Drupal Web Services Enables Data Sharing
Building web applications has become a complex task and often requires interaction
with other web applications, such as web services. Drupal is a free and open source
content management system and framework that provides a rich platform for rapid web development. The modular and extensible nature of Drupal allows developers to customize and embrace the core functionality and to create new features.
Drupal was introduced in 2001 with the idea of storing web content in a database instead of putting it into HTML files. Historically the web was a collection of documents linked together statically. But now administrators and web masters were able to add and edit content directly on the site – instead of uploading files with a FTP account to the hosting server, they authenticated on site and performed changes in an administration interface.
Nowadays Drupal has evolved: it is not only a CMS anymore, but has matured into a web framework as well that provides many APIs for developers to easily integrate their customizations and features. There are over 6,000 contributed modules2 on drupal.org that extend or modify the Drupal core system. All of them are distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (like Drupal itself) and are part of the reason why Drupal is so successful. The dynamics of Free and Open Source Software and the module ecosystem strongly influence innovation and broad reach among the Drupal
Drupal can use web services including XML-RPC, REST, and SOAP. Drupal can consume web services by requesting data from other web applications using RSS and XML-formatted requests. As a web developer, you can write your own service code in Drupal using PHP. You can also use the Services module as well as other service-specific contributed modules to create these web service requests. In this next section, we're going to look at both these examples. First, we'll see how Drupal works as a service consumer, where basically it is a client requesting data from an external server. We'll also look at how Drupal can provide services using the Services module, RSS, AMFPHP, and XML-RPC.
With Drupal, content is no longer just content. It can be shared and integrated. Drupal's codebase is PHP-based and many of the popular web applications being used today, including Wordpress, Joomla!, and Flickr, are also PHP-based. So we have a common programming language we can work with and use to integrate these applications.
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