With Drupal, there is no need to reinvent the wheel — the wheels are already in full motion! The vigorous community has created tons of ready-made elements that make web development easier, quicker and cheaper. What’s not covered by them can be custom-made to fulfill whatever your heart desires. A great example are the contributed modules that Drupal has for all purposes, with custom ones being built for special features (see ready-made vs. custom-made modules). Today, we’ll consider one more example — Drupal distributions, and particularly OpenFed. So let’s set the wheels turning and look at some more details!
Drupal distributions and their mission
Distributions are pre-configured Drupal versions that include the core, specific modules, themes, libraries, etc. They can serve as awesome starter kits for site builders and developers. Distributions help them quickly set up even complex websites in specific fields (business, non-profit, government, corporate, blogging, social, and more), since many of them are specifically tailored to these uses. They can also be very suitable for website migrations from older versions.
After installing a distribution, you can continue configuration and customization and reduce the overall development time and costs.
In addition, these “kits” allow you to compare various options and present demos to customers. When it comes to newbie drupalers, they are also a great help to let people practice site building.
A great example: OpenFed distribution
Examples are worth a thousand words, so we will now focus our attention on OpenFed, a Belgium-made multi-purpose and multilingual distribution. It is very well suited for sites for public administrations, campaigns, events, and more. In Belgium, its motherland, OpenFed has become a kind of standard for government websites.
Let’s take a look at the contents of OpenFed. It includes:
- A set of content types for meetings, job postings, photo galleries, etc.
- Support for cool search tools
- A set of layout customization modules
- A set of security modules
OpenFed for Drupal 7 and Drupal 8
OpenFed is available for both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8. If you are using Drupal 7, you need to be equipped with PHP 5.3.5 or higher, set your PHP memory limit to 192-320M, and never forget to enable HTTPS on your web server. As far as Drupal 8 is concerned, there is a major recommendation to use Composer for installing OpenFed as well as maintaining your project.
OpenFed: development or migration
Our experience shows that building new websites and migrating old ones on the basis of OpenFed can be a very neat, convenient, time and cost-efficient decision, and strongly appreciated by customers.
Distribution or not?
In any case, the choice of whether to rely on a Drupal distribution like OpenFed or another distribution, as opposed to working with a clean slate, depends on several factors. They include: how relevant or similar your project is to the distribution “sample,” how much customization you need, what the distribution can give you, etc. You also need to choose the distributions actively maintained by the community, so you will always have smooth update processes.
Our experienced web developers are here to advise you on this issue. Just tell us about your website’s needs, and we will offer you an ideally proportioned cocktail of ready elements and customization, of rational costs and unique functionality. Luckily, Drupal allows us to make such a mix. Get it now! ;)