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Seven Great Drupal Modules


Drupal modules are add-ons that give you additional control when it comes to creating and managing your Drupal site. If you are new to the Drupal content management system (CMS), you may have noticed that its catalog of modules is quite large. There are thousands of modules to choose from across categories like administration, e-commerce, security, user management, and more. While the list of modules is overwhelming, its extensive nature is necessary, as each site has its own specific needs. Here are some Drupal modules that could be considered essential in helping you create your site.

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By: wubayou
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March 22, 2011

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Drupal modules are add-ons that give you additional control when it comes to creating and managing your Drupal site. If you are new to the Drupal content management system (CMS), you may have noticed that its catalog of modules is quite large. There are thousands of modules to choose from across categories like administration, e-commerce, security, user management, and more. While the list of modules is overwhelming, its extensive nature is necessary, as each site has its own specific needs. Here are some Drupal modules that could be considered essential in helping you create your site.

The link to each module's official Drupal page is included for further reference.

Content Construction Kit

The Content Construction Kit, or CCK, is regarded by many to be the most essential Drupal module around.  The module is so essential that most of it has been moved to the core of Drupal 7.

The Content Construction Kit's main function is that it allows you to add custom fields like text, and image, or video to node types using a web browser.  The way in which the added fields appear in live view can be adjusted as well.  The CCK is very powerful and has a variety of modules that help to increase its functionality. 

http://drupal.org/project/cck

Views

Views is a Drupal module that works well with the aforementioned Content Construction Kit.  Like the CCK, Views is also seen as one of the most essential Drupal modules around, and it is integrated with several significant modules.  The module gives site designers using Drupal control over how lists and tables of content appear. 

Views acts as a smart query builder that can take a sufficient amount of information and convert it into a proper query.  It can then execute the query and display the results.  Views also works well if you want to display a stream of images, or if you want to create summaries and generate reports.

If you are still wondering if you should download Views, here are some more uses for the module:

  • use it to sort the default taxonomy/term view differently
  • use it to provide unread forum posts
  • use it to display the article module differently
  • use it to display blocks of five recent posts of a similar type
  • use it to make the default front page view sort differently

Link: http://drupal.org/project/views

FileField

FileField is one of the most popular Drupal modules in terms of installs.  If you find yourself having to upload a large number of files, FileField will definitely help you save some time.  FileField is an alternative to core's Upload module, and it supplies a universal file upload field for the Content Construction Kit. 

A deeper look into FileField's feature set reveals some useful items such as per-field and per-node file size limits, views support, and full revision and transition file management.  You can save files into per-field or per-user directories thanks to configurable upload paths.  FileField also offers extensive API for managing files and extending field widgets.

Link: http://drupal.org/project/filefield

WYSIWYG

The WYSIWYG module makes editing content on the client side a breeze.  WYSIWYG allows you to install and integrate your favorite editor, regardless of its type.  The client-side editors supported by WYSIWYG include CKEditor, FCKeditor, jWysiwyg, markItUp, NicEdit, openWYSIWYG, TinyMCE, Whizzywig, WYMeditor, and YUI editor. 

Once you have WYSIWYG, you are set, as it replaces other editor integration modules.  The module is easy to customize, and you can even pair a different editor with each input format.

Link: http://drupal.org/project/wysiwyg

Webform

Webform is a module that is useful when you want to add a webform node type to your site.  Regardless of what type of site you have, you will probably want to integrate a way for your visitors to offer feedback.  With Webform, you can create a variety of forms to suit both you and your visitors.

For example, let's say you want to institute a survey or poll on your site.  You may even want to add a questionnaire.  Maybe you just want to put a simple contact or request form.  Whatever it is, Webform will help.  Besides giving your visitors a chance for input, Webform also offers some nice tracking tools.  Any webform submissions on your site are saved in a database table.  You can opt to have the table sent to the email of your choice.  Users with appropriate permissions can view past submissions as well.  For further statistical analysis, the table can be downloaded as a .csv file.

http://drupal.org/project/webform

Google Analytics

The Google Analytics module simply integrates Google's web statistics tracking system with your website.  This is a very useful tool that allows you to gain a better understanding of the traffic being driven to your website.  It also helps you determine just how effective your marketing strategy is.

The module offers very detailed statistics that let you dissect your site in terms of effectiveness.  You can see what files are downloaded, track or exclude certain users, roles, and pages, and monitor what types of links are tracked.  It also has support for Site Search, AdSense, and DoNotTrack.  To improve page loading times, you can cache the Google Analytics code on your local server. 

http://drupal.org/project/google_analytics

Ubercart

If your site deals in the realm of e-commerce, Ubercart is a must.  Considered by many to be the best e-commerce solution for Drupal sites, Ubercart was developed to cater to the end user.  Does your site fit under the Ubercart umbrella?  Well, if you sell any physical goods, site memberships, or digital downloads, yes, it does. 

The list of features available to Ubercart users is quite extensive.  It has a configurable product catalog, as well as a flexible product creation system.  To process any orders on the site, there's single page checkout, simple order processing, an integrated payment system, and shipping fulfillment.  You can also use the module to log activity, receive reports on sales, and much more.

http://drupal.org/project/ubercart

Again, this list is just a tiny representation of the Drupal module catalog.  At the very least, some of these modules should help you maximize your experience with Drupal and motivate you to look for others as well.


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