What is a “module” you ask? Modules are small programs that add additional functionality to a tool. In this case, Drupal, a Content Management System that many people use to create websites, uses modules to add different features and content to a website.
This kind of program that adds on new functions to a tool can go by many names. In Firefox, they are called “add-ons” while in Drupal some are called “modules” and in Joomla they are “extensions” and “components.” While they might come in a variety of monikers, the basics of what they do is the same. These add-ons make the tool you are using do more.
One of the benefits of using open source software with an active community behind it (such as Firefox or Drupal) is that creating modules and add-ons is open to anyone who wants to give it a shot. The code of these programs is there for the examining (and for that matter, taking or changing) so a developer can easily see the guts of the program that they want to extend. This is in contrast to proprietary software whose owners don’t want you to know how it works because making money becomes a little harder when anyone can copy how your program works and then post it for less or, God forbid, nothing.
So these add-ons aren’t just an extra function for a tool, but also a way to build community through contribution. Anyone who’s an ardent Firebug fan will tell you that they’re married to Firefox because of it. Add-ons and modules and the communities that create them make tools better and in turn help the people that are using them. In the case of Social Source Commons, we hope that we can help you find software to make the world a better place *insert Bette Midler music here*
Check out some Firefox add-ons on SSC also. So what are your thoughts? What’s your favorite module or add-on? What’s missing in our lists? Let me know.
Peace out, cub scouts,