marketing
AfFFW Marketing
september 22, 2011

Take a walk around Drupal

Last week, we talked about why you should take the leap and migrate to Drupal and we covered what your first (exhausting but necessary) step should be--taking a site audit.

This week, we’re going to familiarize you with your new CMS by introducing you to key vocabulary terms and infrastructure.

Drupal developers and system builders employ its data driven architecture to create specific Content Types customized to your particular use. Basic content types such as an article or page  can be extended with various types of fields that expose different UI widgets. A text or number field can be represented as text input, dropdown, radio buttons or check boxes. File fields allow adding file attachments, images, and misc. media files, exposing those as download links or viewers/players.

Non-text content is typically stored on your server and referenced by location. Drupal doesn’t have a standardized way to store and reference non-text content, so to migrate images, for example, you can upload them into a repository and reference them via HTML or transfer by using modules like ImageField or ImageCache.

Drupal has a flexible roles and permissions system. There are two roles out of the box: anonymous and authenticated. Authenticated users are recognized by a user’s unique email address and a session cookie after they create a user account on the site. Additional roles can be created to grant sets of users special permissions and access rights based on their responsibilities within an organization. System builders typically add additional roles such as ‘contributors’ and ‘content managers’. Users can be given more than one role and will get aggregated access from all their assigned roles.

Drupal can also authenticate users via third party websites and programs such as Facebook and OpenID, just another reason why Drupal is such a great solution for building modern social sites.

Site Design & User Interface

Drupal uses themes, a combination of template files (HTML and some PHP variables exposed by the template engine) for page logic and CSS/JS and image files for display, to create the site design. However, you can use different designs for specific pages, content types or elements on a page.

Implementing Business Logic

Business logic is an integral part of any CMS and may need to be rewritten from scratch. Drupal implements some forms of business logic natively in core Drupal or through add-on modules. If your business logic comes from an outside system, you’ll need to integrate it into your Drupal site or create the logic as a separate web service that Drupal interacts with using a protocol like SOAP. You can also write it as a Drupal-native module.