New field types in CiviCRM Entity - Picking the right tool for the job!

2017-04-25 10:41
Written by
bdaniels - member of the CiviCRM community - view blog guidelines

CiviCRM Entity is a contributed module for tightly integrating and extending CiviCRM with Drupal. This module exposes CiviCRM API entities as proper Drupal entity types. This is HUGE as it allows you to make CiviCRM data available within your favorite Drupal tools such as Rules, Views, and EntityReference. I’d like to present another advantage of Drupal entity types, and that is Drupal fields.

By enabling CiviCRM Entity, you can add Drupal fields and associate with CiviCRM entity types such as Contacts and Events. In fact, any of the hundreds of Drupal field types can be used with CiviCRM Entity.  You may be asking yourself, “Shouldn’t I use a CiviCRM custom field? Why would you want to use Drupal fields?” The correct answer is, you should choose the right tool for the job.

CiviCRM is great at having the business logic and infrastructure to support event registrations. CiviCRM has price sets, price fields, and custom fields for collecting information from users when they register for events, as well as the logic and structure that goes with payment processing and financial accounting. You would want to use a CiviCRM custom field to collect data for a specific user. This will be helpful because they data can be accessed via Reports.

Drupal, on the other hand, is much better at organizing and presenting content than CiviCRM. There are tons of modules that can be leveraged to give you the functionality you desire. Need a mobile responsive slideshow? Add a Drupal Image field, configure it to work with Flexslider slideshow. Images are perfect example of picking the right tool for the job. The images in the slideshow for an event is not related to any data that someone may need for reporting, so there is no point to make it a custom field in CiviCRM, so let Drupal do what it does well, store and present this kind of data.

What do I get out of the box?

When you install CiviCRM Entity, you get Drupal based view page and edit forms for all exposed entities. We will limit our examples to Events in this article, but the same applies for all entity types. You can create, update, and display CiviCRM Events, and never leave Drupal. The view page has the path “<site_root>/civicrm-event/[id]” where [id] is the event id, and <site_root> is the base url of your Drupal website. The edit form is “/civicrm-event/[id]/edit” and new events can be created at “/civicrm-event/add”.

This view page and edit form are “standard Drupal”, meaning that all fields and properties that are displayed can be managed in typical Drupal fashion.  We highly recommend installing the Display Suite (DS) module, and its submodule Display Suite Forms to take full advantage of the possibilities, as you can configure field groups, layouts, and use the provided Display Suite field formatters for many of CiviCRM’s properties. With DS Forms you can also choose to hide properties from the edit form, although you will be forced to include any API required properties.

For more information on how to add and manage fields and managing the Display with CiviCRM Entity, please continue read the full article on

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