Leveraging the power of Drupal with Templates

In the days before Drupal (back when developers had to code uphill both ways, in the snow!), you had pretty much one file per page most of the time. Your “Contact Us” page was a single static .html or .php page. Sure, you could have some dynamic content embedded in the page, but you had to put that code in the page itself.

And this model gets complex quickly. Imagine something like a Press Release page: You need an html page for each of your Press Releases. Then you need to have one or more master/listing pages that you must update with links to each of the Press Release detail pages. It’s a tedious and time consuming process, sometimes involving hours of relatively simple (and incredibly monotonous) work.

Once Drupal came on the scene though, things got much easier.

In Drupal, you can define these nifty things called “Content Types”. With the click of a few buttons (and absolutely no coding), *anyone* - even a junior intern, mind you – can log in to Drupal and add a new piece of content via a template form (for which an administrator has defined as a Content Type beforehand). Just a bunch of form fields, folks. Nothing to see here. Just fill it out like you’d fill out any boring old form on any website, and once you’re done, you’re done. The Press Release is live on the site. It trickles through the entire site exactly where it should using another native component of Drupal called “Views” (about which we’ll write another Blog post soon).

Best of all, you don’t have to pay a web developer to do this stuff. Anyone who is trained (and the training is really quite simple) can make sometimes relatively complicated edits to your site without any external help.

This is the paradigm shift that Drupal has brought to the world of web editing and development. It has separated out the simple work from the complex stuff - and you can choose the ideal person for each job/task. This person might be someone on your own team or a development firm for some of the heavier lifting.

We at Ricochet love this. Of course it means that the average project means less revenue for us when you compare it to a completely custom site. But in fact, we actually prefer this! It allows us to focus on the most highly skilled, challenging, and fun aspects of a given project - which is important when you are dealing with a team of highly skilled professionals. It means that ambitious projects which clients couldn’t have dreamed of affording in the past are now completely affordable. And it means that larger firms can afford even more impressive sites with the same budget.

It’s win-win-win, and we welcome the change. If you’d like to learn more about Drupal, you can find plenty of resources on the web. Youtube has a number of well done videos (just search “Drupal”). Or Lynda.com also has a number of tutorials that can help you get into the swing of Drupal.

And of course, we’re here for you if you have questions. Feel free to give us a call and we’re happy to help.