A fantastic medley of modules for the discerning drupal developer

Submitted by donmc on Tue, 11/24/2009 - 11:57

A featured story on drupal.org: Case Study of OpenTheMagazine.com
In the story, we get a fantastic closeup view of the drupal modules used and the reasoning behind their use. For a young Drupal developer/user, it is a very useful article.

The "Heroes" of the site were considered to be Views 2, CCK, & for search, Apache SOLR.
The list below of other drupal modules used by the site is excerpted from the article on drupal.org:

CCK/Views Family

  • Imagefield & Imagecache: For all our image needs!
  • Nodereference: A powerful module included with the CCK that allows content administrators to link / associate content together. On our site we use Nodereference when we want to manually suggest articles to the reader, create a Table of Contents for a particular issue, create a Package article which is nothing but a container for other articles etc.
  • Nodequeue: Allows you to create a static "list" of articles and show it in a view. Provides a user friendly backend where content administrators can easily add, remove or change the order of items in a nodequeue. Our front page consists of many nodequeues. For example the 5 essentials on the frontpage is implemented as a view on a nodequeue.
  • Filefield Paths: Very useful module that gives a high degree of control on the server path and file name of a filefield (Note: imagefields are also filefields). We use it to prefix the file name of all uploaded images with the node id of the associated article. So “baloons.jpg” becomes “2344.baloons.jpg”. Useful for tracking images to their nodes by just looking at their file name.
  • Filefield Insert: Allows easy insertion of inline images into your rich text editor
  • Vertical Tabs: Reduces the clutter on your node edit form
  • Views Bulk Operations: A fantastic module!. We use it to make our custom content management interface. This content management interface allows users to filter nodes on the basis of content type, magazine issue date, magazine section etc.
  • Slideshow Pro: Slideshow Pro is a image gallery flash plugin. This module provides Drupal Integration. See an example gallery.


  • Comment Notify: Notifies commenters that of fresh comments on articles they commented upon
  • Ajax comments: Allow comments to be posted without a page refresh
  • Captcha: Simple spam prevention.


  • Cumulus: Cumulus presents the tags in a visually engaging manner
  • Tagedelic Views (+ Tagedlic): Sometimes you want to see tags for content only from a particular section... e.g. Tags from all articles in the Business section. This allows you to get tags from a group of nodes rather than all nodes of a particular content type as is the usual case
  • Hierarchical Select: Very useful module that creates a taxonomy selection widget in the node edit form. We used it mainly to force users to select the leaf nodes of a particular taxonomy hierarchy.
  • Taxonomy Manager: Good for merging taxonomy terms, deleting taxonomy terms and so on


  • FCK Editor: Our Rich Text Editor. However we would recommend any new site uses WSIWYG API as the umbrella module for Rich Text Editors.
  • Rules: An extremely powerful and useful module. It allows us to do all kinds of useful things like redirect articles on save. A great example of its use is the smallworld page (example). This page is a view consisting of many instance of a CCK content type called “Shorts”. After a content administrator make a “Shorts” content and saves it, we use Rules to redirect us to the view that would contain it. We also use rules to send emails to article authors when someone comments on the website.
  • Fivestar: Used for ratings on movie reviews
  • Apache Solr search: Discussed above
  • SimpleCDN: The simpleCDN modules allows you to change all imagefield paths so that they point to a Content Delivery Network (CDN). SimpleCDN module supports any CDN that uses HTTP mirroring. We use it in our case, for the SimpleCDN CDN.
  • Webform: Site visitors can subscribe to our paper magazine by filling up a form (implemented using webform). The Webform module tracks past submissions, validates the form and redirects the submission to the the credit card gateway.

Search Engine Optimization / Advertising / Tracking

  • Global Redirect: Redirects all URLs like /node/2344 to their aliased path
  • Integrated Metatags: Meta tags for search engine optimization
  • Pathauto: Assigns human friendly URLs to nodes
  • OpenX (formerly OpenAds): We are in the process of rolling out advertising on our site. We chose OpenX as our ad manager because Google Ads requires the website to be up for at least 6 months if your site is from India/China.
  • Google Analytics: A must have for your website if you want to track your visitors

Development Related

  • Features Module: An Amazing module! For CCK and Views exports (See below)
  • Devel: Provides a suite of tools for the site developer.
  • Drush: Command Drupal from the command line!
  • Drupal for Firebug: Very powerful module! Integrates with Firebug. Allows you to look at the form API representation of a page. Execute PHP code in the Drupal context and more.
  • Admin Menu: Allows easy site administration using an unobtrusive menu dropdown at the top of the page.
  • Backup and Migrate: We take regular backups of the drupal database to prevent against loss of data. The module allows you to dump the contents and/or structure of only the tables you need. This allows us, for instance, to dump all the tables in our Drupal database (except for the cache tables where we only take a structure dump).