Drupal Terminology Explained

Getting your way around the Drupal Content Management System can be a bit confusing initially, and we - as developers - often use terminology specific to Drupal, even though we try to avoid this as much as possible. Here, we explain some of the terminology we might be using. A more complete glossary of Drupal related terminology is also at https://www.drupal.org/docs/7/understanding-drupal/glossary, focused on Drupal 7 (there is not yet a similar glossary available for Drupal 8, but the core terminology explained below has not changed too much).

The Drupal content management system is not one piece, but consists of a core, and potentially thousands of modules that add specific functionality. The most important one is Views, which is now a module that is part of core, which basically is a way to create dynamic pages that retrieve content from the underlying database.

This means we have the following important terminology to take into account:

  • Node: any piece of content added to the website is basically a node. A node can be of a different content type: a basic page, an article, (the two content types that come pre-defined in many installations) and any number of custom defined content types. A content type defines default settings for a node, for example what fields there are, or who has access to a node. 
  • Taxonomy: Taxonomy is a way to structure the content of the website. You can define several taxonomy vocabularies, each of which will consist of a set of taxonomy terms.
  • Views: Views dynamically create page displays based on a range of configured criteria, for example based on taxonomy terms, or authors (users). They can be simple, or extremely complex, pulling in different types of content based on complex criteria.

More Drupal terminology can be found in the above mentioned glossary.