A Drupal glossary to get you up to speed

Filed under:

Process, Tech
We frequently work with clients that are new to Drupal so we’ve compiled this list of common Drupal terms to help them understand us.

We frequently work with clients that are new to Drupal. We’ve compiled this list of common Drupal terms to help them understand us. This stuff is like our second language, and we sometimes forget that node is actually not an intuitive term for a piece of content.

API – API stands for Application Programming Interface. It’ s a set of instructions provided by a web site or application that details how other sites should interact with it. In the Drupal world, you may hear us refer to the or MailChimp API when we are integrating those sites with Drupal. APIs speed development and save time. They are a good thing.

Article – An article in Drupal 7 or 8 is a news story or blog post. It’s the type of time sensitive content that frequently populates your home page or blog.

Basic Page – Basic pages are generally used for static content, such as your “About” page. Basic page is one of the default content types that you get in a Drupal installation.

Base Theme – There are thousands of themes available for Drupal. Base theme usually refers to one of a few very popular themes that many developers use as starting points. We build all our themes custom, however we do use the break points in the base themes to define when to show the desktop, mobile, or tablet version of a responsive site.

Breadcrumb – Breadcrumbs are a navigation tool. You’ll often see something like this at the top of a page, Home > About > Staff, with each word being a link back to the respective page. Those are breadcrumbs, and yes, they are named after the breadcrumbs from Hansel & Gretel.

Cache – Caching is a way of improving performance in Drupal (or really any) website. It stores the page outside of the database, saving the time involved in fetching data from the database.

Content Type – It’s exactly what it sounds like. Blog Post could be a content type. It would have attribute such as published date, title, content, etc. In Drupal every node has to be assigned to a content type.

Contributed Module – Drupal has over 10,000 modules that are not part of the core. Much of your site functionality will likely involve contributed modules.

Core – Core Drupal is what you get when you download Drupal from

Cron – Cron is a program that runs scheduled jobs. So if your site checks for broken links at night, that job will be initiated by cron.

DrupalCon – The semi-annual Drupal conference that alternates between North America and Europe.

Drush – A command line tool for managing Drupal. Our developers love it.

Entity – Any defined group of content. Nodes are entity, as are taxonomy terms, users, etc.

GIT – The version control system we use to manage code and code changes for your site.

Module – Software that extends Drupal functionality. Core modules are those that come with the standard Drupal install, everything else is a contributed module.

Node – A piece of content, such as an image.

NID (Node ID) – The ID number associated with any node. It’s part of the raw URL in Drupal.

Node Type – An older term synonymous with content type.

Patch – A small piece of computer code, usually in reference to correcting or updating a module in Drupal. (ie – We need to patch the module in order to provide the requested functionality.)

Region – Defined sections of the page where content can be placed.The basic regions include: Header, Footer, Content, Left sidebar, Right Sidebar, although it will vary based on the theme.

Roles – Sets of permissions assigned to users. Drupal comes with two roles, administrator, who can do everything; and anonymous user, who can read public posts and pages on the site. Roles are usually customized based on the workflow and security requirements for each client.

Stand up – Our daily 9 AM meeting where tasks and priorities for all our ongoing projects are reviewed. We literally stand up for the meeting. It helps keep it short.

Sprint – Weekly to monthly sets of sub-goals that are part of a larger web design project.

Taxonomy – A powerful feature of Drupal that allows us to classify content in a number of ways using keywords, and then dynamically reuse that content throughout the site.

Term – A keyword, also called categories in some other systems.

Theme – A collection of files that define the look and feel of the Drupal site. Also used as a verb to describe the process of creating the theme. (We are themeing the site…).

Trigger – An event in Drupal that causes an action to happen. For example, deleting a node may be a trigger that results in an email to the administrator.

UX – An acronym for user experience.

Views – A Drupal module that simplifies the process of displaying lists of content or data from the Drupal database.