Drupal Terminology And Basic Concepts: Short Glossary

Denis Peszka
Author: Denis PeszkaTech Lead

Drupal is a well-known CMS worldwide. If you are interested in this platform, you have possibly read some technical texts. The question is whether you could understand the Drupal terminology or not? Beneath, you will find 15 must-to-know Drupal terms with short definitions. Thus, you will better understand the content management system's basic concepts.

Drupal terminology

1. Node

A node is a single piece of content such as a basic page, a web form, or a blog post. For example, this page is a node. Comments are not nodes; however, they are always related to them. Such a configuration provides more flexibility if you want to create new content types (content type – definition in point no. 3).

2. Entity

An entity is a piece of content or configuration data. Familiar entity examples are content items, custom blocks, taxonomy terms, or content types' definitions. The first three are the content entities, and the last one is a configuration entity.

3. Content type

Another important Drupal term. A content type is a predefined collection of related data types. It comprises multiple fields which define the character of the particular content type. Using content types, editors can add different kinds of content, while views (views – definition in point no. 4) are one way of their presentation.

4. View

A view is a listing of information on the Drupal site. The basic module (module – definition in point no. 5) manages the views display, and the Views UI module enables the creation and edition of the user interface. When you define the views, you download the data from your website and present it to the users.

5. Module

A module is one of the must-to-know Drupal basic concepts. It is a substitute for plugins in WordPress. Even though Drupal core (Drupal core – definition in point no. 14) has all the necessary functionalities for website creation and management, some functionalities are not available by default.

For example, if your website demands integration with the external database, you will need an additional module not included in Drupal core. Those solutions call contributed modules and are prepared by the Drupal community. Usually, they are based on PHP, JavaScript, or CSS. Even if the website has dozens of installed extensions, you can control them from the admin panel. For instance, you can switch them on or off depending on your needs.

6. Path

It is the last part of the internal URL address assigned to the particular page. This page can be meant either for the users or the administrators.

For example, the internal URL for the Services page can be:

http://xyz.pl/node/10, where the path is node/10.

7. Taxonomy

Taxonomy is used for the information categorization within the Drupal site. One of the most common taxonomy terms (terms – definition in point no. 8) is tags. Usually, they are meant to classify content on the blog. For example, the culinary blog can apply the taxonomy to categorize the receipts. The set of terms is known as vocabulary (definition in point no. 9).

8. Term

The elements of taxonomy are known as terms. Categories on the blog are nothing else but taxonomy terms. Technically, terms are the entity types, and the entity subtypes are the vocabulary. Similarly, like other entities, taxonomy terms can have fields (fields – definition in point np. 9). You can attach, e.g., the image field, and as a result, each term will have an icon.

9. Vocabulary

A vocabulary is a group of taxonomy terms used to classify content in a specific way. For example, in the online shop, the list of all brands is a vocabulary. Technically, vocabularies are the entity subtypes for the taxonomy term entity type.

The vocabulary can organize terms either hierarchically or flatly. Tags usually use the flat one because all terms are equal. However, the culinary blog can use hierarchical organization. For example, the term "tomatoes" is subordinate to "vegetables," and the "tomatoes" themselves can be divided into red and green.

10. Field

Fileds are the data types included in the content types. Let us take an online shop as an example – the content types may relate to the vendor description, graphical file, or a taxonomy term.

11. Block

Block is a set of content placed in different areas on the website. It can be constructed in various ways to provide diversified possibilities of content presentation. Blocks display in regions (region – definition in point no. 12) such as sidebar or footer. Since Drupal 8, the Custom Blocks function, which enables personalized block creation, has been introduced.

12. Region

The region is a defined area where you can publish the content. The examples of regions are footer, sidebar, header, etc. The region's layout is determined by the theme (theme – definition in point no. 13).

13. Theme

The theme is a predefined layout of the website, which sets its style and the overall website appearance. You can find either core or the contributed themes available to download from external sources.

14. Drupal core

A core is a basic version of the content management system. It contains all the necessary functionalities for website management, such as:

  • layout edition,
  • platform administration,
  • menu management,
  • users management,
  • RSS channel,
  • taxonomies.

15. Role

The role is a set of permissions assigned to a specific user account. Thanks to that option, the administrator can decide who can have access to the website resources and the scope of users' responsibility. We can point out such roles as:

  • administrator,
  • moderator,
  • anonymous user,
  • authenticated user.

The last two are available in Drupal by default. Anonymous users are those who do not have an account or have not verified it yet. The authenticated user role is automatically assigned to the logged users.

Drupal glossary – Summary

It is just a piece of Drupal basics that you should know to understand the CMS ecosystem better or the programmers you are cooperating with. However, our Drupal terminology shortlist is a good starting point for deepening your knowledge. Now, you can freely read the Drupal-orientated articles without checking the meaning of simple terms.

Do you want to know more about Drupal?

Read more
Share article: