I have simple module that upon visiting its page 'mymodule' it first pulls the list of remote articles, and then starts iterating their urls to pull the content and to create Drupal 7 nodes. It works great and now I would like to use cron hook to trigger this module, but have no idea how. Trying to change my code per simple instructions on http://www.alexweber.com.br/en/articles/executing-batch-cron-operations-drupal-queue, but broke the module. Could you please help me to implement cron hook with my custom module? Thanks.

Here is the code of the module:


 * Implements hook_menu().
function mymodule_menu() {
  $items = array();

  $items['mymodule'] = array(
    'title' => 'mymodule',
    'page callback' => 'pull_data',
    'page arguments' => array(),
    'access arguments' => array('access content'),
  return $items;

function insert_term_if_not_exists($term_name, $vocabulary_name) {
  $vocabulary = taxonomy_vocabulary_machine_name_load($vocabulary_name);
  $matched_terms = taxonomy_get_term_by_name($term_name, $vocabulary->machine_name);
  if(empty($matched_terms)) {
    $term = new stdClass();
    $term->vid = $vocabulary->vid;
    $term->name = $term_name;
  } else {
    $term = array_shift($matched_terms);
  return $term;

function pull_data() {
   $str = file_get_contents('http://www.remotesite.tld/news.php?S=left');
   $re = "/\\?st=\\K\\S+(?=\\s*target)/";
   preg_match_all($re, $str, $matches);
   $content ='<h3>The following remote URLs have been processed:</h3>';

foreach ($matches[0] as $match) {
      $last_time = db_query('SELECT created FROM {node} WHERE created = :created', array(':created' => $match))->fetchField();

   if ($last_time<>$match) {

      $article = iconv('windows-1251', 'utf-8', file_get_contents('http://www.remotesite.tld/news2.php?st='.$match));

      $reg_country = "/(?<=target=left class=datn>).*?(?=<\\/a> &nbsp;)/";
      preg_match_all($reg_country, $article, $country);
      $country = $country[0][0];
      if ($country == "Europe") {$country="Planet";}

      $reg_title = "/(?<=\\<title>).*?(?= \\| Europe)/";
      preg_match_all($reg_title, $article, $title);
      $title = $title[0][0];
      $title = str_replace('(фото)', '', $title);
      $title = str_replace('(фрейм)', '', $title);

      $reg_body = "/(?<=\\<p align=justify>).*?(?=<p>)/";
      preg_match_all($reg_body, $article, $body);
      $body = $body[0][0];

      $reg_source = "/(?<=target=_blank class=datn>).*?(?=<\\/a><br>Permalink)/";
      preg_match_all($reg_source, $article, $source);
      $source = $source[0][0];

      $node = new stdClass();
      $node->uid      = '1';
      $node->type     = 'article';
      $node->created = $match;
      $node->changed = $match;
      $node->title    = $title;
      $node->status   = 0;
      $node->promote  = 0;
      $node->sticky   = 0;

      if ($source == "Europe") { $node->flash=1; } else { $node->flash=0; }

      $node->language = 'en';
      $node->body['und'][0]['value']   = $body;
     $node->body['und'][0]['format']  = 'filtered_html';

      insert_term_if_not_exists($country, 'tags');
      $term_tags = taxonomy_get_term_by_name($country);
      $tid_tags = key($term_tags);
      $lang_tags = field_language('node', $node, 'field_tags');
      $node->field_tags[$lang_tags][0]['tid'] = $tid_tags;

      insert_term_if_not_exists($source, 'source');
      $term_source = taxonomy_get_term_by_name($source);
      $tid_source = key($term_source);
      $lang_source = field_language('node', $node, 'field_source');
      $node->field_source[$lang_source][0]['tid'] = $tid_source;

      $reg_image = "/(?<=\\<td><IMG src=).*?(?=border=1)/";
      preg_match_all($reg_image, $article, $image);
      if (isset($image[0][0])) {
        $image_url = 'http://www.remotesite.tld/'.$image[0][0];
        $file = file_save_data(file_get_contents($image_url), file_default_scheme().'://field/image/'.basename($image_url));
        $file->status = 1;
        $node->field_image['und'][0] = (array)$file;
      $content .= $title.'<br>';
      } else { $content .='http://www.remotesite.tld/news2.php?st='.$match.' had been previously added.<br>'; }

} // for each end

return $content;


1 Answer 1


You have to use hook_cron. This hook gets fired when drupal cron is running. You can run the cron mannualy by going to


Or if you have an expensive enough hosting provider, you can run the cron job for example every 5 minutes. The cron job will then fire drupal cron, which will execute all available hook_cron functions.

You just have to do something like this:

function mymodule_cron() {

Hope this helps

  • I know I have to use hook_cron, but as explained in the task I don't know how to apply it in this particular case. The suggested by you way will trigger the whole module per cron run. And I need to iterate foreach ($matches[0] as $match) { through cron job.
    – Sasha
    Nov 1, 2014 at 9:24
  • Then you have to put your code in a new function: function iterate_data($matches){...} This way you can call only the iteration in your cron.
    – Robin
    Nov 1, 2014 at 9:28
  • unfortunately it is really not clear to me. Am not that much experienced Drupal-coder. Could you please re-write the whole module given above, so that I could try?
    – Sasha
    Nov 1, 2014 at 10:21
  • Sasha, this has nothing to do with drupal... it's just basic programming. Extract the functionality that you want to call in your hook_cron and wrap it in a function so that you can call that function in hook_cron.
    – Robin
    Nov 1, 2014 at 10:32

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