Creating a drupal module

It’s amazing – I’ve worked on dozens of Drupal projects (as far back as 4.7) as a PM, and never actually built a module myself. Wow. Now I’m going to have to learn!



Howto: block function

  • name it: give it a lowercase_underscore type name for module file name and function prefixes (make sure it’s not an existing theme name)
  • create folder and module file sites/all/modules/module_name/module_name.module
  • create file
  • add module @file comment description
  • add a help hook: module_name_help function (returns text and breaks)
  • if it’s a block hook, add module_name_block_info (describe it to Drupal) : info, cache etc.
  • add content functions (get things from db. etc)
  • if it’s a block module: do a block view
    • use a switch($delta) – you might want more blocks later in the same module
    • do access checks – on content retrieval functions
    • do the db grab function to get stuff in a result
    • load up the $items array with a foreach loop
    • if it’s empty – return an apology
    • otherwise: pass data (as $items array) through ot the template function – choosing a format (lists etc… or whatever)
    • return the block

Configuration form

  • Impement a hook_menu function (module_name_menu) – to create a configuration form for the module
    • do not t(translate) it (automatically translated by drupal) – pass it an array of title, description, page callback (drupal_get_form), page arguments (current_posts_form – see below), access arguments and type.
    • Then return items.
  • now do the current_posts_form
    • use #variables and check the forms api reference for element attributes you can set.
    • variable_get(thing, def.val) to get/set default persistent variable (indexed on form name)
    • system_settings_form calls Drupal’s form api to do the work. (you don’t have to create a submit button… although we could if we wanted)
  • now do any necessary data validation
    • use &$form_state to capture and keep $_POST variables during form process
    • use ifs to validate values from the $form_state array


Permissions for custom pages

  • create module_name_permission hook
  • create private page callback hook
  • add $display variable to module_name_contents() function
    • this will enable block or page view

create page (private) view

  • use private function call for module_name_page hook
  • load items into array with module_name_contents hook (+display variable ‘page’)
  • add a ‘if no data’ option & return the page array
  • else, return page array *with double underscore after theme tag*
  • eg: item_list__module_name (this enables specific theming options by telling Drupal it’s a theme hook suggestion)

Notes on function names

  • private: _module_name_functionname
  • public: module_name_functionname
  • always check your function name isn’t the same as a hook name
  • if you’re implementing a hook: module_name_hookname
  • NB: page callbacks (very specific to module) are a good candidate for private


Creating a module action

  • first define the action using hook_actions_info
  • then create action functions module_name_description_of_action_action
  • optional form definition

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