“This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” ― Alan Watts

What is a Drupal Developer?

March 30, 2019

As the Drupal content management framework continues to grow in popularity more clients and agencies are wanting Drupal Developers, what exactly is a Drupal developer? There is often some confusion from people who are not in the Drupal community as to what exactly a Drupal developer is, yes there are all-rounders who can do most tasks, but most of us specialise in one of 2 areas. 

Drupal developers don't all come with the same skill-set, a Drupal developer can be categorised into Front-end and Back-end. So if you are looking for a developer to do some work on your Drupal website, it is important to understand this distinction.

Drupal Front-end Developer

When someone is referred to as a Drupal front-end developer this means that this person deals mainly with the theme layer. 'Drupal Themer' is also a term which means the same as a Front-end Developer. They are usually experts or at the least proficient in HTML, CSS, SASS, LESS and JavaScript. 

They should also be well competent in responsive design, that is making a website work on all size browsers from desktop to mobile. A Front-end Developer would also typically be quite good at graphic design and putting a design together, although many agencies do employ graphic designers and front-end developers as separate roles.

What is a Theme?

Think of a Drupal theme as what would more commonly be called a template, this is how the website looks, its fonts, its colours, its spacing, its fancy scroll or hover effects, the theme receives the output from the back-end of Drupal and formats it or arranges it onto the page.

Drupal Module Developer / Back-end developer

A Drupal Back-end Developer is someone who writes mainly in PHP or server-side programming languages. If a client needed some functionality that wasn't possible from any contributed modules then this is where the back-end developer would come in, their job would be to create a custom module fit for purpose.

They might also get involved in the deployment of websites and any server configuration, as well as any advanced theming. Although we have different terms for these types of developers, their work can sometimes overlap, but in general terms this is where their work lies.