Updated on 4 July 2018

Drupal is a Content Management System (CMS), but the community prefers the Content Management Framework term because of its versatility and the wide range of use cases it can cover.

What do you want to build?

We will stay in the PHP world to answer this question.

  • A blog, a single language site with a few pages. Consider Wordpress, also read this post from Dries Buytaert about the State of Drupal in 2017 "Drupal is no longer for simple sites".
     
  • A simple website with Developer Experience inspired from Drupal 7. Have a look at the Backdrop fork of Drupal. If you come from Drupal 6 or 7 the list of modules should look familiar.
     
  • An e-commerce website. Consider Magento, or give Drupal Commerce a try.
     
  • A community building site? Try Drupal Open Social.
     
  • A decoupled frontend like React, ELM, Ionic, Angular, ... that needs a backend? Try Drupal Contenta or Reservoir or just install the Drupal core with JSON API or GraphQL.
     
  • An application focused on business logic. Consider Laravel.
     
  • A solution that plays well with CiviCRM (e.g. webforms for events or mailing list, contact to user mapping, ...), an award website, a crowdfunding platform, a umbrella association website, ... . Your criterions are multi-user based, multilingual, web service capable, evolutive, secure, enterprise level and stable. Well, you are definitely on the right place to start with Drupal 8.

Why Drupal?

Drupal makes the difference with other systems on the following points.
They are exposed from a persona perspective.

The project manager

  • Flexibility
    Never get stucked again. If your Drupal projects grows in terms of features and data model, Drupal has the flexibility of a good friend.
  • Fully multilingual
  • Community features
    Fine grained permission system and publication workflow.
  • Third party integration
    With web services, spread your content on several channels or applications (Drupal frontend, React, Apple watch, ...). It also allows you to integrate it with third parties applications (CRM, ERP, …).
  • Security
    The Drupal Security team is working hard to keep the Drupal core and contributed projects secure.
  • Scalability
    Your project can also grow in terms of traffic and content, Drupal comes out of the box with progressive solutions of caching.
    For small projects, just enable the page and blocks caching + the CSS/JS aggregation in two clicks. For more advanced projects, use cache tags, lazy builder or a Varnish proxy. For performance, have a look at the Big Pipe module that is now stable in core.

The author

  • Content authoring and workflow
    Out of the box FCK WYSIWYG editor, Media handler, content revision, publication workflow, scheduled publication, … All that you can imagine as an author is just waiting for you.

The frontender

  • Mobile-first
    Drupal comes out of the box ("in core") with a responsive administration UI and frontend theme, Responsive images and Breakpoint modules.
  • Divitis and classitis free
    These are (almost) things from the past. Drupal comes with clean semantic markup out of the box.
  • The new user-facing core theme initiative

The backender

  • Wonderful API’s for developers
    Probably one of the biggest strength of Drupal: the Developer Experience (DX).
    There was almost a U turn between Drupal 7 and 8 and the amount of work to get there was *huge* (link to pillars), but wait we are now on 8.4.x and Drupal 8 is becoming really mature on a developer perspective. Read more over Drupal API's
  • A talented and welcoming community
    Another biggest one : ). The place doesn’t matter: the issue queue (link),  IRC (link), Slack (link), Drupal events (internal link),  there will always be someone to help, even if you are a beginner.
  • Based on well adopted standards
    One of the main criticism of Drupal 7 were the Drupalisms (custom solutions and jargon).
    Drupal now is off its island and based on vendors like Symfony, Composer, PHP Unit, ...
  • A predictable and progressive release cycle
  • Web services
    The Drupal core provides a RESTful Web Services module. The JSON API standard is also covered by a contributed module that comes with zero configuration.
  • Content and configuration migration helpers

Continue reading on Drupal.com:

And tell me about the version 7

If you start a new project or still have a Drupal 6

Drupal 6 is not supported since it's End Of Life announcement.

You should consider an upgrade with migration tools or use a dedicated hosting service for Drupal 6.

You may have heard that Drupal 7 is more easy to implement, but consider the new release cycle in Drupal 8 that will be sustainable between major versions.

Should I Use Drupal 7 or Drupal 8?

Test Drupal 8 or Install it

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