Essential Drupal modules

Drupal is a great PHP-based CMS (content management system), but its true power is only unleashed when you use the modules system. Out of the box, Drupal provides basic functionality for creating and publishing content with additional functionality that can be added by installing modules, you have a far more powerful system.

In fact, most of the core functionality of Drupal is provided via modules as well. Drupal ships with a series of “core” modules which, should you wish to, you can disable. So if you don’t want the menu system, search, taxonomy or the help system, you can turn all of these off.

Beyond that though, Drupal can be extended significantly thanks to its reach ecosystem of modules (or plugins if you will) that provide significantly more functionality than the core system ships with. While you’ll need to find the right modules to match your needs, there are several that are considered the staple diet of Drupal developers.

Chaos Tool Suite
It may not look like anything special to get started with, but CT Tools provides an expensive range of APIs and systems which make developing with Drupal easier. It’s a platform to use when developing your own modules but also serves as a dependency for many other modules.

The most installed module of any on the Drupal website, and it’s easy to understand why. Views is an incredibly powerful module which allows you to create custom pages that do various tasks – such as listing out a content type, sorting things a certain way, creating archives and many other tasks.

Entity Reference
At some point you will probably want to reference one entity to another. For example, on the Know Leeds website we have places and we have restaurant reviews. For each restaurant review we write, we want that to be linked to a certain restaurant (a place), and we do this with Entity Reference.

If you think you’re getting an exciting Greek named module, think again – it’s just the words path and auto put together. But it’s still a very useful module as it automatically creates friendly URLs without you having to type something in.

By default, Drupal won’t create a node reference for an article, it will just use the ID. You can override this by typing in something like article-title, but Pathauto will do this automatically. It’s good to install this from the start as it allows you to set up patterns for articles, categories and other systems so that you have uniform URLs across your site.

reCAPTCHA is a fantastic took that stops spam and helps translate books at the same time. Using these two modules you can add reCAPTCHA to your site to stop spam bots registering accounts.

Taxonomy menu
This allows you to build an automatic menu out of a taxonomy set. So if you have categories as part of your taxonomy and you want to create a menu that automatically lists each category, this module will do it.



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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 at 12:56 pm and is filed under Limited, Programming, Tech. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.