We can’t give you a full Drupal tutorial in 400 words, but we can help you talk the talk. Here are nine helpful definitions to keep you in the conversation:


Created by Dries Buytaert, it is an open source publishing software that allows individuals and communities to create and manage a wide variety of website content.

Its name is a bit of a long story. Dries really wanted dorp.org because it means “village”, but he made a mistake and got drop.org instead. But no big deal—as drop.org blossomed into a more of an experimentation environment, he changed the name to Drupal. The new name is derived from the English pronunciation of the Dutch word “druppel,” which means “drop.”


Each item of content is called a node. Single websites contain many types of nodes, such as informational pages, news items and blog posts.

Content Types

Each node is made from a content type. Drupal comes with pre-defined content types, such as “stories” and “pages,” but you can also define your own content types.


Add-ons that allow you to extend, build and customize Drupal’s core functionality. Two important modules are CCK and Views. CCK allows you to make new content types and add fields to each content type. If the site will have events, you can create a content type called Events. This new content type will require a date field for the start and end dates of the event. CCK and its supported modules will allow you to create all the fields needed for this content type. Views is another important module. This allows you to show nodes in any way you want. Perhaps you want the events to display is a short list with the most recent event at the top of the list. Views will allow you to display this.


Taxonomy allows you to categorize your content. Nodes are “tagged” with terms and this makes it easier for users to find related content. For example if a new blog post is created and the topic is about dogs then the post can be tagged with “dog” and “pets”.


Blocks are the boxes visible in the sidebar of your Drupal website. You can create blocks to be specific to different sections of your website.


Theming is the placement of visual elements on your website. It includes the layout, arrangement and the selection of fonts, colours and graphics.

Users & Roles

Logging in to your Drupal site allows to you perform certain tasks whether that is creating a blog post, editing page content or buying a item. Each user has a role and your role determines what you can and cannot do on the site. Roles are important because they allow different people to perform different tasks.


Distributions take specific sets of Drupal themes and modules and combine them with custom installation steps, documentations, etc. For example, you could make a “Drupal for Education” distribution that contains modules for online courses and testing and has pre-configured roles for teachers and students.

*Thanks to Gregg and Shane G., who checked for accuracy and filled in the gaps.