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Is there a simple way to increase the maxlength value of a plain text field that has data in it already?

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To directly answer the question, there is no simple way in Drupal 8 to modify the schema for a field once it's been populated with data.

But, there is a more complicated way to manage it.

We've used the work done here by J-P Stacey to update a field in our platform.

  • ALTER the database tables directly using raw SQL.
  • Change the site configuration for the field.
  • Force the current, "desired" schema records in Drupal to match.
  • Force the "most recently installed" schema records to also match.

Additional information can be found in this article written by Marcus Bernal.

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  • There’s no API for it? So the whole system is informed?
    – Kevin
    Feb 10, 2018 at 2:23
  • I haven't been able to find one for D8. This example here is pretty close to what you need to do. The gist of it is: collect the field data, remove the field from the db,define and add the new field,put the data back in. I haven't tested this solution but there will be some challenges. If you have a lot of data you may run out of php memory. It also looks like you'll need to do some additional work to update the configs to match.
    – ec0g
    Feb 10, 2018 at 18:40

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