Must Have Drupal 7 Modules
We got a lot of traffic on our last blog post talking about Must Have Drupal Modules, but that was dealing with Drupal 6. Many amazing changes have happened between Drupal 6 and Drupal 7, and a lot of the previous Must Have modules were integrated into Drupal's core! So, here is the new list of Must Have Drupal 7 modules:
Chaos Tools (http://drupal.org/project/ctools)
Chaos Tools is one of thos things that really should just be built into the Core of Drupal, and I'm sure that at some point it will be. You'll need CTools for so many things, that it will probably be the first thing you install. It's required by (in this list alone) by Meta Tag and Views
CKEditor iw a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) Rich Text editor (RTE). It's not Drupal-specific, but integrates wonderfully. And, it's so much easier to install and configure then our previously recommenced RTE, FCKEditor. This thing is awesome, and very configurable.
CKEditor Link (http://drupal.org/project/ckeditor_link)
The only shortcoming of CKEditor (and it's not really a shortcoming since CKEditor is NOT Drupal-specific) is that it doesn't handle internal links very well. BUT this is where CKEDitor Link comes in! It seamlessly adds the ability to link to your other internal pages, and creates the appropriate links for you. All with an Autocomplete feature that makes finding the page you want to link to easy peasy lemon-squeezy!
You'll probable want to include images in your pages, too. IMCE (like CKEditor Link) integrates with CKEditor and makes adding, uploading and linking to images very easy. The install is not as eash as the others, but it's not much of a stretch. I'll cover the installation in another blog post.
Google Analytics (http://drupal.org/project/google_analytics)
Once you've got your site up and running, you'll want to see how many people visit it, right? Right. GA is the only way we recommend doing this. GA is the best out there, and it's absolutely free. PLUS, you can now track visitors on your site in REAL-TIME. I know, awesome, right?
Meta Tags (http://drupal.org/project/metatag)
In order to get the best SEO positioning that you can, you're going to want to be able to configure your META Tags. This module lets you go far beyond the requisite Description and Keywords - it also allows Open Graph (OG) tags, Copyright, Generator, Short Link, Robot and more. Again, this guy oughta be in Drupal Core.
Views makes the new list simply because it is the most powerful Drupal module there is. That's a big statement, but it's true. Views allows you to basically create any kind of page or "View" or your data that you want. It's very complex, no doubt, and there is a learning curve, but really - Learn Views, and you'll rule your site!
PathAuto gives you the ability to have a nice URL for your pages. Don't think this is necessary? Read this. PathAuto makes pretty URLs based on the Title of your page. It strips out bad characters, and makes your site look very appetising to Google. Trust me, this is a good thing.
Another utilitarian module. While you'll likely never interface with Token directly (although you certainly can), it's required for a lot of the other modules you'll want to use.
The contact form that comes with Drupal is fine for most circumstances, but if you want to add more functionality, better fields, and have customizable responses and tracking (and who doesn't?) then this module is a must-have for you.
I'll give more information on each of these modules in later blog posts, but for now - just go to the links I've provided and read what you can about these very powerful Must Have modules for Drupal 7.