Four Drupal tools that solve 90 percent of your sitebuilding challenges

There are two ways to solve problems when building a website. One is to find a specific tool for each problem. The other is to find and thoroughly understand how to use just a few very powerful, very general tools.

When building a site using Drupal, you can go either route ("there's a module for that").

I prefer the second option, because it lets you invent instead of just employ solutions, so here is a list of four tools that can solve 90 percent of your problems.

  1. CCK ("Content Construction Kit"). In seconds you can create a new type of content with special fields. They could be text fields, URLs, references to other pieces of content or to users. They could be geocoding references used to generate maps. They could be images or videos. They could be values to generate an embedded chart. Want to make a directory? No coding required.
  2. Views. Once you have some content, you'll want to display lists, make data feeds, and so forth. That's what Views does. It makes headline/teaser lists, bulleted lists, tables, grids, XML feeds, complete pages, embeddable components, search interfaces, even Javascript widgets. There's even a bulk-operations tool that lets you invent new administrative tools. No coding is required.
  3. Panels. Once you have content and some list display components, you're going to want to mix and match them on pages with complicated layouts. Panels lets you do that. Replace that blog-like page with something more refined.
  4. Your brain. Ain't nothing like it. The human brain can see abstractions. Once you master CCK, Views and Panels, you'll discover you've been doing it wrong: instead of 99 special-purpose Views, create three or four with variant displays, and learn to pass arguments to refine their behavior.

There are lots of other toys in the toybox, f course, and if you just grabbed the top dozen modules at you'd be well served. But I'd start with these four, because when the question turns to "how can I ...?" the answer in 9 cases out of 10 is "CCK, Views, Panels, and your noodle."


Excellent post, Steve. I've got CCK & Views down pretty well, but still need to tackle panels head on. You just inspired me to do that. Happy Thanksgiving!

#5) The Drupal API This solves the other 10% of site building issues and _definitely_ requires #4, above. =)

Couldn't agree more. Especially with the improvements that have been coming along in all of these. For basic sites panel nodes and especially the new Panels views display type make a lot of basic sites not even need any styling.

Hi Yelvington, You missed the famous module for maintaining groups.It is Organic groups module if you add this module with your given module,it'll solve 100% of our site building challenges.I think so.. what about your opinion?