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Drupal is a CMS-based website development tool, built around Apache, PHP and MySQL.
As it has a modular approach for functionality and design, it can be adjusted to any need and any taste. You can use it for websites, webshops, forums, blogs, and so on.

For the beginner, it brings a lot of advantages: you don’t need programming skills. But you need to understand websites on internet so that you add the correct functionality, (although this can be changed afterward or at any time).
For the advanced user, it leaves a lot of room to change the code to fine-tune functions.

Drupal is free and completely community driven. People are contributing all the time by building new modules that enhance or expand the features.
This has also a downside: modules sometimes have dependency on other modules. And all modules are constantly under development and are regularly being updated. This can brake code or corrupt the cooperation of modules.
And this can be pretty frustrating…
Fixing broken code really depends on the goodwill of those developers who are maintaining the modules, and sometimes this may take a while.

There are hundreds of themes available so you can give your site any look you want.
But there’s always that ‘I’ve seen that before’ feeling.
Of course, you can create your own theme from scratch or adjust an existing one.
But, due to lack of any documentation whatsoever, this can become a nightmare for the beginner.

As with all open-source software, you will have to decide: do you want to use someone else’s development, and get started quickly and focus on your core purpose for the site? Or are you willing to spend a lot of time in programming and developing so you can get that special look or feature that you really want?

For myself, the learning curve was steep, and I was really frustrated time to time.
But now I think it’s worthwhile, as I learned plenty of new things.

What did I use? Drupal 6.x with the Marinelli theme. Further Imachecache, CCK and Views. Picture display with Stella's Lightbox2 and Albums by using James Tombs' method.

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