Sherri commented, “I’m really curious about Drupal and a little confused with how you will use it with your website.”
It occurs to me that perhaps I have been mumbling a little too incoherently of late, so let me try to explain what Drupal is:
Drupal is a content management system, meaning roughly that it’s a way that many people can potentially contribute content to the same site. What kind of content? Potentially anything – a photo gallery, news articles, classified ads, forum posts – from the CMS’s point of view, it’s all content and what it does is organize and display it neatly.
WordPress (which is what I use for this blog) is a content management system that’s specialized for blogging. With Drupal, you get much more ability to manage users and the things they can do, and the kinds of content they can contribute. You can do news articles, you can do blog entries, you can do static pages (like most of the pages on my website), you can post in a forum, and so on. I haven’t really done more than scratch the surface of what Drupal can do, and I’m pretty darned impressed already. It is more flexible than the other content management systems I’ve seen.
Anyway, there are a couple of features I’d like to create for this handweavers’ resource site. the biggest one is to provide a place for people to post their projects (finished or in progress) so others can see and possibly benefit from them. I’d also like to be able to have one or more pages where people can post interesting links, somewhere they can post announcements of events. I’d like to create forums to discuss topics related to weaving. Let people rate and comment on weaving products. Classified ads. And oh so many more things that I haven’t thought up yet.
Anyway, the nice part of using a content management system is that it potentially handles much of the boring or troublesome stuff for you. Most CMS’s, for example, have some sort of unified login so you only need to log in once. They handle user permissions (who can edit what). Most of them have some sort of forums module so you can create discussion forums in about five minutes’ work. Many of them have a news module so you can have a news feed on the site, and let people contribute articles. They have blogging functionality.
My aim is to create a handweavers’ community and resource site, in somewhat the same way that Ravelry is a knitting community and resource site. It will never be as slick as Ravelry, mostly because they have one full-time developer and I have me (not to be mistaken for a developer, and certainly not working on the project full time), but I’m hoping I can create something useful nonetheless.
I originally thought to code some of this myself as a way to learn PHP and MySQL, but it was really too big a project to attempt on my own. With Drupal (or another CMS), I think I’ve got a decent shot at it.