So Many Modules, So Little Time
- Core Modules: Core modules are included in any Drupal installation. For example, Drupal comes with modules to manage user accounts, basic content fields and navigation menus; as well as make lists, grids and blocks from existing content.
- Contributed Modules: A contributed module is one which you can download from Drupal.org but is not included in the Drupal core package.
- Custom Modules: Custom modules are pretty self-explanatory – they’re coded specifically for individual projects.
Let’s look at ten contributed modules that are the most useful for an administrator who wants to uniquely enhance the capabilities of their website. We will look solely at modules for Drupal 8.
Admin Toolbar improves the default Drupal Toolbar (the administration menu at the top of your site) by transforming it into a drop-down menu. This provides fast access to all administration pages. It’s also a very light module with few downsides – you can still utilize the same features of the regular Drupal toolbar as before.
2. Content Lock
If you’ve ever experienced confusion over who last edited a shared document or frustration over losing changes due to a team member’s revisions, you might enjoy ContentLock. This module blocks concurrent editing, and before you log out, asks if you’d like to retain any unsaved changes. If you’re a site administrator and having trouble figuring out who on your team is editing what content, Content Lock also provides a top-down look at all locked content across your site.
3. Delete All
Delete All may just be one of the most efficient (and potentially dangerous) modules out there. If you need to clean up a website in a hurry (say you’ve noticed a systemic error or are ready to get rid of dummy content and go live with the real deal) this module is your new best friend. With one click, you can delete all content of a certain node type without having to worry about pagination or wasting time scrolling through each item.
Devel is a powerful and popular module for web developers who are looking for some tools to make debugging a bit more agile and efficient. The module is a mini-suite of tools with functions that any developer would find handy, such as the ability to create dummy users, nodes and taxonomy terms as well as easily view information about APIs, cache effectiveness, Views, database queries and more.
The Entity Browser module can make your life much easier if you interact with a lot of digital media. It is a flexible tool that makes browsing, creating or selecting media files a smoother and more nimble process than with Drupal alone. With Entity Browser, you can enjoy dragging-and-dropping more than one file at once as well as enhance search capabilities. If you’re a WISYWIG fan, you’ll be glad to know that it enables that workflow as well.
If you’re running a Decoupled Drupal environment, then GraphQL may just be an ace up your sleeve. GraphQL is a query language for APIs and a runtime for fulfilling those queries with your existing data. In other words, GraphQL allows the front-end of your application to fetch content from your Drupal website – most importantly, it gives the power to the requesting application (think “Fetch” vs “Push”). GraphQL provides a complete and easily digestible description of your API’s data as well as gives third-party clients the power to request exactly what they need and nothing more.
If you don’t have the processing power, know-how or budget for Photoshop, Image Effects is likely the best option for quick and aesthetically pleasing photo enhancements. With this module, you can easily apply a mask, invert an image, shift the color levels, scale and crop, adjust opacity or insert a watermark to any image.
The PathAuto module is one of those tools that takes care some not-so-fun work for you – and does it quickly. PathAuto automatically generates URL/path aliases for various kinds of content without requiring you to manually specify the path. When you create new content, it generates URL aliases like, “/category/my-node-title” instead of ”/node/123.” These aliases are all SEO-friendly and are based upon a "pattern" system you can easily change.
9. Rabbit Hole
Have you ever put together a slideshow or photo gallery only to get an annoying email a few months later when someone stumbled upon one of the many landing pages created as part of that digital asset and was unhappy with how it looked?
Webform takes a bit of investment in terms of learning, but many developers swear by it, so it’s worth the time. Webform is one of the most powerful modules for creating forms and surveys in Drupal. It has all the bells and whistles of your standard form generator and then some. Customizable e-mails can be sent to administrators and/or submitters after a successful form submission, results can be exported into Excel or other spreadsheet applications, and you can even delve into statistical review of your answers. Webform also has a handy API for expanding its features as well as powerful logic for many different kinds of questions.
Choosing the Right Modules for Your Website
Now that you’ve got some solid suggestions on your radar, you just need to figure out what best fits your website and your workflow. And there are thousands of other modules out there that are just as useful and user-friendly as those we’ve listed here.
So where do you go to find and select the right modules for your specific needs? Don’t worry, we’ve got tons of impressive resources right at your fingertips.
Drupal publishes a Comparisons of contributed modules handbook that highlights and compares many popular modules by category.
- For a comprehensive overview, If all else fails, you can peruse the official module list page and the alphabetical list of all modules, which provides a complete list of all available Drupal modules in alphabetical order.
Drupal’s Contributed module documentation section of Drupal.org provides links to individual handbooks for many modules.
- If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you might try to use the drupal.org site-wide search to find modules. Enter a search term in the Drupal.org search bar, and then restrict search results to the type “Project” (note that the results may include modules, themes, site installation profiles, and other projects).
There you have it! All the info you need to get off on the right foot with your new Drupal project. Happy coding!