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Leveraging Drupal Integrations

September 14, 2023 5 minute read
The open source platform offers thousands of integrations, ensuring organizations have everything they need in their tech stack
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Ensuring that existing technologies — and any that may be incorporated in the future — can integrate easily with an organization’s content management system (CMS) is a key requirement for many brands, which is why many turn to Drupal.

As an open source CMS, Drupal attracts organizations of all sizes because of its flexibility and active community of contributors who number in the thousands and who regularly provide ideas, features, security checks, and so on to the platform’s development. These characteristics have helped Drupal’s library of extensions and integrations grow to 50,000 (and counting), affording its users a range of capabilities that mean organizations remain at the technological forefront and on pace with — if not ahead of — competitors.

How are Drupal integrations used?

The use cases to which Drupal integrations can be applied are not just vast but limitless. In fact, because the platform is open source, community members can respond to the latest developments in tech super fast — often more quickly than counterparts who work with  proprietary or closed systems.

Take, for example, the lightning-quick development of the ChatGPT integration in content editing, which “allowed us to capitalize on the AI wave very early on and offer fully functional features in Drupal for free,” writes Kevin Quillen, Drupal Practice Lead at Velir and creator of the integration, in an email. “Other systems only talked about it or tried to monetize access on top of ChatGPT behind a proprietary layer.”

Again, because Drupal  is open source, anyone can fiddle with the modules and use them as a starting point for their own experiments.

That’s the case with any of Drupal’s modules — even those that have been around for a while. The point being: While the platform’s library of APIs is massive, organizations may still need to create or improve upon a module to meet their needs. We’ll touch on this topic again in a bit, but for now, let’s review the most common categories in which the integration modules fall.

Common Drupal integrations

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the kinds of systems that Drupal can integrate with truly are numerous. It has modules for analytics and electronic health records, as well as email service providers and much more, but let’s look at some of the most common categories.

E-commerce integrations

Organizations need only check out Drupal’s Commerce module to understand just how robust the CMS is in this category, with established integrations for many of the elements — payment gateways, product information management (PIM), shipping and returns — that shape the modern customer experience. Users can find integrations with Amazon, PayPal, and UPS, among many others. For those that need lighter weight commerce solutions, there are also direct integrations with Stripe, Magento, and others.

Marketing automation integrations

Marketers today are pressed for time, often having to respond in real time to shifting market conditions while working with fewer resources. Marketing automation is the superhero software that helps them get their work done quickly. Fortunately, Drupal integrates with some of the best known marketing automation technologies, like Campaign Studio, Pardot, and Marketo. 

CRM integrations

Used heavily by sales, customer success, and marketing teams, customer relationship management (CRM) platforms are a critical component of many organizations’ tech stack. Seamless integrations with this technology power their contact and sales management, cross-team collaborations, reporting, and other goals and metrics. Salesforce, Zoho CRM, and HubSpot are just a few CRMs that integrate with Drupal.

Custom integrations

As mentioned earlier, Drupal’s flexibility and openness mean that organizations can easily create or improve upon integrations that meet their specific needs when existing modules don’t quite do the trick. In fact, with the advent of Drupal 8, the APIs that developers rely on to write integrations became more uniform, making custom integrations even easier to produce. That capability is founded on a core strength of the platform — a structured data model — that facilitates integrations when new solutions are needed.

How to choose the right Drupal integration

While the total number of extensions and integrations available to Drupal users is a healthy figure, it can also be overwhelming. Organizations are better off taking the time to assess their options to ensure that the integration they choose meets their needs. Backing out of an integration that uses a different data model in Drupal once it’s in flight can be thorny. Our top suggestions to look for when researching quality integrations:

  • How does the project page look? If it’s well-structured and clean, that suggests that the maintainer cares about the module.
  • Does the module have a supporting organization? If so, then the project is or was funded, a clear indicator that the module has been or was deemed worthy of investment.
  • Did the project opt in to Drupal’s security policies? A “yes” says that security reports are available for the module. If its history shows security issues, don’t write it off. The issues prove that the Drupal community is monitoring the module’s health and providing support when needed.

That said, you can go into even more detail when evaluating various integrations.

Getting started

As organizations continue to adapt to an ever-changing digital landscape, they need a CMS that offers the flexibility and freedom to respond to the marketplace quickly. Drupal meets those needs with a wide library of APIs that allow organizations to keep their tech stack intact and to replace or augment technologies as new developments arise. Learn how Acquia and its products and services can help!

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