Drupal 8 is a Great Way of Developing a Useful and Valuable Website – Part Thirteen


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The web development world is amazing and it is getting better and better with the discovery of new technology and the adoption of different ways of doing things.

In today’s article, we are going to continue our conversation with Drupal, to understand how it works and know what’s under the hood. Let’s talk about forms and how they work in Drupal; developers can add forms to a Drupal site securely, if they are adhering to the standards, which Drupal 8 provides, of course.

Developers should know how to use predefined keys to specify various form element properties and should also know how to build render arrays, to add these forms. Structure arrays which provide data, hints about how that data should be rendered (Render arrays) and a pipeline which renders the arrays into different types of output formats (The render pipeline), are all parts of the Render API.

Contents can be defined as structured arrays through the render API, the structured data is also converted into data that the browser can use by the render API. When creating a module, developers should always make sure to use render arrays, to represent their content. You should learn, render arrays which are structured content that can be returned to a theme.

Following this Drupal 8 standard of coding will ensure that the site has a consistent markup, where there is similar functionality, across a large website.   An example of a render array is below:

$page = [
  '#type' => 'page', 
  'content' => [ 
    'system_main' => […], 
    'another_block' => […], 
    '#sorted' => TRUE, 
  'sidebar_first' => [

The array we see above is a render array, it provides hints as to how the data should be rendered as well, and suggestion as to which twig template should use can also be provided by the render array.

Another component of the rendering API is the Render elements which are commonly used when elements are created to define forms. Render elements can be used to define a pattern that is familiar and easy to use for most developers. In a form, rendered elements are things such as text fields, a file upload, a long text, and a submit button.

Render elements can be used, to encapsulate complex display widgets, because they are essentially prepackaged render arrays, which describes a chunk of data, through many properties with common default values. Render elements, not only allow encapsulation of complex display logic into components but also, others can reuse them, even if they don’t have any prior knowledge about the underlying parts of the component.

The generic element is a type of render element, which can be used, to encapsulate the logic that can be used to generate the HTML for a page, as well as attaching CSS and JavaScript files. Another type of render element is used to represent the widgets found on a form, this type of render element is known as form input element.

When creating a plugin, a developer has the option of defining new render elements, which add a value for someone to use, when setting the #type property in a render array. This is not a very simple topic, so you will have to look at examples on your Drupal core modules installation, specifically, the file modules under your core folder, to see how render arrays are being used.

Thank you for reading this article!!!