Introducing Drupal Speak

As our name proclaims, Drupal is the tool of choice for developers here at Drupal Connect. If you’re new to Drupal, the technical language might be confusing. Here are a the most important words in “Drupal-speak” to help you feel more comfortable when you start working with your new site.


Lookup “node” in the dictionary, and the first entry will be read something like a knot, connecting point, or point at which lines intersect or branch. Read more and you might see a reference to computers: a connection point on a computer network.

In Drupal-speak, a node is the basic building block of content. Pages, products, and many forms are all nodes.

Content Types

Nodes have different purposes. To make that happen, developers set up different content types. A content type is a specially built type of node that performs a specific purpose. Each content type has just what it needs. When we are building your site, we work with you to fully understand what you and your visitors need, then develop content types that will meet your needs. Two examples to illustrate:

  • Online store might have these content types: Product and User Guide.
  • Law firm site may have these: Attorney and Location.


Not something you’ll find on a farm, Drupal fields are the building blocks of every node, every content type. When you fill out a form online, each block is a field. When you are creating a new node (remember that’s the basic entity on your site), the editing screen will seem full of blank boxes. What’s entered in each field is saved to a database on the server, then used to build the Web page that the visitor sees.

Just like content types, fields are customized based on your needs. Every node has a title field; and most have a “body” field, which is a fancy word for the meat of the node.


Heading back to the dictionary, you’ll find a definition like this: the science of classification, or classification into ordered categories. Bingo! Here’s one Drupal term that matches a standard definition. Taxonomy is a method of putting content into categories. In Drupal-speak, the top level of categories is known as “vocabulary,” and the sub-categories are called “terms.”

In application, taxonomy terms are basically a kind of “super field.” They can perform special functions for locating and filtering the content that is presented on a Web site. Because of their importance, we’ll work with you to make sure that your Web site’s taxonomy is optimized.

Using Fields and Taxonomy

Here are the fields we might have in the content types we considered earlier:

Online store:

  • Product fields: title (or name), description, price, image, type/category.
  • User Guide fields: the product it’s related to, instructions for assembling the product, instructions for using the product, a PDF file that the visitor can download.

Law firm:

  • Attorney fields: name, credentials, image, location where the attorney works.
  • Location fields: name, address, attorneys that work there.

Two important features to note:

  1. Some fields are related to each other. That’s one feature that makes content management systems like Drupal so powerful. When building your Web site, we set it up so that it’s easy for you to set up those relationships.
  2. Fields might be short text, long text, images, numbers, links or references to another node.

No matter how simple or complex your business needs are, these terms apply to every Drupal site. After Drupal Connect builds your Web site, we’ll teach you how to create content, edit nodes, enter data in fields and even manage taxonomy terms. You’ll know the basics of Drupal-speak and the skills essential to managing your new Web site.

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