As you can already tell: I'm overly excited about my weekly "findings" about Drupal 8, about how it has made my entire experience as a Drupal developer in Toronto, a lot "smoother" and rewarding. It looks like there's no week that passes that I don't share with you new Drupal 8 modules that I've successfully used.
Since I'm all about collaborating and contributing (and therefore "sharing", as well), Drupal's 2 main “philosophies”, here I am today ready to talk to you about 5 other Drupal 8 modules! Each one of them is a reflection of this newest version of Drupal's main goals: simplifying the developer's experience, empowering (even more) content creators and overall placing an even greater control into the hands of site administrators/business owners.
1. Views, One of The Most Used Drupal 8 Modules
I'm quite sure you weren't at all “worried” that Views might not get ported from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, right? I mean it is one of the most popular modules, after all.
But there's more to this than just porting one popular module into the latest version of the CMS: Views's now a core module! You get it by default, once you install your basic Drupal 8!
Moreover, Views in Drupal 8 has been aligned with the goal of “granting even more control to site administrators”. They can sort and present the content to their liking (and, since we're talking about a content management frameworks it's not just content creation that playes a crucial role, but content structuring, as well).
Site administrators can configure lists, blocks, calendars, photo galleries and, Drupal's emblematic feature: they get to do all this without having to write even one single line of code. Directly from the administrator interface!
So, you've got my point: Views has been a “can't live without” modul in Drupal 7, too. But now let's find out what new enhancements have been implemented in Drupal 8's Views module:
- almost all the default views get automatically enabled; and no wonder why, since now this valuable module is part of Drupal's core
- the interface resembles the Drupal 7's one a lot (with insignificant changes here and there)
- the module, now a core one, has been invested with more responsibilities; therefore, it “spoils” the site admin with a lot more control over the way the content gets structured and presented on the website; he/she gets to control/modify blocks and lists, user and content admin page, taxonomy term pages and much more, directly from Views
- you won't find the Advanced Help module in Views, since it's part of Drupal's core now; instead, for any information regarding its functionality, you'll need to rely on drupal.org documentation or on the help system in core
As a Drupal developer in Canada I couldn't have left out particularly a module “spoiling” us, developers, and themers, as well, with such feature-reach sub-modules.
Take Devel, another one of my top favorite Drupal 8 modules, as a “Russian doll“ type of module!
Here are its cool sub-modules, aimed at improving your whole development experience:
- Kint: a debugging tool displaying your data in an styled, nicely organized format
- Devel Node Access: it shows relevant information regarding the node access system of your Drupal installation
- WebProfiler: pops up a footer displaying all types of valuable stats: database queries, cache effectiveness, the services that are being used and so on
- Devel Generate: really helpful when you have to test your website, and thus to fill it in with dummy entities: it generates this type of “test data” for you, ranging from nodes, taxonomy, dummy users, images etc.
And here's another widely used module that I couldn't have left out of my personal top. With the placeholders/tokens it provides me with, it streamlines my whole workflow tremendously.
It's enough for me to, for instance, to use a token such as [site:name] and it will instantly carry out the task I assign to it: filling in the website's name.
And this is what I call: boosting my efficiency the Drupal way!
Moreover, since the above example is probably one of the most “rudimentary” ones, the Token module can “collaborate” with other modules, such as Pathauto, for completing even more complex tasks: helping you automate URLs and aliases for various types of content on your Drupal site!
And since I've mentioned Drupal 8's “objective” of putting even more control into your hands, whether you're a site builder, a developer or a site administrator, allow me to dive into some “enlightening” details about Rules.
Rules's another one of the “control-granting” and “workflow-streamlining” Drupal 8 modules that's been my reliable “helper” during my recent web projects!
The true “power” of this contributed module lies in its reactive rules (or ECA rules). Basically, you get to set up your own event, condition and action rules that will help you to better structure and manage the whole workflow on your Drupal site.
Let me give you just one “enlightening” example of how such an automated, reactive rules-fueled workflow would work: you, as a Drupal developer, get to create a rule which, once a visitor posts comment on the given website (the event), automatically sends a notification email to the author of the piece of content displayed on that web page (the triggered action).
Moreover, the content author himself can set up a condition implying that he should receive notification emails only when the comments get posted by users only (thus excluding those cases when he, himself, writes in the comments section, replying to his readers).
Get it? “Rules” marks the beginning of a whole new era for us, “drupalists”:
- site builders get to put together complex business logic without the need of writing any code
- developers can set up all kinds of complex rules aimed at automatizing and better controlling the whole workflow on the website; at automatizing the more or less complicated actions that will take place on the website
- site admins get to put together their own customized workflow based on conditioned actions triggered by certain occurring events
And since Drupal, and Drupal 8 even more than the previous versions, is all about “cutting out the middlemen”, about empowering the end-user lacking any coding skills, I must repeat myself: Rules can be used by anyone, irrespective of his/her programming skills. All the settings can be done directly from the UI.
Moreover (and I've saved some of the best news for last): Rules can now leverage the benefits of Drupal 8's API (the much appraised API, that weren't available in Drupal 7)!
5. Google Analytics
Time is a way too valuable resource, one to be treasured in today's super competitive digital landscape!
Therefore, these days it's not just about “who has the most efficient strategy” but about “how can I implement my super efficient digital strategy quick and easy?”.
And here is where Drupal comes to “save the day”!
With the Google Analytics module not only that you get to closely monitor your visitors' behavior, to get the relevant charts and stats about how each page on your site is performing, but you can to do all this data tracking quickly. Right from Drupal's interface!
And this is the “beauty” of this module, one one of the handy Drupal 8 modules: it helps you save priceless resources of time, since you can keep track of your web statistics right from your Drupal interface. I adds your Google Analytics to your Drupal website.
Have you tried them, too, in your own projects? I'm curious if they've improved your whole development experience as they did for me and if you've faced any major challenges while utilizing them. If so, feel free to share them in the comments below!