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17.11.2023, 08:43

What are the key Drupal terms you should know? - A quick guide to Drupal terminology

Drupal is one of the most popular content management systems out there but the Drupal jargon may not be very intuitive. Whether you’re a new user or you’re working with a Drupal-oriented agency it is beneficial to get acquainted with the terms being used. In this blog post, we will outline what the key terms and concepts refer to.

1. Content types

As the name may already suggest - a content type is a block that holds a certain type of content. For example, the post you are reading currently has been created using the “blog” content type. Each content type includes multiple fields and most sites have various content types used for different purposes.

2. Nodes

A node is a piece of content on your site. Content types refer to the collection of data types, whereas a node is an individual instance of it. So “News” can be an example of a content type, but a news article on your site is a node (also called a Content item).

3. Entity

An entity is a piece of data on your site. Content items, custom blocks, taxonomy terms, nodes, and users are all entities. 

4. Taxonomy

This is a system used to categorize information. It is used to describe and classify different types of content. A popular term in taxonomy is “tags” or “keywords” which can be used on blog posts to differentiate between topics.

5. Vocabulary

Vocabulary is a type of taxonomy. Each vocabulary consists of many terms which are used to classify content in a specific way. Each group of terms is a vocabulary - for example “Categories”, “Authors” or “Regions” are vocabularies.

6. Term

Each term is an individual topic within the vocabulary. Referring to the previous example, “John Doe” could be a term inside of the “authors” vocabulary. 

7. View

Views is a list of content displayed on our site. Drupal Views give editors and administrators control over how the content is shown - for example, it can be a list, block, or full page on a website. It can present only titles or include teaser content such as previews of a blog post. For a real-life example - click on our “Case studies” tab in our navigation and you will see a page with a list containing basic information about our recent case studies (the title and thumbnail of the main image).

8. Module

Modules in Drupal are the equivalent of plugins in WordPress. They are collections of files containing code used to enhance Drupal’s functionality. They can be split into 3 types:
Core - these are the modules that come by default in the Drupal core.
Contributed - these are modules created by the Drupal community which can be installed to extend the functionality of the Drupal core.
Custom - these modules are created when your site requires a very specific feature that the previously mentioned modules can’t provide.

9. Blocks

Blocks display content in the regions on the website. They can be created in various ways and offer different display possibilities. For example, they can be the pieces of content in the sidebar or footer of your page.

10. Region

Regions are the areas where you can add your content. When creating a website, apart from the main content, you will also want to include elements such as the navigation, sidebar, footer, etc. The available regions and their layout depend on the theme that you choose.

11. Field

Fields are a type of data that can be added to an element. They are included in content types to both store and display information. There can be different types of fields to store various kinds of data such as an email address or an image, each requiring specific fields. For example, if you were to create a “Contact” page then you can use different fields for the contact information.

12. Theme

A theme is what defines the appearance of your website. It determines the layout and design of the content. You can use a core theme provided by Drupal or opt for a contributed or custom one.

13. Core

The Drupal Core contains the central codebase that provides the basic functionalities of a site. It is the base upon which everything else is built and includes the necessary functionalities for content management. The structure of the core will remain relatively unchanged across versions.

14. Role

A role refers to a type of user that has a certain set of permissions assigned to their user account. The default roles include: Anonymous users (those who do not have an account yet) and Authenticated users (which are assigned to the logged-in users). Some roles that can be assigned to Authenticated users are:

  • Administrator
  • Content creator
  • Editor
  • Moderator

Thanks to this option, administrators can create as many roles as they want and customize their access permissions.

15. Path

The path is the unique last part of the URL address function or piece of content. For example, for this page URL: http://website.com/node/9 the path would be node/9. Some other examples include user/login or admin/content.


Now that we have reached the end of this post, you hopefully have a better understanding of the Drupal basics. You may be far from being fluent but knowing these terms is surely a good place to start - it will come in handy when talking about your site with a developer and allow you to articulate your ideas more effectively. Are you considering Drupal for your projects? You can learn about our Drupal services and check out our case studies to decide whether Drupal aligns with your needs.

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