The popularity of Craft CMS is growing, and similarly, the previously relatively meager range of extensions is growing rapidly.
There are extensions for Craft, from simple field utilities to the e-commerce solution provided by Pixel & Tonic, Craft’s manufacturers.
An early decision that has borne fruit for Craft has been the licensing model for extensions. Extensions paid for by Craft will charge an initial license fee and then a reduced upgrade price for upgrades. This ongoing fee structure ensures that plug-ins are financially viable for developers, and as a result, Craft plug-ins tend to be updated more often and less rejected.
The best extensions will largely depend on the site you are developing and what you are trying to achieve. However, some of them are so commonly useful that I install them on virtually every site I build; here is the list.
Installation Supplier it doesn’t make sense to choose extensions. The rich text field maintained by Pixel & Tonic expands Craft’s basic text input. It is so useful that it might as well be part of the Craft core code.
One of the best features is the easy editing of Redactor. Just copy the configuration file in the configuration directory and edit its contents to change the available editing options; it’s easy to create anything from a field with the bold option of a full-featured text editor. In addition, each Redactor field can be set to use any configuration files.
When you enter code from a rich text field like Redactor, you get pure HTML output – whatever you want most of the time. However, if you use something like Tailwind, these classes are not negotiable. I’m not a fan of Tailwind, but a fan of using classes in my CSS selectors instead of element names.
Retcon is an invaluable plugin that extends Twig filters to provide many options when importing content. It can add categories to elements, add attributes, edit an element type, and more.
3. Venveo Bulk Edit
During the life of the site, there is a good chance of changing fields and sections after the content is included. There is a common problem if you import data from another platform using FeedMe, or if you have an indecisive customer, or even if the site only grows.
Venveo Bulk Edit is an extension that integrates closely with the Craft interface and allows you to edit the contents of multiple entries at once. This plug-in has saved hundreds of hours that would otherwise have been spent accurately editing feeds one at a time.
4. Super table
At some point, you will need a configurable income list. Maybe you’re creating a list of documents to download, building a directory, or even navigating your site. You can create a new channel and add annotations as an input field, or even set it in a matrix field, but this is tricky to edit, even with Craft 3.7’s new editing experience.
I am a big fan of choosing the simplest solution, and in this case, the simplest option is a table field. Unfortunately, Craft’s built-in desktop field has limited field-type support. Super tableon the other hand, it supports almost anything that gives you an efficient, organizable set of fields.
5. No cache
Craft has a really powerful caching system. It allows you to cache full or partial templates, and is smart enough to know when you’ve edited cached content so that it can be cached.
Understanding Craft’s cache is vital; as a very general guide, dynamic content benefits from caching, but static content does not.
However, you regularly hear situations where you want to refuse caching. For example, a blog post may be cached, but the time it takes to post may not be, or all posts appear to have been posted “today” until the cache is updated.
No cache extension add a few Twig tags to temporarily opt out of the cache. This means you can cache larger parts of your models, greatly simplifying your cache decisions while still being able to fine-tune your cache.
6. Go back
Sooner or later, users will hit 404 errors. If you rebuild the site and change the architecture, it will happen sooner. To avoid violating UX and SEO, you need to add redirects.
Return is a useful plugin located in the dashboard side menu. Each time a user launches 404, Retour marks it, so you can decide how the URL will be redirected in the future.
$ 59 for the first year; $ 29 per year for upgrades thereafter
One of Craft’s greatest strengths is its security. Much attention has been paid to the use of best practices in nuclear installation. However, as with any CMS, potential vulnerabilities begin to be hidden as soon as you deploy third-party code (the biggest vulnerability in WordPress is its extensions).
All you have to do is look at the directory size of the installation vendor to see how many third-party dependencies your site has. Even a small site is a house of cards.
Sherlock is a security scanner that performs a number of different tasks to ensure security, from scanning third-party script security threats to checking directory permissions. The paid version even lets you restrict IP addresses if your site is attacked – even if your host company can do it for you.
Plus: $ 199 for the first year; $ 99 per year for upgrades thereafter
Pro: $ 299 for first year; $ 149 per year for upgrades thereafter
8. Photographer X
Craft’s built-in image conversions are somewhat limited. For example, they only work with real assets, not remote images.
Photographer X is an excellent extension that allows you to convert remote images among many benefits. In addition, its sophisticated syntax can be used to encode complex art.
Imager X isn’t cheap, but given the huge importance of image optimization, unless you have straightforward images to process, it’s an investment you’re happy to make.
Lite: $ 49 for first year; $ 29 per year for upgrades thereafter
Pro: $ 99 for the first year; $ 59 per year for upgrades thereafter
SEOMatic is an SEO solution used by default by most craft developers, including Pixel & Tonic itself.
You need to define the basic settings in its settings, and you may find yourself creating additional fields specifically for retrieving information, but the handy progress bars on the dashboard page give you an overview of what’s set and what’s needed to be done.
SEOMatic is another premium extension, but its implementation is much simpler and more cost-effective than digging all the meta tags and XML files yourself.
$ 99 for the first year; $ 49 per year for upgrades thereafter
Craft CMS plug-ins must be installed
The Craft ecosystem is growing rapidly, and the variety of extensions available will increase as Craft is used on more and more sites.
But despite the lure of the glossy new extensions, I’m going back to some tools either because they stylishly fill a gap in Craft’s core features or because I’ve tried them, and I think they’re solid.
These are extensions I’ve found most useful over the last couple of years, and installing them is the first thing I do when I set up a new Craft installation.