I already posted a similar question on webapps.stackexchange.com and was redirected here, since I mentioned Drupal. Here is the slightly updated question:

I am a php developer and didn't have the chance to work with a CMS for ages, and I couldn't find any decent solution for my problems throughout my internet searches.

For a new project I am working on, I need to provide an application which can allow a few users to create and handle numerous technical datasheets (around 1-2k). The application should be able to handle a few different kind of sheets, whose structure and contents are known and static: few lines of text, some geographical data, numeric coefficients and pictures. It should also be possible to attach files to one sheet (let's say a .zip, a .doc, or whatever).

Users should be able to:

  • Create and edit sheets.
  • Search through them
  • Export them to various formats (pdf, doc, xls, etc.)

Administrators should be able to:

  • Create and manage users.
  • Create new types of datasheet.

One important feature is the non-concurrent editing (i.e. a sheet should be locked if someone is editing it).

At first glance, I was willing to create all that from scratch, with my little hands and a decent php framework. But then I started to think (it happens...), and was wondering if a CMS wouldn't to the trick, since this is what I'm searching for: a (specific) content management system.

I had some little experience with drupal, which allowed to create custom nodes. Wouldn't that answer my problems? A node would then be a specific type of datasheet. The different possible actions of users and administrators (create, update, search, export, etc.) being handled by drupal core functionalities. Am I right?

If so, is there any specific module I should look into?

Thanks in advance for your help!

  • change your title, comparison of cms is off topic here. change it to specific title
    – Bala
    Oct 14, 2013 at 13:47
  • I changed it, sorry if it sounded like I asked for CMS comparison : it is not the case. I just want to know if drupal is able to fit my needs, which I think (and hope!) is the case.
    – supag
    Oct 14, 2013 at 13:58

3 Answers 3


According to me you have half answered your question, yes node is what your data holder for the datasheets. consider nodes as container for your data so to change the way you to present them you can use views module.views module will allow you to present your nodes the way you like also you have option to export your views in different formats.

Here are some modules which can be helpful for exporting your views in different formats


For content locking for concurrent content edit you can check Content locking (anti-concurrent editing) contributed module.


About having different types of datasheets,

  • If you are looking are categorizing your nodes/sheets, core shipped taxonomy is there.
  • If you need to have separate types of sheets in structure, permissions to create/edit/view them, having separate content types will be the solution.
  • Well, this is quite exactly what I was hoping for. My 'reputation' being too low to upvote, please accept my genuine thanks!
    – supag
    Oct 14, 2013 at 14:08
  • Built-in content locking (if any) works so bad I never happened to see it in action.
    – Mołot
    Oct 14, 2013 at 14:56
  • @Mołot updated the answer, I was under impression of views concurrent edit locking.
    – arpitr
    Oct 14, 2013 at 15:01
  • About different types of sheets, if it's about categorisation, you are right. If it's about different data sets, either different content types or Conditional Fields can help.
    – Mołot
    Oct 14, 2013 at 15:05
  • @Mołot "should be able to handle a few different kind of sheets, whose structure and contents are" yeah you are right it looks more of having a separate content type.
    – arpitr
    Oct 14, 2013 at 15:13

Without seeing examples of the different data sheets you are referring to I am guessing you could use a "data sheet" content type Administration >> Structure >> Content types.

Add the Fields you would need to that content type, make them searchable, and then add a module for exporting the entity as a PDF, doc, xls ... you may want to investigate https://drupal.org/project/views_data_export or another similar modules.

As previously mentioned you could use views for displaying these and Drupal Taxonomy for the different data sheet types.


I created a system for technical datasheets in VBA some years ago, it took data from several sources including excel spreadsheets, word documents and sage accounting. It took a while and doing it in VBA was frustrating.

What you specify is far simpler and with the right combination of modules and a well thought out data architecture should entirely be possible in Drupal, Views may cope with the complexity of the different data but you may need to use Views Field View which can create a summary of views (so like sub-queries in a complex SQL query and Entity Reference to link a related information back to a product.

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