You’ve just freshly installed Drupal 8 on your computer and you are really looking forward to getting your website up and running fast. You want all those amazing features you have heard about of Drupal 8. So, what do you do next? Pick your Drupal 8 modules! Coz modules are the building blocks of any great Drupal mansion.
Of course, it isn’t as simple as it sounds. Drupal 8 is powered by its ever-growing open-source community who work hard to develop thousands of modules that can enhance and extend the functionality of a Drupal website. Choosing out of thousands of Drupal 8 modules can be a backbreaker.
Luckily for you, many significant contributed modules from Drupal 7 have made their way to Drupal 8 core. Which means, you will only need to enable these modules once Drupal 8 is installed. Let’s dive into a short list of top Drupal 8 modules you must have to build great digital experiences. Following that, we’ll talk about how to pick your Drupal 8 modules.
Admin Toolbar Module
The Drupal Admin Toolbar module is extremely useful for better navigation for site admins and site builders. The default Toolbar isn’t very user friendly. This module aims to extend the functionality of the toolbar by offering drop-down menus that allow easy access to various admin pages. It also offers a submodule to extend its functionality called Admin Toolbar Extra Tools. This submodule adds more helpful links to the admin menu to perform tasks like flush cache, run cron and more.
The Drupal 8 Paragraphs Module gives a lot of power in the hands of content authors and editors. It allows them to create flexible and structured content easily. You can now add various paragraphs field types like images, text blocks, quotes, slideshows, videos and so much more.
Using the familiar node edit form, you can add/play around with as many paragraph items and place them wherever you want to. It also offers widgets (still in experimental) which will allow drag and drop functionality, duplicating paragraphs and many other features that can elevate user experience while working with the Paragraphs module.
This is one Drupal 8 module that is always on my recommended-modules-list. It is so versatile and such an essential Drupal module that it is hard to ignore. Almost every website needs a form. A contact form or a survey form or a feedback form – there is no running away from them. The Drupal 8 Webform Module is a rich form builder that is easily customizable and extendable. It allows to collect form data, send it to third-party applications or send emails to admins or users. You can also export this data to spreadsheets for further analysis. There’s so much more that the Webform module offers which cannot be summed up here.
The Drupal Display Suite module is a very easy-to-use and handy tool to build page layouts. It offers a slick drag and drop interface to arrange content. There are a list of predefined layouts and templates to choose from. Custom layouts and templates can also be created and added in the theme. Custom view modes and custom fields can also be defined.
The Drupal Devel module is a very handy tool for developers and site admins. It is widely used in testing purposes because of its ability to generate a lot of content for nodes, comments, users and various content types and entities. Also, it allows developers debug any problems with node access. Page footers can be added for all pages with the help of its submodule called Webprofiler. Webprofiler also gives the site admins an insight to some analytics about the caching abilities, database queries, resource utilization and much more.
Drupal GraphQL Module
GraphQL is a modern querying language that replaces old-timers like REST to communicate with APIs. It is faster and yields only the results you are looking for – minus all the unwanted baggage that comes along with a REST API call. The Drupal GraphQL module enables your Drupal website to create GraphQL schemas and expose Drupal entities with GraphQL client applications.
Having a well-structured URL does not only improve the user experience, it is very vital for search engine optimization too. The Drupal Pathauto module is definitely a must-have module in every Drupal project. It helps in automatically generating SEO friendly and well-structured URLs. Site admins can also change the pattern system by changing the tokens it uses.
The Drupal Google Analytics module adds Google analytics tracking system to your website. Using this Drupal module, all features of Google analytics can be accessed and integrated with your website. It allows for domain tracking, users tracking, monitoring tracked links, monitoring downloaded files, site search, Adsense support and much more.
Things to Remember while choosing your Drupal 8 modules
Be it personalization modules, social media integration modules, marketing automation modules or any other module, you can always find more than one for each functionality. Here’s what you should keep in mind before making a choice:
Before you download a module, you should know if it is going to be compatible with your version of Drupal. You just cannot install a version 7 module into your Drupal 8 installation without cross checking if it is supported. To find out what version of the module has been released in Drupal.org, you can go to the module’s project page and scroll right to the end where you will see the download link and find the release versions specified. If it isn’t specified, go to http://drupal.org/project/Modules/name and filter by Core compatibility.
They’re free but they consume space
You must keep in mind that although the contributed Drupal modules are free of cost, they are not feather light. Unused modules can unnecessarily consume a lot of space and resources which can make your Drupal website heavier and slower. So, before you download a module, analyze if you really need it or if any other core module can perform the same functionality for your website. Also, feel free to abandon those hardly used and inactive modules to make your website feel healthier and light.
Actively Maintained Modules
It is very important to choose modules that are actively maintained, updated and published by the developers. Because, if you run into any security vulnerabilities or any other issues, you know that you can get a quicker response from the developer/contributor. Also, you will be sure that an updated new version is on its way soon.
Using popular modules means you can trust the module to do the job and be secure with less issues. In the module’s project page on drupal.org, you can see the number of downloads and how many websites are currently using that particular module.
Look out for issues
On the right side of the Drupal module’s project page, you can find the number of issues and bugs (open and closed) associated with that module. On clicking on the link, you will be able to see a detailed report of all bugs and issues. Looking at this can give you an idea if the module can really help you with your functionality or not. The ‘Last Updated’ date can also give you an idea of how active the developers are in solving issues and how responsive they are.