Is there a way to notify a user when they are about to delete a node that is linked to by another node?

I'm working on a site where many of the pages reference another and I would like to put some mechanism in place where the user is notified before taking action.

  • What do you mean by reference? Do you mean a) if another page has a link (e.g. ahref) to the page you are about to delete or b) if another page has a Drupal reference (e.g. entity reference) to the page you are about to delete? – typologist Oct 23 '15 at 21:12

If the node has an entity reference you can use the Rules module.


Assuming you are referring to entity references, you could create a custom module (see tutorial), something like this. In this example, the custom module is called "prevent_del." It uses hook_form_ID_alter() The referenced node is of type special_node_type and the referencing nodes are of type page.

function prevent_del_form_node_delete_confirm_alter(&$form, &$form_state, $form_id) {

 if ($form['#node']->type = 'special_node_type') {

    // Get the node id of this special_node_type.
    $nid = $form['nid']['#value'];

    // Get array of nodes of type page referencing this $nid

    $query = new EntityFieldQuery();

    $query->entityCondition('entity_type', 'node')
      ->entityCondition('bundle', 'page')
      ->propertyCondition('status', NODE_PUBLISHED)
      ->fieldCondition('field_reference', 'target_id', $nid, '=');

    $result = $query->execute();

    // Create a comma-separated string with all nids of referencing nodes
    if (count($result)) {
      $nodes = $result['node'];
      $node_string = array_shift($nodes)->nid;
      foreach ($nodes as $node) {
        $node_string .= ', ' . $node->nid;

      $markup = t('This node is referenced by nodes with ids: @node_string. Please remove the the other nodes before trying to delete this one.', array('@node_string' => $node_string));

      // Use the markup key to display message.
      $form['description']['#markup'] = $markup;

      // Remove the 'delete' button from the form.
      $form['actions']['submit']['#access'] = FALSE;

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