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Featured Module Friday: Hacked! Module

It seems that every Friday is going to be a tough schedule to keep up with, so Featured Module Friday will be on any given Friday until further notice. At some point hopefully I can get my schedule in line to do a Featured Module every Friday, but until then any Friday will have to do. So to stick with the format, I will be featuring a new module today. If you can't tell from the title of the post, this Friday's Featured Module is the Hacked! module.

You might be thinking, why on earth would I want to load a module called hacked onto my site? In many cases, this module is not even going to be useful to a Drupal website and should never be used on a production website. This module is most useful for those inherting a Drupal site as a Drupal developer or if you are not sure what your developer has done with your site and you want to investigate. The Hacked! module will not prevent your site from being hacked at all. It is actually a way to check to see if any Drupal core files or contributed modules or themes have been "hacked" by a developer.

The Hacked! module was created by Steven Jones, who currently works for ComputerMinds in the UK as a Senior Consultant. Steven is very active in Drupal Contrib and currently has 677 commits across 44 projects, clocking him in at a Certified to Rock score of 7. He has also had his hands involved on the Aegir project, which is especially awesome, as Drupal Servers is hosted on an Aegir platform. The Hacked! module has been around since 2009, although I just found it about 3 weeks ago and it has saved my life twice already. It may have also saved some major malfunctions that have occurred during my time as a Drupal developer.

The Hacked! module is very easy to install, although it only works on Linux based operating systems. Sorry Windows IIS administrators, you are out of luck currently. Those who want/need Windows support will have to contribute it or sponsor the development of that functionality. Aside from being easy to install, you can also extend the functionality of the Hacked! module by installing the Diff module. Installing Diff alongside Hacked! will allow you to see changes in individual lines within files that have been highlighted as changed within the hacked report.

Hacked! module screenshot

The Hacked! module is a module that every smart Drupal developer should have in their Drupal toolbox. It will save you hours of frustration trying to figure out why regular updates on a website have broken functionality. It is now the first module I install when I take over a Drupal website from another developer. After it is installed I immediately run the report before changing anything.

Hacked! is extremely helpful when running Drupal upgrades, as any modules that have been "hacked" will most likely break when they are upgraded. Any custom code that existed in the "hacked" version of the module will be overwritten by the upgraded module's code and there goes your functionality. Running "hacked" prior to doing any upgrades is a quick and easy way to figure out how much of your site has been Hacked! by another developer.