Drupal

Dec 24, 2021 | 9 Minute Read

5 Reasons For Using Drupal To Build A Web Application in 2022

By: Sahaj Sharma, Senior Content Marketer

Table of Contents

Introduction

With the increasing customer demands in today's digital landscape, it has become imperative for businesses to deliver personalized user experiences. Thus, adopting a mobile-first approach and ensuring quick customer responses has become more important than ever. As customers expect more engaging and interactive elements in every web experience, organizations need to leverage a content management system (CMS) that seamlessly resonates with their needs. While there are various CMSs available in the market, many brands prefer using Drupal to build a web application for elevating their productivity. 

Being an open-source and highly secure CMS, Drupal plays a pivotal role in the development of robust web applications. In fact, a lot of leading brands like Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, eBay, etc., rely on Drupal development for delivering exceptional digital experiences. So, why are industry leaders more inclined towards using Drupal to build a web application? Let’s find out:

Why should you consider using Drupal to build a web application?

5 Reasons for using Drupal to build a web application


At the time of developing a web application, organizations prefer using a content management platform that is secure, reliable, as well as flexible. It not only allows them to add features according to their choice but also lets them eliminate the weighty ones.

Being an open-source CMS platform, Drupal is trusted by various small-to-large organizations worldwide (such as Nasdaq, Cisco, Tesla, and more) for delivering best-in-class digital experiences. Known for its ultimate innovation as well as scalability, Drupal comes equipped with a community code that's readily available and robust architecture tailored to match the enterprise requirements. Here’s why you should consider using Drupal to build a web application in 2022: 

Flexibility


Drupal enables you to create exactly the web application you need by offering a robust framework. It can seamlessly accommodate complex web applications with the help of its core components and APIs. All you need to do is use the right module to get the specific functionality you need. Here are some crucial modules that you must use to build your web application:
 

Module Name

Functionality 

CONFIG SPLIT 

This module plays a key role in defining the configuration sets to separate directories at the time of export and merge them at the time of import.

DIFF

Every time a new draft is created, this module offers a tab that reflects all the revisions and makes it easy to view all the words that have been added, modified, as well as deleted.

PATHAUTO 

This module enables you to define specific patterns for content the moment it gets created. For example, in the case of a blog content type, this module lets you add /blog in the URL automatically. 

ADMIN TOOLBAR

By elevating the administrative user experience, this module offers a drop-down menu that makes it easy to access the different administration pages.

REDIRECT 

This module streamlines the redirect handling process in Drupal by automatically building a redirect for every content piece with an updated path.


Be it event registrations, insightful analytics, or interactive videos, Drupal has got you covered! You can also combine different modules according to your needs. Just like LEGO, Drupal empowers you with a myriad of blocks that allow you to build whatever you want.

What makes Drupal flexible?


Drupal comes fully packed with functionalities like generating RSS feeds, managing access permissions, assembling published page listings, commenting on articles and blog posts, etc. Even if these features do not align with your needs, there are more than 48,000 community-contributed modules that empower Drupal to offer exceptional plug-and-play functionality in a few minutes. From gaining visitor behavior insights through Google Analytics to GDPR compliance for cookies, Drupal has a contributed module for all!


Customer-centric user experience


Drupal makes it easy for organizations to deliver best-in-class experiences that are customer-focussed. With the right set of tools in place, Drupal empowers organizations to create a web application that meets the needs of visitors and helps them make informed purchase decisions. The entire interface of the web application is created by keeping the customers in mind. By ensuring that interactions are personalized and customer-centric, it aims at delivering a unique experience that is dedicated to fulfilling the specific needs of the users across their journey.

Using Drupal to build a web application for customer-centric experience


A Short Tale


Accelerating the website creation process for a Fortune 200 Life Sciences Company


With more than 400 companies focused on healthcare and agriculture across 100 countries, this life sciences brand offers innovative R&D activities for preventing and treating diseases in the world. As their brands are located in various geographies, they wanted to create a powerful multisite platform with a flawless user interface.

Before getting in touch with Axelerant, they worked with a vendor who was not able to successfully handle the technical aspects involved in the Drupal and Site factory. The life sciences company also wanted to reduce the launch time, achieve significant cost savings, and have a better collaboration experience.

Read how Axelerant leveraged the power of the Site Factory and Site Studio to develop a robust tool for delivering consistent brand experiences as well as personalized user journeys to their visitors.


How does Drupal deliver a customer-centric user experience?


Drupal is enriched with various built-in modules that make it an ideal CMS for the following factors:
 

Personalization – Drupal comes with various content personalization modules that help to deliver an experience that is relevant for the users. These modules include Personalization Module, Commerce Recommender, Browsing History Recommender, and more. While everyone prefers using a javascript-based client-side solution to implement personalization, there is a shortage of contributed modules/frameworks faced by them sometimes. Although there is a popular tool named, Acquia Lift that offers enterprise-grade personalization, the open-source options are very few.

Read how Axelerant integrated Site Studio and Context module seamlessly to drive personalization in the Drupal applications. 

Improved caching capabilities – In terms of speed and page load efficiency, Drupal tops the charts due to its BigPipe and some other modules for caching optimization. With the Internal Page Caching module, the entire page information gets stored no matter if a user hasn't logged in or not. It makes anonymous visitors experience faster loading of the same content as the page didn't begin from scratch. Also, the Internal Dynamic Page Cache module is dedicatedly designed to cache little portions of each page for every user, irrespective of their login status.

Built-in block system – Rearrange the web application's look and feel by simply dragging and dropping the required blocks. The same block can be repeated across multiple pages for better design uniformity as well as content reuse.

WYSIWYG editor – A very useful feature that empowers users to take a look at how the text and images (that they’ve entered) will appear before even hitting the “publish” button.

Responsive design – No matter if your visitor is accessing your web application through a smartphone, desktop, or tablet, Drupal's responsive design ensures to fit their screens completely.

Social media modules – Drupal comes with various social media integration modules that make it simple to connect customers to the specific social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) from the web application.


API-Friendly Architecture


Being a popular backend platform for developing various front-end applications, Drupal is known to offer a lot of opportunities for free. Created in accordance with today's mediascape, Drupal comes with an API-first initiative that simplifies the process of creating and managing content in one central location. Moreover, it plays a key role in representing several front-end versions of that content, with each one attuned to a specific channel.
 

What makes Drupal API-friendly?


Every modern CMS aims at gaining access to robust APIs and integrating it across every stage of the customer journey for a better experience. The latest releases of Drupal have announced various APIs like:

RESTful Web Services API - It is known for supporting a decoupled Drupal website. It is responsible for the communication that takes place between native mobile applications and a specific Drupal website. Also, it takes care of web services integration.

JSON:API - By allowing serialization as well as communication through JSON, this module has simplified the process of managing integrations. 

Render API - It comes with improved caching protocols and ensures faster page rendering to elevate the overall user experience. 

Translation API - This Drupal API plays a key role in adjusting the language on your web application according to the area where your prospect/visitor lives.


Great for SEO


Drupal is known to be well optimized for search engines ever since Drupal 7 made an entry in 2011 with enabled RDF support. As per a Forrester report, semantic structure plays a crucial role in streamlining the work of content managers and authors. As Drupal code is semantically written, it leverages alt and title tags for the uploaded media (images, graphs, etc.) which makes it a popular CMS for SEO. 


An Interesting Story


Empowering the editorial section of Legacy.com’s website with a robust CMS


Being a popular name in online obituaries across the world, Legacy.com has partnered with 1,500+ newspapers and 3,500 funeral homes and has been catering to 40 million unique visitors every month. Legacy was looking for a partner that could help them launch the Drupal CMS within a short span of 6 months. They not only wanted to organize the media and assets but also wanted to accelerate content publishing while supporting the newspapers thoroughly. Read how Axelerant collaborated with Facet Interactive to seamlessly deliver an enterprise-level headless Drupal platform. 


What makes Drupal search engine friendly?


In terms of SEO, Drupal can turn anything basic into an exceptional one with its variety of modules like the SEO checklist, XML Sitemap, Global Redirect, SEO compliance checker, Metatag, Pathauto modules, and more. 

With Drupal’s Metatag module, you can easily add meta tags to your web application without any manual effort. This proves to be an asset for SEO. In fact, this Metatag module enables you to control the appearance of your content on the respective social media channels. Another key aspect that every SEO-friendly web application needs is an intuitive taxonomy system. Drupal comes equipped with a flexible taxonomy system that makes it effortless to organize content through the use of keywords. It not only simplifies organizing information on the basis of themes but also ensures easy navigation to search terms.


Ultimate Security


Being an open-source CMS platform, Drupal's codebase is always closely scrutinized. As the code powered by Drupal is freely available to everyone for review, use, modification, as well as contribution, it's imperative to ensure that the code is top-notch. Since there are millions of people contributing to this code, it is invigilated by a large number of eyes worldwide which leads to optimum security. In the case of using a closed source CMS platform, there is no clarity about the potential security flaws present within the software. Due to its ability to handle extremely crucial data, Drupal has been a preferred CMS for web applications that are created for government, leading financial institutions, and popular e-commerce brands.


Why is Drupal so secure?


To give your web application a high level of security, Drupal comes with a list of various security modules that include: 

Drupal Login Security – This module enables the administrator to impose several restrictions on user login. Before blocking an account, it can restrict the total number of invalid login attempts made. Also, it allows administrators to deny access to specific IP addresses. 

Two-factor Authentication – Leveraging this security module by Drupal, you can get a dual-layer of authentication after a user logs in to your application with a specific user ID and password. This involves entering a code received on their email or mobile phone. 

Password Policy – This module by Drupal plays a key role in making your login forms more secure, thereby keeping bots and possible security breaches at bay. It enforces various restrictions at the time of password setting, such as constraints on the character type, length, case included (uppercase/lowercase), etc. Also, it comes with a password expiration feature that asks users to regularly change their passwords.

Content Access – This module allows you to gain access control to the content in a detailed manner. By specifying the content types with a view, edit, or delete permissions, you can manage them on the basis of role and author.

Coder – If there are any loopholes in your code, an attacker is likely to steal your information. By using the Coder module, your Drupal code is properly scrutinized to uncover the areas where the coding practices aren't followed properly.

To know more about the different security modules powered by Drupal, click here.


Uncovering the flow of Drupal


Before considering Drupal to build your web application, it's essential to take a sneak peek into the system's layers between which the information is passed. Drupal comes with a set of 5 layers, namely: 
 

Overview - using Drupal to build a web application

Data (Nodes, etc.)

Being the foundation of the system, this layer has a collection of all nodes and is known as the data pool. Everything needs to be input as data before it gets displayed on the web application. 


Modules

The second layer in the Drupal flow is modules. Modules can be defined as the functional plugins that are built on the core functionality of Drupal. They can either be a component of the Drupal core (when shipped with Drupal) or contributed items that are specially developed by Drupal community members. These modules enable you to seamlessly customize the data items on your specific node types, create e-commerce from scratch, sort and display the required content programmatically, and more. There is a myriad of options in the continuously evolving repository of the Drupal modules that indicate innovation as well as the collaborative effort of the community members. 


Blocks & Menus

The next layer in the Drupal flow comprises blocks and menus. Blocks are used for gaining output from a particular module and are mainly created to represent anything you want. These blocks can be placed in several spots (called regions) inside the template layout that you use and can be effortlessly configured to output in different ways. Menus are used for navigation in Drupal that help to define the content that comes in each respective menu path (i.e. the relative URL). These play a crucial role in providing links to all the different pages that have been created in Drupal. 


User Permissions 

In this stage, the settings are configured to control what different users can see and are allowed to do. These permissions are usually defined on the basis of specific roles due to which different users are granted different defined permissions. 


Template 

This layer involves the site theme and is mainly made up of XHTML and CSS. Due to the intermixing of the Twig variables, the content generated in Drupal can easily go into the relevant spots. With each theme, there's a defined set of functions used for overriding the standard ones in the listed modules. This helps to gain full control over how different modules create their markups during the output. 


I believe the information shared above is sufficient to understand why you should consider using Drupal to build a web application. As your web application is going to be the digital soul of your brand, it needs to showcase your business vision and mission clearly. Drupal’s top-notch modular approach and high-end configurations make it easy for businesses to keep pace with the evolving digital landscape. In case you're planning to develop an exceptional enterprise-level web application, get in touch with the experts at Axelerant. Our team will help you create world-class web applications powered by Drupal.

About the Author
Sahaj Sharma, Senior Content Marketer
About the Author

Sahaj Sharma, Senior Content Marketer

A shopaholic and big-time foodie, Sahaj explores and enjoys different cuisines, loves to watch movies, travels, and paints. Honesty tops his list of essential values. He works in a routine and appreciates aesthetics and creativity.


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