Drupal Glossary

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Absolute Link/URL: An absolute link is a hyperlink containing a full URL, which includes all the information needed to find a particular site, page or document or another addressable item on the Internet. If you are linking from one page to another on the same website, do not use an absolute link; use a relative link. A relative URL is any URL that doesn't explicitly specify the protocol (e.g., " http:// " or " https:// ") and/or domain ( www.example.com ), which forces the visitor's web browser (or the search engine bots) to assume it refers to the same site on which the URL appears. See your IT representative or ask a UNT Drupal trainer, should you have questions about these important differences in the links.

Accessibility and Alt Tags: The required alt attribute specifies an alternate text for an image if the image cannot be displayed or the person accessing the pages uses a screen reader. The video Section 508, Accessibility and the Law in the U.S. provides a review of the requirements.

Account: Users create accounts by registering on the site or receiving log-in information (username andpassword) from a site administrator. When the user is logged in under that account, any content he or she creates in the future will be associated with them.

Anonymous: A visitor to a Drupal website who is not currently logged in. Drupal considers any such visitor as being the anonymous user, with the user ID 0, and belonging to the anonymous user role.

Associated Press Stylebook or AP Stylebook: You may look on Wikipedia for a quick definition, but still wonder what it has to do with your website at UNT. The first reference source for University of North Texas style is the Associated Press Stylebook. For posting longer documents to the web – more than 13 pages in length, The Chicago Manual of Style may be used. For material not covered by the AP Stylebook, URCM directs us to use Webster’s New World College Dictionary, fourth edition, for spelling, style, usage and foreign geographic names. UNT online access to the AP Stylebook. Available at Barnes and Noble. UNT Drupal Training handout.


Basic page: One of two content types that are enabled in the standard installation profile. Typically, basic pages are used for static content that can (but are not required to) be linked into the main navigation bar.

Base theme: A well-written set of CSS and template files that a theme developer can make use of in a new custom theme. Theme developers can make sub themes to override the default base theme. The base themes included with our Drupal distro are ZURB Foundation and Seven.

Block: The boxes visible in the regions of a Drupal website. Most blocks are generated on-the-fly by variousDrupal modules, but they can be created in the administer blocks area of a Drupal site.


Cache:The core Drupal cache stores assembled pages and blocks for anonymous visitors in the cache tables in the database.

Cascading Style Sheets, CSS: The standard method for styling content in markup languages, such as HTML5. Think of HTML as the structure of your house, while CSS is the paint, photos, curtains and other decorations that add your personal touch. At UNT, the CSS is usually managed by URCM's Web Content Management Systems team, also called the Web Development Center, WDC.

Central Web Services, CWS: part of the Information Technology Shared Services of University of North Texas System. CWS staff will respond to support requests submitted via the online ticketing system at https://ithelp.untsystem.edu. The CWS team provides web hosting and support of informational, public-facing websites for appropriate campus entities free of charge. Appropriate entities include colleges, departments, administrative units, professors and professional organizations. Use a ServiceNow ticket to reach CWS.

Content: In this case, content refers to the purest form of the information we are trying to share with the world. The content of an electronic book is the text contained. The content of an online photo album is the images. Web "content" generally refers to the information in a web page or web application, including:

  • natural information such as text, images, and sounds
  • code or markup that defines the structure, presentation, etc.

Content Management System, CMS or WCMS: A web system designed to facilitate the creation, organization and display of web content from single or multiple creators. It is a software system that provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages to create and manage website content with relative ease.

Content Permissions: For a site with multiple authors, the CMS can allow authority for parts of the site to be delegated to various people. Some actions, such as unauthorized modifications or accidental deletions, can be reduced by restricting access on a per-user basis.

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. Content types can have different fields and modules can define their own content types. The core Drupal Book and Poll modules are two examples of modules that define content types.

Cron: A command scheduler that executes commands or scripts (e.g. scripts to back up a database) automatically at specified time and date intervals. Drupal uses a “cron job” to perform periodic tasks that help Drupal to run smoothly and efficiently.


D7: Drupal 7. Version 7 of Drupal, which includes any minor version, e.g. Drupal 7.54.

Distribution, also known as “distro”: A single downloadable archive containing Drupal core, contributed modules, themes, and pre-defined configuration. A distribution provides site features and functions for a specific type of site. They make it possible to quickly set up a complex, use-specific site in fewer steps than if installing and configuring elements individually.

Drush: Short for “Drupal shell”. A command line shell and scripting interface for Drupal. CWS uses Drush to manage Drupal sites on its Linux servers.


Entity: Any defined chunk of data in Drupal. This includes things like nodes, users, taxonomy terms, files, etc. Contributed modules can define custom entities. Each entity type can have multiple bundles.


Feature: Drupal configuration exported into code using the Features module. In Drupal 7, Features has become the standard way of exporting and versioning configuration that is stored in the database so that it can be moved from development to quality assurance, QA, to production in a repeatable manner. The WDC Basic Page and WDC Hero Feature are features in the Drupal distro.

Field: Elements of data that can be attached to a node or other Drupal entities. Fields commonly contain text, image, or terms.

Filter: A tool for stripping out HTML, PHP, JavaScript, and other undesirable elements from content before pages are displayed. Other filters add formatting and features, such as smilies.


Help Desk: see UIT Help Desk.

HTML5: Published in October 2014, HTML5 is a markup language that uses elements called tags to structure and present web-based content across the World Wide Web. It is designed to be easily readable, expandable and powerful. Hypertext means machine readable text and means to structure it in a specific format.So, HTML is called hypertext and markup language because it is a language that allows users to organize, improve the appearance of, and link text with data on the internet. HTML is an application of SGML, Standard Generalized Markup Language, and allows an author to omit certain tags and use attribute minimization.

XTML:  XHTML, is an application of XML (Extensible Markup Language) that doesn’t permit the omission of any tags or the use of attribute minimization. However, it provides a shorthand notation for empty elements—for example, we could use <br/> instead of <br></br>—which HTML does not.


Information Manager: An "information manager" may be designated from among the department heads, deans, or directors that report to an information owner. An information manager is permitted to change the website content.

Information Owner: An "information owner" is a full-time staff or faculty member responsible for business functions and for determining controls and access to information and information resources supporting that business function. The appropriate senior administrator (vice president, president, provost, or chancellor) is the information owner for all websites publishing official information created or maintained by his or her area of responsibility.

Input format: A tool for defining the processing that happens to user-entered text before it is shown in the browser. Usually different user roles are given permission to use different input formats depending on how much they are trusted.


JavaScript: A dynamic, interpreted, high-level language that is easily read and run in every modern web browser. Alongside HTML and CSS, JavaScript – standardized as ECMAScript, is considered one of the big three core technologies used in the production content for the web. Employed by a majority of websites, JavaScript is a scripting language that typically runs in the browser and makes web pages dynamic and interactive.


Library: A library of code from a third party. (In our distro, the Plupload integration module is dependent on the Plupload library, which is a “cross-browser multi-runtime file uploading API” from Ephox.)

Log: A list of recorded events. A log may contain usage data, performance data, errors, warnings and operational information. Drupal’s even
ts are logged by the modules dblog and syslog.


Managed Web Hosting Service: A "managed web hosting service" is a web-hosting service maintained by a designated custodian employed full time by either the university or the UNT System, as defined in the section of Policy 14.002, Functional Roles.

Menu: In Drupal, the term 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.

Module: A Drupal module is a collection of files containing some functionality and is written in PHP. Because the module code executes within the context of the site, it can use all the functions and access all variables and structures of Drupal core. / Code that extends Drupal features and functionality (but doesn't provide the HTML markup or styling of a theme). Drupal core comes with required (pre-installed) modules and some of which are optional. Thousands of non-core or “contrib” modules are listed in Drupal.org’s project directory.


Node: 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 specific content type, and can additionally be classified using the taxonomy system. Examples of nodes are polls, stories, book pages and images.


Office Hours: NOTE: Drupal Office Hours were canceled in lieu of Drupal Training as of April 20, 2017. Previously, Drupal Office Hours were conducted weekly by ITSS Central Web Services and URCM so UNT faculty, staff and students working on a UNT-hosted website could attend "to talk through your Drupal and web development issues in person." Sessions usually are attended by various team members from CWS and URCM's Web Content Management Systems.

Official Information: "Official information" refers to the governing or authoritative documents of the university or information that is published as part of the normal course of University business.


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

Permission: In Drupal, a permission is a tool for controlling access to content creation, modification and site administration at the application level. Administrators assign permissions to roles (such as “Administrator”, “Authenticated User” and “Anonymous User”), then assign users to those roles. The first user of a Drupal site (user1) automatically receives all permissions. (The “cws” user account is user1 in the distro.)

Personal Publishers: "Personal publishers" are individuals at the university who publish web content unrelated to those individuals' official work role at the university. Examples of such information include student pages, faculty curriculum vitae that are published independently of departmental faculty information, and staff members' pages that represent personal information such as hobbies.

PHP, Hypertext Preprocessor: Is a general-purpose scripting language that quickly became the de facto server-side language of choice for web developers after its initial release in 1995. Today, a majority of sites on the web run on PHP, due in large part to its popularity as the back-end of content management systems, CMS, such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.

Published: The state of a node that can be viewed by visitors to the website. To easily hide nodes from the public (i.e. anonymous role), go to the add/edit form of the node and uncheck the “Published” select box. This effectively un-publishes the node.


Region: Defined areas of a page where content can be placed. Basic regions include: Header, Footer, Content, Left sidebar, Right Sidebar. Content is assigned to regions via blocks. They can be ordered by weight within regions to define the order in which they display. Content with a more negative weight, such as-10, will appear above content with a more positive weight, such as 1.

Role: A name for a group of users, to whom you can collectively assign permissions. There are two predefined, locked roles for every new Drupal installation: authenticated user (anyone with an account on the site) and anonymous user (those who haven't yet created accounts or are not logged in). Additional roles can be created and users can belong to more than one.

RSS: Really Simple Syndication. 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 web site or the full text. RSS is one of the many ways of connecting a Drupal website with external sites, systems and data. (In our distro, the WDC Feeds module/feature allows users to easily set up RSS and iCal feeds on their D7 site with presets for common UNT feeds.


Styleguide, or UNT Styleguide: Although much of the material is covered in the AP Stylebook, this guide is a quick reference for items that are used or misused frequently or are exceptions to AP. In some areas, such as marketing, news, or web production, a different style is used in some instances and are noted in the UNT Styleguide.

If you look at the UNT Identity Guide, you will find a page about using the UNT Styleguide for writers. UNT communicators may access the style guide through the UNT Fact Site by entering a valid EUID and password. Suggestion: download the style guide for use on your desktop and check back periodically to ensure you have a current edition!

Sub-theme: Basically, a custom (child) theme that inherits certain attributes from a base (parent) theme, such as style sheets, template files, functions and overrides. (In our distro, the “UNT Foundation” theme is both a sub-theme of the “ZURB Foundation” base theme and a base theme of the “UNT Sub” sub-theme.)


Taxonomy: A powerful core module that gives your site use of the organizational keywords known in other systems as categories, tags, or metadata. It allows you to connect, relate and classify your site’s content. In Drupal, these terms are gathered within “vocabularies”. The Taxonomy module allows you to create, manage and apply those vocabularies.

Teaser: A short introductory sentence or paragraph about a piece of content that informs readers about the subject of the content. By default, the first paragraph or two of the content is used (there is a setting for how much), usually with a link to the complete node

Term: An organizational key word, known in other systems as categories or metadata. A term is a label that can be applied to a node. They are also known as tags.

Theme: A collection of templates files, configuration files and asset files (JavaScript, CSS, images, fonts) which together determine the look and feel of a site. A theme contains elements such as the header, icons, block layout, etc.


Unit: A "Unit" is any individual, college, department, administrative unit, research group, or other organization formally associated with the university or UNT System.

UIT Help Desk: The UIT Help Desk team contributes to accomplishing the university’s mission by providing information technology user support. University IT is called upon to deliver and coordinate computing and electronic information resources in support of university-wide initiatives as well as to meet specific operational needs of supported departments. Call, click or come by the Help Desk: 940-565-2324, Email, Sage Hall, Room 330. Check for hours of operation on the website.

User: The user interacting with Drupal. This user is either anonymous or logged into Drupal through its account.

User Interface, UI: In information technology, the user interface, often called the UI, is everything designed into an information device with which a person may interact. This can include display screens, keyboards, a mouse and the appearance of a desktop. It is also the way through which a user interacts with an application or a website.


Varnish: A web application accelerator also known as a caching HTTP reverse proxy, which is installed in front of a web server and configured to cache its contents. CWS uses Varnish to cache the contents of its hosted sites, which can significantly improve site performance for anonymous users.

Views: A module which allows site developers a graphical interface for creating lists of various Drupal entities; most notably users and nodes. Views permits selection of specific fields to display, filtration against various attributes, choice of basic layout options, e.g. list, full entities, teasers, and other more advanced features.


Web Hosting Service A "web hosting service" is a collection of server software providing remote storage and delivery of website content.

Web Services of the Division of URCM: 

Web Content Team: coordinates and executes content across UNT’s home page and second-level pages, collaborates with Recruitment Marketing to maintain content on top-level sites including Admissions, Tours, Transfer and Apply; produces the weekly InHouse e-newsletter for faculty and staff and helps ensure that UNT’s story is told in a cohesive, coordinated manner across all top digital properties.

Web Development Team: creates web pages and other digital assets in support of URCM projects, student recruitment campaigns and other university-level initiatives, including the main unt.edu website, UNT’s web brand identity and the official UNT Drupal theme. 

Website: A "website" is a collection of web pages containing information, forms, or interactive tools related to a unit and/or service, having its own home page (index page), unique web address, distinct business function, or a navigational structure that differs from its parent site (such as an academic department's website that is part of a college or school parent site).

Website Builder: A "website builder" is the individual, or representative of a group of individuals, who builds and develops a website, including architecture, functionality, and other components which are maintained by a website custodian. The website builder is designated by the website custodian and may be the same individual.

Website Building Tool:  A "website building tool" is a software application intended, at least in part, to facilitate the development and maintenance work involved in publishing a website, enabling the website maintainer to perform day-to-day content management tasks without extensive technical training or experience.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, WCAG: These are documents developed through the W3C process in cooperation with individuals and organizations around the world, with a goal of proving a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations and governments internationally.

The WCAG documents explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Web "content" generally refers to the information in a web page or web application, including:

  • natural information such as text, images, and sounds
  • code or markup that defines the structure, presentation, etc.

Website Custodian: A "website custodian" is the full-time staff member assigned by the information owner or information manager to oversee the development and maintenance of a website.

Website Maintainer: A "website maintainer" is the individual responsible for the day-to-day content management and maintenance duties necessary for a particular website, as determined by the website custodian. The website maintainer is designated by the website custodian and may be the same individual.

WYSIWYG: pronounced wizz-ee-wig, it is an acronym for What You See Is What You Get. In computing, a WYSIWYG editor is a system in which content, such as text and graphics, can be edited in a form closely resembling its appearance when printed or displayed as a finished product, such as a printed document, web page, or slide presentation.