Glossary and Terminology

A selected list of Drupal terminology is provided below. A full list of Drupal terminology is also available.

Site Admin

The Site Admin role for a Drupal site at Appalachian has default permissions to create content and authorize content created by users with the Author role to be posted on the site.

Anchor Link

An anchor link is a link on a page that takes you to a specific place on that page. Anchor links can be helpful when you want to bring a website visitor to a specific location on a page.

Anonymous User

The Anonymous user role (not logged in) is supplied by default with Drupal installations.

Authenticated User

The Authenticated user role (logged in) is supplied by default with Drupal installations.


The Author role for a Drupal site at Appalachian has default permissions to create content that must be authorized by a Moderator or Administrator before it is posted on the site.


Blocks are a method for positioning content within a page. They often contain lists of nodes or other navigational content and are frequently placed in the left or right regions of a page. Assignment to a region is specified through the admin settings. Blocks themselves are not nodes. You can specify that a block only appears on certain pages or in certain contexts. 


A book is a set of book pages tied together in a hierarchical sequence, perhaps with chapters, sections, subsections, and so on. You can use books for manuals, site resource guides, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), or other paginated content.


Breadcrumb is a term borrowed from Hansel and Gretel, who left crumbs of bread along their path so they could find their way back out of the forest. In current computer parlance, it refers to the section, usually near the top of the page, that shows the path you followed to locate the current page. For example, it might show Home > Macadamia Nuts > Current Events > News Articles, meaning that you started on the home page, clicked on "Macadamia Nuts" in the menu, then selected "Current Events" in the sub-menu, and finally selected, "News Articles."


A browser is an application used to display content from the Internet. Examples are Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. This operates on the client, or user, side of the presentation.


Used to describe objects that can have hierarchical relationships, such as menu items, book pages, taxonomy terms and so on. A child menu item, for example, is nested under another menu item, which is referred to as the parent menu item.


With comments enabled for a node, users can contribute to the content by leaving a response. Comment settings for the node are available on the edit tab. Who can comment and administer comments is determined by permissions.


Often erroneously used in Drupal documentation as a synonym for node, content refers generically to the text, images, and other information on a website. Some content on a typical Drupal site is not actually a node, such as comments that are attached to nodes, and file attachments.

Content Type

Every node belongs to a single 'node type' or 'content type,' which defines various default settings for nodes of that type, such as whether the node is published automatically and whether comments are permitted. Modules can define their own content types; the core Drupal book module is an example of a module that defines a content type.

Core, Drupal Core

Refers to the Drupal files and modules included with the Drupal project download.


Filters are used to strip out HTML, PHP, JavaScript, and other undesirable elements from content before pages are displayed. It is possible to create custom filters that allow or forbid only specified tags.

Front Page

The content displayed when a user navigates to the root address of a site (e.g., is the front or home page. 


HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the standardized language of the web. It has its own "vocabulary," consisting of tags, elements, and descriptors. A tag is the basic component and is used to say, "The following content is to be displayed according to these rules." An example of a tag is a level one heading (<h1>).


A log is a list of recorded events. A log may contain usage data, performance data, errors, warnings and operational information. Watchdog is Drupal's primary event log.


In Drupal, the term menu refers both to the clickable navigational elements on a page and to Drupal's internal system for handling requests. When a request is sent to Drupal, the menu system uses the provided URL to determine what functions to call.


A module is a way to extend the functionality of Drupal. It is usually a lot of programmed code (usually in PHP) and, usually, a style sheet (CSS). For example, if you want to include meta tags to describe your content, you would add on the nodewords module (also known as meta tags).


A node is a piece of content in Drupal, typically corresponding to a single page on the site, that has a title, an optional body, and perhaps additional fields. Every node also belongs to a particular content type, and can additionally be classified using the taxonomy system. Examples of nodes are polls, stories, book pages, images, etc.


In Drupal, page is a content type used for static information.


Used to describe objects that can have hierarchical relationships, such as menu items, book pages, taxonomy terms and so on. A parent menu item, for example, may have submenu items; an item on the submenu is referred to as a child menu item.


In Drupal terms, path is the unique, last part of the URL for a specific function or piece of content. For instance, for a page whose full URL is , the path is node/7.


Permissions control access to content creation, modification and site administration at the application level. Administrators assign permissions to roles, then assign roles to users. The first user ID (uid) of a Drupal site (uid=1) automatically receives all permissions, no matter what role that user belongs to. Any anonymous user has uid=0 (see also anonymous).


Some elements on the website are positioned in reference to the regions of the page: for example, left sidebar, header, content (area). The regions are defined by the theme.


Roles are sets of permissions that can be applied to individual users. Two roles, authenticated user (a user who logs in) and anonymous user (not logged in) are supplied by default with Drupal installations. Permissions are set for each role, and every user with an account (able to log in) is assigned one or more roles. Other roles in the Appalachian installation of Drupal include Root and Site Admin.


The Root role for a Drupal site at Appalachian has the highest level of permissions to control user access and configure the site.


RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts. An RSS document (which is called a feed or web feed or channel) contains either a summary of content (teaser) from an associated website or the full text.


Taxonomy is literally "the science of classification". The Drupal taxonomy system enables authorized users to categorize content using both tags and administrator-defined terms. It is a flexible tool for classifying content with many advanced features. Further information can be found within the taxonomy system documentation.

  • Term: A category or tag or keyword, i.e., what gets assigned to nodes. Terms can be structured as children and parents to create hierarchies.
  • Vocabulary: A collection of terms that share some sort of relationship with each other. The vocabulary isn't part of any hierarchy as such.
  • Taxonomy: The name of the whole system and the name of the module that implements it. In some versions of Drupal, that is also the name of the menu item in the admin menu.
  • Category: A synonym for taxonomy, and the name of the menu item in some versions of Drupal.


A teaser is a short, enticing phrase about the asset (page) to encourage readers to visit the full story. By default, the first paragraph or two of the page content is used, usually displayed above a "read more..." link.


A theme is a means of manipulating and describing how you want your content displayed to your visitors. This includes elements such as your header, icons, block layout, etc. It also includes programming and style sheets.


A URL (Universal Resource Locator) is the address, or full path, of a resource (such as a page of content) on the web. It is the way the web browser locates your content or site. You will see the URL listed in the address bar on your browser.


A contributed module which allows site developers a simple graphical interface for modifying the presentation of content. Views permits selection of specific fields to display, filtration against various node attributes, choice of basic layout options (ie. list, full nodes, teasers, etc.), and other more advanced features. Many Drupal sites use views extensively.


Weight is a property for elements in Drupal to define the priority with which a function is processed or the sort order that a block / node is displayed. From Drupal 6, the weight field is adjusted dynamically using a drag-and-drop interface. NOTE: A lower weight value (-10) will float to the top of lists while heavier (+10) weights will appear lower in lists.


WYSIWYG is an acronym for What You See Is What You Get, used in computing to describe a text editor that shows the formatting as it is applied, so what you see in the editor looks like what you get when it is published.