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Drupal Terms

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Part of the mystique and learning curve of Drupal is the terminology. Here is a list of the most common terms which are explained in more detail on other pages.

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Key Terms

Page A web page is a collection of content which may be static or may be dynamically generated. A page is divided into regions. Regions hold blocks, which hold content.
Theme A theme is a pre-designed layout for a site. In addition to fonts, colors and other design elements, themes control the page layout through regions and blocks. Drupal Cloud offers a number of themes. The default theme for a new Drupal Cloud site is the MIT DLC theme. You can modify the design of your theme through the Appearance options screen.
Region A web page in Drupal is divided into regions which allow you to place your content in a particular area of the page.
Block A block is a collection of content, for example a menu which may be placed into a region. The default menu block is located in the sidebar first region. Blocks are easily moved from region to region.
Node A node is a unit of content stored in Drupal’s database and is accessible through a unique URL. A node may be a page, a blog post, a news article, etc.

In the example shown here, you see the Main page content block in Main Content region in the middle. You also see content (the MIT logo) and the Touchstone Login block (Shibboleth authentication) block in the Footer region. The content in each of these regions and blocks are considered to be individual nodes.

two nodes on a Drupal page

Additional Terms

Content Type A content type is a arrangement of related fields. Each content type will always have a title field and several other fields. The type of fields included give the content type its unique character. For example, a Basic page content type has a title and a body field. A News content type has a title and a body field but also a date field. Some content types have already been defined for you to choose from when adding new data to your site. You can also create a new content type if you need to.
Module A module is an add-on which provides specialized functionality to Drupal. Some modules are already components of Drupal. Others are developed by the user community and made available to you through the Drupal Cloud service.
Role Roles are account types you can create to specify access rules about what pages and features a specific user type can see or use. Roles are first created and then granted permissions by the site administrator. Then roles are assigned by the site administrator to individual users.
Taxonomy A taxonomy is a label or tag you create and assign to a node or content type. Taxonomies provide a way to group similar types of information.

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IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

May 04, 2016

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