Drupal Modules and Plugins – A Complete Guide

in CMS,Drupal, - May 2, 2015

Free and Premium Drupal Modules and Plugins

Drupal is the best open source content management platform that is the choice of millions when it comes to website building and applications. From personal blogs to ecommerce, Drupal can power all kinds of websites. There are thousands of modules, themes, forums etc to make the building process a wondrous experience. These awesome free Drupal modules can be attached to the basic Drupal templates to extend their utility. Get free troubleshooting advice and customer support, 24×7 at Drupal’s complete customer helpline and forums. Drupal is one of the best content management platforms one can think of with its free services, extensions and modules.


Drupal Modules

Drupal modules impart dynamic activity and utility to your Drupal based websites without any hassle. There are numerous categories of Drupal Modules which can be used for extending the efficacy of your website. There are modules for Administration modules, Commerce and Advertisement modules, Content Access Control modules, Education, Evaluation, E-commerce and Developer modules and many more.

For example the Administration Menu provides a theme independent administration interface which is compatible with all themes and browsers. It exposes all admin links including tabs and tasks and actions which provide direct access to any page.

The Libraries API modules make sure that the same library can be shared by more than one module and more than one site. The Libraries API gives the Drupal website the power to integrate with external libraries. There are library classifications, dependency handling and runtime control of library availability which can be accessed from this module.

In addition to the more common modules there are the Token Handling modules which apparently do not have conspicuous actions but they have the power to place small “Tokens” inside simple placeholders which provides a central API for modules to utilize these tokens.

These are only a few examples of the most useful and free Drupal Modules which increase the efficiency of the Drupal sites without doubt.


Developers Guide for Module Development

There are 3 basic types of modules each Drupal site can have.

– > Core: the ship with Drupal and are approved by the core developers and community.
– > Contributed: these modules are written by the Drupal community and are shared under the same GNU Public License.
– > Custom: created by the developers for specific sites.

Because powerful Drupal extensions or modules can be created just with a dozen odd lines of code, they make this PHP CMS among the most coveted, despite not having too many bells and whistles in terms of readymade functionalities. Block content based modules can be made using Block API; the process itself can be broken down into some really simple small tasks.

1. Creation of a new module directory


2. Creation of the .info format file containing description of the functionality of the module


3. Creation of the .module file followed by Drupal programming


4. Usage of ‘block hooks’ to define as to how the new block behaves


5. Turning the module on by using the admin interface and enabling the block for action

Here are the essentials that you need to have before you venture onwards in your Drupal module creation –

* Knowledge of PHP development
* Admin access for Drupal 7
* File system access for the Drupal installation
* PHP IDE, or any other code editor

Here are the actual steps that developers need to take in order to develop and enable their custom Drupal add-ons.

1. Begin by choosing a name for yourmodule; it’s a good idea to choose a name that explain the intended functionality of the module. This name is also called the ‘machine name’ for the extension in development.
2. Create a folder with the name same as the machine name chosen above, in the default add-ons location or DDrupal, which is sites/all/modules directory.
3. Create the .info file containing description and information about the module. Then, create the .module file with the Drupal programming code, which is the real substance of the new module development. Both these files are created inside the folder created in the last step.
4. Hooks are a vital part of the unique callback-like system in use for Drupal and work by looking for certain type of functions at strategic times in the processing of the page. This makes Drupal modules so easily extendible. In step 4, you create the necessary hoops for your program.
5. Now that the module is created, just head over to Toolbars > Modules and see it feauting in the list. Check the box by the module’s side and click on Save Configuration to activate the module.


How to Install Drupal Modules and Addons

Installing the Drupal modules is no rocket science. But for the absolute novice, here are a few steps which will help you with the installation process.

1. Download the desired module and extract it in a folder.
2. Make sure you have access to the Administer
3. Go to the Module page at Administer > Modules and enable the settings.
4. Choose the right module for your website and choose the correct release (make sure the version of the module is compatible with the Drupal version you have).
5. Upload the module

You can use one of the two more common uploading processes

* Upload it through the Drupal user interface.
* Upload it manually on the server.


Uploading it through the Drupal Interface

1. Navigate to the install page (Modules > List > Install New Module)- for the newbies at Drupal, first go to Modules and then find the “Update Manager” option and put a checkmark beside that option before clicking on Save at the bottom of the page.
2. You can then either provide the URL of the page or you can upload the .tar or .zip file from your local computer. And then click “Install”.


Installing the Module Manually

1. Extract the files from the compressed files (for both PC and MAC systems).
2. Simply upload the folder containing the extracted files. You can transfer your files with SFTP or FTP to the desired modules folder in the Drupal installation.
3. If you are running a multi-site installation of Drupal you can create a modules folder and put multiple modules for particular sites in your installation.


Most Popular Drupal Modules

Drupal Modules are a bliss for all the web developers who are looking for something more than just the basic functionalities. Utility category modules offer the Drupal users a flexible and yet standard method for controlling lists and tables of contents, users and taxonomy terms. Advanced modules allow one to run a query on one’s site and filter the results before displaying it in a selected manner. Admin extensions provide a theme- independent administration interface, leverage cross-browser compatibility along with linking all tabs, tasks and actions to provide direct access to any page. The admin menu icons are themable and can be couple with several add-on features at one time. Apart from these SEO extensions for the search engine relevance enhancement of your web pages, search modules to enable better search functionality, forms and surveys to add feedback and analyses mechanisms on the website, and utility packs such as calculators and translators are available. Of course, there are multimedia extensions  and security extensions to make your website more content rich and safe respectively.

  • Administration menu

    By unleashedmind.com
  • Content Construction Kit (CCK)

    By Yves Chedemois
  • Pathauto

    BY davereid.net
  • Token

    By angrylittletree.com
  • Webform

    By Quicksketch.org
  • Backup and Migrate

    By nodesquirrel.com
  • Views

    By angrydonuts.com
  • FCKeditor - WYSIWYG HTML editor

    By cksource.com
  • Lightbox2

    By annertech.com


Drupal Search Modules

These Search Modules for Drupal form an internal site search system which can conduct AND searches, OR searches, exclusionary searches and Advanced searches. These search engines can Index the text content of the nodes on your website; the pathway can be modified without much effort. Content-related actions on the site can automatically cause the relevant items to be marked for indexing/reindexing. If both search module and the menu modules are enabled then you can enable the Navigation Menu Search options (since this is not the default setting).

  • VisualSearch Views Exposed Filter

    Premium $14

    By dga_studio
  • Apache Solr Multisite Search

    By acquia.com
  • Search API

    By drunkenmonkey.at



Drupal Forum Modules

With the Drupal Forum modules one can now create dedicated forums for containing threaded discussions. These comments can be edited and filtered by the site admin. One of the Premium Drupal Modules contains integrated elements from core Forum and a PHPTemplate based theme. Some of these forum modules show dependencies on other modules as well. Multiple forums can be set up at the same time for different areas of discussion; integrated forum (a forum within a forum) can also be set up using these light weight yet efficient Drupal forum modules.

  • Forum generate

    By mcdruid.co.uk
  • Forum Access

    By Salvis
  • Advanced Forum

    By shellmultimedia.com



Drupal Form Modules

These Drupal Form Modules are ubiquitous for Drupal websites, be it blog or ecommerce. These Forms are responsive and contain flexible fields with sensors. The fields deemed mandatory cannot be left blank. The can be automatically integrated seamlessly to the core code and the user database to maintain a list of member details which can be accessed anytime and edited too, by the admin. Most of these modules also offer analysis of the results and downloading of the form submissions.

  • Form Builder

    By quicksketch.org
  • uiForm - Universal Form Builder

    Premium $22

    By SoftDiscover
  • Webform

    By quicksketch.org



Drupal SEO Modules

The SEO modules integrate keyword research, management, optimization and extraction under one field. Creation of content tags, metatags and content reports are a part of the regular SEO Module deal. There are several architectural developments like Page titles, Path and Pathauto, Global redirect and XML Sitemaps which are a given with these modules. These Drupal SEO Modules also include Google analytics with API integration and Google webmaster tools. They are light weight and yet successfully add SEO friendly qualities to your website.

  • Drupal SEO Tools

    By Getlevelten.com
  • Site map

    By xdeb.net
  • SEO Compliance Checker

    By ufirstgroup.com
  • AutoPing

    Premium $14

    By hannanxp
  • SEO Checklist

    By volacci.com



Drupal Security and Spam Protection Modules

The most common method of spam protection is to include a CAPTCHA into the Drupal forms for user registration, log in and comment pages. There are many popular spam filtering services that offers real-time analysis of the content for spam-like characters. The spam content is automatically blocked and the clean content is selectively processed. The integration go audio and visual challenges (CAPTCHA) can be extended to comment forms, contact forms, password request forms and other node forms including forum comments, topics, pages etc.



Drupal Translator Modules

Enabling the core Translation modules allows you to view the Drupal interfaces in any language other than English. There are at least 10 language options which allow the websites to be presented in different languages. Coupling these Translator modules with Geographic location modules along with auto-language settings allows automatic translation of these web pages to any regional/ local popular language. Most of these modules are compatible with Drupal versions 6 and later.

  • Internationalization

    By reyero.net
  • Localized Drupal Distribution

  • Transliteration

    By Stefan Kudwien



Drupal Quiz Modules

The Quiz modules include improved DX, coding styles and standards and extensive views through API. These preset to your multiple result and granular feedback options. There are options which allow multiple attempts per user along with adaptive mode feedback. There are timed versions of each quiz along with question randomization and bulk management of questions/answers. Experience smooth upgrading to higher module versions like never before. These Drupal Quiz Modules show cross-browser compatibility along with compatibility with other modules.



Drupal Media Modules

Add media into content rich areas of your site by using these Media Modules for Drupal. Use the API to add fields to any media type and add captions on images and genres to your audio. Add thumbnails of images and videos to texts; add URLs to your thumbnails and much more with these unique Drupal media Modules. Most of these best Drupal modules and free. Use them link remote media from Flickr, YouTube etc to your website.




Drupal Newsletter Modules

Use the Drupal newsletter modules to send out newsletters in the form of emails to your registered users and members. There are multiple newsletters lists which are configurable to existing terms. There are fields for multiple schedules which means, each newsletter can be scheduled to be monthly, weekly, biweekly or daily. There are multiple custom templates per list and centralized administration and configuration on a single page. There are newsletter modules for almost all existing Drupal versions.

  • Simplenews Content Selection

    By dtrdewaele
  • Simplenews

    By md-systems.ch
  • Newsletter

    By Paris Liakos



Drupal Admin Modules

The Drupal Admin Modules help you to avoid excessive overrides of code, markup and interface strings. These modules also act as the starting point of other modules and hence are compatible to almost all Drupal modules conceivable. They are lightweight and yet extremely efficiently enhance the strengths of Drupal. These come with exportables, AJAX responders and object caching along with modal dialogs and other CSS tools which make user-input CSS safe.

  • Views Bulk Operations (VBO)

    By Karim Ratib
  • Linkit

    By stjerneman.com
  • Mobile Friendly Navigation Toolbar

    By Jesse Beach



Drupal Sitemap Modules

To help the search engines keep their results up to date and to crawl a website more intelligently. These Drupal Sitemap Modules come with several submodules that add sitemap links for content, menu items, user profiles and taxonomy terms. These also display messages above the site map, the latest blogs, multiple catalogs etc. very simply, these modules add considerable SEO friendly qualities to the Drupal sites. They are cross-browser compatible too which adds an extra charm to their useful nature.



Drupal Content Modules

For replacing the usual text area fields with visual HTML editors and allowing the use of client-side to edit content, these Drupal content modules are ideal. Client-side editing can be supported, including HTML editors and pseudo-editors and sometimes even flash-based editors. Many of these editors are so efficient and fast that they do not require any desktop editors like Word and do not require any kind of installation on the client computer as well.

  • Views Bulk Operations (VBO)

    By thereisamoduleforthat.com
  • Content Construction Kit (CCK)

    By Yves Chedemois
  • Search 404

    By zyxware.com



Drupal Utility Modules

These utility modules range anywhere between themes, menus to backup and migrate and are hence the most vivid and useful of all Drupal modules. They can be particularly useful while dealing with a large site as they come with module filters which help to filter and test new modules for Drupal sites. There are more utility modules which can be used to group fields together and makes it possible to add more groups by using default HTML wrappers.



Drupal Developer Modules

The developer modules include a lot from tool suites to backup and migrate modules. There are theme-independent admin interfaces and exportable qualities which make it easier for linking objects on the site to objects in databases or codes. There are form wizards which present an API to make the multi-step forms much easier to manage. They expose all administration links including the tabs and tasks while providing access to any page.



Drupal Theme Enhancement Modules

The site builders can now display the selected images edge to edge by controlling the placement of the bootstrap class. Creating edge to edge landing pages has never been easier for web builders by using a unique combination of modules. These modules are light and hence they offer great enhancement options without slowing down the site. The cross-browser compatibility along with cross-module compatibility makes these Drupal theme enhancement modules especially alluring for the Drupal ninjas.


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