13 obscure Drupal modules that you probably don't use, but should

A salute to the unsung modules that make our jobs a little easier

We at Zivtech have been working with Drupal for a long time, some of us for over 10 years, and in that time we’ve gotten to use (and sometimes build) a lot of really cool modules to develop stellar sites for our clients. We have sifted through thousands of modules on Drupal.org, going far beyond the first couple pages of results and venturing deep into the unknown, unheard of, and ultimately under-appreciated modules. We sent out a question to our staff to ask for their favorite obscure modules, and we've compiled this list to share some of these modules that we have found particularly helpful, and to help ensure that they don't fall through the cracks. All of these modules have fewer than 8,000 active installs, and most have under 5,000.

Let us know what you think of our list in the comments section below!

Drupal-to-Drupal Data Migration

Current Version: 7.x-2.0
Release Date: 11-26-2012
Active Installs: 849
Description: migrate_d2d provides a framework based on the Migrate API for migrating content from Drupal 5, Drupal 6, or Drupal 7 sites into the Drupal 7 site where it is installed.
Why we love the module: Senior Developer Matt Klein on how d2d helps him get straight to business: “Since we do migrations on nearly every site we work on, migrate_d2d saves us a lot of time when moving from one version of Drupal to a newer one by automating a lot of the monkey work."

Reroute Email

Current Version: 7.x-1.1
Release Date: 1-16-2012
Active Installs: 2,222
Description: This module intercepts all outgoing emails from a Drupal site and reroutes them to a predefined configurable email address.
Why we love the module: Matt can't believe that you're not using this module; “I'm surprised that it’s obscure. This module saved me from having to worry about emails getting sent out from dev sites or during migrations and spamming people.”

Client-side Adaptive Image

Current Version: 7.x-1.0
Release Date: 3-29-2013
Active Installs: 2,097
Description: The Client-side adaptive image module helps build responsive web designs with fluid images by providing an Image field formatter that allows you to select appropriate image styles for various client widths. With this module, you can ensure that for each Image field only the most appropriately sized image gets downloaded by the client.
Why we love the module: Developer Jason Moore loves fast websites, espescially when on the go, and “in the end, you’re serving a much faster, more efficient website to those [mobile] devices.”

ImageField Focus

Current Version: 7.x-1.0
Release Date: 11-6-2012
Active Installs: 3,619
Description: This module allows to scale and crop images focusing on their important portions.
Why we love the module: This module helps Jason focus on what’s important: “ImageField Focus makes it easy to define the important parts of pictures that I don’t want to lose when an image is resized or cropped. I can do everything I need to in one or two button clicks.”

Style Guide

Current Version: 7.x-1.1
Release Date: 5-2-2013
Active Installs: 3,195
Description: Style Guide provides a visual testing page for Drupal themes.
Why we love the module: Creative Director Sean Wolfe likes the feeling of omniscience that this module gives him:  “Before using Style Guide, there was no easy way to quickly review common HTML elements on a single page - it’s great for catching unstyled elements, like status messages and vertical tabs, that are commonly overlooked.”

Back to Top

Current Version: 7.x-1.3
Release Date: 7-20-2012
Active Installs: 5,664
Description: Back To Top adds a button that hovers in the bottom of your screen and allow users to smoothly scroll up the page using jQuery.
Why we love the module: Senior Front End Designer Alban Bailly has streamlined his process by using Back to Top: “The module is so simple, all you have to do is activate it. It saves me maybe 3 hours per project. And clients really like it!” 

Clientside Validation

Current Version: 7.x-1.37
Release Date: 1-3-2013
Active Installs: 5,483
Description: This module adds clientside validation (aka "Ajax form validation") for all forms and webforms using jquery.validate.
Why we love the module: Alban is a fan of this module’s flexibility: “Clientside Validation is a much friendlier form of validation that works without needing to reload the page. I like to use it for fast projects. It also does a good job of adjusting its functionality when users don’t have Javascript enabled.”

Adaptive Image

Current Version: 7.x-1.4
Release Date: 2-7-2012
Active Installs: 5,272
Description: The Adaptive image module provides device-appropriate versions of images from your fields. You can activate adaptive images by adding an adaptive effect to any of your image styles.
Why we love the module: Alban appreciates being able to rapidly set up adaptive images so that images look good with a design on any screen size:  “It’s really easy to configure and use, and is flexible enough to work with slideshows and things like that.”

Drush Fetcher

Current Version: 7.x-1.x-dev
Release Date: 10-21-2013
Active Installs: 1
Description: Fetcher is a Drush extension that automates the process of provisioning a Drupal site on a local development environment or a server. We use this at Zivtech to make it incredibly easy for people to build their virtual machines … and so should you!
Why we love the module: Zivtech's VP of Engineering Howard Tyson had this to say: “We have a team of developers that are always moving from client project to client project. Setting up a local version of each one was always a time-suck. As a result, we created Fetcher to keep a central list of all of our sites and to set one of those sites up locally with a single drush command. Now we can hop from project to project in the time it takes to refill our coffee. Now if only fixing bugs could be so easy.”

Stage File Proxy

Current Version: 7.x-1.4
Release Date: 7-10-2013
Active Installs: 513
Description: Stage File Proxy saves you time and disk space by sending requests to your development environment's files directory to the production environment and making a copy of the production file in your development site.
Why we love the module: Howard likes to keep his Downloads folder tidy: “Stage file proxy is awesome because it lets you test with all of the files from your real site without forcing you to download them all. Grabbing files from production isn’t too bad when it’s just a megabyte or two, but when it’s gigs it gets brutal. In the same way image styles makes thumbnails for you on demand, stage file proxy grabs your production files as you need them!”


Current Version: 7.x-1.x-dev
Release Date: 10-1-2013
Active Installs: 156
Description: Bear is a starter profile to be used as an alternative to minimal or standard. It sets up Drupal with contributed modules and configuration that we find useful for just about every type of site.
Why we love the module: Bear makes setting up new sites a breeze so Sean can move on to theming: “The Bear starter profile allows us to quickly set up new sites with a number of useful modules and configurations already enabled. It also includes the default theme Bear Skin, which is a fully responsive starter theme based on Zen. Using Bear has significantly reduced the amount of time that it takes us to setup a new site ready for theming.”


Current Version: 7.x-1.0-beta2
Release Date: 12-7-2010
Active Installs: 4,349
Description: Smart Crop is an imagecache action that crops based on entropy, which produces more pleasing results when cropping to a fixed aspect.
Why we love the module: Jason is also a module connoisseur and has just the right pairing for Imagefield Focus: “I’ll use Smart Crop with ImageField Focus - it uses image entropy to set Focus fallbacks so that you aren’t accidentally cutting people’s heads off in slideshows.”


Current Version: 7.x-2.0
Release Date: 10-22-2012
Active Installs: 7,711
Description: Provides a Views display, style and row plugin for displaying nodes using Adam Shaw's FullCalendar jQuery plugin.
Why we love the module: Zivtech CTO and Co-Founder Jody Hamilton says, “[former Zivtech Developer] Tim Plunkett's Full Calendar module creates a calendar experience similar to Google Calendar by integrating the jQuery FullCalendar Plugin with Drupal. It's also much easier to setup and modify in Views than the older Drupal Calendar module.”