10 Drupal Modules You Can't Live Without

This is Outdated: Updated Version: 40 Essential Drupal Modules (1/4/2010)

Via my contact form, someone asked me to list 5 or 10 of the best drupal add ons. I decided to move away from "best", and rather decided to move to "can't live without". Or to put it differently, without these 10 modules, your experience with the minimial base install of drupal is likely to suck. (in spite of my physics teacher I once had who insisted that nothing sucked, but rather blew...).

Anyhow, this list isn't really ordered in any fashion other than the order that I think of ten "can't live without modules". Now -- there are many modules that have dropped my jaw that I haven't included. But that is still because I can still live without the majority of those modules.


1. TinyMCE WYSIWYG EDITOR -- Sometimes, we geeks forget that it is we who are the freaks. Most people don't know how to code an image, link, paragraph, unordered list, much less understand how image alignments work. TinyMCE, the only WYSIWYG editor that really works for drupal, opens up the world of webpublishing to this 98.9 percent of the population. Anyone who thinks that visitors who can't code an <a href=""> link aren't worth their time are both stupid, and will likely die cold, broke, and alone.

2. Feedback -- Its a simple module, sure. But every site needs it, and drupal doesn't include it. Sure, not everyone wants a contact form. However, most of those people, I'd argue should stick to blogger and myspace.com. Drupal -- being best suited for serious endevours and serious people needs a freakin' contact form.

3. Blockbar -- A totally underrated module, imho.  What does block bar do? It makes all that crap that overwhelms first time drupal users disappear. Its now part of my personal toolkit that I implement on every install. Its role: make drupal friendly to non-cyborg types (e.g. those who haven't worked themselves to death to the point that this entry is their saturday night... wooohooo...)

4. Control Panel -- You know, I bet a few drupal veterns are going to scoff at this mention. However, remember cyborgs: not everyone is a cyborg. The best UI is always going to seek to remind users of soemthing they probably used before (::cough:: control panels on windows, and Mac -- seeing as how they are on the internet, I think its a pretty safe bet they are familiar.) And no, CYGWIN is not a good poster child for "good user interface" (though CYGWIN saves me, an ubercyborg freak hours upon hours every day).

Plain and simple, humans are monkeys -- and monkeys have an easier time navigating in visually rich enviroments, as opposed to enviroments inspired by manilla folders, and tax forms. So, monkeys: pictures good, text and white bad. Use control panels widely in your site, and you'll be amazed how many more people suddenly figure out how to use drupal.

Seriously. Anyone who disagrees on this point can shutup. They are wrong. I'd tell them they were wrong and that they should shutup again if I could.(wait, I just did)

Relax, Control Panels has the most dirt-plain simple API every for adding your own Icons to your own themes. Truly, its worth the download (or an include, or a rewrite then include -- echm, CS).

5. Printer Friendly Pages --  Cyborgs be damned, a large portion of the population "surfs" the web like this:

  1. they find they info they are looking for
  2. they print it out and often file it in a folder if they need it later.

Yes, you could tell these folks to "get with it". However, you'd be a fool to do so. You may want to check up on the relationships between internet access, age, and wealth if you think I'm bluffing, partner. Oh, and this module not only generates very printer friendly pages, but it also parses out your links, and lists them as foot notes on the bottom of the page.

6. Bad Behavior -- Because comment, trackback, malicious scripts, and bad bots will hit your site everyday. This module + 3rd party free libraries of scripts -- imho -- is usually all a medium level traffic site needs to withstand the internet's disgusting onslaught. Of course to be perfectly honest, this script no longer works at my site. However, this being one of 20 drupal sites I've been building, updatingng, or fixing is alright. I'd take a 1/20 percent chance of having to moderate comments if I were you. Its better than trying to delete 3000 spams from 200 nodes when you don't know a lick of MySQL.

7. Simplenews -- An email newsletter management module. It includes easy import/export of subscribers, lets non UID members unsubscribe and subscribe and manages all that info, gives you all the must-have-info on what's happening with your mail blasts, and well -- f#cking a' man -- since enewsletter stopped working about 2 months ago, its really the only good module that I'd trust to a non-cyborg for managing such an uberimport task! 

8. Views -- its new, and changing everything.

9. CCK --  going to be hella disruptive to drupal at large. HELL-A hardcore, disruptive, even.

10. CiviCRM -- for god's sake could they get it compatible with 4.7?! Regardless of 4.7's beta status, I have to develop on 4.7 to prevent from screwing people over with obsolete code. I've tried to update it, but its beyond my PHP understanding.

CiviCRM is maybe the only module I know of that could create an industry of consultants all by itself. Moreover, the people who run the project are -- as far as I know -- the most responsive team in the entire industry. If you mention them anywhere on the public internet, you can rest assured they will hear you in  2-5 hours. This is one module, like CCK and Views that has the potential to change everything. That is, when they get it to be compatible with the non-obsolete-developing-for-it-is-a-total-waste-of-time-and-money version of drupal. ;-) O! -- screw Joomla!, get CiviCRM to work with forms API and the world will be shared by we, the open source community forever!

Or, at the very least, it would be really cool*. 

*as the kids say.