The name Drupal is derived from a Dutch word ‘druppel’ which means ‘drop’. While the original intention was to name the site ‘dorp’ meaning village in Dutch, a typo error while checking the domain name resulted in the final name Drupal, a project started in 2001. It was originally written by Dries Buytaert as a bulletin board system. Drupal today is a free open source content management software package which allows a person or a group of users to create, publish and control a wide variety of content on a website.
Many heavy-traffic websites including The Onion, Spread, Firefox, etc use the Drupal package. Written in PHP, the latest version of Drupal is 5.1. especially popular for building online communities, other common areas where people have used Drupal for their websites are: Community web portals, Discussion sites, corporate web sites, Intranet, Personal web sites or blogs, E-commerce applications, Resource directories and Social Networking sites.
Easy to download and ready to install, Drupal has a wide range of add-on modules which can enable the following functions, over and above content management:
Blogs, Collaborative authoring, Forums, Peer-to-peer networking, Newsletters, Podcasting, Picture galleries, File uploads and downloads and much more.
Drupal is distributed under General Public License and maintained by innumerable users and developers. While it is free to download and use, you might wish to know whether Drupal is the right package for you. To know this, the best thing to do is to study its multiple features and check whether they meet your needs and you have the appropriate skills to work on it.
For instance, if you are a owner of a small business, your needs could be, creating a site which you can set up yourself, accessing different themes using which you could customize the style and layout of the web pages, scalability and adaptability of the package to accommodate the changing needs of your growing business, support for conducting e commerce, inclusion of shopping carts, etc. In other words you need professional and easy-to-use functionality, which you can configure yourself without any third party assistance with technical knowhow.
The relevant skill levels you will need for this are: you must be familiar with various web terminologies and concepts, be familiar with operating functions like browsing, clicking, submitting web pages, selecting options, etc. Other skills needed are that of an administrator, which include the ability to manage roles, select themes, categorize web pages according to content, configure module settings, install and upgrade software and databases, apply security fixes. You should also have, even on a limited scale, skills to install software, design style and layout (with CSS and minimal PHP), build and deploy websites, evaluate contributed modules and work with LAMP.
Whichever situation you may be in, study if the features of Drupal meet your needs and you have the right level of skills. If they fall in line, Drupal may be a perfect system for you.