Last week, I tried to publish the following question.

What is Drupal designated for, for PHP (Drupal) programmers according to Drupal Association and/or Acquia?

Drupal is the most functional/capable/scalable CMS I know and I also know it is greatly venerated similarly between almost any web developer I met (for about 10 years I know it as scalable in functionality to any other CMS I have used).

My problem

As a non PHP programmer I have a problem of understanding what Drupal programmers (often phrased "Drupal developers") usually do, that cannot be done with the CMS itself.

Given that Drupal:

  • Allows constructing webpage templates with generally any kind of field.
  • Allows complex forms to be created as with the additional module WebForm
  • Allows various context-based condition-reaction parsing modes for webpages, as with the additional module Context
  • Allows pulling data from one or more database tables at once, by one or more modules at once (broad API)
  • Allows pulling data from one or more database tables at once by a single sophisticated core module (Views) that allows displaying such data in varied and/or supplemented ways

My question

Based on the assumption that Drupal Association and/or Acquia listed one or more designations of Drupal for PHP programmers that I as a non PHP programmer might have missed or misunderstood, I ask:

What is Drupal designated for, for PHP (Drupal) programmers according to Drupal Association and/or Acquia?

The worse question was significantly down-voted; I only got a comment from a moderator, which was deleted.

I think this question is important because an answer explaining or alternatively accessing PHP-programmer aimed Drupal designations will help humble webmasters such as myself to broaden our general knowledge around Drupal; furthermore, if one of us starts a job in a company specializing in Drupal development, the smaller the chance we will say or do something absurd.

Why a concise question to understand what Drupal programmers aimed to do, per formal literature, is rejected?


2 Answers 2


I am hanging up my site moderator hat for a moment, so speak as a Drupal developer. I am linking my DO profile just to show my range of experience to add some backup for what I am going to try to say.

You ask a great question, something that I deal with often as I talk to team members and clients. The problem is that it is way too broad. The Acquia Certifications essentially say what each track is supposed to know in a very broad sense, but not really what you can or should do with it. And, if you look at the certifications, there are specializations beyond just "developer". For example, the majority of my expertise is as a back-end developer. I know a lot of the internals about how the rendering system works, but I would never assign myself to front-end tasks, and I am not sure if I could pass the front-end certification.

So, for your basic question, the answer really is

A Drupal Developer does everything to create a website that a Site Builder cannot do from the UI.

And to go along with this, a few years ago, someone was gathering quotes for a presentation about what developers do (I think it was Donna Benjamin for a DrupalCon session). My response was essentially.

My goal as a Drupal developer is to empower a Site Builder to maintain a build a site without ever needing to get me involved again.

And, getting back to your question, it really is almost a Catch-22. Drupal is really a Content Management Framework (I think this is a Dries quote, but I can't find the blog post) and not a Content Management System. In other words, it gives you everything to build a CMS for a particular instance. To do this,

A Drupal Developer programs against the Drupal API to solve the needed task.

It is very hard to describe this to a non-developer.

OK, putting moderator hat back on.

As I started out with, this is a great question. Unfortunetly, it isn't a good fit for Drupal Answers. While we are working on the next iteration of close reasons, the question is

  • Too broad (too many answers)
  • Asking for offsite links (we are still noodling on the wording, but as a community, we do not feel the questions add value to the site in the long run).
  • Possible opinionated, but there is a fine line between expert opinion and open-ended opinion.

Where we are thinking about going with the close reasons is that

  • We don't want questions about where to find off-site resources (we aren't a search engine)
  • We would really like users to do research before coming here (some sites, like History.SE, are very strict with this).

So, my suggestion would be to read through the docs at DO and the Acquia Certification process to try to understand what the difference between a Site-Builder and a Developer is, and then come back here with some questions.


I ask if the current question does fit the website

It doesn’t - it’s much, much too broad for our format.

You’re essentially asking:

What are all the things that Drupal can’t do out of the box, and thus would require programming to achieve.

That is dozens/hundreds/thousands of things, depending on how you want to break it down.

The question you’ve posed would definitely, and rightly in my opinion, be closed as “Needs focus”, quickly. Q+A isn’t the right format for a discussion of this magnitude, we’re looking for simple, small, bitesized bits of knowledge that can be quickly consumed when someone is experiencing a specific, practical problem.

Yes, of course, we get some higher level theory questions as well, and that’s a good thing. But if you read the literature in the help center, I’m sure you’ll appreciate that a question asking to list potentially dozens/hundreds/thousands of items just isn’t a good fit for the site.


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