I am using rules to set a data value of a field on a node. Works great!

BUT, when the rule is triggered, the node's 'updated' timestamp is changed. In my particular application, I do NOT want this to happen. I totally understand why this behavior might be desired by some (most), but in my case I don't.

Is there any way to prevent the 'updated' timestamp from being updated when rules is used to set/change the value of a field on that node?

Here are the nitty gritty details of my application: I have two node types: Parent & Child The child node includes an entity reference field to relate it to its parent node. When a child node is created or updated, I use rules to change a field value of it's parent node. I got that all to work great, but, when the rule is triggered, the parent node's 'updated' timestamp is changed to the current time, which I do not want.

I also posted this question to the Rules issue queue on d.o: https://www.drupal.org/node/2796899

1 Answer 1


If it is not necessary for you to use rules, you can also try to invoke the hooks node_update and node_insert. There you can load the parent, change the fields value and save it with the field_attach_update function.

You can find an interesting article about this at https://www.urbaninsight.com/2011/10/24/saving-nodes-fields-without-saving-node-itself

  • Thanks, this looks promising. But, the reason I was using Rules is because I am not a coder and don't know a lot about how to do what you suggested. Someone else suggested using the message module to accomplish my goal. But I have not figured out how that would work yet. Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 21:35
  • Rules is going to use the core APIs for updating fields and nodes. That means in the end it will call entity_save (or node_save). If you want to bypass this behavior, this answer is pretty spot on.
    – Kevin
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 21:45
  • Without coding you can try to add a custom date field where you save the time when the node was last time edited. Then you can create a new rule, which updates this field value every time you need.
    – Chris4783
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 6:31

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