In the web development arena, web developers are always looking for ways, to make their jobs much easier. In Drupal, the best CMS in the whole wide world, developers implemented something known as entities, to make their jobs easier and focus more on developing great website and applications.
In today’s article we are going to dive a little bit into entities, to fully understand them and wrap our heads around this concept, which can be very difficult to understand for some people.
Entities and entity references are two very complex concepts to understand, and if you are not developing websites on a daily using Drupal, you will be lost and won’t understand how to use them. Entities were implemented in Drupal 7, late during its development, to store information for any website.
A base entity may have many different types of data, to be attached to it, which are then used to store information. The four basic entity types, defined by Drupal core modules are: node content items used to store basic content, comments, taxonomy terms used to classify content, and user accounts; additional entity types may be defined using custom modules.
The file entity type is also defined by Drupal core, to handle the uploaded files to the file structure directory. One or many bundles may be attached to an entity type, bundles are grouping of items or a collection of fields, which belong to a specific entity type. For example, the content bundle, has the node and the comment entity types, while the taxonomy bundle has the vocabulary and the individual taxonomy terms. Each bundle of an entity type, can receive fields, making many entity types fieldable or portable. Within an entity type, the fields can be different for each bundle, therefore, each entity item will have field values, which are associated with them.
Fields can be single or multiple-valued, and additional information such as, text, numbers, attached files, images, media URLs and other data, can be stored in fields. Not all entity types are fieldable and do not allow an administrator to change their fields, because they contain settings, which may not be changed by a user. A field type is also part of a field, so that users know, the type of data that the field can stores. Some of the field types defined by Drupal core are: formatted long text, images, small-text, and Boolean. A field widget is also used, for users to create fields, and for that field to receive the data.
The common widgets used to edit fields are defined by Drupal core, and modules may be used to define widgets as well. In Drupal a field formatter is used to display the data when an entity item is displayed. Drupal is a great CMS, but developers must remember to change and update their skills, because Drupal is always, changing. If we look at the history of Drupal, it has come a long, way and new and better things, are added to Drupal daily. Therefore, if you are a developer, make sure you come back for more Drupal content.