10 Must-Have Drupal Modules

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Our favourite ten Drupal modules.

Owing to our experience with Drupal, we have seen many a theme or module come and go since time immemorial. Or some time way before AOL discs served as useful cup coasters (which is going back a bit). A fair amount of which have been used on our customers' websites, and our own. Any CMS is worth its salt if supported by a good collection of modules, as well as its usability and security. For us, Drupal won hands down, and courtesy of our experience, here are the ten Drupal plugins you cannot live without.

1. Mollom

If you have an issue with Spiced Ham related emails, Mollom enables you to stop them. It evaluates content quality and enables you to classify emails as 'Ham' (legitimate), 'Spam' (pretty obvious) and 'Unsure' (anywhere in between). To activate the plugin, you need to sign up for a free account with Mollom. There is also paid subscriptions offering more advanced features.

2. Colorbox

No website seems to be complete without eye catching visuals. With greater cross-browser support came light box effects and wider use of JQuery. Colorbox allows for the aforementioned and it's pretty light on the server load. It includes support for the embedding of videos, audio files, Google Maps and allows for carousel effects.

3. Views

Views is the module for users who wish to see things differently. For example, you wish to sort taxonomies differently, add a monthly archive, show links to the last five posts, or wish to change the way your articles are displayed. If you've already downloaded Drupal 8, you'll find Views inside the Drupal 8 Core, but if you haven't, it is worth downloading.

4. Pathauto

If you find renaming or naming URLs a bit of a drag, Pathauto takes the heat out of this. It automatically generates URL/path aliases for various types of content, including nodes, taxonomies and users. Aliases are based upon a 'pattern' system that uses tokens (changeable by the administrator).

5. ImageCache Actions

Drupal users are also blessed by a number of image modules and ImageCache Actions offers a number of image effects to its toolkit. You can watermark, overlay text, create rounded corners, change aspect ratios and posterise your images. All in a jiffy.

6. Menu Block

Imagine you have an eCommerce site: you find Drupal's main and secondary menu items a little restrictive and wish to add deeper navigation levels. Menu Block enables you to do just that with ease. Whereas at present you can have submenus, Menu Block allows for submenus of submenus for example.

7. CK Editor

Drupal has a comprehensive WYSIWYG editor, though it can be a mite complicated for beginners (or users more accustomed to other CMSs' user interfaces). Addressing this concern is CKEditor, which allows for ready to use plugins and buttons, embedding functions for Flash and user configuration (choice of skins, toolbar, language, etc).

8. Webform

Say you wish to have an opinion poll on your blog, or like to conduct surveys with multiple choice options, Webform is a module you shouldn't be without. You can use it to gain feedback on your products or special events and export the results onto a spreadsheet.

9. Panels

We all know about, and habitually wax lyrical about Drupal's flexibility. Sometimes, its range of themes can be restrictive, necessitating a bespoke template. This is where you need Panels. You can create contexts, alter items smaller than pages and also create Mini Panels. It enables you to make minor tweaks to existing templates or start afresh with a new style.

10. IMCE

If you're familiar with the user interface of FTP software or older versions of Windows, you may find Drupal's facilities somewhat lacking. IMCE's user interface is similar to your favourite FTP client or operating system's file manager or folders. You can also resize image files, create user privileges and private folders, as well as upload and delete files.

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