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Our favorite SilverStripe modules

SilverStripe modules are a type of add-on (the other kind is themes) that provide extra functionality to SilverStripe. The core of SilverStripe functionality strives to include only what’s necessary. Nonetheless, we find that we almost always use a handful of modules with particularly widespread applicability.

For more on add-ons, visit the add-on repository.

Top 5 modules

  1. Grid Field Extensions

    We use this on almost every project we build. We formerly used Sortable Grid Field, which is nice, but the GridFieldOrderableRows from this module works more seamlessly. We’ve also used GridFieldAddNewMultiClass from this package with good success.

  2. User Forms

    The User Forms module provides easy-to-use custom user response forms that editors can create and manage without writing any PHP code. Perfect for when a full CRM integration is just too much.

  3. Google Site Maps

    Once part of core, and now a separate module, it works great out of the box to create Google sitemaps. It also allows for some customization and the inclusion of non-SiteTree based DataObjects. To see this module in action, check out our own sitemap.xml.

  4. Focus Point

    FocusPoint enables you to identify the main subject in an image, then keeps that crucial part of the image visible during cropping.

  5. Better Buttons

    From Uncle Cheese of Data Object Manager fame, this module allows for more options when editing a DataObject and also enables adding custom form actions right in the CMS.

Technical & less often used modules

We don’t always use these items, and some of them are highly technical or serve a narrow purpose. The first item, Better Navigator, however, deserves special mention, as it nicely updates a somewhat neglected feature of the SilverStripe core.

  • Better Navigator

    This module provides a handy and attractive front-end menu for CMS users who are logged in. It also shows up in dev mode to help developers work on new site code. It replicates and expands upon SilverStripe’s built-in SilverStripeNavigator, which hasn’t seen much development since SilverStripe 2.4.

  • Static Publisher

    This module exports a SilverStripe site as static files to a local or remote server for increased site performance, when partial template caching isn’t enough to do the job. This module was behind SilverStripe’s successful deployment of the 2008 Obama campaign’s website. We use it to boost the performance of sites with heavy traffic and/or troublesome database bottlenecks.

  • Artefact Cleaner

    This module is for developers only. It finds and optionally deletes disused tables and fields in a SilverStripe database.

    During development of a SilverStripe application it often happens that you delete a data object class or remove a field from a data object. This module can find and delete them, but it’s definitely not a tool for production databases. Here be dragons!

  • Upgrade SilverStripe

    This item isn’t, strictly speaking, a SilverStripe module. It’s a tool to help developers upgrade PHP code and templates from SilverStripe 2.4 to 3.0, as well as from 3.0 to 3.1.

    With the March 31, 2015, SilverStripe 2.4 end-of-life rapidly approaching, now is definitely the time to do your upgrading!

About the Authors

  • Fred Condo

    Fred has a Ph.D. in the Management of Information Systems and Cognitive Psychology from Claremont Graduate School, and is Chief Engineer at Quinn Interactive. He taught a graduate level class, “Principles of Usability” at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and was an Assistant Professor in the Communication Design department at California State University, Chico for 6 years, teaching web development and human factors. Fred got into SilverStripe in 2008. He has made 35 commits to the SilverStripe framework repository, which makes him the 36th-most prolific contributor to the project (as of November 2014). You should follow him on GitHub here.

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  • Phil Quinn

    Phil is the founder of Quinn Interactive. He has over 20 years of design experience and built his first Web site (an on-line, 30+ page weekly newspaper complete with custom CMS) in 1994. He earned his B.A. in Graphic Design from California State University, Chico, where he also taught Web Design, Computer Graphics, and Electronic Printing and Publishing for four years. In addition, he taught a graduate level class, “Principles of Usability” at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. He is an expert in visual design, usability, and computer-based publishing systems.

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  • Steve Vu

    Steve has 11 years web development experience and 19 years programming experience, as well as a B.S.M.E. from Cal State San Jose. He is experienced in many programming languages including Java, Perl, PHP, and others. He is an expert in web technologies, programming, and object-oriented development.

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