What is the Drupal way of presenting multi-row, multi-column module data to the user in Drupal 6? Nothing jumped out in the API documentation. I was googling for some answers, but they all applied to earlier versions or referenced dead modules.

Am I correct in thinking that the out-of-the-box functionality for the forms API is basically a key::value editing interface? If that's the case, is there a current, well-maintained module to do this, or should I present this data in a different way for the user -- perhaps a view?

Edit I would like this table to have form features for editing the data, such as insert, changing cell data, etc. That's why I thought it would be natural for it to reside in the module's settings, but that table functionality does not appear to be there.

  • There are many administration pages that use a table, and allow to edit the show data. Is there anything particular that you don't understand?
    – apaderno
    Jun 17 '11 at 16:54
  • @kiamlaluno None of the documents or tutorials I've read talk about creating such a thing. But since you mention that, I will do some source diving to see how they do it.
    – user1359
    Jun 17 '11 at 17:25
  • What I mean is that the question, as it is, seems too generic. I could report what done from Drupal code to render a form in table layout, but the code would be specific for a specific Drupal form. I am not sure the code I can report would help you, nor which code would help you more.
    – apaderno
    Jun 17 '11 at 17:36
  • @kiamlaluna I am looking for generic information. A lot of docs and tutorials have examples like "Here's how to make a select box" or "Here's how to make a fieldset" or things like that, which are generalizable to the select or fieldset that I want to make. I'm looking for any instructions on how to make a table with per-row operations on a Drupal form. I can always look at the source, but there's a reason why docs and tutorials exist :)
    – user1359
    Jun 21 '11 at 16:44

A little bit tricky

function your_form(){
  $form = array();
  $record_ids = array();

  foreach($record_set as $record){
      $record_ids[$record['id']] = ''; // Collect ids of your record as index
      $form['column1'][$record['id']] = array('#value' => $record['field1']);
      $form['column2'][$record['id']] = array('#value' => $record['field2']);
      $form['column3'][$record['id']] = array('#value' => $record['field3']);

  $form['select'] = array(
      '#type' => 'checkboxes',
      '#options' => $item_ids,

  $form['#theme'] = 'render_your_form'; // Theme registry function to render this form

Define theme_registry

function your_module_theme(){
   $theme['render_your_form'] = array(
       'arguments' => array('form' => array()),
   return $theme;

Now write your theme handler

function theme_render_your_form($form=array()){
   $head = array('Select', 'Title Col 1', 'Title Col 2','Title Col 3');
   $rows = array();
   foreach(element_children($form['select']) as $id){
       $fields = array();
       $fields[] = drupal_render($form['select'][$id]); //This will render a checkbox, omit if not required
       $fields[] = drupal_render($form['column1'][$id]);
       $fields[] = drupal_render($form['column2'][$id]);
       $fields[] = drupal_render($form['column3'][$id]);
       $rows[] = $fields;
   $output = theme('table', $head, $rows); // Theme as table output
   $output .= drupal_render($form); // Render rest of form components. (For D6)
   $output .= drupal_render_children($form); // Render rest of form components (For D7)
   return $output;
  • Is there any nice tutorial explaining this? I'm not able to grasp it.
    – AgA
    Dec 17 '11 at 5:50
  • I even did not find that so I investigated Drupal content page (example.com/content/node) from node module. Dec 18 '11 at 3:53
  • Does node module contain this table form rendering code? Can you please place a working code here?
    – AgA
    Dec 18 '11 at 4:02

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