The Language of Drupal

The amount of technical terms in use on the internet is amazing. The difficulty that can arise is that some words in common usage are appropriated by the internet (and Drupal) to mean other things and can be used to explain them when in technical discussions. The purpose of this document is to give some useful tips on using these words, what they mean and how you can better understand their function. Where appropriate I have also referred to the fictitious land of Drupalworld, where everything related to Drupal is better explained with reference to Drupal.

API (Application Programming Interface)*

API is a technical term used to explain how computer programs can talk to each other. It can be very useful for computers to have a common language/way that they can talk to each other and APIs attempt to solve this. Inside Drupalworld, we have ways of letting different parts of Drupal talk to each other, this is commonly known as the Drupal API.


A block is a piece of [content] that can be positioned in different [regions] on your site. Normally this is supplementary to the main content.

Breadcrumbs show the active trail of where you are in a website normally leading back to the homepage suggesting the shape/hierarchy of content in your site.


Cache is a small amount of memory set apart in your site for undertaking repetitive tasks. This can be running a process like adding two numbers together or serving back a web page. Loading things from cache is faster than loading from databases or normal memory.


Content management systems exist to give non-developers easier ways to show content on the Internet.

Command Line*

Command line is a terminal interface with the computer. Simplified, command line is a style of operating system that controls the computer by inputting text commands, rather than clicking on graphics or a graphical user interface.


Content is the text, image and categorisation of all the things in your site. May also be referred to as data.

Content Type (Node Type)

Content Types are used to structure the data on your site. A content type is a collection of [‘fields’] which store various items of content.

Core (Drupal Core)

Core or Drupal Core is the basic part of Drupal. It provides basic data handling and storage capabilities, but for most uses will need to be extended using extra [modules].


Cron is a process that runs at regular time intervals. Cron can be run on your computer and within a Drupal website.


A database is a tool used to store data/content. Normally it will store all of the data (excluding images/files) of your site.


Drush is a Command Line program that provides various useful commands for administering Drupal websites.


An entity is a grouping of data inside your Drupal site. Examples of entities include [nodes], [users], and [blocks]. ​


Fields are the configurable parts of your content. They can be text, images, numbers or links to other bits of content/data.


Git is a version control system used widely on the internet. Version control gives you that ability to store revisions of the code of your site. This is helpful in making it more secure and documenting changes.


Pronounced goo­ey GUI is an acronym for ​Graphical ​User ​Interface. This is an interface that allows the user to process/complete tasks in a more visual way than on [command line].


HTML is an acronym for ​ Hyper​ Text ​Markup Language. This is the language that is used to show images, text and such like on the internet. You can normally see the HTML of a page by right clicking somewhere on the page and selecting ‘view source’.


Logs are used to track events on your computer. Drupal keeps various logs of actions that occur on the website.


A library is a group of other files that are used by the website to provide extra functionality.

A common library in usage on the internet is jQuery, which provides more flexibility when designing user interfaces.

Menus are the normal links to content/pages within your site.


Drupal modules are components that are used to extend the functionality of Drupal. They can be used to introduce a massive range of different features.In Drupalworld, whatever your needs, chances are that “There’s a module for that!”.


A node is an instance of a [content type]. They are formed by the data held in their fields and are often displayed in [views].

Page (Basic Page)*

On the internet a page is normally used to describe a single URL or link, however, within Drupal world “pages” are normally a collection of nodes, menus, views and terms with links to them.

Path (URL)*

Paths are much like links. They are the text that you can see in the address bar of a browser.

By using the path the site knows what data you want to be returned.


Permissions are used within Drupal to allow users to access different parts of the site. These are normally controlled by different user [roles].


Regions are used within a [theme] ​to position different bits of content/data on a web page.


Roles are normally used in collaboration with permissions to give users access to different parts of the site. Within Drupalworld the default users are anonymous (everyone who is not logged in), authenticated (users who have logged in) and administrators (users who have access to change things on the site).


Taxonomy is used for categorising the content within a Drupal website..

Taxonomy Term (Term)

Taxonomy terms are the specific terms used within categorisation.


A Drupal website’s templates are stored within the [theme] and control the layout of the website.


Themes control the layout and appearance of the Drupal website. They use regions to display blocks or nodes in different locations. They also control visual aspects such as typography, size, colour and styling.


Users are the users of the site. See also ​[roles].


Views is a commonly used Drupal module which is used to display lists of content which can be filtered, searched and ordered with great ease and flexibility. Views can be extended with other [modules] to provide different display options and more functionality.


Pronounced wizz-­e-­wig

WYSIWYG is an acronym for ​What You ​See Is What You​ Get. As all web pages are displayed using HTML, it can be helpful for users to have a more visual way of creating HTML. That’s what a WYSIWYG does. Some WYSIWYG editors are designed so that the controls resemble those of standard word processing software.


Zip/Tar are used to compress the size of files. Normally they are used to both bundle and transfer files between users. Less file size = faster speed.

_* denotes a term that is regularly used outside of Drupalworld_