This is my second question about my issues with creating custom migration script.

I am creating only new nodes and don't care about updates.


        $node = new stdClass();
        $node->type = 'migrate';
        $node->title = $content['title'];
        $node->language = LANGUAGE_NONE;

        $node->created = (int) date('U',strtotime($content['created']));

        $modified = $content['modified'];               
        if (! empty($modified) && $modified != '0000-00-00 00:00:00') {
            $modified = (int) date('U',strtotime($modified));
        } else {
            $modified = 0;
        $node->changed = $modified;


        #some lines later

E.g my $modified is set to 0 and after save I see updated column of this node row in admin content list with current datetime value.

1 Answer 1


You should be able to preserve the original changed time by first setting a custom property on the node object, say $node->modified, in your migration script prior to calling node_save(), and then implementing the node_presave hook:

 * Implements hook_node_presave().
function mymodule_node_presave($node) {
  $node->changed = $node->modified;

This will work since node_save() sets $node->changed prior to calling all modules which implement hook_node_presave().

  • Yes it works 100% :)
    – Codium
    Aug 12, 2012 at 11:19
  • 1
    Suspect I'll get shot down for this, but if like me you're running a short-lived script via drush that's not part of a module and you don't want to implement a module just to implement a hook etc. then it works to db_query('UPDATE {node} SET created=:created, changed=:changed WHERE nid=:nid', array(':created'=>$whatever,':changed'=>$whatever,':nid'=>$node->nid)); after saving. Jul 21, 2014 at 10:36
  • I hate that we have to do something as awkward as a hook (awkward because the change happens in a completely different code segment), but that's drupal's fault, not yours. +1 Dec 16, 2014 at 1:48
  • You can also use $node->original->changed instead of setting a custom property like $node->modified. Disable the module after using otherwise the changed date will never be updated.
    – wranvaud
    May 25, 2021 at 13:57

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