Imagine this: You have a passion for automobiles, including their internal workings, exterior designs, and anything else related to automobiles. You have decided that you want to make a career out of customizing automobiles, but when you go into the garage, you realize that you know little to nothing about the tools. Learning what those tools are and how to utilize them properly is one of the first things you’ll need to do before you can even begin!
In a similar manner, you have entered the world of Drupal and are now prepared to create breathtaking websites and take advantage of the great potential it offers. But wait, why does Drupal have such a high percentage of abbreviations and acronyms? My fellow intrepid traveler, you need not be concerned; we have your back covered.
Participate in this activity with us, during which we will decipher the Drupal-speak and teach you how to talk the Drupal talk and walk the Drupal walk. The following is an overview of 15 fundamental Drupal words, each of which is defined in simple English below. Get ready to master the fundamental ideas behind this powerful content management system.
The Entity API system is often regarded as either one of Drupal’s most powerful tools or the platform’s most powerful feature overall. The Entity type serves as the foundation for the whole Entity API infrastructure. An item of a certain Entity type must have certain foundational attributes or fields in order to be created. These attributes and fields make up an Entity type.
Consider, for instance, all of the different kinds of animals. In this scenario, the “Animal” entity type will be an Entity type, and its base characteristics will include the following:
- Name of the Animal
- Type (Mammal or Reptile)
Entity types such as Node, User, Blocks, Media, and so on are provided by Drupal out of the box. These Entity types are utilized for the many types of items that act as the building blocks for constructing a website using Drupal.
Now that we have an Animal Entity type, we have the ability to add various ‘kind of animals,’ which are referred to as “Bundles” inside the Drupal environment. These ‘bundles of animals’ will make use of the same storage and base fields for the most part. Any type-specific fields that aren’t already included can be added as either customizable fields or per-bundle basic fields.
Continuing on from the last illustration, we are now able to make several distinct kinds of animal bundles, such as tigers, lions, and crocodiles. Now, each bundle has the ability to have its own unique collection of traits or fields. For example, a tiger bundle could have fields such as size, color, and origin; a lion bundle could have fields such as gender, type, and origin; and a crocodile bundle could have fields such as species, length, and color. This gives you the ability to design a variety of animal varieties and then group them together under a specific category.
In the context of Drupal, taking content as the reference point, which falls under the Entity type called “Node” (more on that soon), we can have various bundles under it, such as Articles, Resources, Events, and Places, etc., where each of the bundles will share the base attributes of Node like title, published status, author, and so on. For example, an article will share the same author as a published node. However, in order to differentiate themselves from other bundles, they can have their very own group of fields as well.
Items produced under users, nodes, and blocks are all examples of different types of entities. Almost every significant component that goes into the creation of a Drupal website is an entity in some form or another. An instance of a specific entity type, such as a remark, taxonomy term, or user profile, or of a bundle, such as a blog post, article, or product, is referred to as an entity in technical parlance.
To continue with our previous example, any animal item that is generated with the Entity type “Animal” will be an entity, but it will come in a variety of bundles, such as tigers, lions, or crocodiles.
In the context of Drupal, the term “Entity” refers to a single instant or item of the content that can be used to create anything like an Article or an Event.
Drupal is a Content Management System (CMS), which means that it gives you the ability to work on your Content while relying on Display Modes for presentation. The Display Modes offer a variety of alternative presentations of the Content entities that can be seen. In other words, you have the ability to select which fields belong to a given content item that is contained within a bundle by developing a variety of display styles.
For instance, one of the content types we offer is called Article, and it consists of standard attributes such as title, body, image, tags, categories, post date, and author. Now, we can use display modes to show the articles in a variety of different ways depending on the page.
Let’s say we want to preview the item on the homepage with the title, date, and image. Let’s present the articles on another page as cards with the title, posting date, author, and trimmed body. To achieve this, you can create several display modes, configure them via the Drupal user interface (UI), show only those fields, and use them to present article data in different ways. This reduces data duplication by eliminating the need to recreate article content. Instead, you can have one copy of an Article’s content and use Display Mode to create multiple displays.
Now that we are familiar with Entities and the many modes of presentation, we need a system that can produce a list of these Entities. Within the context of Drupal, this concept is referred to as a View. A View in Drupal is a listing of the material that may be found on a website. Now, the view itself is a huge subject that needs to be covered, and this can be done on its own.
Not only is it related to a single Entity type, but you can also utilize views to generate a listing of any available Entity type on your website. This is despite the fact that it is tied to an Entity type in the first place. You also have the option to use something called “Filter Criteria” to apply specific criteria in order to filter out the contents of the view listing. In addition to this, it gives you the ability to display the listing in a variety of formats, such as a list, grid, or table.
In a nutshell, Views is a highly useful feature in Drupal that enables users to generate any kind of listing they desire by applying a variety of conditions and selecting from a wide range of options.
Each individual piece of content that makes up a Drupal website is saved and maintained in what is known as a “node.” Nodes can take the form of a page, poll, article, forum topic, or blog entry, among other things. A node can also be any solitary piece of material. In point of fact, the very page you are looking at right now constitutes a node. Although we learned previously that Node is one of the Entity types that Drupal supports, the term “node” can also be used to refer to any entity that is of a Node Entity type.
For instance, an item that is generated under the heading Article will be a node (content) of type (bundle) Article under the heading Node (Entity type).
Taxonomy and Vocabulary
Using bundles, which are already familiar to us, we are able to categorize numerous entity types under a single Entity type. On the other hand, you could find it useful to further classify your things, which is possible thanks to the Taxonomy system that Drupal provides. A set of taxonomy terms can be grouped, organized, and, in many instances, categorized with the assistance of vocabulary. If we consider Vocabulary to be the Entity type, then we refer to a collection of Vocabulary as a Taxonomy, and each Taxonomy word that is contained within a Taxonomy is an Entity.
For instance, if you have a category for your Article content type, that category will be linked to a vocabulary that’s called “Category.” You have the ability to select a term from the Category Vocabulary while you are in the process of producing an Article node or content. You can then associate that term with the specific piece of content that you are creating (for example, Music). Now, this will assist you in separating Articles that are classified as belonging to the Music category, and it can serve as a filter when we construct a view of Article to display only the contents that are classified as belonging to Music.
The aesthetic attractiveness of websites can be completely transformed with Drupal Image Styles. It functions similarly to a digital artist in that it dynamically modifies and improves photographs in order to adapt to a variety of settings. Image Styles allows you to resize, crop, and apply filters to your images with the ease of a wizard, giving your graphics new life. Drupal Image Styles allows you to create an interesting user experience by altering the appearance of elements like as thumbnails, banners, and more without affecting the quality of the original image.
Modules for Drupal can be divided up into the following categories:
- Core modules: While others can be enabled on an as-needed basis, these are components of Drupal core that are activated automatically on the initial installation of Drupal.
- Contributed modules: These are modules that were developed by the community, as members of that community contributed back to the Drupal community in order to extend the functionality of the core.
- Custom modules: These modules are hand-built according to the requirements of individual website applications. You can find an introduction to the creation of custom modules by clicking on this link.
Drupal’s core sub-system and its modules are conducted by hooks, which serve as your code’s conductors. They function similarly to intercoms amongst the many different code components that make up Drupal. Developers can modify the functionality of the core or of other modules without needing to change the existing code. This is where you can find the hook that the core provided.
For instance, if you want to edit the form labels on the User Login form that is supplied by Drupal core, we can use a hook named “hook_form_alter” to manipulate the form and the form elements. This hook is offered by Drupal.
Prepare yourselves to get your minds blown!
We have already talked about entities, and as was indicated, almost every important component that goes into the construction of a Drupal website is an entity of one kind or another. The information that may be found on a website is referred to as the “Content Entity,” whereas another sort of entity is known as the “Configuration Entity.” Configurations are stored on the database, which allows users to create user-defined configurations like image styles, views, content categories, and so on. The database is ideal for storing configurations.
When working on a website built with Drupal, you may find that you need to synchronize the configurations from one environment to another in order to cut down on the amount of manual effort required.
For illustration’s sake, let’s make a brand new content type called “Events” on your local environment. You will need to re-create the content type in order to move this content to higher settings such as development or production at this point. You can reduce the amount of human labor required by exporting these configurations from the database as YAML files and then importing them into the higher environments from the YAML files exported from the database into the database. Now you have an understanding of the entirety of the procedure known as “Configuration Synchronization.”
Headless Drupal (Decoupled Drupal)
The “headless” version of Drupal liberates your website’s front end!
The content backend is powered by headless or decoupled Drupal while the front end showcases a variety of different technologies that are connected using APIs. To put it another way, while the “soul” of your website is away on vacation, the “body” of the website is responsible for all of the work. thus enables you to use Drupal as a content repository, which delivers the content as APIs; the front end, on the other hand, may be created with a JS framework such as Angular or React to consume these APIs and display the content; thus allows you to use Drupal as a content repository.
Distributions are Drupal’s all-inclusive packages, similar to vacation packages that include Core, themes, modules, and even installation profiles. The Distributions can also be thought of as vacation bundles. You have your quick starts for those who are building and dreaming, as well as your full-featured packages for those who have specific wants. The two most common varieties of Drupal distributions are as follows:
- Full-featured distributions are comprehensive packages designed to meet the requirements of specific markets.
- Other distributions: These provide speedy startup tools for website constructors and programmers.
You can use the LocalGov distribution, for instance, to construct a website for UK councils to publish public-facing websites more quickly, affordably, and effectively. This distribution enables you to get started with the development process by pre-packaging features such as Banner, Alerts, News, and Search. If you want to build a website for UK councils to publish public-facing websites, you can use the LocalGov distribution.
Distributions present a challenge because it is difficult to locate them in advance of installing Drupal. After you have decided to begin with a certain distribution, changing the profile might be difficult, and the ability to keep it maintained across multiple Drupal release cycles is dependent on the distribution’s maintenance. In order to address this issue, a novel idea known as “Drupal recipes” was developed. Drupal recipes make it possible to automate the process of installing and configuring Drupal modules by means of the user interface and the Drupal recipe composer plugin. Consider Drupal Recipes to be modules that can at any moment be plugged in or unplugged depending on the requirements, while adding the benefits of a distribution at the same time.
Using the website for UK councils as an example from earlier, we are able to create recipes that provide various elements as Recipes that can be installed to get a head start on the project.
Single Directory Component (SDC)
Congratulations, you’ve managed to decipher the Drupal source code! With this Drupal cheat sheet in hand, you won’t need to stop to figure out the meaning of each individual term when reading Drupal publications. You now have the skills necessary to complete the Drupal walk-and-talk without moving one inch!
We have an experienced team of Drupal developers that you can hire for your project.
So, what are you waiting for?