Chapter 1

The Big Picture

In This Chapter

  • Understanding open source software
  • Comparing Content Management Systems
  • Developing a website with Drupal
  • Knowing Drupal's potential

At the dawn of time, if you wanted to create a fully featured website with forms, a blog, and a message board, you practically had to be a computer programmer — or at least have enough dirt on a programmer to bribe him into building a website for you. You needed to know how to write HTML (and possibly JavaScript and CSS), and to accomplish anything dynamic, you needed to know yet another language such as PHP or ASP. You probably would have needed to know SQL, the language that allows websites to store and retrieve information.

As the waters receded and the years wore on, web developers grew weary of having to build each and every site from scratch and 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 website.

Today, we have entire robust and powerful web applications, supported by communities of web developers. Enter Drupal. Drupal is one of a class of web applications that do nearly all the work for you. You can build a site with Drupal without ever writing a single line of code. Indeed, that's the ultimate goal of Drupal: to free you from the inner workings of the code and instead let you focus on the layout ...

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