Project Browser: Finding And Installing Drupal Modules In A Few Clicks


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The Drupal CMS is built on a modular principle, empowering users to extend websites with an endless array of functionalities. However, it can be overwhelming for beginners or non-developers to find, choose, and install contributed modules.

Project Browser comes to the rescue! This is a truly remarkable Drupal innovation on the journey from Drupal 10 to Drupal 11, designed to make the CMS easier to use for anyone. In this article, you’ll discover more about Project Browser Initiative’s goals, why Project Browser is important, how the tool works, and when it is expected to become part of the Drupal core.

Project Browser Initiative: goals and importance

Project Browser Initiative is one of the key strategic initiatives for Drupal, aimed at providing an easy workflow of finding and installing contributed modules. Without going to, it will be possible with Project Browser to search for the needed modules directly from your Drupal admin dashboard and then install them in a few clicks. This eliminates the complicated steps, gives people a good start, and adds more consistency to the process.

As mentioned on the Initiative’s page, Project Browser is primarily meant for people who are new to Drupal and for site builders. It’s worth mentioning that “ambitious site builders” is a category of Drupal users that Drupal’s creator Dries Buytaert often mentions as a strategically important user persona.

One of the project’s co-leads, Leslie Glynn, at the Florida DrupalCamp 2023 session, discussed the key problems Project Browser Initiative aimed to solve. She said that creating a Drupal website became relatively easy, but what happens next when users want to extend it with more functionality?

Leslie creatively compared the process of getting new modules for a website with going to a grocery store with an overwhelming amount of different cereal boxes. So, she said, the creators of Project Browser strive to help people narrow down their search among dozens of thousands of Drupal modules and find exactly what fits their requirements.

In addition to making it easier for users to browse for great modules, Project Browser also helps the community highlight and recommend these great modules, thus attracting more people to Drupal.
In his DrupalCon Pittsburgh 2023 keynote, Drupal’s creator Dries Buytaert called Project Browser a great way to highlight innovation. “Right now, Project Browser is focused on helping people install, update, and find Drupal modules,” said Dries, “but in the future, we can do more to spotlight great innovations.” Dries also made a comparison with an app store on your phone, which doesn’t immediately make updates but helps you discover great new things.

How Project Browser works

For today, Project Browser exists as a contributed module with a plan to become part of the Drupal core soon. You can already see how it works. Either install it on your Drupal website via Composer or click the “Try it now” button on the project’s page, which creates a Drupal site on Gitpod with Project Browser installed.
The project’s co-lead Leslie Glynn told the audience about that at DrupalCon Lille 2023’s session “Project Browser Initiative: Where We’re At and How You Can Help,” encouraging everyone to try Project Project out and report any found issues.

Project Browser provides a UI for browsing contributed Drupal projects with a set of useful features to optimize the process. First of all, it’s easy to notice a new “Browse” tab on the Extend page of the Drupal admin dashboard.

The Project Browser’s UI shows you suggestions for contributed modules based on filtering and sorting features. The default sorting is by usage, which means that the most popular modules show up first. The recommended default filters are as follows:

  • modules that are compatible with the version of the site you are running Drupal on (you no longer need to worry about versions)
  • modules that have security coverage
  • modules are maintained

You can filter modules by categories or use the search bar to find modules by keywords or module names.

Once you have chosen the module you would like to install, you can click the “Add and install” button and, in several seconds, the module will be installed.

The initial MVP didn’t include automatic installations. Users were supposed to only be shown the instructions for installing the chosen module via Composer. The functionality for automatic installation with Composer running behind the scenes was announced as a work in progress in a separate experimental branch. Initiative’s co-lead Chris Wells mentioned that at the “Project Browser Initiative: Where We’re At” session of DrupalCon Prague.

Later, automatic installation was added to the MVP, and we can already see in the above-mentioned Gitpod installation of Project Browser that the modules are installed once the ‘Add and install” button is clicked. That is an amazing improvement, considering that users with little to no technical skills are not comfortable with using the Composer command-line tool.

Project Browser’s future and contribution opportunities

All kinds of contributions to Project Browser are most welcome from anyone who wants to get involved. There are opportunities to get involved at all levels of expertise, both code and non-code contributions. For example, every module needs a short non-technical summary and a logo to be displayed in Project Browser. As Leslie Glynn emphasized at the above-mentioned session, all kinds of contributions are encouraged — in design, UX, accessibility, testing, documentation, site building, backend and frontend coding, and beginner feedback.

So when can we see Project Browser in the Drupal core? The best way to learn the latest news about the readiness of any functionality is to listen to Driesnote. At DrupalCon Lille 2023’s keynote, Dries Buytaert said Project Browser is well underway and is targeted for Drupal 10.3. This means we should all be very likely to welcome this outstanding functionality in the Drupal core in the year 2024.

Final thoughts

The ability to extend Drupal at the click of a button looks like one of the most ground-breaking innovations in Drupal’s history. Let the title of “the most user-friendly CMS” be added to the long list of compliments Drupal is deservedly getting. Thanks to the hard work of all contributors to the Project Browser Initiative, this should become a reality soon!