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Drupal For Dummies® by Lynn Beighley

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Chapter 1. The Big Picture

In This Chapter

  • Understanding open source software

  • Comparing Content Management Systems

  • Developing a Web site with Drupal

  • Knowing Drupal's potential

In the past, if you wanted to create a fully featured Web site with forms, a blog, and a message board, you practically had to be a computer programmer. You needed to know how to write HTML and possibly JavaScript and CSS, and to accomplish anything dynamic, yet another language such as PHP or ASP. You probably would have needed to know SQL, the language that allows Web sites to store and retrieve information.

Over the years, Web developers began freely sharing code. If you knew some HTML and a few other things, you could use the work of other people to knit your site together. No longer did you need to write code every time you wanted a contact form or poll or image library on your Web site.

Today, we have entire robust and powerful Web applications, supported by communities of Web developers. Enter Drupal. Drupal is one of a class of applications that do nearly all the work for you. You can build a site with Drupal without ever writing a line of code. Indeed, that is the ultimate goal of Drupal: to free you from the inner workings of the code and instead let you focus on the layout and content of your site. There are other, similar applications you can use that also accomplish this, but Drupal is one of the best open source applications for quick, code-free Web site creation.

Before I get into the installation and ...

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