Ubercart defines the following uc_price type in uc_store_element_info:

$types['uc_price'] = array(
  '#input' => TRUE,
  '#size' => 15,
  '#maxlength' => 15,
  '#autocomplete_path' => FALSE,
  '#process' => array('ajax_process_form'),
  '#element_validate' => array('uc_store_validate_number'),
  '#theme' => 'textfield',
  '#theme_wrappers' => array('form_element'),
  '#field_prefix' => $sign_flag ? '' : $currency_sign,
  '#field_suffix' => $sign_flag ? $currency_sign : '',
  '#allow_negative' => FALSE, 
  '#empty_zero' => TRUE,

Assume I want to allow negative prices by setting #allow_negative to TRUE. (Maybe this is a bad idea, but play along.) Maybe I will need to replace the #element_validate array with a custom function as well.

From reading the API documentation here: https://api.drupal.org/api/drupal/modules!system!system.api.php/function/hook_element_info_alter/7.x it looks as if making a custom module and implementing hook_element_info_alter should let me do this. I made a module called customcode and implemented the following function:

function customcode_element_info_alter(&$type) {
  drupal_set_message('Altering uc_price');
  if (isset($type['uc_price'])) {
    $type['uc_price']['#allow_negative'] = TRUE;
} /* end hook_element_info_alter */

but this does not work. Maybe this does not work for obvious reasons but I am pretty confused, and web searching (on this site and elsewhere) is not clearing up my confusion. I could easily believe I am specifying the array element incorrectly, but without troubleshooting information it's difficult to figure out what is going on.

Here are some questions:

  • How do I see the value of the $type array? When troubleshooting other forms I have used print_var or dpm, but those do not do anything here. I do not understand at what point this code is executed and how to display output from it. The drupal_set_message displays nothing.
  • Is hook_element_info_alter the way I want to modify this element? If not, what approach should I take? I obviously do not want to hack the Ubercart module unless there is no other choice.
  • If so, is creating the function with the name I have chosen (customcode_element_info_alter) correct? When I use hook_form_alter I need to include the original form ID in the name. I do not understand how this hook knows enough to alter the data in uc_store_element_info.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

  • Okay, so customcode_element_info_alter looks like the right name, based upon a few other modules that implement this hook. The rest is still mysterious. Apr 30, 2016 at 10:34
  • 1
    Don't rely on drupal_set_message() to know if your hook is invoked; rather, use watchdog().
    – apaderno
    Apr 30, 2016 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


The underlying problem was caching. I thought I had cleared cache, but apparently not.

Here are answers to my questions:

As suggested above, use watchdog() to see the value of the $type array. Here is a (probably dangerous) snippet:

watchdog('customcode', 'uc_price after mod: <pre>'. 
print_r($type['uc_price'], TRUE) . '</pre>');

hook_element_info_alter is how I want to modify the element, and the function should replace hook with the name of the custom module.

It looks as if all hook_element_info_alter hooks are called after all type elements are defined somehow, but I am still fuzzy on this.

I am not certain when hook_element_info_alter is called, but it appears to be called early (there is no need to visit the form in question) and it appears to be cached for a long time.

My strategy of setting #allow_negative to TRUE was in fact the right approach, because the validation function uc_store_validate_number takes this into account. Otherwise I would have had to unset the validation function and replace it with a custom one.

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