Looking to Create Custom Web Application


macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 28, 2009
I have been playing around with different web technologies for years but have yet to master any of them.

I have a number of ideas for database driven website to track personnel for a volunteer organization I belong to.

Ultimately, I would like to run reports where it will give me a list of all the time volunteered, meetings attended, etc.

I've been playing around with Zend Framework. I really like it but you have to build your entire site from the ground up. I've seen a lot of people suggest a CMS, especially Drupal.

I'd love to learn how to implement a custom, database driven site using Drupal but all resources I find online just tell you how to populate nodes and change themes. What I'm looking to do is a little more advanced.

Any suggestions or help? I greatly appreciate it.


macrumors 68000
Dec 7, 2007
Alexandria, VA, USA
The way you described Drupal tells me you only scratched the surface.

This is not to say go with Drupal 7, rather please continue to look at Drupal, as it is a robust open source CMS that has plugin capability called modules, with many thousands to choose from and plenty of support to install, configure and customize if you wish to learn the Drupal API if you already know PHP/MYSQL.

The main reason people go with Drupal beyond a WordPress like CMS and far beyond the advanced module and theming available to you in Drupal is the excellent support community - which also is the largest of the CMS's out there. This means its very likely you will be able to implement contrib (third party contributed) modules and themes to reduce customization and coding time and be able more easily find them using lots of online help, support and resources compared to others.

Myth: One needs to know the Drupal API which can be confusing to newcomers in order to make a really good Drupal site.

Reality: Plenty of modules and themes requiring little to none coding, but you also have the OPTION available to you at no extra cost if you wish to customize and tweak beyond the download.

Links to help you learn more:

Modules: http://drupal.org/project/modules
Themes: http://drupal.org/project/themes
D7 API: http://api.drupal.org/api/drupal/7
D7 site building guides (novice on up): http://drupal.org/node/1231200

Drupal has calendar and appointment modules, integrated social networking, custom form creation via GUI, and an ad-hoc query/reporting tool named Views which allows custom reports, for example. Beyond paying top dollar for a task or market specific proprietary third party product you end up being married to, or DIY from scratch, or lacking in powerful reporting features and customizations like a WP, Drupal would seem a good fit for you.

But check here for other opinions, of course. :)


macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2012
Destin, FL
SrWebDeveloper is spot on.

Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla, or any of the other CMS could easily fit your needs.
1) Pick a theme or better yet, create one.
2) Create a plugin that implements the exact functions you require
3) Have a piece of pie, mmmm, pie
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