Drupal is a content management system (CMS) that makes use of modules to allow site administrators to organize and display content, customize appearance, and manage routine tasks, such as registration for websites requiring user names and passwords. One of its key characteristics is the fact that the entire framework is open source, meaning that the source code is available to anyone interested in working with it. The system itself is also free for all users, and while some web designers sell certain types of customization, many themes and modules are available for free as well.
This software is written in PHP, a programming language known for its usefulness in producing dynamic web sites. Drupal works with Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and many other operating systems. However, it does require a database, such as MySQL™, to store content and settings. Anyone can create modules for Drupal, and currently available modules range from photo galleries to e-commerce systems. Modules can even change the CMS's default behavior in order to build a better website. There are also extensive tutorials and documentation available for this software, due to the community built around its development.
While some web designers have criticized Drupal as difficult to learn, the system has received extensive accolades for its usefulness and relatively rapid build time. It is also known for its dynamic nature: websites designed on the framework can be changed rapidly by modifying modules. Joomla is considered the chief alternative to Drupal, although there are other options for more specific purposes.
Drupal was originally written by Dries Buytaert, who still heads the project. Buytaert transliterated the Dutch word druppel, which means "droplet" to create the name in order to make an indirect reference to the community aspects of the project through the Dutch word dorp, meaning "village." He opened the source code for community work in 2001.