Drupal Terms – Understanding What They Mean

Drupal is an open source content management system that was launched in early 2001 by a developer named Dries Buytaert and licensed under the GNU General Public License. Oddly enough, Drupal was actually originally intended as an online message board before rapidly growing into the open source content management system that we all know and love today.

As with many online applications, Drupal features a varied list of terms, functions and names that all have their own meanings and specific use cases. The problem with this is that there are so many in use that it can often be confusing to decipher what some particular terms or specific words related with Drupal actually mean. This can make it particularly confusing for new Drupal users who are either learning about the software, how to use it or simply reading about it online.

Drupal Terms And What They Mean

In order to ensure the learning curve for new Drupal users is as easy as possible, we’ve created a list of some common terms and keywords you may hear when working with Drupal, each with an explanation of what they mean or represent.

1. Core Modules

Core modules are optional features that are built into Drupal and available on a fresh installation which can be used to extend the default functionality of the software. Core modules can be switched on or off by Drupal administrators inside of the dashboard.

Some of the core modules included in Drupal include:

  • User Profiles
  • Web Caching
  • Statistics and Logging
  • RSS Feed and Aggregator

2. Core Themes

As with core modules, core themes are a set of pre-made themes that are included within the default Drupal application that administrators can opt to use as a way to customize the look and feel of their website.

3. Modules

Drupal Modules are features that have been developed, mostly, via a 3rd party. They are the “plug-ins” of Drupal and allow you to further extend the core functionality of the software. These can be downloaded via the official Drupal Modules repository and installed directly onto your website.

A few examples of what modules can do include:

  • Add E-commerce Functionality To Your Website
  • SEO Options
  • Image and Media Galleries
  • Enhanced Management

4. Backwards Compatibility

Backwards compatibility refers to the way in which Drupal does not commit to backwards compatibility between new major versions. This means that some 3rd party modules or developments may need slight tweaking in order to function correctly.

5. Clean URL’s

Clean URL’s are an option with Drupal that removes unwanted coding or code related numbering from the web URL’s of your pages.

As an example, the default URL’s created by Drupal may look similar to:
- mywebsite.com/?q=node/21
Where as the clean URL will look like the following:
- mywebsite.com/node/21

Clean URL’s are also more beneficial for Search Engine Optimization.

6. Taxonomy

Taxonomy is a common term used in various online web applications. It refers to a core module that allows Drupal administrators to better manage and collect their web content into groups based on keywords, tags or categories.

That’s A Start

Although there are many other terms and acronyms related to Drupal, the above list contains some of the more common or confusing ones that tend to be the least understood by new users. Hopefully it will provide you with the ability to better use and manage Drupal or understand particular situations where these terms are utilized.