General Drupal Information

What is Drupal?

Drupal is an Open Source package that is supported by Information Technology Services (ITS) to assist web developers at UCSF. The parts (modules and themes) of Drupal can be assembled to create a customized Web Content Managment System (WCMS).

The built-in functionality, combined with thousands of freely available add-on modules, enables features such as:

  • Blogs
  • Collaborative authoring environments
  • Forums
  • Peer-to-peer networking
  • Newsletters
  • Podcasting
  • Picture galleries
  • File uploads and downloads
  • Calendars
  • and much more!

Drupal benefits

  • Drupal is a completely free website development tool that allows you to easily create, update and manage a website without requiring a lot of technical know-how. Point-and-click to easily add pages, menus, images and file uploads. As your website grows, it's easy to add custom features from thousands of free modules available to the Drupal community.

  • Drupal is highly regarded as one of the best website frameworks available and is used by 71 of the top 100 universities in the U.S., including MIT, Stanford, Harvard, and all of the Ivy League.

  • Drupal is open source — which means it's maintained and developed by a community of 630,000+ users and developers. This open development model means that people are constantly working to make sure Drupal is a cutting-edge platform that supports the latest technologies that the Web has to offer. 

  • Best of all, UCSF's Information Technology Services has recently launched the Web Starter Kit project, a collection of UCSF-approved, customizable, stable and secure website templates that you can start using for your department, program or lab right now. Even better: The templates and hosting are absolutely free. 

Is Drupal the right fit for your department, lab or program?

Drupal is an excellent choice for any of the following situations:

  • You need a site that is flexible enough to evolve in any direction. For example, you might start with a blog but want the option of adding other features like a wiki, electronic commerce, forums etc.
  • You need a site that can easily be configured to interact with other sites or with other technologies.
  • You need the ability to quickly organize and display lists of information.
  • One or more of the many contributed Drupal modules addresses your needs.
  • You need to quickly develop custom functionality.

Why wouldn't I choose Drupal?

There are several cases where Drupal may not be the best choice:

  • If your only requirement is to write a personal blog, you may also want to evaluate one of the more specialized blogging platforms like WordPress or one of the hosted blogging solutions. Although Drupal does provide an excellent blogging platform out-of-the-box, you will probably find that blog-specific software typically has a simpler administration interface.
  • Similarly, if your only requirement is to create a wiki, you should probably consider using the Library's wiki.
  • With every release, Drupal is becoming easier to use; but like most powerful tools, it will always have a learning curve. If you or your organization are not prepared to spend some time learning how Drupal works (or if you are not able to hire Drupal expertise), it may not be your best option.  

Interested in learning more?