Application Development

Top 10 Benefits of Using The Panels Drupal Module

Jun. 18 2013
Dagoberto Aceves
Lead Engineer

A Simple & Flexible Page Layout Tool. 

At Achieve we believe that the more intuitive the solution the better the result. During the Discovery and Architecture phases for each project we take on, we map out the solution before we begin a single line of code.  We always pay a great amount of detail to the User Experience (UX) from multiple perspectives, the end user, the site administrator, the marketing team that has to construct new pages quickly, or content editor, to name only a few. One of the solutions we are really keen on here at Achieve is Panels.  The Panels Drupal module is a drag and drop page layout and content management tool that allows site admins to create multiple layouts with ease.

I recently had the opportunity to create the back-end interface of a blogging site for a Technology client using Panels that gave site administrators greater flexibility and a more intuitive experience when publishing new content.  This allowed for greater ease of use as well as expanded functionality for the new site.  One of the biggest advantages of Panels is that anyone adding new pages to the site can do so easily and without intervention from the development staff.  Once we handed off the the project to the client their content creators, editors and marketing staff could quickly develop and implement new pages with varying layouts without intervention from their overtaxed development team.  

After I received the designs from our client I quickly realized that what they wanted would have caused significant headaches and challenges down the road.  The headaches would have come from the varying degree of complexities that the administrators would have had to deal with, and the challenges would be a result of the number of options and layouts that the designs called for.

Achieve Seal of Approval

Our development team is always looking for ways to architect solutions that make our clients’ lives easier.  So I instinctively took that mindset when architecting the solution. By using Panels I was able to simplify the way the client used the site on the back-end while delivering the functionality they requested. I spoke with the rest of our development team to glean further insight into past experiences with Panels and I received a glowing recommendation from everyone here at Achieve.  Some of the biggest drivers behind my decision to leverage Panels are illustrated below: 

Flexible Page Layout Tool

  1. Increased time to market. The Panels module gives the user a quicker deployment time for new pages to showcase new products, content or prototypes.
  2. Configurable at the administrator level. Panels stays true to its Drupal background and gives the admin granular control of the site.
  3. Flexibility. Panels allows for design flexibility with various page layout capabilities, which helps to expedite marketing and sales initiatives.
  4. It is configurable with other modules. The fact that Panels can be used within an Omega theme is just awesome!
  5. Endless page layouts. Multiple page layout options, which can be configured by the admin to ensure brand consistency throughout the entire site.
  6. Performance! The Panels modules contains caching options for multiple scenarios, different sections within the layout of the page, separate configurations for separate pages as well as different options for authenticated vs. non-authenticated users.
  7. Easy to create custom panels with own HTML. There are a number of page layouts available, but you can customize and create pages to your exact specifications. 
  8. Get complex pages up in a snap! One of the beauties of Panels is the ability to get complex pages up in a flash. With the Panels module you can get pages up quickly, jump-starting new marketing campaigns
  9. Changes are easy. Any changes desired by the client can be done so via the admin interface which reduces the cost of re-work in the event of a client change order. 
  10. Keep Development focused on Development tasks. Gives the development team more control of the codebase by allowing for importing and exporting of feature sets defined for each page layout. 

I know the title says “Top 10 Benefits of using The Panels Module,” but this blog goes to 11

11. It scales well. As your business grows Panels can easily scale to meet your new technology demands. 

Overall the thing that impressed me most about Panels was its flexibility.  The Panels module was easy to install and implement into the site, and it gave users more robust control.  This type of implementation has become common here at Achieve as we are constantly striving to create solutions that make our client’s lives easier.  We want to make the solution as “point and click” as possible and automate as many steps along the way.  Panels allows us to do this! 



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