Hi this is probably a really basic question, but hopefully you guys can help me out...

I have a javascript client application (Separate to my main Drupal 7 website) and rather than maintaining a duplicate select list with a large number of values, I would like to use an AJAX call to a PHP file on the Drupal server which will render the HTML for the list I need.

The list is configured as a custom field (Text List type).

Can I create a PHP file in the root of the website, and include the required module files?

An example would be fantastic!



You could definitely bootstrap Drupal in a standalone file, but if you're doing it inside the same document root as the Drupal installation you'd be better off implementing a custom menu path in a module, and using the callback for that path to output the necessary value.

If you print directly from a page callback function and don't return anything, the standard theme wrappers won't be included and you'll just be left with the value you've printed.

A basic example might look like this:

function MYMODULE_menu() {
  $items['custom-path'] = array(
    'title' => 'Custom page', // Required, won't actually be displayed anywhere
    'access arguments' => array('access content'), 
    // 'access callback' => TRUE, // This is an alternative to the access arguments if you don't need any access control for this path
    'page callback' => 'MYMODULE_ajax_page',
    'type' => MENU_CALLBACK

  return $items;

function MYMODULE_ajax_page() {
  $output = function_to_produce_field_output();

  print $output;

After you clear Drupal's caches any request for http://mysite.com/custom-path should produce the un-themed results from your page callback; you can then use that path as your AJAX callback.

You might also want to look at drupal_add_http_header() to set an appropriate content type before you print the output.

As far as getting the field output goes, it's a bit of a pain but this should work:

$entity_type = 'user';
$bundle = 'user';
$field_name = 'field_field_name';

// Get field info for the allowed values
$field_info = field_info_field($field_name);

// Get instance info for label/required/description/default value
$field_instance = field_info_instance($entity_type, $field_name, $bundle);

// Build the select list
$select = array(
  '#type' => 'select',
  '#value' => $field_instance['default_value'],
  '#options' => $field_info['settings']['allowed_values'],
  '#required' => $field_instance['required']

// Build the element wrapper
$wrapper = array(
  '#title' => t($field_instance['label']),
  '#description' => t($field_instance['description']),
  '#children' => theme('select', array('element' => $select))

// Get the fully rendered element
$rendered = theme('form_element', array('element' => $wrapper));

print $rendered;
  • Good answer, but I'm not so sure about the access_callback comment. Why would you create open doors with ajax calls? IMO they should be protected as any other resource, so probably the same as the page that normally calls the given ajax call. – fietserwin Oct 3 '12 at 15:36
  • @fietserwin It's pretty common practice; the core filter, image, locale, openid, system, update and user modules all use it (as well as a ton of contrib modules). But yeah, setting access arguments instead is just as good (maybe better), depends on your use case I guess – Clive Oct 3 '12 at 15:39
  • 1
    @Darren Thanks but don't worry about that, I'm not bothered about the reputation :) What I'm worried about is this moron giving real users of this site the impression that correct answers are actually incorrect. Glad it helped either way :) – Clive Oct 3 '12 at 16:01
  • 1
    @Clive Here, have an upvote for a good answer. Same thing happened to me few months back. – Chapabu Oct 3 '12 at 16:03
  • 1
    @Chapabu Thanks dude :) I'll come find you and buy you a pint next time I'm over in Falmer (I'm just down the road in Lewes) – Clive Oct 3 '12 at 16:06

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