Drupal is one of the most popular, flexible and powerful CMS, as well as it is the 3rd most installed. Often called the best open source CMS, by many web developers, though our opinion defers and in this Drupal review, we will explain why.
Drupal is developed in 1999 by Dries Buytaert and in the beginning it have been planed to be message board, but things have changed in 2001. Today Drupal is flexible CMS that is mostly preferred by experienced web developers. Drupal is very suitable complicated enterprise projects.With large community of developers and tons of free and paid modules and themes, that kind of projects are moderately easy to develop, mainly because the flexible Drupal core.
In this review, we are particularly talking about Drupal version 7(latest stable release).
Drupal is not “hungry” for high system requirements, but this depends very much on the website, number of modules and traffic. In general you can install Drupal even on shared hosting, you will need at least 60MB (Drupal installation takes about 16MB), can choose between some of the most popular web servers like Apache, Nginx or Microsoft IIS. Linux based hosting will be more cost effective choice.
Minimum require PHP version is 5.2.5, but it is recommended to use 5.3. For database minimum MySQL 5.0.15 with PDO, PostgreSQL 8.3 or higher with PDO, SQLite 3.3.7 or higher.
Practically these requirements can be covered by any of the top web hosting companies without any problem.
Drupal 7 installation is straight forward, it is possible to install Drupal with few clicks if you have Fantastico enabled in you cPanel.
Setup, Development and Management
Drupal learning curve is much longer compared to other top CMS. This is one of the major drawbacks together with quite difficult minor updates deployment. The lack of inbuilt WYSIWYG editor also make process of publishing content much longer.
Ideally a professional Drupal developer should maintain Drupal based project. It is necessary to follow official Drupal documentation https://drupal.org/documentation/understand to understand how things work.
Without going into further details and guides about CCK (content construction kit), module and template handling, jQuery behavior handling (this is unique feature of Drupal) I will go straight to pros and cons of Drupal 7. If you would like to read more about this please refer to official documentation, as well as some of these good resources:
Drupal Pros and Cons
low server requirements (depends)
suitable for large scale projects
handles well custom content types
large community of developers
tons of themes
tons of modules
Unclear development cycle
no automatic updates
no WYSIWYG editor
difficult to handle images
many discontinued modules
high cost of development and maintenance
Drupal 7 seems to be behind other top CMS
In the last few years, things in web development world have changed dramatically. WordPress is no longer just blogging platform, Joomla is not just the medium between Drupal and WordPress, but powerful CMS suitable for any kind of web project.
Drupal 7 (latest stable version) is much behind both WordPress and Joomla.
The main problem regarding building website based on Drupal is not related to steep learning curve, but mainly because there isn't clear development cycle. Lack of WYSIWYG is not a major problem, but is another big minus. These are the main reasons why Drupal holds 3rd place most installed and used CMS after WordPress and Joomla.
Drupal 8 alpha looks very promising and it might lead to major change in market. We've recently tested the latest version and it seems that many of disadvantages have been cleared, but again there isn't a date regarding release of Drupal 8 stable release.