Checking out modules: Web Links

6 May 2009

Another item checked off on my slowly-progressing To Do list: I've converted my once-static Links page to a new dynamic Links page, built with the Web Links module. How's it look? Hmm, I don't care for the default theming I'm getting, with weak title text overshadowed by the link URLs. Some tweaking of the theme and/or the Web Links settings is in order. For now, though, how about the functionality?

Web Links treats each link as a node, with fields including node title, the link URL, and some description. The purpose is to allow dynamic sorting and listing of links, as well as nifty tricks like automated checking of links for viabiliy.

In typical Drupal fashion, Web Links isn't the only solution tackling this need; there are several floating about. You'll find a nice overview here:

Comparison of Links Page modules

As the page suggests, Web Links is perhaps the most feature-complete solution, and appears to have a future thanks to active supporters. (I was fond of an earlier solution, the Janode module, which unfortunately has dropped off the map in the D6 age.) Reviewers on the Drupal Module site speak highly of it too. One drawback is that its multitude of setting options would benefit from more documentation (there's currently nothing in contributed modules documentation); perhaps I can add some notes in the future.

Another solution, of course, is to use CCK to create a node type for links, with Views to create lists. I've done this too, with one main advantage: with a simple node structure, I can post links using my external blogging client, MarsEdit. Thanks to taxonomy and Views, I can create easy groupings of links. But that's still not ideal: I have to put text and URLs into the body field (MarsEdit won't recognize a dedicated URL field), and there's no automated checking of links.

I would love to hear from readers on suggestions or problems related to my new Links page, and solutions or problems you've had in managing links on a Drupal site.

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