Published
Monday, November 13, 2017 - 14:52
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Today, Skvare has released a new version of CiviCRM Entity, 2.0-beta11.  This release contains a new feature, an admin configuration page which allows site administrators to disable exposure of entity types to Drupal.

CiviCRM Entity is a Drupal module which exposed CiviCRM API entity types as native Drupal entity types, providing Views, Rules, Entity Reference field integration, and Drupal native pages and forms for each. It supports both CiviCRM 4.6 LTS and CiviCRM 4.7.

Previous versions of CiviCRM Entity allowed developers to control access to Drupal based pages and forms for entity types, but there was no way for administrators to control what entity types were available in Views, Rules, or Entity Reference fields. As CiviCRM Entity has evolved over the past 2 years, over 45 entity types have been supported, including all the major financial record types. There are cases where many of these entity types are not used in Views, Rules, etc.., and admins may not want to make data of these entity types available to be used in Views by lower-ranking administrative users.  Disabling an entity type in CiviCRM Entity does not affect the Core Views integration. However it will not make any of the additions that CiviCRM Entity provides, and for types not supported by CiviCRM Core, integration can now easily be toggled on/off.

Having all entity types enabled can affect performance in some aspects. Generally, this does not affect cached page load for normal users, but anytime you clear the cache, or the Views cache, having 45 entity types can cause cache rebuild to be intensive, not to mention all the additional menu paths that are generated for the Admin menu. Disabling entity types that you do not use will streamline admin user performance, and make the site in total that much faster by reducing memory footprint.

For existing users of CiviCRM Entity, the module can be upgraded as per Drupal standard, and there are no necessary config changes to make.  There are updates that need to be run by going to "/update.php" or running "drush updatedb" from the command line. These updates simply set up a configuration variable, and do not affect the CiviCRM database.  All available entity types are enabled by default for new or upgraded installations.

All submodules that are packaged with the CiviCRM Entity will automatically enable entity types that are required by the submodule and will enforce that these entity types remain enabled as long as the submodule is enabled.

Usage

You will find an admin configuration page at "admin/structure/civicrm-entity/settings". A user with a role with 'administer CiviCRM Entity' permission is required to access and manage the settings on this page.

It is important to remember to enable all entity types used by your site's configuration and 3rd party modules. This page does not check if an entity type is required by an existing View, Rule, Entity Reference field. Disabling an entity type will break functionality in any rule, view, or field that requires it, so proceed with caution.  However, re-enabling will restore functionality for those entities.

For developers of 3rd party modules or custom modules making use of CiviCRM Entity, you are responsible for ensuring an entity type is always available. This requires only a hook_form_alter() implementation to disable the necessary configuration page checkbox, or adding a validation or submit handler to the form.

Future

We consider CiviCRM Entity for Drupal 7 to be feature complete, and it has been quite some time since there was a major bug found. We plan to release a non-beta stable 2.0 version at the end of this year. This upcoming stable release will be regarded as a Long Term Support release, and any major changes or updates will move to a 3.x branch. The primary focus of new development will now shift to the Drupal 8 version development. We will continue to support the 7.x-2.x branch throughout the life of Drupal 7 for bug fixes and minor feature updates.  We will support for CiviCRM 4.6 LTS for its lifetime, and most likely beyond.

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Comments

Thanks for the write up, 'Jack'. Impressive that you have a clear plan for the future - it's helpful for people know what to expect wrt LTS and new features, etc.