I would like to insert and update Field Collection values. I'm using Drupal 8 with field_collection 8.x-1.0-alpha1.


I have created a new content type test_content_type with the following fields:

  • Title
  • Body
  • Test Field Collection
    • Machine name: field_test_field_collection
    • Type: field collection

The field collection field_test_field_collection has only one field:

  • Example Text
    • Machine name: field_text
    • Type: text

The Problem

I also created a node with values, for instance Lorem Ipsum as field_text.value, but I don't know how to read and define the value programmatically. I tried the following, which updates body but doesn't update field_text:


namespace Drupal\my_module\Controller;

use Drupal;
use Drupal\Core\Controller\ControllerBase;
use Drupal\Core\Entity\EntityStorageInterface;

class FieldCollectionTestController extends ControllerBase {
     * @return array
    public function content() {
        $nodeId = 1402;

        /** @var EntityStorageInterface $entityStorage */
        $entityStorage = Drupal::entityTypeManager()->getStorage('node');
        $node = $entityStorage->load($nodeId);

        // Dump.
            $dump = ob_get_clean();

        // Update node and field collection.
            $exampleText = "Updated at " . time();

            $node->body = $exampleText;
            $node->field_test_field_collection->field_text = $exampleText;


        $response = [
            '#theme' => 'item_list',
            '#title' => 'Dumps',
            '#items' => [
                    '#type' => 'markup',
                    '#markup' => $dump,

        return $response;

The value of $dump is null.


How do you insert, update and delete Field Collections in Drupal 8?

2 Answers 2


The following snippet (compatible with field_collection 8.x-1.0-alpha1) reuses an existing FieldCollectionItem or creates a new one on demand. The last few lines show how to modify fields inside the FieldCollectionItem.

If one has a field collection with a different name, then it should be enough to replace all occurrences of field_test_field_collection with the custom field collection's machine name.


// […]

$nodeId = 123;

/** @var EntityStorageInterface $entityStorage */
$entityStorage = Drupal::entityTypeManager()->getStorage('node');

$node = $entityStorage->load($nodeId);
$node->body = 'Body Update: ' . date('c');

/** @var Drupal\Core\Field\FieldItemList $fieldItemList */
$fieldItemList = $node->field_test_field_collection;

// Reuse existing Field Collection.
if (count($fieldItemList))
    /** @var \Drupal\field_collection\Plugin\Field\FieldType\FieldCollection $fieldCollection */
    $fieldCollection = $fieldItemList[0];
    $fieldCollectionItem = FieldCollectionItem::load($fieldCollection->value);

// Create new Field Collection.
    $fieldCollectionItem = FieldCollectionItem::create([
        'field_name' => 'field_test_field_collection',


    $node->field_test_field_collection[] = [
        'field_collection_item' => $fieldCollectionItem,

$fieldCollectionItem->set('field_text', 'Last Update: ' . date('c'));


Deleting an existing collection is as simple as: fieldCollectionItem->delete();

Please have a look at the source code of the unit test class Drupal\field_collection\Tests\FieldCollectionBasicTestCase for more information.


Check the below link,


That may help you in your case.

  • Thank you for the link. Unfortunately, it didn't help me to find the answer. The snippet of drupal.org user smaz doesn't save the collections on my system.
    – Rayne
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 15:12

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