How to Easily Manage Fields Using Drupal

Fields are easily one of the most useful features in a Drupal site. When the site is initially built, and the design is still relatively simple, fields are a very easy and effective way to customize any modules, nodes, or themes that you use. For example, you can add a field to your page’s content that allows you to choose whether or not you want your page to display text and an image, or just an image, turning your text field into one that doesn’t do anything. However, without a proper management system in place, creating fields like that can clutter your UI and make using your site an absolute nightmare. A well-thought out, well-grouped field management system is thus vital for any site built using Drupal, and the right modules can help you design that system.

Field Group

Organization is key when it comes to designing a website, especially if you expect other people to be able to use it. If you run something like a blog or a news site, you will inevitably bring in other content creators. Field Group helps make it simpler to customize your site’s interface to whatever those creators and users feel is most intuitive. As you might guess, Field Group is a way for you to group fields together. Then you can use different UI wrappers for those groups, allowing you to create things like horizontal tabs or collapsible fields out of the different field groups, and helping to clean up longer, more complicated forms.

Conditional Fields

Like Field Group, Conditional Fields helps you organize and clean-up the site, though it doesn’t have as heavy of a visual element as the last module does. Essentially, Conditional Fields allows you to hide fields unless a particular condition is met. So, s­ay you have a survey on the type of computer your visitors use, for example, and you don’t want a Windows OS-field to appear unless the user chooses the value indicating they have a PC. Conditional fields allows you to set those parameters, and keeps the site looking clean. Plus it really helps usability when neither you nor the user has to wade through a bunch of irrelevant information.

Field Permissions

Finally, Field Permissions is a great way for a site’s administrator to handle multiple levels of users – admins, authenticated visitors, anonymous users – and define what types of fields they are allowed to create, see, and edit. So if you have a site that utilizes certain types of content or objects with fields that you only want certain types of users to be able to see or edit, Field Permissions makes it  very simple to do that. It also allows you to enable these permissions on any type of entity that uses fields, meaning you aren’t stuck with using nodes. By default the module denies permission to all users when permission is enabled for a certain type of field, which helps you keep control over who can see and change what.

Field design and use has to seem logical and intuitive, otherwise users are going to be completely confused and lost. Something as simple as a survey, if designed poorly, can leave your site’s administrators, visitors, and users feeling frustrated. A well-designed field management system is also vital for content creators as, without one, the simple act of adding information to a site could be an arduous, tiring experience. By taking advantage of these types of modules, you can inject a bit of usability into your site and how it utilizes fields, and ensure that everyone who accesses your site, from the anonymous user to the administrator, is comfortable with using it.