A Complete Guide to Drupal Web Development

Drupal Web Development

30Jun
2017

Drupal, the open source content management software has outstanding qualities for easy content framework restructuring, reliable performance and excellent security and what sets it ahead is its flexibility, modularity that help you build the versatile structure. It was originally initiated as a common internal website as a platform for networking and later this small site transformed into an experimentation where members discuss stuff related to web technologies, as per its creator, Dries Buytaert These ideas were then implemented to the site's software. All these developments led to the first release of the software running on the drop.org website in 2001. To add Drupal 8 is the biggest update in Drupal's history.

Dries called the software "Drupal", a word taken from the English pronunciation of the word "druppel", which means "drop" in Dutch.  A module developer features an integrated team of web consultants, creative designers, programmers and marketing professionals.

Today, businesses are looking for a reliable Drupal Web Development Companies that can make alluring and influential websites for them. One of the prime reasons for enterprises to choose this platform for creating websites and web applications is due to its no licensing cost.

Drupal Functionalities - The top notch American Universities are using Drupal for Education purpose. Drupal is many developers' favorite for blogging and for various forums and social-networking websites. News or Magazines setting up is one of several functionalities, where New Republic is an example to quote.  

System Requirements for Drupal 8 installation process

System Requirements - Drupal works on any web server with PHP support. A disk space for minimum installation requires 15 Megabytes and much of it needed for databases, media and user files and backups. Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle are the databases recommended. PHP 5.2.5 or higher with back up patches available are the best set-up for Drupal 8 aka D8. Further compatibility depends on the anecdotal experiences of existing module developers.

Installation Process - The installation process shouldn't sag in between therefore follow the proper steps right from uploading file server then creating backend database and run the installation script.

Post Installation - Once you are done with installation script End prompt. The following smithereens i.e. Nodes, Modules, RSS Feeds, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Themes and lastly Security are the major building blocks after installation. To avoid any dire consequences, follow a proper guide for the complete installation steps. 

Drupal Installation Process

Step 1. Download Drupal

To download Drupal and copy it to your Web Server:

Using your web browser, navigate to http://drupal.org/project/drupal.

Click the appropriate "tar.gz" or "zip" file link beside the version of Drupal you want to download. 

This will allow you to save the file to your computer. The file is a compressed archive, which contains many files and folders. Make note of the name of the file and where you save it on your computer.

Step 2. Upload the Drupal files to your web hosting account

Step 3. Set up a Domain and point it to the directory containing Drupal's files

Step 4. Create the configuration file and grant permissions

Step 5. Create the Drupal database

  • Option 1: Create a new Database using your ISP's Control Panel
  • Option 2: Create a new Database using phpMyAdmin

Step 6. Run the installation script

Drupal Modules

Modules are the non-commercial and come with GPL License and what plugins are to website like Wordpress.com are modules to Drupal websites. Listing modules: Path, Menu, Blog, Comments, Search, Upload, Profile and Tracker. The module developers are experts in design, development, hosting, spam blocking, theming, training, and more. 

The services offered by Module developers are:  

  • Drupal Web design & Development 
  • Drupal application development 
  • Drupal web maintenance 
  • Drupal e-commerce development 
  • Drupal web hosting services 
  • Drupal custom template design 

Top Drupal Modules You Should Have

Views

This is the most popular module we've seen in all Drupal websites, and the vital module that we've built for most of WeebPal themes. Views gets our content displayed easier. It gives us the convenience to show every field (content, taxonomy, terms, users,) by any type of display. For example, you can create and display an image, a list of products, a jCarousel, Slideshow, on your website.

Administration Menu

This module is invaluable for website administrators and developers. With Administration Menu, you can navigate to the admin menu any time via the smart menu bar on the top. This undeniably saves us valuable time in the process of working with the website.

Date

The Date module helps create a date field type in your Drupal system. It comes very handy when you need to create a chronological content, calendar.

Webform

If you want to create a contact form, an event registration, surveys, applications, you'll find no modules better than Webform.

Wysiwyg

Wysiwyg by itself doesn't work, but it is a tool allowing you to add content editors. In this means, you can edit and work with the content easily and conveniently.

Views Slideshow

The module, as the name says, is used to generate a slideshow with Views. Slideshow has never been easier to create with the Views Slideshow.

Media

Media helps you manage documents, audio & video files. we like it because Drupal core is rather hard to handle with files & multimedia.

Context

The Context Drupal module allows showing different elements, or contents on your site based on conditions. For example, you may only want some blocks to show up at the bottom of the homepage, and change it to display differently on products page.

Ubercart

For a shopping & ecommerce website, it's an awesome tool. Lots of our themes are using Ubercart, and it has supported us in everything related to the shopping flow from shopping cart, promotion to the payment. For users who want a simple and easy to use ecommerce module, we recommend Ubercart.

Drupal Commerce

Another module for the ecommerce website. New shopping, Marketplace, and Marvel use this. Same like Ubercart, this module assists you well for an online store. From our experience, Drupal Commerce is harder to use and has a more complex structure.

Address Field

Address field creates a built in popular Address (City, country, state, zip code,). You'll find this useful if there're addresses displayed on your site.

Custom Breadcrumb

For easy navigation, this module gets your breadcrumb path shown on your site. It can be integrated with Views, Panels, Taxonomy Vocabularies and Terms, Paths.

Gmap

Gmap module helps show your location on a Google map. This module is useful if you want to show your company's visual address; a property on a real estate website; a restaurant on a deal site. Should you not like the current display, you can customize your map to your purpose.

Video Embed Field

If you want to add some YouTube videos, or vimeos on your site, you'll find this module in handy.

Meta tags quick

The module adds meta tags such as title, descriptions, robots to get your page optimized on the search engine. A must has module for Search Engine Optimization.

Internationalization

Internationalization is a great extension to the core multilingual core Drupal. This allows publishing a Multilanguage website and translating everything on a Drupal website.

ShareThis

For a website with many contents, and its webmasters wants to get their content spread, ShareThis is a must. It displays the popular social networking accounts sharing icon on your site. This thereby promotes your contents on the users' social networking accounts.

Fivestar

This module allows users to rate your selected content by a 5 stars' scale. By this, you can get your most rated content get noticed, and know which content is not okay, and needs improvements.

TB Megamenu

The core menu is not powerful. Use this one. Megamenu gives you a very flexible and incredible backend to create a menu.

Field Group

Field group helps you group fields together, which can be used for content types, taxonomy terms, and users.

Field collection

This module enhances the default Drupal entity by creating a new entity field to be composed and used by other fields.

It combines a group of multiple related fields into one field, making it easy to manage them. You can re-use this field for multiple content types, users, and whenever you add fields.

Bean

Bean transform your core Blog module into a dynamic entity - node, vocabulary, users, so that you can add multiple fields for your Blog content. You'll find this module dramatically valuable if you use Blog regularly.

Quick Tabs

Quick Tabs is used to bring in blocks of tabbed content, namely views, blocks, nodes, and other quick tabs. One fabulous element of Quick Tab is its ability to hide tabs that have no content.

Backup and Migrate

Losing even a minor important data would be a nightmare for every webmaster. Use this and you'll find it simple to save, restore, and transfer data from site to site.

Rules

The Rules module is a very powerful and flexible tool. It defines conditions for an action to occur. For example, you can use this module to send email, set messages, redirect to other pages on your site, and so on.

Features

What if you want to apply the same configuration from your site to another one? Features can perform this task. It permits exporting selected Drupal features, settings into a Drupal module. You can then install this on other Drupal sites.

Module Filter

We must admit the built-in core module search is terrible. Use this one. It will assist you to add vertical tabs and search modules easier.

Xml Sitemap

You must need a xml sitemap if you want your website search engine friendly. This module automatically generates a sitemap and keeps your site results up to date with sitemap.org standards.

SEO For Drupal

SEO - If you want to wane for other search engines, then SEO is your arrow for your drupal website! SEO has become a must-have feature in any CMS platform nowadays. Get them optimized to predispose the organic traffic that can convert into the actual audience and not just IP addresses hovering on your website.

Drupal offers many features for search engine optimization. Features that are often used to improve search engine optimization include:

Pathauto

Drupal automatically generates URL/path aliases for content without requiring the user to manually specify the path alias. This allows you to have path aliases, such as "/category/my-node-title" instead of "/node/123". The aliases are based upon a "pattern" system that uses tokens which the administrator can change

Global Redirect

Drupal creates a clean path alias for each page on a site (for example "content/about-us"). However, Drupal also creates a path using the page identifier (for example, "node/1234"), resulting in multiple paths for the same page. The Global Redirect features ensures only the clean path is enabled; preventing issues related to multiple paths.

Path Redirect

Drupal allows you to specify a redirect from one path to another path or an external URL, using any HTTP redirect status. If a path changes, or no longer exists, redirecting the original path to another existing path or external URL will prevent visitors from receiving a 404 error

Metatag

Drupal allows you to automatically provide structured metadata, aka "meta tags", about a website. In the context of search engine optimization, when people refer to meta tags they are usually referring to the meta description tag and the meta keywords tag that may help improve the rankings and display of a site in search engine results. For more information

Site Verification

Drupal allows you to verify the site and domain ownership for search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. There are two types of verification methods supported: adding meta tags, or uploading a specific file. 

XML Sitemap

Drupal creates a sitemap that conforms to the sitemaps.org specification. This assists search engines to more intelligently crawl a website and keep their results up to date. The sitemap created by the module can be automatically submitted to Google, Bing, and Yahoo! search engines. 

Page Title

Drupal gives you granular control over the page title. You can specify patterns for how the title should be structured and, on content creation pages, specify the page title separately to the content's title. For more information

Menu Attributes

Drupal allows you to specify some additional attributes for menu items such as id, name, class, style, and rel.

Google Analytics

Drupal supports popular web analytics platform, Google Analytics. This market leading analytics solutions provide enterprise-class web analytics capabilities including content analytics, in-page analytics, site search reporting, site speed analysis, event tracking, content experiments, mobile analytics, and social analytics.

MYTHS ASSOCIATED TO DRUPAL IN USE

There are myths associated to every outperforming website, so is here. It is bound to always turn to a faux pas if your steps on pre/post installations or while managing the media are not genuinely guided. Technology is malleable and so you need to be changing along and hence the prosaic of Drupal in account is that several module developers are exhilarated with its use and what the need of the hour is to keep a check periodically for its best outcome.

Not to toss it around and coming to the famous myths prevailing in online market about Drupal are, which bear restrictions on people to use it are- 

  • Steep learning Curve
  • Not a secure Platform
  • Not for Large Enterprises
  • Not meant for small websites
  • Lack of support 

Pros & Cons of Using Drupal some of which lead to various MYTHS 

  1. UI & Integration - people feel like they are just editing a document instead of a webpage as this module presents a Microsoft Word-like interface, so easy to use by even non-technical users. But for being open source CMS the third-party integration was troublesome until Alfresco, Twitter coupled with Drupal to make most out of it.
  2. Dynamic Design & Migration - Having central database, makes populating the same information on multiple pages faster than doing it by hand. Also, the migration from one version to other it is easy in its core and support systems available are in proportion to any fix required.
  3. Permissions (LDAP integration) - users can be given different levels of access to a website. In addition, there are multiple levels of authorization and restrictions so that it only lands valid users to end up publishing or editing.
  4. Customizable Framework - The core framework which can then be added onto and customized with the skills to optimize your web technique. A new module which is updated or developed is reviewed thoroughly before deployment and hence negates the myth that not very qualified developers are working on it as it is freely available CMS.
  5. OpenSource Code Design - Because of the many thousands of developers in the Drupal Community and their expertise in design, development, hosting, spam blocking, theming, training, and more and strict standards upheld in the review process. Numerous developers are constantly working to better the platform, and prepare it for all the different data types and hence has a strong support system such that either a developer is working on a new module or on to a fix of a module.
  6. Security - The module configurations make it secure, but to brood any security infiltration the Security Review modules ensure and overrule any wobbly security settings of modules. Though it may be wryly offered settings but it ensures fool proof security and hence sometimes may give rise to myths of vulnerability. Every module is designed to mitigate any risk factors.
  7. Future curve - While searching for Drupal, it results in one of the highest hits compared to other competitive website development applications and with such a strong raising curve it sees a mooring position in website development field in future too with warm reception. 

Wrapping UP:

Grow and promote your online business with Drupal Commerce, an e-commerce platform built on a powerful Web Content Management Framework.          

Drupal powers over a million websites including the White House, NBC, The Economist, MTV and many other highly popular sites. Now is your chance to be part of this amazing experience that is Drupal.

A Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 migration and custom development, launched in early April 2017 currently provide site Drupal security, core, and module maintenance updates. 

If you want seamless integration between your content and your commerce looking for top Drupal web development firms in & around Middle East why not to browse eDesk HUB and let's build a website that will pay for itself.

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