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


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The website space is a really exiting world, that changes daily, because of the technology that is driving the websites online.

In today’s article, we are going to continue our conversation on Drupal 8 about Entities, which is a fundamental concept in Drupal 8, because entities are found in nearly every component that make up Drupal 8. In your application, if you’d like to encapsulate the behavior of specific data structures, you can create your own entity types, and by altering existing ones, you can make them work more efficiently.

The basic building blocks of Drupal’s data model, are known as entities, because they make up the visible content, which a user has to interact with, when he/she visit a website. The two types of entities are configuration entities and content entities; it is important to understand the basic difference between these types of entities.

Configurable settings on a Drupal site, can be stored inside an object known as configuration entities. The core’s configuration management system, allow developers to export configuration entities. Default configurations, which can be set during Drupal’s installation or when a new module is enabled can be set, by configuration entities. The code that is in a module would generally limit the data structure of a configuration entity.

The next type of entity allows additional fields to be attached to it, they are configurable, and they support translation and revisions, this type of entity is known as content entities. Users, blocks, taxonomy terms and nodes are all included in Drupal’s core installation as content entities.

The entity API in Drupal is very complex, if we don’t understand key terms such as entities; there are other key terms to keep in mind as well. Another key term in Drupal’s entity API is bundles, which are container for a sub-group of an entity. The article, basic page, blog post, etc., are all bundles of the node entity type; and individual vocabularies of a taxonomy entity type, would have their own bundles.

Another buzz word in the Drupal entity API world is fields, which make up the details of the data model, through individual or compound data elements. Boolean, decimal, float, integer, entity reference, link, image, email, telephone, and several text fields are all the fields offered by Drupal.

Bundles of the same entity types, will contain fields that have different variation of configurations among them. Plugins is also part of the entity API, and it is also another term that we need to learn if we want to encapsulate re-usable behaviors. We will talk more in depth about plugins in future article posts, just know that plugins are a general reusable solution, to recurring problems.

Another Drupal entity API buzz word is annotations, which are used throughout Drupal core, and it is another Drupal concept you should know, as a Drupal developer. Annotations are especial formatted PHP code comments which are parsed to provide class discovery and metadata description to Drupal.

Storage, access control, building lists and views of entities, and the forms required for creating, viewing, updating and deleting entities is all managed by handlers, which is another Drupal entity api term that need to be known by any Drupal developer.

Thank you for reading this article!!!