Drupal Initiative Coordinator Gábor Hojtsy—an Acquia man himself—did a fishing expedition in the deep aqua of Twitter to catch some fascinating contributed modules in Drupal. He specifically baited for up-and-comer solutions. His hook? It should be lesser known and super useful.
Here is his original tweet:
What are some lesser known Drupal contributed modules that are super useful? Recent up-and-comer solutions especially :)— Gábor Hojtsy (@gaborhojtsy) April 16, 2022
I would consider Tome or Gin to be in this category, even though the in-crowd may know them, they are not as widelt known as Webform let's say.
Guess what his followers churned out? An exciting list of modules they love to work with whenever they implement a Drupal project.
Hojtsy mentions two modules that he considers worthy of the list: Tome and Gin. Tome is a static site generator and a static storage system for content. When Tome is enabled, any changes to config, content, or files will be automatically synced to your local filesystem. These exports can be used to fully rebuild the site from scratch, which removes the need for a persistent SQL database or filesystem. Gin Admin Theme has five related modules that would enhance the theme. It also works well with another module, 'Coffee' mentioned downwards in this article.
Check out the (incomplete) list:
Martin Anderson-Clutz, who goes with the handle @mandclu, love Smart Date. Apparently, he is one of the maintainers of the project. According to him, ‘Smart Date solves a number of common but complex date-related use cases, and has a growing ecosystem to handle even more.’ Rob, a research software engineer, as per his Twitter handle @therobyouknow, gave an example where it worked well and announced his custom extension. Rob tweets:
Works well on https://t.co/MYkq9SQOYH more flexible than Date, e.g. for no specified end time. And when a event spans multiple times, still sorts well in Views. I have an extension module for your eco system: it's when a time is yet to be confirmed but we want to publicise event.— Rob (@therobyouknow) April 16, 2022
Interestingly, Rob himself has a suggestion. It is a Drupal 8 module, ‘Burndown’. Developed and maintained by jeremylichtman, Burndown is a Drupal-8 native, agile project management tool. It provides support for both kanban and sprint-based projects and several forms of task-size estimation. Rob's description of the module is thus:
Build your own open source JIRA or Trello for agile and kanban boards. Similar to openlucius_board but for Drupal 9.
OpenLucius is a Drupal distribution that aims to be a lean and fast social productivity platform, ready to use after installation. Its many uses include
- Social intranet;
- Project management system
- Online community;
- Knowledge -and communication platform;
- Document management system;
- Collaboration toolkit.
It has seven add-on modules including the OpenLucius Kanban Board, Rob is talking about. OpenLucius 2.0 released in 2021 May 20 is based on Drupal 9.
Other suggestions by Rob include Entity Group Field, Gin Layout Builder and Geolocation. The latter candidate wasn’t clear enough as there are almost 117 modules that kept showing in a simple search that do what the name suggests: provide geolocation services.
He goes on to say:
“Modules that can make external api data sources appear like internal Drupal structures - nodes & fields is of interest to me. Great for interoperability & integration as well scalability: e.g. 100K+ content items: externalentities, externaldatasource, remotestream_wrapper…”
He also mentions a project named mongo, which might be related to MongoDB. But the link he provided gave a 404. He confesses that he is
‘yet to try any of these but they appeal, to solve potential issues around working with massive data sets, as opposed to considering putting it all in one huge Drupal db!’
Apart from modules, Rob also suggests ‘farmOS’ a Drupal distribution for agricultural management and record keeping. It includes modules and configuration for managing areas, plantings, animals, equipment, soil tests, sensors, and various record keeping log types. It can also be extended via add-on modules. farmOS is currently under active development. m.stenta is the contributor for that distro.
Easy Responsive Images is what pitched the interest of Drupal core maintainer Ofer Shaal, who goes by the handle @shaal. It's a reasonably new module created in March 2021. He also pointed to a ‘medium’ blog post by the module’s maintainer seanB, titled “Responsive Image Optimization With Media in Drupal 9”.
Drupal Association board member and co-founder of 1xINTERNET, a digital agency spread over Germany, Iceland and Spain, Baddy Sonja Breidert suggests three modules, Autosave Form, Coffee and Focal Point.
The Coffee module helps you to navigate through the Drupal admin faster. It comes as an overlay. A user can type alt+d and navigate the admin board with only a keyboard. The module is inspired by Mac apps Alfred and Spotlight. It is an actively maintained module created as back as November 2011 and last updated in February 2022.
Born in November 2016, Autosave Form was last updated in May 2019. hchonov is the maintainer. The “Autosave Form” module provides an autosave feature for all forms (entity forms inclusive). It requires Drupal Core >= 8.3.x to function.
Focal Point allows you to specify the portion of an image that is most important. This information can be used when the image is cropped or cropped and scaled so that you don’t, for example, end up with an image that cuts off the subject’s head. Created and maintained by bleen, the module was last updated in December 2021. Sonja says that their clients all love (focal point). This module is also my personal favourite if that counts. :)
“Extra field is one of the ones I include in almost any project,”
says Cambra. Created and maintained by Sutharsan, the module was first uploaded to drupal dot org in April 2017 and had the latest update on December 2021. The module provides plugin types to add extra fields in entity view and entity form of fieldable entities.
Petr Illek, ( @PetrIllek ) chief ideator at Annertech, suggests Entity reference display and Entity class formatter. Entity Reference Display module defines a simple field type for display mode selection for entity reference fields. It allows an editor to select how they would like the references displayed. Entity Class Formatter can be used to apply classes/attributes on entities, allowing the class/attribute to act as a modifier which can be used by the theming layer. It formats values of fields (of varying types) such that a class or attribute is placed on the parent entity of that field.
Marky Conroy @markconroy, Director of Development at Annertech ‘seems to find a use for More Global Variables on every project. This small module gives users some global variables that can be then printed in any twig template. Conroy is behind the module.
Bryan Sharpe @bryan_sharpe, Director of Software Architecture at imagex stand by the feature, multiple entity types in views. His suggestion, the ‘Views Combine’ module allows creating unions between views to combine the output into one view. This can help with combining different entity types such as media and nodes into a single view output. Sharpe is the creator and co-maintainer of the module.
Jeni Tehan @DelishCreative, a freelance Drupal developer, goes on to promote her module, ‘Tasty Backend’. It provides a ready-made administration experience for day-to-day content administrators. Unfortunately, the project is not covered by Drupal’s security advisory policy .
Joel Brockbank @j_brockbank, Drupal developer at OpenPlus puts forward, “Form Mode Control”. The module ‘makes it easy to create an ‘app’ style site by splitting node edit on content-types with a lot of fields into smaller more manageable pieces plus does access control per form mode.’ According to him, it was a game-changer.
Stef Van Looveren @stefvanlooveren, software developer at Vito, mentions Paragraphs Browser. Paragraphs Browser provides a form widget for the Paragraphs module. The widget displays a browser within a modal where paragraph types are grouped by user-defined categories, and provide optional description and image fields for the browser display.
Alex Moreno @morenodotnet, developer advocate at Pantheon, proposes WebP, a module that is co-maintained by him. The module creates a WebP copy of image style derivatives to decrease loading times. As per the description, whenever an image style derivative is created, this module will also create a WebP copy of the derivative to be served to supporting browsers.
Klara Binon @klarabinon, Drupal team-lead at VDAB speaks about Simple live CSS. “Should be used only for short term repairs. Very handy if the website contains other team’s widgets with other deploy schedules,” explains Binon. VDAB (Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeids Bemiddeling) is the public employment service of Flanders and the largest job site in Belgium, and this module is supported by them. Created by robindh, Simple live CSS is a Drupal 8 rewrite with only the basic features of Live CSS, a module limited to D7.
Many more users contributed to the discussion, and the entire thread is available on Twitter. We may update this article later on with more suggestions added. Until then, ciao.