Choosing an open-source CMS, part 1: Why we use Drupal

Two companies decide that Drupal, a powerful but complex content management system, works best for them.

By , Computerworld |  IT Management, content management, Drupal

"Drupal has good supporting modules that let us put pretty much anything we want into Solr," says Andrew Riley, Medicurrent's director of Drupal development, who served as lead developer on the project.

IDT's product portfolio includes more than 25,000 integrated circuits and other electronic components, each offered in dozens of variations based on the electrical specifications each customer requires.

Drupal also supports the creation of multiple content types, each with hundreds of attributes (fields). "The flexibility over how those fields are organized and presented to the user, both in how the data is input and how it's displayed, are the heart of Drupal's power," says Jeff Diecks, Mediacurrent's vice president of professional services. "Drupal does not limit you in terms of how you can capture, organize and present data for a wide range of applications."

So far, everyone's pretty happy with the call to use Drupal. The new site, launched in January 2012, is faster than the company's previous website, has achieved 100% uptime so far, and lets IDT's new Drupal developer, Brendon Mosher, add features more quickly than did the previous system.

Mosher, who joined IDT as its Drupal project was nearing completion, comes from a Joomla background. He started working with Drupal after a project required him to set permissions for users in a way that Joomla could not support at the time. "Joomla's administration interface is a bit easier to use, but Drupal's community, features and documentation outweigh those benefits," he says.

Ease of use was a big deal for Luchsinger. He wanted the new site to be easy for everyone -- especially nontechnical people -- who needed to administer the site, even when they were editing complex data structures. That was a tall order, given that ease of use is one area where Drupal hasn't exactly been considered a leader. "Coming into Drupal cold, the user interface can be overwhelming," Mosher says.

To address this issue, IDT had Mediacurrent customize the interface. "We've been able to do much of this by hiding areas of the interface that aren't required for our users and by altering other forms to reduce confusion," Mosher says. The power of Drupal lies in its flexibility, he adds: Everything can be extended and customized, right down to the look and organization of the administration user interface.

Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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