10 free Drupal modules that make development easier

If you're using Drupal to develop and administer your website, these add-ons can help.

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It took me a bit of time to figure out how Field group was put together (it only shows up, after all, on nodes that actually contain fields to manage). But once that problem was solved, then managing field groups was a simple matter.

Field group lets you take the fields of any Drupal form that you create and display them in whatever way you want.

Is Field group an indispensable module? If you are not really worried about forms on your site, then you can probably skip it. But if you do have forms that you want to make more user friendly, this is the module to use.

Media

, Advomatic and Palantir.netVersion tested: 7.x-1.2 Certified for: Drupal 7 Price: Free

Working with Media was a pleasant experience, if only because it's something that I have come across before on Drupal sites.

Until recently, dealing with media files in Drupal has been a cumbersome process, at best. It was never something that was pleasant or unpleasant -- just something to deal with in the course of creating content.

Media changes the game. It's faster than the Drupal core tools and more intuitive. In an article editor, just click on the Image icon, and you can choose from a local file, select something already stored in the Media folder or pull something in from the Web via its URL -- even a YouTube video.

Multimedia content is easy to add with Media.

Media offers, very simply, functionality that must be in your site's tool collection.

Menu block

7.x-2.3 Certified for: Drupal 5/6/7 Price: Free

Since menus are a big part of Drupal's infrastructure, it's a little surprising that the menu editing and configuration controls in Drupal are as limited as they are.

Menu block gets around this problem by enabling a much deeper level of menu configuration within Drupal.

Menu block enables a much deeper level of menu configuration within Drupal.

It was nice to be able to play with the menu settings with this tool. I was thinking about all of the things that I wish I'd been able to do with menus the last time I worked with a Drupal site, and found myself a bit bitter that Menu block wasn't available then.

But it's here now, which is all that matters. Save yourself some menu headaches and grab this module today.

Views

7.x-3.5 Certified for: Drupal 6/7 Price: Free

Lists within Drupal are funny. Like everything else in Drupal, they are keyed to display in a certain way based on the parameters of the node type in which they are located.

This means that if you want to display a list (or anything else within a content node) differently, you will have to modify the entire content type. Or, you can use Views.

Views, according to its creators, is a smart query builder for Drupal that displays any sort of list, like forum posts, tables of content or what have you, in a specific way, based on the query you build. This means you can sort or filter the content of the individual list and come up with an interesting content node like, say, a list of unread forum posts.

List parameters can get updated fast in View.

This is not a module that's going to win a lot of popularity awards, because it does only one thing -- but it does it very well. It's a pretty nice tool to have in your Drupal toolbox if your site uses a lot of list-type content.

Workbench

7.x-1.1 Certified for: Drupal 7 Price: Free

Drupal has a lot of power under its hood, which makes developers and site admins very happy. Content managers and providers? Not so much.

The very simple Drupal interface that makes life happy for coders can be downright confusing to those people who just want to go in and post an article or a blog post. This is something that Joomla and WordPress do quite well, and it's a problem for Drupal users.

Workbench is a big step towards solving that problem. It's a very simple interface that lets users add, delete and edit content easily (based on business and organization roles, not just Drupal's user roles). Once installed and enabled, it sets up a nice little My Workbench page to manage content.

Workbench is a very simple interface that lets users add, delete and edit content easily.

The impact of this app can be great, because content providers need a place to be able to come in and just work with what they do best: content creation.

Brian Proffitt is a veteran IT writer with experience in open source, mobile and big data technologies. An unrepentant Hoosier, he can be followed on Twitter: @TheTechScribe.

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This story, "10 free Drupal modules that make development easier" was originally published by Computerworld.

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