Drupal is one of the most popular CMS solutions for PHP, its structure fast and very flexible make it the choice of many popular websites. Drupal is a Collaborative Book letting you setup a project or “book” that needs to be written and then authorize other individuals to contribute content; with friendly urls, modular structure, online help and Open Source !
Drupal could be easily personalized, in addition to a strong Role based permission system. Users can register and authenticate locally or using an external authentication source like Jabber, Blogger, LiveJournal or another Drupal website. For use on an intranet, Drupal can integrate with an LDAP server.
In the Content management side Drupal offers all the necessary to manage content such Polls, templating, Threaded comments, version control … Drupal also support Blogger API which make it the choice of many bloggers too. The Blogger API allows your Drupal site to be updated by many different tools. This includes non-web browser based tools that provide a richer editing environment.
Drupal exports your site’s content in RDF/RSS format for others to gather. This lets anyone with a “News Aggregator” such as NetNewsWire or Radio UserLand browse your Drupal site from the comfort of their desktop. In addition to its News aggregator, Drupal has a powerful built-in News Aggregator for reading and blogging news from other sites. The News Aggregator caches articles to your MySQL database and its caching time is user configurable.
Drupal is multi-plateform supporting Apache or IIS, Unix / Linux / BSD / Solaris / Windows / Mac OS X, and thanks to its database abstraction it can support MySQL, PostgreSQL or even other SQL database servers.
Drupal is designed to meet the requirements of an international audience and provides a full framework to create a multi-lingual website, blog, content management system or community application. All text can be translated using a graphical user interface, by importing existing translations, or by integrating with other translation tools such as the GNU gettext.
In the administration, Drupal offers Analysis, Tracking and Statistics and can print browser-based reports with information about referrals, content popularity and how visitors navigate your site.All important activities and system events are captured in an event log to be reviewed by an administrator at a later time. Thanks to its Web based administration, Drupal can be administered entirely using a web browser, making it possible to access it from around the world and requires no additional software to be installed on your computer.
Drupal have a builtin Discussion forums which make it community enabled with a Full discussion forum features to create lively, dynamic community sites.
Finally, thanks to its Caching mechanism, Drupal eliminates database queries increasing performance and reducing the server’s load. Not only can the caching be tuned in real time, while your site is under load, but it has been successfully tested under a “slashdotting” and performed extremely well.
Drupal is certainly one of the powerful and very popular CMS solutions in PHP, but this have been said, it still very difficult to use and manage for newbies and people very new to Drupal system. The management of Drupal is difficult and not intuitive, and require lot of attention in the beginning and consulting of documentation.
Everything is available in documentation, but I suggest you to get the Drupal Book as reference, by Packt Publishing, it will be certainly a great documentation to create your online community with Drupal.