Phân tích similarities và differences trong module handles contact management

Phân tích similarities và differences trong module handles contact management

In part one of this series, I explored the philosophical differences in how CRM Core and Redhen were developed. In this post, I will explore the similarities and differences in how each module handles contact management.

CRM Core and Redhen take similar approaches to how each implements contacts in Drupal. Each uses custom entities for creating and managing contacts, rather than using users or nodes. Contacts created with each module can be connected to user accounts. Both of these modules leverages the Field API to allow Drupal site builders to add any field they can place on a content type onto a contact type. Lastly, each module allows site builders and administrators to create any number of contact types, each with unique sets of fields.

The extent of their similarities ends there. Below is a description of some of the key differences within each modules’ approach to contact management:  

Single Contact Entity vs. Multiple Contact Entities

CRM Core and Redhen allow you to create various contact types. CRM Core has one contact entity, of which you can create as many contact types as you would like. Redhen has a contact and organization entity, both of which allow you to create as many variations as you would like. I do not see an advantage or disadvantage to either approach, just differences in implementation.

Management of various contact types in CRM Core is done within one interface, while Redhen provides separate interfaces for managing contacts and organizations. You have the ability to create custom interfaces for either module using views, so the difference is inconsequential.

Name and Address Fields

One major difference in the way Redhen and CRM Core handle contacts is that CRM Core relies completely on contributed field modules for the implementation of contact fields, while Redhen comes packaged with a custom field for handling name and email addresses on records. While this difference may seem minor, you want to make sure that the format in which this data is stored aligns with your needs. One advantage to the CRM Core approach is that you have more flexibility in what elements of a contact’s name are stored. Redhen handles email addresses nicely out-of-the-box, allowing you to categorize email addresses and handle email subscriptions.

Redhen email field screenshot

Activities vs. Notes

Activities within a CRM allow you to track the various interactions your organization has with an individual or other organization. Similarl to contacts, CRM Core allows site builders to create any number of activity types, each with custom fields. CRM Core provides some core Views for tracking activities per contact record. Activities can be automatically created when someone takes action on a form built with the CRM Core Profile, which we will explore in a future article.

CRM Core Activity creation screen

Redhen’s equivalent to Activities is Notes. Notes are fieldable, like activities in CRM Core, but you cannot create multiple note types with different fields. Though, you can categorize notes using a taxonomy, as seen in the Redhen Demo distribution. Notes also integrate with the Redhen Engagement Score module, which allows you to give a weight to each interaction a user has with your organization.

Redhen Note creation screen

Redhen does have an “Activity” tab on contact records, which shows you changes that have been made to a contact record. This can be a very useful feature, though it is recommended that this feature be disabled on production websites.


Relationships in Redhen and CRM Core are both implemented using the Relation module. CRM Core refers to “Relationships” as such, while Redhen refers to them as “Connections”. Each module allows you to create as many relationship types as you would like, each having custom fields. The UI for creating relationships within each module is slightly different, but not worth exploring in detail.

Contact Status

Redhen offers contact statuses, allowing site builders to set a record to be active or archived. These statuses are not customizable through the UI, and I did not see anyway in which the contact status affected the way a contact is accessed or managed. This may be a feature that will be further developed in future releases.

There are some significant differences in how these two modules allow users to manage contacts within Drupal. When I took a cursory look at these modules, the differences seemed rather minimal, but as I have performed a deeper dive, I see they are pretty drastic. Make sure to explore each module in great detail before choosing one over the other.

In my next post, I will explore how each module allows site builders to create forms and other means of interaction on their website that captures user data within a CRM. Stay tuned!

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Ảnh của Khanh Hoang

Khanh Hoang - Kenn

Kenn is a user experience designer and front end developer who enjoys creating beautiful and usable web and mobile experiences.

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