User Friendly Modules for Drupal Beginners: Image handing and WYSIWYG editors

Today I just want to highlight a couple of excellent modules that will help new Drupal users who may be coming from other CMS solutions like Joomla make the transition a little bit more smoothly.  There's no doubt that Drupal provides a powerful and flexible platform - but let's address a couple of the issues that seem to confuse people right off of the bat. 

The one that stands out in my mind the most is the matter of image handling.  Since our site launched in April, I've talked to a few individuals who are a little bit perplexed by Drupal's lack of out-of-the-box image support.  But there are a number of options available, ranging from 'this is so simple' all the way to 'I don't know what the hell am I doing or supposed to do', but sorting through them and then figuring out which one to download and install can prove to be a bit overwhelming to anyone just getting on board.

So at the top of the list for straight-foward image support is the IMCE module.  This is a favorite of many users, including the seasoned pros - and chances are if you're coming from Wordpress of Joomla, this is very likely the one that's going to do exactly what you want it to do - add inline images to posts without uploading the images via FTP and then painstakingly coding each one in.   Although it's compatible with the best of the WYSIWYG editors, this module is capable of standing alone, and at present it's my choice for adding inline images to posts.  

It's easy to use: when creating content, you click 'Insert image' link located at the bottom of the body text area.  You browse to find your image, upload it, and then add it to the content by clicking on the image itself.  If you're not using a rich-text editor module, be aware that the image is added as an HTML tag, and so be sure to select 'Full HTML' as your input format before publishing.

If you're using a WYSIWYG editor (short for 'What You See Is What You Get'), IMCE will provide you will a couple more options, including the ability to align the images on the fly without additional CSS coding.  The two leading WYSIWYG modules at present are TinyMCE and FCKeditor

Both editors are very similar, with my personal favorite being TinyMCE.  The setup of either module, however, isn't as straight-forward as it is with the IMCE module.  Because these modules act as a bridge between Drupal and the WYSIWYG editors, which are available seperately, you'll be required to include a distribution of TinyMCE or FCKeditor in the module's directory. 

Don't worry: the install process is clearly spelled out in the modules' included documentation, and it's not nearly as cumbersome as the process might intially sound.  Once it's done, you'll be able to enjoy a familar Word-esque method of content creation.

That's all for now - I'll be back with some other recommendations for new users later.

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