Let Template.php Eat Static

Let Template.php Eat Static

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Saturday, April 14, 2007
By admin
My arch-nemisis is overly complex logic in template.php and page.tpl.php files. It seems to me that when a drupal codebase becomes brittle and unmaintainable, the culprit is usually going to be hundreds of conditional lines of php code in a template file. You’ve probably seen code like this before:


function spagetti_monster_page($content) {
  // determine weather the page is a node view, or edit
  switch(arg(0)) {
    case ‘node’:
      if (is_numeric(arg(1)) && (!arg(2) || arg(2) == ‘view’)) {
        $body_class = ‘node_view’;
      else if (arg(1) == ‘add’ || arg(2) == ‘edit’) {
        $body_class = ‘node_compose’;
      // f#ck it, the clients will never look at these pages….
      else {
        $body_class = ‘node_wtf’;
    case ‘user’: 
      if (is_numeric(arg(1)) && (!arg(2) || arg(2) == ‘view’)) {
        $body_class = ‘user_view’;
      //…. and so on and so on and so on…..
The dangers of this approach are something that cannot be explained: they must be felt first hand.

Switching args in a template.php or page.tpl.php file is like doing drugs (minus the laughs): lots of people have done it, survived, and even learned from it; but its an experience that is best avoided if you can help it. So lets see how to avoid it using static variables. (warning, you’ll need to use a module).

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