Essential Drupal Social Networking Modules

Essential Drupal Social Networking Modules

I’ve been playing around with Drupal setups for 3 years now and in that time I’ve worked on alot of community and social networking sites, so in this tutorials I’m going to highlight my favourite and most useful social networking modules.

Things have moved along since DrupalSN went live so don’t be surprised to see me recommending modules I’m not using on DrupalSN.
Check the modules used on DrupalSN and see which DrupalSN modules are available to download.

CCK / Views / imagecache / pathauto
If you want to create a blog or any content types you will no doubt need these modules at somepoint.
CCK allows you to create new node types and add all sorts of fields.
Views lets you create lists or “views” of content and imagecache is a great tool for resizing and cropping images on the fly.
pathauto is an extension of the core path module which allows your Drupal site to create clean SEO friendly URLs, this is also great for creating user URLs like user/thomjjames for user profiles.
All the content on DrupalSN is powered by these modules.

Find out more on:
the cck module(s)
the views module
the imagecache module
the pathauto module

Admin Menu
Not strictly a social networking type module but it’s brilliant if you are admining any Druapl site. The module creates a snapshot of your site navigation and turns it into an atrractive and convenient set of drop down menus that stick to the top of your screen. This means you can browse the admin pages quickly and admin your in less clicks.

Admin Menu
More info on the admin menu module.

Share / Service Links
If you’ve got great content on your site you want your users to be able to share and bookmark it on their favourite social networking and bookmarking sites, and this is exactly what these modules do!
The modules can function separately (as of the latest version of share) but also work well together to provide you and your users with links to all the major social networking and bookmarking sites include Facebook, MySpace, del.icio.us, digg, Google, Yahoo and more.

Service Links Example
These two modules are also a great way to promote your sites! Site promotion through social media is become ever more popular and a very effective free way to promote your site.
Find out more about the share module and service links module.

Buddylist
A buddy or friend list is an essential part of any social networking or community site as it lets users connect and create connections and networks of people.
We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to buddy modules in Drupal, check out my post on Drupal buddy modules to find out more.

Logintoboggan
This module allows users to set their own password and login with their email and username. It also allows you to let users login immediately after the register and be assigned a “pre-validation” role until the validate their email.

Logintoboggan
Comment module with comment_notify
This module sends email notifications to users when someone comments on a node that they have already commented on, this is a great way to get users coming back to your site.
Notifications are options, the user can choose wheather to get notifications when they submit their comment and can unsubscribe at anytime.
Only small download side is it does require a one line patch to the comment module, but I think it’s worth it!

VotingAPI with fivestar or extra_voting_forms
Voting on content encourages users to interact and the fivestar and extra_voting_forms modules allow users to do just this.
Both modules require the votingAPI to function but this allows you to add the possibility of promoting or demoting posts from the frontpage based on user votes.

VotingAPI
Check out a whole list of modules the interact with votingAPI.

Invite and Drupal Contact List Importer
Let your social network grow by itself by letting users invite friends and family to join your site.
Add the Drupal Contact List Importer module and let your users import contacts to invite from their Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Lycos, Myspace, and MSN Messenger Contacts.

Profile module with profile_setup
Well I couldn’t resist including one of my own modules in this list but I definitely think it’s a great way to get users to fill out their profile when they register at your site.
The module directs users through a profile setup wizard where they are invited to upload a profile picture and fill out profile fields (provided by the core profile module).

Profile setup

  • Note similar functionality can be acheived with the contentprofile module.
    Facebook-style Statuses
    If it works for Facebook then it’ll work for any SN site!
    For those who’ve never used Facebook or haven’t noticed the statuses on DrupalSN this module allows users to input a current status about what they are currently doing, it’s a nice way of making your site look fresh.
    I didn’t use this module on DrupalSN because it haden’t been released when I started working on DrupalSN.

Facebook statuses
unique_avatar
This is an excellent little helper module that prevents user profile pictures from being cached in the browser after a user changes their profile picture.
It prevents browser caching be giving each user profile picture a unique file name.

usernode
If you are using Drupal 5 this module provides bridge between user data (user and profile module related) and the views module. This allows you to create views of users and user information, like the community page on DrupalSN.

nodeprofile and bio (Drupal 5) or contentprofile (Drupal 6)
These modules allow you allow you to build user profiles as content or nodes, which opens up the opportunity to use the powerful CCK modules for creating user profiles.
The contentprofile is the Drupal 6 successor to the nodeprofile and Bio modules.

These modules offer a great and more flexible alternative to the core profile module.

Well that concludes my quick list of Drupal social networking modules, hopefully you’ve found this helpful.

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