Trellon recommends Drupal for building dynamic, scalable web sites. Backed by a worldwide community of smart developers who are making it better everyday, Drupal can be used in a wide range of scenarios as part of your overall web strategy.
What Is Drupal?
Drupal (pronounced Dru-Pull) is an open source content management system offering a toolset that rivals those of most commercial alternatives. With integrated social media and e-commerce functionality, it provides unique value as part of your social media strategy.
What Does It Do?
Drupal is the choice for many great web sites because it does a lot of different things very well, and allows different kinds of information to interact effectively through its flexible, open architecture. Compared with commercial or custom solutions, Drupal's feature set is far more economic and practical for most organizations.
Deliver sophisticated systems for managing content that publish information directly to the web, control navigation elements, categorize content and more, without the need for any programming.
Effortlessly incorporate blogs, forums, polls, surveys, comments, voting systems, and other forms of social media into your web portal. Deploy content all over the place in many different forms.
Build relationships within your user community through friends lists, groups, personal messaging features, user profile pages and features nearly identical to those seen in major social networking sites.
Create online stores featuring product catalogs with full shopping cart and online payment processing support. Implement highly customized checkout experiences.
Share podcasts, photo galleries, streaming video and more throughout your site using the same tools you use for authoring other forms of content.
Deploy content in 100+ supported languages and editorially manage translated content through workflow management systems.
Collect contact information from your users and store details of their activity through integration with popular CRM systems including Salesforce, CiviCRM, Raiser's Edge, SugarCRM, eTapestry, and more.
Amazing and Unique Solutions
The powerful combination of content management and social media tools, along with Drupal's highly modular architecture, provide a platform for web applications to deliver completely original user experiences.
CNET Webware 100
2008 Top Publishing Platform
"The software itself is free and open-source; users need simply pick out which site elements they want, and then put them together."
2008 Top Content Management System
"Comments were... reserved for Drupal’s strong social applications capabilities and how it integrates seamlessly with content management."
How Does Drupal Scale?
Trellon has built Drupal sites and deployed them in very demanding scenarios, serving millions of page views a day. Drupal scalability and performance optimization is one of our core competencies, and we often work with existing web properties to find ways to improve their performance. Contact us to discuss your specific needs.
What Kind of Support Is Available?
A wide range of support services are available for organizations running Drupal sites. The Drupal community itself is an excellent resource for people looking to learn more about the platform or resolve specific issues that emerge using the system. Acquia offers an enterprise distribution of Drupal that includes uptime monitoring, email and telephone based troubleshooting support, and subscription plans for sites with varying performance requirements.
For hosting, Trellon works with a variety of partners to deliver solutions to ensure sites are operational and can scale to meet changing traffic expectations. Rackspace is Trellon's preferred hosting partner, and their 100% uptime guarantee allows us to focus on building great web sites without worrying about the network. Workhabit and Amazon S3 offer cloud hosting solutions that allow us to build sites that automatically scale to handle large peaks of traffic, and to provision new servers dynamically based on actual traffic conditions on any given day.
How Does Drupal Compare to Commercial CMS Systems?
Drupal is often compared to a number of commercial content management systems including Crown Peak, Expression Engine, Clickability and Site Life in terms of capabilities. None of these systems offer the range of features that can be found in Drupal or the flexible, developer-friendly architecture that allows us to rapidly deploy dynamic web sites. In terms of sustainability, these platforms charactertistically lack the innovative approach to development embraced by the Drupal community, with updates and new features continually being added to the platform. These systems typically do surpass Drupal in terms of out-of-the-box reporting and metrics tools, generally providing views of data that is also stored in other systems. For instance, detailed page tracking information can just as easily be pulled from a CDN and integrated into a Drupal site for much less than the costs of per-seat licenses from a commercial vendor over a 1 month period.
In terms of costs, especially startup costs and TCO over a 3 and 5 year period, we have noticed a great deal of misinformation being provided by commercial vendors regarding the true costs of implementing 'open source' solutions. While we cannot speak for the experiences of everyone, in general, the cost of implementing Drupal to support a site is extremely favorable compared to commercial CMS solutions in terms of startup costs, hosting and long term maintenance. There are no commercial content management systems that offer the combined social networking, ecommerce and CRM features found in Drupal, and it is often more appropriate to estimate TCO in terms of the costs of duplicating systems and providing the support staff needed to manage them all.
But the benefits of working with an open source solution go beyond simple costs and pre-existing features. The economics of building web applications is very different for open source platforms then for commercial ones, and understanding the differences in the models can have a huge impact on outcomes for your organization. More information about the benefits of working with open source solutions can be found here.
How Does Drupal Compare to Other Open Source CMS Systems?
Drupal is also often compared with other open source content management systems including Joomla, Plone, Scoop, Silverstripe, Typo3, Graffitti, Moveable Type and Wordpress. There are characteristic features to all of these systems that make them appropriate in certain contexts, and most of them compare favorably to Drupal in one category of operation or another. Few of them, however, are capable of offering the balance between performance and functionality found in Drupal.
Joomla and Plone are great alternatives to Drupal, and people at Trellon have been major contributors to both platforms at various times in the past. We just happen to think Drupal is a better solution for the majority of web sites and focus our efforts on making Drupal better. There are a myriad of technical merits and drawbacks to each of these platforms that we enjoy discussing with other programmers, but they tend to be esoteric and outside the scope of a general discussion. For the most part, these platforms carry very similar feature sets and users can expect similar results. The differentiating factors are in terms of how features are implemented, the underlying frameworks, and long-term support costs. Generally, we find that Drupal offers the best balance between these areas, as it has the largest community of active developers working to improve the platform, an underlying framework that ensures interoperability between modules, and can be operated in the widest variety of contexts.
Moveable Type and Wordpress are primarily blogging platforms and great choices if all you ever want to do is run a blog. Each platform has modules for delivering other types of content as well, but the cost of maintaining them as general website platforms can prove prohibitive over time. Typically, we find that clients are best off using these systems as a blogging platform to the side of other elements of their web presence.
Silverstripe, Typo3 and Graffitti are relatively new platforms and we look forward to seeing what happens as their feature sets and frameworks become more refined and they become suitable for use in demanding environments. We have worked with each of these platforms in various contexts and found that they are useful to a point, after which adding features becomes a major technical challenge.
Trellon recommends avoiding the use of Scoop for any site in any context. We have used it on sites for everything from personal blogs to presidential campaigns in the past and found that the cost of adding new features far outweighs the benefits to be gained from using it in comparison to other platforms. Trellon offers an ongoing Scoop Users Amnesty program where we will migrate content, users and comments from a Scoop site for free as a service to our clients.
How Does Drupal Compare to Ruby on Rails?
Another common alternative platform to Drupal is Ruby on Rails. We really don't have much to say about Ruby except that it is a framework moreso than a platform. There are some characteristically challenging web development tasks that are quite easy to do with Ruby, and there are others which are infinitely more complicated than they should be.
One big difference is the fact that Ruby lacks the refined data object model found in Drupal that ensures interoperability between various aspects of the system, such as adding new modules to modify the operations of others. Whereas Drupal offers a self-generating database schema for many modules and underlying components of the platform, Ruby on Rails emphasizes a design philosophy holding that simplification of code conventions leads to better outcomes. While this all sounds good in principle, we have found there are certain tasks that make adherance to this philosophy an ideal moreso than a practical goal and breaking free from these conventions when necessary a daunting task (especially when integrating with external systems).
These and other technical considerations have important long term consequences for people looking for a platform that will grow with their site. From a technology standpoint, there's nothing wrong with Ruby. We just recommend people think about their options before moving forward with Rails and consider what they will be trying to accomplish 12 - 36 months out before committing to Ruby. From the standpoint of technology professionals who participate in multiple open source communities, we are politely concerned about any system which is subject to so much trademark and intellectual property baggage around the name and iconography *cough* *ahem* Mambo *cough*.