A Guide to Drupal Terms

Creating your new website can be frustrating when your don't know what to ask for. The first obstacle most people encounter is the industry jargon (terminology) Developers & Designers use. There will be some that are completely unfamiliar, while others have a different meanings. Here are a few of terms commonly used in the creation of a Drupal website:

One of two content types that are enabled in the standard installation of Drupal. Articles are used for time-sensitive content like news, press releases or blog posts. This content type is called "Article" in Drupal 7 and later, and "Story" in earlier versions of Drupal.
Basic page
One of two content types that are enabled in the standard installation of Drupal. Typically basic pages are used for static content that can be linked into the main navigation bar. This content type is called "Basic page" in Drupal 7 and later, and "Page" in earlier versions of Drupal.
Base theme
A Base theme is a well-written set of CSS and template files that a theme developer can make use of in a new custom theme. Theme developers can make sub themes to override the default base theme.
The boxes visible in the regions of a Drupal website. Most blocks are generated on-the-fly by various Drupal modules, but they can be created in the administer blocks area of a Drupal site.
The set of links, usually near the top of the page, that shows the path you followed to locate the current page. The term breadcrumbs is borrowed from Hansel and Gretel, who left crumbs of bread along their path so they could find their way back out of the forest.
The core Drupal cache stores assembled pages and blocks for anonymous visitors in the cache tables in the database. Other popular Drupal caching options include boost, memcache, and authcache.
Content Construction Kit. A contributed module which permits website developers to define custom fields and content types. A variety of extension modules to CCK exist permitting specialized field definitions such as images, dates, and computed values.
Content Management System
Content Management Systems (CMS) are a collection of tools designed to allow the creation, modification, organization, search, retrieval and removal of information.
The text, images, and other information on a web site.
Content type
Every piece of content belongs to a “node type” or “content type”, which defines various default settings for nodes of that type. Common "Content Types" that just about any website would have include: blog post and page. Content types can have different fields and modules can define their own content types.
A command scheduler that executes commands or scripts automatically at specified time and date intervals. Drupal uses a “cron job” to perform periodic tasks that help Drupal to run smoothly and efficiently.
Drupal.org. | The website of Drupal.
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.
Elements of data that can be attached to a node or other Drupal entities. Fields commonly contain text, image, or terms.
A hack refers to changing files to alter functionality instead of using Drupal’s hook system, the accepted method for modifying Drupal functionality. Hacking Drupal code makes it difficult to apply updates. This is not considered good practice.
A PHP function that is a defined set of parameters and a specified result type. It allows a programmer to “hook” into existing Drupal functionality and augment or change it.
Software (usually PHP and CSS) that extends Drupal features and functionality. Modules are called plug-ins, extensions, or add-ons in other software projects.
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.
Object Oriented Programing
The focus of object-oriented programming it is to break down a programming task into objects that expose behavior and data using interfaces.
A small piece of software designed to update or fix problems with a computer program or its supporting data. This includes fixing bugs, replacing graphics and improving the usability or performance.
In Drupal, a tool for controlling access to content creation, modification and site administration at the application level. Administrators assign permissions to roles, then assign roles to users. Permissions are security settings restricting or allowing users to access information or perform certain functions at the operating system level.
Defined areas of a page where content can be placed. Basic regions include: Header, Footer, Content, Left sidebar, Right Sidebar. Different themes can define different regions so the options are often different per-site. Content is assigned to regions via blocks. They can be ordered by weight within regions to define the order in which they display.
Sets of permissions that can be applied to individual users. Users can belong to more than one role. Two roles, authenticated users (those users that sign up for an account) and anonymous users (those either without an account or not logged in), are supplied by default with Drupal installations. Drupal allows creating additional roles.
In Drupal, "Taxonomy" is the name of a powerful core module that gives your sites use of terms. In Drupal, these terms are gathered within vocabularies which the Taxonomy module allows you to create, manage and apply.
A file to express presentation. Templates are mostly HTML with special PHP variables. The variables in templates substitute in values provided by a theme engine.
A tool for creating lists of various Drupal objects. Views permits selection of specific fields to display, filtration against various node attributes, choice of basic layout options, and other more advanced features. Most Drupal sites use Views extensively.
What You See Is What You Get. An acronym used in computing to describe a method in which content is edited and formatted by interacting with an interface that closely resembles the final product.
The watchdog module reports system events and errors. Watchdog is a leftover term from Drupal 5. It was replaced by dblog and syslog in Drupal 6 but the term is still often used.