The XML3D Module provides a simple and easy way to integrate the XML3D models and applications into Drupal. The current 7.x-1.x version allows to simply enter the XML3D code into a Long Text field that has the XML3D Input Field formatter. The content will then be displayed on the page in the form of an iframe having the same size as the XML3D application.
Well, February is always a short month, but this year it seemed like it passed in just a couple of weeks… and now it’s already March and I’m only finally getting around to putting the final touches on this posting for the January “Modules of the Month”. How did that happen? Well, I won’t try to bore you or make excuses. It’s just been one of those months. I’m going to try to keep up my current momentum and evaluate and write up my favorites from February now… hopefully finishing that in the next week or so. If it’s not done by the 15th, it won’t be done till April since I’ll be taking off for my first trip to India in the middle of this month.
But I’m not here to write about myself. This is about some modules which I found might be worthy of notice… specifically those released in January 2013. It’s interesting to see the evolution of a Drupal version and what kinds of modules are being released these days. Almost no modules are being released for Drupal 6 and Drupal 8’s developer API is still far enough from maturity that there are very few modules being released for it, so almost all the focus is on Drupal 7. Almost anything really critical has already been done, so most modules now fit into areas of workflow improvement, integration of third-party libraries, developer tools, and addressing the needs of an increasingly mobile audience (responsive design). There are a lot of new modules for image display, for keeping a closer eye on site administration issues, creating better e-shops, deploying content from one site to another, and managing caching, among other trends. It’s clear that Drupal 7 is a mature product serving the needs of an extremely diverse community and it’s exciting to see all the new ways that, each month, developers encounter new needs and find inventive ways to further extend on the feature-set. So read on to see what new and fun stuff we got in January… (and I promise to try to get February’s review done in the next week or so).
Closing out the year 2012 with a bang, December brought us quite a number of new modules which look promising enough to cover; a few that I’m covering this time are far from ready or even only at the “concept” stage and normally would not be included, but they seemed particularly interesting or unique, and I want to see how they develop. Anyway, this month there were quite a few modules released for mobile support/responsive content. There were also several search-related modules, anti-spam modules, a couple of novelty modules, some interesting commerce-related releases, a number of Features package modules customized for various special-purpose distributions, lots of new “Third-party Integration” modules, theme enhancements, and more… I only wish I had more time so I could actually try out more of them, but there are several I do plan to get back to.
As usual, this post is sorted alphabetically and only covers modules which had their first release, or at least a new project created, in December. Selection for the Modules of the Month is a completely arbitrary process, but normally excludes common or niche items like a new payment method for Commerce that provides connections for a payment system used in, e.g. Romania. We also don’t normally include commercial service integration modules (unless the service looks really cool and is reasonably priced).
Anyway, it seems like only last week that I was putting the final touches on the November “Modules of the Month” story… oh wait, it was only last week: nine days ago, as I write this. Well I promised to try to get December’s published in early January, so I pushed some days around to make this happen. Let’s take a look at the modules, then, shall we? …
November 2012 was a busy month for a lot of people involved in Drupal contribution. It was the final weeks before the “feature freeze” for Drupal 8, so a lot of the focus was on new features for the next great release of Drupal. Many of the “new projects” were simply “namespace reservations” for new core modules or planned contrib modules which relate to Drupal 8; most of which had no project code committed at all (for some, presumably, it’s all in the main Drupal 8 repository). But there were also a number of new feature-enhancing modules released for Drupal 7 (and a few for Drupal 6), several which improve search functionality, a few for delivering mobile-friendly content from a Drupal site, some for commerce, others designed to help manage Drupal sites and ensure that nothing slips through the cracks when moving from “development” to “production”, among other new gems.
It’s fun, too, that we got a couple new “novelty” modules in November: one, Driesday, puts a “Happy Driesday!” message on your site every November 19th; another is a bit more insidious, with a fully-disclosed dependency on Bad judgement: Feature creep allows you to nostalgically hang onto the “good old days” when Features had a few more quirks. So if you want to remember that fun, just turn this module on and, as the module description says, “every time that you export or update a feature the Feature creep module will randomly add an extra component to your feature, what fun!”
Before we get into the module descriptions, of course, I should acknowledge the very late arrival of this month’s release of this column. It’s been one of those months… again. But let me try to hold onto my optimism that I’ll be seeing you with December’s write-up in just a couple weeks. I’ll be aiming for the first week of January. Now let’s have a look at the “new” modules.
October 2012 brought us a nice batch of interesting new modules. Of course I wanted to tell you all about them weeks ago, but without going into excuses and details, I’m afraid getting this published didn’t go as planned. I’d like to get back on schedule to release the next installation of this series in early December, though. Anyway, it’s great to see all of the innovations that have been introduced in the past month. You can tell that Drupal 7 has truly reached maturity by the kind of modules that are being released now. Many, if not most, of the new modules integrate with and extend the functionality of other contributed modules—for example, there are three new modules which provide plugins for the Facet API—or integrate exciting new jQuery plugins to bring a bit of sizzle to your site.
As usual, the list is in alphabetical order and I haven’t tried all of these modules (although I have experimented with quite a few of them and even eliminated a few from consideration since they seemed a bit too “broken” at this point.) Some of these modules might not be ready for use yet, but just show good promise and look worth keeping an eye on. Creating this monthly list is as much for me as it is for you, but I do hope that the modules I select work well for you, if you give them a try, and I look forward to seeing your comments about any of these modules.
Once again, I’ve surveyed the looong list of modules from the past month (September 2012). This article highlights and summarizes the features of some I found most notable. As usual, the selection and any opinions are my own and the order of appearance here is strictly alphabetical. Category terms are links to Drupal.org projects categorized with the terms. I’ve added terms for modules whose description lacked appropriate categories or might have been missing categories I thought were appropriate.
This month, while we didn’t get any new novelty modules which require bad judgment, there was one which I thought was funny and which otherwise serves no real purpose, other than perhaps to provide an example of object oriented PHP design with interfaces, etc: the BLT module, written by Jess of University of Wisconsin-Madison and Drupal.org’s reigning IRC queen. Its very short (non)description is sure to make you smile:
Q: You’re a vegetarian; why do you get to have the blt project namespace?
A: The BLT is actually a base implementation; a properly architected interface does not mandate bacon.
There are tons of new Drupal modules that got released in August; almost 200 module project pages were created. Some of them aren’t listed here because they currently have no release; some don’t even have code (yet). But a lot of very promising modules were released in August, perhaps due to the extra community involvement around DrupalCon Munich. There were even a couple novelty modules, good for a laugh if not much else: the Honey Badger module (“Honey badger don't care. Honey badger always clears cache.”), contributed by Camilla Krag Jensen of the Danish news site, Dagbladet Information, is one such module worth looking at if you need something to make you smile. The Heisenberg module, by Sally Young of Lullabot, “randomly swaps values of the variable table around.” Well, maybe it would if there were actually any code behind the project. Both require Bad Judgement. I suppose the latter project page could have been created for a new Lullabot training, but I’m curious what inspired Ms Jensen. Anyway, the women of Drupal came through with some laughs.
A more useful looking set of modules was also released in August by French developer, Guillaume Viguier-Just: The Base Core module is required for any of its related modules, which include Base Page, Base Article, Base Link, Base Media, and Base Apps. These modules are “… meant to be a set of features that will provide the "lowest common denominator" for building Drupal apps and distributions.” The Base modules depend on Apps Compatible, another new module from August which I think will be in very wide use before long (Apps Compatible is covered below). There are also a couple new modules for the Spark distribution (listed below), several new Drush extensions, and a number of other modules which look good for boosting developer/themer productivity.
As with previous editions of this article, all modules are listed in alphabetical order. If categories were missing on the Drupal.org project page, I’ve added appropriate categories. Additional caveat: I have not tested all of these modules and have not fully tested any of them. They are new modules and some come with new bugs, so beware.
I took a train from Frankfurt (Germany) down to Munich the Saturday before the DrupalCon. When I joined the Multilingual Sprint on Sunday morning, many of them had already been sprinting for a full day and a number of issues were ready for review, so I dived in, observing the behavior of Drupal 8 before and after applying patches, proof-reading the patches for anything odd (e.g. typos in the documentation), discussing the issues in comments and in IRC with people who were sitting just across the room (other times actually speaking in person). By the end of the day, instead of the dozen or so people that Gábor Hojtsy, the Multilingual Initiative team lead, had expected, there were close to 50 people at the location, some joining us in the work on Multilingual issues, some working on other Drupal 8 tasks, and some who were just arriving in Munich and followed the Tweets to where we were. Luckily, the location rented for the Saturdays and Sundays before and after the DrupalCon week was big enough to accommodate all the extra arrivals.
While on the topic of the venue we used for those weekends, I’d like to personally thank Stephan Luckow and Florian (“Floh”) Klare of the Drupal-Initiative e.V. for all that they did to find a nice place that would still leave us with a budget for food and for their valiant work on stretching the food budget while still serving up excellent fare, in keeping with the fantastic meals we enjoyed the rest of the week. Instead of ordering delivery, they prepared almost everything themselves, including beautiful open-face sandwiches, fruit platters, and lovely grilled specialties at a club we went to where you can barbecue in the Biergarten.
…thanks for the huge help to the local organizers, especially Florian Klare and Stephan Luckow. They helped us manage collecting and spending sponsor money wisely with the Drupal Initiative e.V, prepared great sandwiches and fruit plates for us and even organized a sprinter party night with grill food. It was amazing to work with such helpful and flexible local organizers. —Gábor Hojtsy, September 5, 2012
Since people were “fresh”, I think a lot of work got done on the first weekend and the Monday before the conference (more than 50 people joined us and worked on various core initiatives on Monday in the room we later used for core most conversations at the Sheraton), which also meant that issues were still fresh in our minds while we had days of sessions and conversations, so when we started sprinting again on Friday we had lots of new ideas for the tasks we were still working on. Friday’s sprints were at the Westin Grand, where there was great attendance both upstairs in the main room as well as a large room downstairs from it, where Drupalize.me hosted a core contribution workshop to ease people into the process of contributing to core. I decided to go to that workshop since I’m still pretty new to it all and found a few people sitting nearby who were I was also able to interest in some Multilingual tasks, so while the main group sprinted upstairs, we also worked downstairs. Later on, I came upstairs, and since there were not a lot of simpler tasks for “core newbies”, like myself, I took some time to sprint on a module I contributed some time back, before there was much of anything for Drupal 7 in the area of “multilingual”… and tried to make my module more multilingual-friendly. I got a few good commits and a new release out for Internal Links and also recruited a colleague to look at the code with me, provide some ideas, and become another maintainer. So I personally found Friday quite productive.
July saw a bumper crop of interesting new modules contributed, many of them with already-stable Drupal 7 releases. The kind of modules being released now also seems to be indicative of Drupal 7’s level of maturity. We are no longer seeing the modules which fill gaping holes in the standard feature-set, but now we are seeing loads of performance-enhancements, accessibility improvements, productivity tools for Drupal developers, backports of Drupal 8 awesomeness, mobile theming augmentation, and integrations with non-PHP-based systems, just to name a few of the common categories that seem to be trending at this point in the release cycle. And the mainstay modules that have had some major issues have almost entirely been released in stable versions (but they are not within the remit of this article). Yes, things are looking good.
Indeed, there are so many interesting new modules this month, that it’s harder than ever to choose which ones are worthy of profiling here, so the list is quite a bit longer than normal. I hope you are as excited as I am to see all the cool stuff that’s now easier-than-ever to do with your Drupal-based site.
As usual, this list does not include most “integration modules” for fee-based commercial services and likewise leaves out modules which, at time of review, did not have an official release of any kind. Modules for very “niche” audiences (such as those for integration of regional services) are also omitted, among others which seemed a bit too complicated to provide a short explanation of what they bring to the table. It’s possible some of these more complex modules might be covered in separate articles, though.
Enough with the caveats and chit-chat… let’s look at the modules!