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Drupal 7 Custom Module Development

Introduction to content types


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Drupal 7 Custom Module Development

with Jon Peck

Video: Introduction to content types

So far the only persistent data that I've been dealing with have been persistent variables. While useful for storing settings, they have an extremely limited scope. Web applications typically handle many different kinds of content each with its own behavior and interactions. In Drupal, a single item of content is referred to as a node and each node belongs to a single content type. Each content type has a common set of properties such as publishing options, creation dates, unique identifiers, and so forth.

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Drupal 7 Custom Module Development
2h 57m Advanced Oct 16, 2012

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Extend your Drupal 7 sites with custom modules, which allow you to create everything from admin interfaces to forms. Author Jon Peck describes how modules extend your base Drupal installation, then walks through how to write your own module with a practical example featuring geo-positioned alternative energy centers. The course also describes how to control access to site features, create new content types, build forms, understand data persistence, embrace coding standards, and much more.

Topics include:
  • Creating your first module
  • Interacting with hooks
  • Working with permissions and roles
  • Controlling access
  • Adding a menu item to an admin interface
  • Using the Form API (FAPI) to quickly create a form
  • Creating custom form validation
  • Manually creating a custom content type
  • Validating user input
  • Importing content using feeds
  • Creating a block
  • Understanding best practices and coding standards
Subjects:
Developer Web CMS Blogs Web Design Programming Languages Web Development
Software:
Drupal
Author:
Jon Peck

Introduction to content types

So far the only persistent data that I've been dealing with have been persistent variables. While useful for storing settings, they have an extremely limited scope. Web applications typically handle many different kinds of content each with its own behavior and interactions. In Drupal, a single item of content is referred to as a node and each node belongs to a single content type. Each content type has a common set of properties such as publishing options, creation dates, unique identifiers, and so forth.

These properties are known as fields. For example, Drupal Core provides two content types enabled by default. Articles, which are generally used for information that is updated frequently and categorized, and basic pages which are typically used for static content. Other content types that come with Drupal core include blog entries, forms for discussions and polls. New content types can be created and managed using the Drupal admin interface. However, this can be a laborious process and doesn't typically offer custom functionality such as a triggered event.

A site administrator can export content types using contributed modules such as features, but depending on the project needs this can be cumbersome and requires an additional module to accomplish something that can be done efficiently yourself. By leveraging a content type a developer can take advantage of many of Drupal's built-in mechanisms for managing content widgets for entering and editing different kinds of data, validating and rendering, easy persistence, and much more. Additionally, the content type will be compatible with contributed modules such as views, feeds and others.

By creating and maintaining the content type in code, deploying site features becomes a more manageable task. I'm going to create a content type windfarm to store and display standardized data about windfarms. In particular, the content type will have six fields: the name of the facility, the description, the number of units at the facility, the wind turbine manufacturer, the latitude and longitude. I'll create some example nodes of content type windfarm then scale up by importing an existing table to populate the database. Let's get started.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Drupal 7 Custom Module Development.


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Q: gmap3_tools is not working the way I expected it to. What version of gmap3_tools should I be using?
A: Use the free exercise file containing the version of gmap3_tools used for recording; the published version of the module on drupal.org has changed since recording and is not backwards compatible.
Q: I attempted to run the Drupal site root from the project files, but the site isn't loading. Why not?
A: The Drupal configuration file in sites/default/settings.php contains database configuration specific to the environment used to record the movie. This may be different than your environment. Edit the file and search for "windfarms" - you may need to change the database host, username, password, db name and port to match your specific environment.
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