You are here

Drupal 101

Drupal Speak: Here are the core elements of any Drupal-based site

The most elemental concept to grasp in Drupal is the definition of a "node." A node is a single piece of content that is published on a Drupal site that is made up of related bits of data. A node can be a page, a story, an image, a video, an event, etc. For example, if you are publishing an article and you enter the author's name, a title, body copy, tags, etc., those bits of data are grouped together to form one node.

Since Drupal is a database-driven content management system (CMS), creating a node with many bits of data allows you to reuse the information you enter to create new displays, or "views." Views can be customized depending on a user's role or access level.

Basic Page

A standard Drupal page with static content in the Body. Basic pages can be tied to the navigation menu for the site in which it resides.


Blocks are used to display the content you want from a given module, and can be placed wherever you want within your site's theme. Some sites use blocks as a callout for an event or a press release, to display the most recent content added to the site, or as an advertisement. You can choose the pages on which to display any block. Some examples of blocks include:

  • Menus
  • Advertisements
  • Call to action buttons


The set of links, usually directly above the body of the page, that shows the typical path visitors follow to get to the current page. (e.g., Home > Offices > Marketing & Communications)


Temporary web page and file storage. There are caches at several levels: browser, computer, database and server. In most cases, if you have made a change to a web page but do not see it live, you will need to clear your browser cache.


Content Management System (e.g., Drupal)

Content Type

The category label of each type of content (e.g., news item, basic page, webform)


An element of data


The clickable navigation items


Modules are Drupal's plug-ins. Some modules come included with your Drupal installation (core), while others have been created by the Drupal community and are available for download to extend your site's capabilities. Examples of modules include:

  • Custom data fields
  • Event calendars
  • E-commerce
  • Content sorting and displays


A piece of content (e.g., the body of a page, a news item, a webform) that has a title and various optional fields.

Node Type

Same as content type

Parent and Child

Objects in Drupal can have a hierarchical relationship, such as menu items. A "child" menu item is nested beneath a "parent" menu item.


The last part of a URL that goes to a piece of content. For example, in the URL "", the path is "/about/directions". The absolute path is the full URL.


Content that is live on the web.


Defined areas of a page where content can be placed. For example, header, footer and left sidebar.

Site Template

Comprised of XHTML and CSS with a little PHP on the side, the site template includes custom functions that control the output of the modules. "Site template" may also be referred to as a "theme" in Drupal parlance.


Terms that help to categorize content.


Lines of introductory text that precedes content.


A label (tag, keyword) that can be applied to a node


A file or collection of files that together determine the look and feel of a site.


Content that is not live on the Web.


Uniform Resource Locator — the Internet "address."

User Permissions

Site administrators employ User Permissions to set the access level for each user. Permissions are assigned to a role, and then individual users are added to the role. Examples of roles include:

  • Author
  • Editor
  • Publisher
  • Site administrator


User experience


A contributed module allowing for the creation of lists of various Drupal objects (e.g., news items) that can be filtered and displayed.


A collection of terms.


What You See Is What You Get. Content that is edited and formatted with an interface that closely resembles what the saved content will look like.