31 - July - 2009

Fresh Handy Drupal Modules - July 2009

Post by Mike C
Ixis Service

Drupal 6 is seeing some great handy modules being released over the last few months. With the sheer amount of projects being created on drupal.org its a job in itself to keep up with whats already out there. We're increasingly finding there's a module for "that" when a project needs something.

So here's a round up of some handy modules that have come to our attention recently that we feel are useful to the wider audience of drupal site builders.

Better Messages

better messages screenshotSometimes a site design doesn't lend itself well to being disrupted when Drupal wants to inform the user about form validation or the outcome of an action through its messages. Usually a box is squeezed in to the top of a page to display the messages.

The Better Messages module removes the mess and puts it in to a nice pop-up box which looks very similar to the Facebook style message boxes. Installation is simply enabling the module and forgetting about it.

http://drupal.org/project/better_messages

Views Header Footer

Often we get asked by client how can they change the text at the top of an index page (generated with Views), and we have to do it for them to save the potential of having the site broken by the client. The Views configuration pages can be scary when a user is used to the node edit form too.

A simple fix to this long standing client request comes in the form of the Views Header Footer module, which provides a separate admin page to manage all the headers and footers you want your client to have control over. Great solution and saves you time in the future!

http://drupal.org/project/views_header_footer

Better Formats

Continuing the theme of modules called "Better" (as opposed to the previous trend of modules called "Simple"), the Better Formats module finally sorts out the in-flexible "input format" selectors in Drupal core.

Traditionally you set the default input format for the site, usually "Filtered HTML", and then provide additional input formats for other users who need more flexibility. For example, any admin users who are editing content have to remember to alter the input format to ensure they can enter more HTML tags or use other input filters. Or if you use a WYSIWYG API supported editor you need to ensure the right input format is selected to not break the content entered by a user.

Users forget to manually alter the input format, which is where Better Formats helps. It allows you to define what input format is default for each user role, and which input format is default per content type! This means you can have different input filters set up for each content type if you have some special needs like inline video embedding in blog posts but not in other content types.

For themers who hate the textarea filter tips on forms (because it looks messy and confuses users) this can also be turned off through Better Formats setting page. The module does a lot more tweaking, and overall it's a handy way to gain more control over Drupals defaults.

http://drupal.org/project/better_formats

Advanced Mail Reroute

We've been making good use of the Rules system in recent projects, to handle all manner of workflow actions. A common action triggered by a rule condition is to send out an email. In the past we would set the email to a development test address in each rule, and in any other modules which were sending emails around.

When the site was ready for launch there was a process of going through the site to replace all the email addresses with the final correct client addresses, which obviously takes time on even a moderately complex site.

The Advanced Mail Reroute module solves this time wasting hassle by allowing you to put in the final email addresses from the beginning, but then catch any outbound emails and re-route them to your developer email address (or multiple addresses). If you don't want to re-route the outbound emails, you can just block them too, and they'll get logged for later analysis. A great time saver!

http://drupal.org/project/advanced_mail_reroute

Keeping Up

There's a couple of ways to keep up with the latest Drupal modules being released. I personally use the Twitter bot @drupal_modules who tweets out when new modules are published on drupal.org

If you're not a Twitter consumer, an RSS feed of new Drupal modules is available.

Mike C

Managing Director

12 years of Drupal development wrangling and a background in digital project architecture.

Comments

Thanks for post!

Better messages looks very promissing, didn't know about it. I bet it will become a very popular module.

Views Header Footer seems like an excelent candidate for client's administration areas =)

Better Formats almost seems like it should be in core - already knew about it, yet it's a great module to mention.

Never used Advanced Mail Reroute, but looks like a good time saver indeed!

As for keeping up with new modules, you can also use this rss feed from drupalmodules.com - http://drupalmodules.com/new-modules/feed - keep in mind not all new modules are very well coded though ;)

manuee

That list pretty closely represents, in order, the modules I would consider most useful. If you want to simply 'play around' with modules for learning purposes, I would definitely start with that list.

jmsharry6

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