Up until now, I have found it most convenient and easy to place PHP code into my node by placing it in the node body and enabling the PHP filter. However, I have been informed that this is incorrect and unsafe.

Furthermore, I also know that it would be incorrect to place PHP code in node.tpl.php.

Could someone please tell me where the correct place to place PHP code for a node would be?


One of two places, hook_node_view() or hook_preprocess_node(). They can both be used in a module file, but only the latter will work in your theme's template.php file.

hook_node_view() example:

function MYMODULE_node_view($node, $view_mode, $langcode) {
  if ($node->type == 'my_node_type') {
    $args = array(':nid' => $node->nid);
    $my_value = db_query('SELECT my_field FROM {my_table} WHERE nid = :nid', $args)->fetchField();

    $node->content['my_value'] = array(
      '#markup' => 'My value is: ' . $my_value, 
      '#weight' => 10 // Controls the display order of this piece of content

hook_preprocess_node() example:

function MYMODULE_preprocess_node(&$vars) {
  $vars['content']['my_additional_field'] = array(
    '#markup' => $additional_field, 
    '#weight' => 10, 
    '#theme' => 'mymodule_my_additional_field',
| improve this answer | |
  • thanks. But if for example I wish Node A to display some data from the database, in which file should I put that code? – chlong Apr 19 '12 at 16:50
  • Are you familiar with writing custom modules? Or would you rather do this in your theme? – Clive Apr 19 '12 at 16:52
  • I am very familiar with writing custom modules. I just can't (conceptually) complete the link between how my module will affect the display of a node body content. (ie. If I have your first hook_node_view in my custom module, would I have to create another file to actually put the PHP code that would grab the database content?) – chlong Apr 19 '12 at 16:53
  • Gotcha. In your node.tpl.php file you'll probably have the line print render($content);, which prints out all of the node content. In the preprocess/node_view function you can query the database and add to the $node->content or $vars['content'] render array. I'll update the first method in the answer with an example – Clive Apr 19 '12 at 16:55
  • I got it working. But I am having trouble returning a list of values from the query. I currently have $query = db_query('SELECT OFFICE_ID FROM OFFICE LIMIT 0, 10')->fetchField();, however this only returns me the first field. I have tried 'fetchObject' and 'fetchCol' but both only a string 'Array', which gets printed out as in your code. Do you know how I can display the entire list that is returned by the query? – chlong Apr 19 '12 at 20:03

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