I started searching for my options in the Open source zone and started delving the different CMSes available today. I found some of them, but what actually got my attention was Drupal.
The more I researched about Drupal, the more I was thrilled about the opportunity that simply lied beyond me, as I had the clear idea about what my clients actually wanted to do for them and I knew the limitations I had till then employing Joomla, and I got very thrilled about the power and features I observed in the Drupal CMS.
Drupal is a free Open source CMS and framework for swift development of sites. Businesses of all sizes are extensively using Drupal to power modern websites such as e-commerce websites, community portals and corporate websites.
Drupal shines with more complex websites. It's a great solution for people who want to build feature-rich websites and it's a great solution for large enterprises. That's our sweet spot.
Dries Buytaert, Co-Founder and Project Leader for the Drupal Project
Though there are myriad Open source ecommerce website development frameworks, I insist people to use Drupal for ecommerce websites and here is why?
If you compare your ecommerce site with circus, than Drupal is no one gimmick pony. Just than simply being marvellous at one act in the show, Drupal CMS can carry the complete event. With more than 14,000 free modules, this open source can help you create Forums, blogs, photo galleries, intranets, new aggregators, reviews websites, social networks, wikis and CRM. If you can imagine it, Drupal can convert it into reality.
With the separation between logic and appearance, Drupal ecommerce solutions can be configured to your brand identity while performing powerfully and efficiently. Each aspect of your ecommerce website can be configured as per your VISION. If showcasing an inimitable identity to the world is of utmost importance to you, the Drupal is the bull’s-eye solution. Organizations and entrepreneurs choose Drupal over other open source platforms because they realize the significance of being inimitable.
There are numerous reasons that make Drupal stand out in the crowd. However, here I am going to focus on just the most eminent aspects as why I recommend using Drupal amongst all other ecommerce platforms contenders as the foundation of your ecommerce website.
From modules, templates to tools, everything is free in Drupal as opposed to its counterparts including ZenCart, OpenCart and Magneto etc
Drupal has some absolutely free yet powerful modules that can fire up your ecommerce site. Here I am mentioning the top-2 most popular modules for ecommerce sites.
This is the most basic module that you can install in your site. It comprises of a group of myriad modules that boosts the functionality of an e-store powered by Drupal. Ecommerce module allows you to design the most important features of ecommerce site like checkout pages and shopping cart. Moreover, it enables you to design pages that aid in monetary calculations. It is very useful for people who want to keep record and summaries of history of all purchases and sales.
No discussion of Drupal is complete without mentioning Ubercart module.
Ubercart is essentially a lot more than merely a shopping cart. Ubercart comes with installable modules that offers point and click payment gateways to all major online payment providers. It has modules for calculating complex shipping costs and monitoring stock levels. Additionally, it facilitates customers to pay for products purchased with virtual currency.
This module is an outstanding ecommerce system in itself; however, it just happens that it is integrated with the most advanced open source CMS.
Another reason why you should use Drupal for ecommerce website is because it is seamlessly flexible. I can almost stop here, because no other platform (be it Joomla, Magento or VirtueMart) offers your ecommerce website the flexibility that Drupal confers via Views, CCK.
For, those who are not familiar with Views and its shine, let me describe it to you. Briefly, Views powers you to define how you desire the content on your e-store to be displayed. Hey, this not all; Views facilitates you to query the Drupal database for the content and describe exactly how you would want to showcase the content reclaimed from the query – all without the need to write the SQL queries yourself.
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Moreover, with the highly simplified admin interface rendered by Drupal 7, devising Views has become streamlined. For instance, a basic View, displaying a list of all the products on your e-store can be set-up, saved and configured in just 2-3 minutes.
More complicated Views would take a bit longer to set-up and configure. For instance, it would take around 15-minutes to fully set up and save a list of all your members as an exposed propinquity search via zipcode.
If I never have to think and write down another SQL query, I will be the happiest person on the earth, as I do not want to spend time unnecessarily on repetitive tasks. Views help you to stay focused on vital aspects of your project.
2. Custom Content Type: CCK
In the zone of ecommerce website development, certain things must be simple. Let say, you sell fruit juices and want to process the shipping expenses by weight. It sounds easy to add a new field, ehh right? Yes, it can be. However, with CMS like Magento and Joomla, you will have to use external modules to add a new field to your ecommerce site, which can make your site’s structure hard to modify, especially if your site is already live.
Hey, no worries! Drupal is agile and is made to handle such changes. It comes with a core Content Construction Kit (CCK) that facilitates you to construct and add different types of content. CCK has been around for forever. With CCK, you can have 30-different kinds of content and each of them can be glorious.
The CCK Date field type comes with the ability to manage repeating dates and varying levels of “granularity.” It would take several days of coding to develop same rich data handling functionality in customized forms; however with Drupal it is available for free with a fast download and simple installation.
Furthermore, with Drupal powering heftily trafficked websites like WhiteHouse.gov, Grammy.com and Examiner.com, no one can question its dynamically architectured - layout which flawlessly meets the growing needs of your business while providing colossal scalability at the same time. Drupal websites are known for their scalability. They are built to respond efficiently and effectively to heavy footfall on the site. Zappos, a site earning revenue over $1 billion and receives millions of visitors daily, is built on Drupal.
All I want to say is that Drupal is flexible; this means that if you commenced with a simple website, but decide to add new features or complexity, the Drupal can keep up. It bends and moulds itself to perform for you. So, in case you are looking to easily process thousands of transactions from your e-store on daily basis while accommodating heavy traffic simultaneously, Drupal is the best choice.
Drupal Commerce gives me the flexibility I need to meet my clients’ creativity” Bill O’Connor, CTO, Achieve Internet
Additionally, Drupal ensures that you can build or amend your website without the need to change the core code of other modules. Therefore, Drupal is a very flexible platform as it can be easily customized to perform the way you want, fulfilling a whole gamut of commercial needs.
When infinite number if ecommerce websites run on the web, it becomes important to select a platform that guarantees your brand visibility from the start by improving search engine rankings. Doing Conversion analytics and SEO simultaneously becomes easier with Drupal, since you need to pay attention to just one system as opposed to dual-platform systems offered by other Open source CMS.
Drupal is immensely search engine friendly because it comes loaded with all major SEO features including:
This feature of Drupal makes it the right choice for ecommerce websites. Portal website development is very useful as it essential for an ecommerce website to maintain feature classifieds and multiple member login.
Additionally, Drupal has easily available modules for social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. The modules facilitate you to integrate the APIs of social media sites to your ecommerce store, this way your visitors and fans can easily share your products and services on their profiles, and you will gain the benefits of free online marketing.
The dedicated security team of Drupal is liable to resolve the reported security issues for core code hosted on drupal.org, to provide security expertise and review code for any vulnerability. The team regularly publishes SA’s (Security Advisories) that divulge vulnerabilities in Drupal and modules and provide solutions in form of mitigation instructions, patches and updated versions. Moreover, the Drupal development community has multiple forums dedicated completely to providing best security strategies for your system.
Today, is there any bigger target than the US White House? Whitehouse.gov website was developed and powered by Drupal. If the US government trusts Drupal, so you can too, isn’t it?
This is “the feature” of Drupal that makes it the best choice for your ecommerce website, defeating other open source platforms like Magento and Joomla.
Drupal boasts of a sophisticated yet extremely simple caching architecture. Page elements like views, content, forms and blocks are all cached to alleviate the amount of processing needed for each page request. With caching turned on, Drupal installation can support a high number of simultaneous users.
So, for extremely high traffic ecommerce websites, Drupal Memcached Module utilizes an algorithm to save the most repeatedly accessed WebPages in RAM in order to serve them from cache with minimum of processing.
Drupal is incredibly innovative! The Drupal community is active and agile incorporating every new-fangled technology in Drupal. Drupal was the first open source to incorporate responsive themes; it was Drupal that first began using online editing, which is a technology available in Drupal 7 and in upcoming Drupal 8 as well. Online editing allows the user to edit the content of the website without the need to go into the admin panel. From the front-end, when the user come across a mistake or a typo, he needs to just click on the edit button and he can rectify or change anything live.
Furthermore, there are antispam mechanisms such as Mollon, which I would recommend you to have a look; they are highly advanced and very helpful to the users. Also, Symfony2 is the next big to watch out for in Drupal. It is PHP framework created by some other community, which now is incorporated in Drupal 8 and in a way merges these two communities so as to make things faster.
I think, now you know clearly why use Drupal for ecommerce website?
For me, Drupal is a perfect platform to built ecommerce website, as it can play a significant role in the business growth. Your customers can easily find your ecommerce site with search engine friendly WebPages that boosts their shopping experience. Moreover, with thousands of free plugins you gain the power to integrate more functions and features into your website, so to offer more customers benefits.
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