I have used hook_menu() with a page callback as follows:

function profilecb_menu() {
  $items['profilecb'] = array(
    'title' => 'Profile CB',
    'page callback' => 'pcb_exe',
    'access callback' => TRUE,
    'type' => MENU_CALLBACK,

  return $items;

The callback code is the following:

function pcb_exe($id) {
  $ar = array('arg1'=> 'value1', 'arg2'=> $id);

  return $ar;

I have been able to make the callback function return a single string; when I try to return an array, I get an error.

All I need to do is to make the callback function do some tasks, like connecting to the database, and return to a template a complex array of useful information.

How can I do that?

1 Answer 1


In Drupal 6, a menu callback needs to return a string that contains the HTML to output together the output of other modules; alternatively, it can print the output and call exit().

If you need to pass an array to a theme function, then the output returned from the menu callback should be output from a theme function to which the menu callback passes an array.

function pcb_exe($id) {
  $ar = array('arg1'=> 'value1', 'arg2'=> $id);
  return theme('pcb_exe_output', $ar);

In Drupal 7 (and higher versions), the output of a menu callback is normally an array that has the format used by drupal_render().
It still possible to pass an array to a theme function, but the parameters passed to a theme function changed.

function pcb_exe($id) {
  $ar = array('arg1'=> 'value1', 'arg2'=> $id);
  return theme('pcb_exe_output', $ar);

In this case, there is no noticeable difference, as the parameter passed to the theme function was already an array. The parameter passed to a theme function since Drupal 7 is an array containing all the values required from the theme function. See the code of theme_vertical_tabs() as example:

function theme_vertical_tabs($variables) {
  $element = $variables['element'];
  // Add required JavaScript and Stylesheet.
  drupal_add_library('system', 'drupal.vertical-tabs');

  $output = '<h2 class="element-invisible">' . t('Vertical Tabs') . '</h2>';
  $output .= '<div class="vertical-tabs-panes">' . $element['#children'] . '</div>';
  return $output;
  • I tried using your code above for the function pcb_exe($id) but it does not work. the page returned is blank. what could I be doing wrong? Jun 3, 2011 at 22:21
  • I have drupal 7 BTW Jun 3, 2011 at 22:23
  • @Charlie You need to define the theme function theme_pcb_exe_output() too, as Drupal doesn't define it.
    – apaderno
    Jun 3, 2011 at 22:23
  • And declare it in hook_theme(). I suggest you read api.drupal.org/api/drupal/includes--theme.inc/function/theme/7, that contains a lot of information about the theming API
    – Berdir
    Jun 3, 2011 at 23:41
  • @Charlie I am glad I could help you.
    – apaderno
    Jun 3, 2011 at 23:54

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