Drupal Developer FAQ

FAPI - How to decrease/increase the text limit of textfields?

Set the #maxlength property.

// Only allow 5 characters.
$form['example'] = array(
  '#type' => 'textfield',
  '#maxlength' => 5,
  // ...

The default value is 128.

Help! - Cannot access a global variable.

Suppose you have the following module. To your dismay, the value of the variable you think is global is not accessible:

// example.module

$myvar = 'foo';

function example_something() {
  global $myvar;
  return $myvar; // returns NULL


From http://www.php.net/manual/en/function.include.php

When a file is included, the code it contains inherits the variable scope of the line on which the include occurs.

As module files are loaded by drupal_load, it follows that $myvar is a variable declared in the local scope of the function drupal_load.


Use the global keyword or $GLOBALS superglobal.

// example.module

// Declare and initialize $myvar as an explicit global:

global $myvar;
$myvar = 'foo';

// Or use the superglobal:

$GLOBALS['myvar'] = 'foo';

function example_something() {
  global $myvar;
  return $myvar; // returns 'foo'

How do I add a class to a link generated with l()

You can add attributes by using the 'attributes' key in the options array:

l('text', 'path', array('attributes' => array('class' => 'myclass')));

How do I recreate a Javascript translation file?

  • Remove the file from [your_files_directory]/languages/ (if any)

Then execute the following queries on the database (see settings.php for which database is in use):

  • UPDATE languages SET javascript = '' WHERE LANGUAGE = '[yourlanguage]';
  • UPDATE variable SET VALUE = 'a:0:{}' WHERE name = 'javascript_parsed';
  • TRUNCATE cache;

If you now visit the relevant page, the translation will be regenerated.

Implemented hook_block, now all blocks are gone

If all your blocks disappear from the site the moment you add a hook_block implementation to your module, check whether you have a theme with the same name as your module.

Cause: The theme system uses your hook_block implementation as if it were a theme_block implementation.

Either rename your module or the theme.

Why is a menu item from hook_menu not accessible?

  1. Is your module enabled?
  2. Whenever you make a change to your module's hook_menu implementation, you need to rebuild the router table by visiting admin/build/modules. The Devel module provides a block that has a menu rebuild shortcut.
  3. Does you hook_menu implementation return the menu item array?
  4. Is your hook_menu properly named as modulename_menu?
  5. Carefully check whether the array keys you use are correct. A common mistake is the use of 'page_callback' instead of the correct 'page callback'.
  6. Check what access callback and access arguments are used.
  7. Make sure that your hook_menu implementation is in the .module file, not an include file.

Why is my module's update hook not listed on update.php's selection form?

Apart from obvious causes (module not enabled, update hook misnamed), there's a actual pitfall here; You cannot use mixed case filenames for modules.


Suppose you have a module Example with Example.module and Example.install as files. Example.install contains your Example_update_6001() function.

Update.php uses the PHP function get_defined_functions to enumerate update hooks. The function returns lowercase functionnames (PHP function names are case insensitive). Drupal, however, does a case-sensitive string compare (strpos) with the module name. These will never match.


Use all lowercase module names (example.module vs. Example.module, mymodule.module vs. MyModule.module). Alternatively, wait for a bugfix via Issue #200628.