The Internet has made publishing on a global scale almost effortless. That's the rhetoric, anyway. The truth is more complicated, because the Internet provides only a means of distribution; a would-be publisher still needs a publishing tool. A decade ago, people who wanted such a tool had three choices, all bad: a cheap but inflexible system, a versatile but expensive one, or one written from scratch. What was needed was something in the middle, requiring neither enormous expense nor months of development--not a single application, but a platform for creating custom publishing environments. For tens of thousands of sites and millions of users, that something is Drupal.
Created as an open-source project by Dries Buytaert, Drupal is a free content management framework--a tool for building customized websites quickly and easily, without sacrificing features or stability. Site owners can choose from a list of possible features: they might, say, want to publish articles, offer each user a profile and a blog, or allow users to vote or comment on content. All these features are optional, and most are independent of the others.