ZIO Drupal

Drupal Experts

Architecture + Community + Security = Drupal

Architecture

Drupal is based on the Presentation Abstraction Control architecture, or PAC. The menu system acts as the Controller. It accepts input via a single source (HTTP GET and POST), routes requests to the appropriate helper functions, pulls data out of the abstraction nodes or forms (nodes before Drupal 5), and then pushes it through a filter to get a Presentation of it (the theme system). It even has multiple, parallel PAC agents in the form of blocks that push data out to a common canvas (page.tpl.php)

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Community

Drupal.org has a large community of users and developers, as of March 2015, over 1,167,000 user accounts and over 37,000 developer accounts. The semiannual Drupal conference alternates between North America and Europe. Attendance at Drupal Con grew from 500 at Szeged in August 2008 to over 3,700 people at Austin, Texas in June 2014.

Smaller events, known as “Drupal Camps” occur throughout the year all over the world. The annual Florida Drupal Camp brings users together coding for a cause for the benefit of nonprofit organizations.

There are a number of active Drupal forums, mailing lists and discussion groups. Drupal also maintains several IRC channels on the Freenode network.

There are over 30 national communities around drupal.org offering language-specific support.

Security

Drupal’s policy is to announce the nature of each security vulnerability once the fix is released. Administrators of Drupal sites are automatically notified of these new releases via the Update Status module (Drupal 6) or via the Update Manager (Drupal 7). Drupal maintains a security announcement mailing list, a history of all security advisories, a security team home page, and an RSS feed with the most recent security advisories. In 2008, eleven security vulnerabilities were reported and fixed in the Drupal core. Security holes were also found and fixed in 64 of the 2243 user-contributed modules.

In 2014, Drupal issued a “highly critical” security advisory regarding an SQL injection bug in Drupal 7. One can download and installing an upgrade to Drupal 7.32 which will fix the vulnerability, but it does not remove any backdoor installed by hackers if the site has already been compromised. Attacks began soon after the vulnerability was announced. According to the Drupal security team, if a site had not been patched within hours of the announcement, it should be considered compromised and taken offline by being replaced with a static HTML page while the administrator of its server must be told that other sites on the same server may also have been compromised. To solve the problem, the site must be restored using backups from before October 15, be patched and manually updated, and anything merged from the site must be audited.

Core of Drupal – The Devil Is In The Details!

There is a collaboratively built codebase that can be extended through contributory modules. In the Drupal community, it is referred to as “core”. For versions launched before Drupal 8, it is kept outside of the “sites” folder of a Drupal installation (Starting with version 8, core is kept is its own ‘core’ sub-directory.) Drupal core is the stock element of Drupal. Bootstrap and Common libraries are defined as Drupal core and all other functionalities are defined as Drupal modules. The system module itself also counts as a Drupal module..

The default configuration of a Drupal website can have content contributed by either registered or anonymous users (with the administrator’s approval) and is made accessible to netizens by a variety of selectable criteria. As of Drupal 8, Drupal has adopted some Symfony libraries into Drupal core.

A hierarchical taxonomy system is available in the core module which allows categorizing or tagging of content with key words for easier access,

Drupal maintains a detailed change log of core feature updates by version.

Core modules

There are optional modules in Drupal Core that can be enabled by the administrator to extend the functionality of the core website.

The core Drupal distribution provides a number of features, including:

  • Access statistics and logging
  • Advanced search
  • Blogs, books, comments, forums, and polls
  • Caching and feature throttling for improved performance
  • Descriptive URLs
  • Multi-level menu system
  • Multi-site support
  • Multi-user content creation and editing
  • Open ID support
  • RSS feed and feed aggregator
  • Security and new release update notification
  • User profiles
  • Various access control restrictions (user roles, IP addresses, email)
  • Workflow tools (triggers and actions)

Extending the Core

Drupal core is modular, defining a system of hooks and callbacks, which are accessed internally via an API (Application Programming Interface).  This design allows third-party contributed modules and themes to extend or override Drupal’s default behaviors without changing Drupal core’s code.

Drupal isolates core files from contributed modules and themes. This increases flexibility and security and allows administrators to cleanly upgrade to new releases without overwriting their site’s customizations. The Drupal community has the saying “Never hack core”, a strong recommendation that site developers do not change core files.

Drupal? Yes, You’re Reading It.

Drupal is an open-source content-management framework that is entirely coded in PHP. It is free and is distributed under the GNU General Public License. At least 2% of all existing websites including blogs, official corporate web pages and government based websites like ‘whitehouse.gov’ and ‘data.gov.uk’ use it as a back-end framework. It is also used for knowledge management and business collaboration.

Basic features required in a content management system are available in Drupal Core, the standard release of Drupal. It comprises menu management, taxonomy, user account registration and maintenance, RSS feeds, page layout customization and system administration. Services of the Drupal core can be availed by using it as a single- or multi-user blog, a simple website, an online forum, or a community website for user-generated content.

At present, there are over 30,000 contributed modules, i.e., free community contributed add-ons, which one can avail to change and hike Drupal’s core capabilities and customize its behaviour and appearance. They also help to add new features.

The website installation and administration of the framework requires no coding experience or programming skills. The developers are offered a sophisticated programming interface.

Any platform supporting a web server that can run PHP (Apache, Litespeed, IIS, etc. included) and a database (such as MySQL , MongoDB , MariaDB, PostgreSQL,  SQLite  ,  or Microsoft SQL Server) to store content and settings.