At the latest DrupalCon Europe, Amsterdam 2019, Drupal founder Dries Buytaert suggested an important “new strategic track” for Drupal, after the Drupal 9 peak is achieved.“We want to make Drupal really easy for beginners,” he told the audience at his traditional DriesNote. “We should prioritize the beginner experience.”
One reason why users find Drupal difficult: “We’ve heard over and over again that the terminology is really hard,” Dries said. "When you talk to beginners, they think about content and components. But we talk about nodes and entities and blocks."
Dries’ suggestion is just one of the strategic tracks he proposed in his presentation. The overall Drupal community will choose the priorities through a variety of feedback loops.
All this talk about focusing on Drupal’s learning curve for new users made us want to breakdown some of the most fundamental terms and features you’re likely to encounter when starting any new Drupal project. Welcome to our latest installment of Tech Terms, Defined -- Drupal terms!
We started, naturally enough, with the Acquia Glossary, plugging in the three terms that Dries mentioned specifically.
Node -- A piece of content in Drupal, typically corresponding to a single page on the site, that has a title, an optional body, and perhaps additional fields. Every node also belongs to a particular content type, and can additionally be classified using the taxonomy system. Examples of nodes are polls, stories, book pages and images.
Entity -- Any defined chunk of data in Drupal. This includes things like nodes, users, taxonomy terms, files, etc. Contributed modules can define custom entities. Each entity type can have multiple bundles.
Block -- The boxes visible in the regions of a Drupal website. Most blocks (e.g. recent forum topics) are generated on-the-fly by various Drupal modules, but they can be created in the administer blocks area of a Drupal site.
The Acquia Glossary also had entries for basic Drupal concepts like:
Contributed Modules or Themes -- that are not part of the core Drupal product. Contributed modules and themes are available for separate download from the modules and themes sections of Drupal.org downloads. These are separate from the Drupal “core”, although over time they can become part of it. Similar concepts exist in other software and are sometimes called “plugins”, “add-ons” or “extensions”.
Field -- Elements of data that can be attached to a node or other Drupal entities. Fields commonly contain text, image, or terms.
You’ll note that some of these terms are defined by referencing other Drupal terms. This is how vocabularies work. They are defined via related concepts. So we decided to widen our focus to bigger collections of Drupal terms.
Thomas Howell, Acquia Glossary project lead, suggested two very helpful Drupal.org sites as “good starting points.”
The Drupal 7 Glossary is helpful because it is hyperlinked with many other sections in the Drupal 7 Documentation.
The Drupal 8 Glossary is an updated, expanded version of the earlier glossary, linked up with the Drupal 8 User Guide.