Important Drupal concepts explained briefly, to help with the Edubuntu website development.

Drupal provides various tools to create content and present that content in different ways. In order to quickly understand those concepts and the associated "Drupal lingo", I describe some of the more important ones here.

Content Types

Every posting that you make has a "content type" (e.g. page, book page, blog entry, ...). While each content type is different to the others in some way, they all share certain characteristics. They all have a title, an author, and a creation date. Also, they all share certain features: they can have comments, categories, file uploads as attachments, etc. In addition, each type has distinctive features, for example, the "poll" item allows user voting on a topic and can display its voting results.


Every time a user adds a new piece of content to the site, Drupal creates a so-called "node" and gives it a unique number (node IDs are simply increased by one every time). Nodes can be addressed with a URL. For example, the second piece of content that was added to the site could be found at www.mydrupalsite.com/node/2

Default Base URLs

A fresh installation of Drupal comes with several base content types. All content of a specific type can normally be found by a default base URL. For example, www.mydrupalsite.com/blog will give you a long list of "blog" content items.

URL Aliases

It is often preferable to have a path like "/home" instead of "/node/23", or "blog/philipp" instead of "blog/2". Drupal allows to create such URL aliases easily.

Categories (Taxonomy)

Content can be categorised. The site architect can create categories such as 'Math', 'Language', etc. Authors can then assign such a category (or "label") to their content (by selecting the label from a menu). Site visitors can later browse content by category, i.e. to get a list of all items filed under 'Language'. It is even possible to list content in several categories, e.g. 'Language' AND 'Edutainment'.

Note that the categories feature is used "under the hood" to structure content for default site sections like Forums and Blogs.

Free Tagging

It is now even possible to allow "free tagging", where users create their own categories on the fly, similar to Flickr and Delicious.


Blocks are elements of content that can be displayed next to the main content (left or right). Blocks can either provide information (e.g. who's online) or enable certain functionality for users (e.g. login block). Modules (cf. below) provide blocks, so more modules generally means more blocks available to choose from to display.

Note: Drupal 4.7 allows you to define individual regions for blocks, allowing you to use blocks in the centre, header and footer, too.


Drupal's base functionality can be adjusted by enabling or disabling individual "Drupal modules". In addition to the default modules provided by Drupal-out-of-the-box, the Drupal website offers many community contributed add-ons. For a complete list see http://drupal.org/project/Modules

DrupalConcepts (last edited 2008-08-06 16:33:03 by localhost)