When I first discovered Drupal, I wasn't looking for a Content Management System. I didn't even know what that was. I was looking for a way to build a website where anyone could register and create posts. I knew what HTML was and I had done a little programming in Visual Basic but that was about the extent of my knowledge. My hosting provider had a system that would automatically install some programs on my account, so researched them all and tried to figure out if any of them would do what I wanted.
The first step in researching those products was to go to their home pages and learn what it was they did and what they were for. Surprisingly, almost none of the products stated directly what they were for. Usually you would see tag lines to the effect of "be the revolution" that did nothing to explain why I would want to download the software. Some, like Joomla!, just assumed that you were already using Joomla and were only on their website to get help. Today I went back and did this process again to see what I could learn.
Only one stood out: Wordpress. On their homepage, they state very clearly:
WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog.
Perhaps that's why so many people use it: it's easy to find out what it does.
Drupal was okay. Here's what it currently says on the homepage:
Drupal.org is the official website of Drupal, an open source content management platform.
Equipped with a powerful blend of features, Drupal supports a variety of websites ranging from personal weblogs to large community-driven websites.
I didn't know what a "content management platform" was, and my goal was to build websites, not support them. But underneath that is an "About" link that does explain well what Drupal is and does:
Drupal is a free software package that allows an individual, a community of users, or an enterprise to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website.
Now that's more like it. (To be fair, Joomla! has an "About" link too. The content there is great -- it's just not as straightforward to find as would be nice.)
The redesigned Drupal homepage has two blurbs of text that are supposed to explain what it does:
What can you make with Drupal? Beautiful, personal blogs or mighty, multi-featured, multiuser corporate sites. Go wherever your imagination takes you with our robust, open-source publishing software.
Drupal is a publishing platform created by our vibrant community and bursting with potential. Use as-is or snap in any of thousands of feature plug-ins. Granular fine-tuning for developers, flexibility for designers, limitless scalability. Drupal evolves daily. Grow with us!
Okay, so that's not bad, but it doesn't tell me the fundamental thing I want to know: Drupal helps me build websites.
So here's my challenge to you: what's the best explanation for what Drupal is and does that you can think of in under 140 characters? Tweet your response with the hashtag #whatisdrupal
Drupal is free, extensible software that enables individuals, communities, or businesses to easily build powerful websites.
Whether the "easily" part is true or not, I'll leave up to you to decide.