I'm very new to Drupal so please excuse the noobishness of this question.

After combing through the documentation and considering the flexibility of Drupal (Version 7) in defining it's own content, I find myself asking where the lines between content and data are drawn. Some insight and advice on the limitations of things like nodes, content types and taxonomy would be appreciated.

Here's a basic overview of what I'm looking to accomplish at this stage:

  • I need to setup a website that will be able to keep track of a community of users that are segregated into clubs;
  • Clubs will be able to offer courses to their members;
  • Club members will be able to apply to take said courses;
  • A history of courses a user has taken will be recorded;
  • This information will be used to create reports by the administration.

My first instinct is to create separate tables for this information and handle all this through modules (WordPress being my previously relatable experience). With that said, I find myself pondering the idea if these things could be handled through nodes, content types and taxonomy.

Would this, or some variant thereof, be a valid use of Drupals mechanisms or would this basically be the hack & slash approach that I'll end up lamenting down the road?


I recommend leaving the database structure to Drupal, its modules will handle all of the management process and you will not have to code anything.

Taxonomy is very flexible for creating categories. These taxonomy vocabularies can be attached to a content type. Create a new type and add fields for each applicable vocabulary. You can make assigning values to each field mandatory if you want and Drupal will enforce the requirement when new content is generated.

You will then use views to filter through all of your content and deliver custom pages. It is incredibly flexible but can take a while to learn. Check out the "Taming the Beast" video series at NodeOne.SE for an excellent video series to master views.

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  • Thanks JoeS, I've started on the Taming the Beast series and so far, so good. I imagine I'll still need to create some custom modules to get the specific effects or restrictions that I'm looking for, but that percentage of the project seems to be steadily shrinking! – Crazy Joe Malloy Oct 20 '11 at 11:49

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