24
Apr

Sharing templates between multiple Drupal views

Do you have multiple views on your Drupal site, where the content listing is themed to look exactly the same? For example, say you have a custom "search this site" view, a "featured articles" view, and an "articles archive" view. They all show the same fields — for example, "title", "image", and "summary". They all show the same content types – except that the first one shows "news" or "page" content, whereas the others only show "news".

If your design is sufficiently custom that you're writing theme-level Views template files, then chances are that you'll be in danger of creating duplicate templates. I've committed this sin on numerous sites over the past few years. On many occasions, my Views templates were 100% identical, and after making a change in one template, I literally copy-pasted and renamed the file, to update the other templates.

Until, finally, I decided that enough is enough – time to get DRY!

Being less repetitive with your Views templates is actually dead simple. Let's say you have three identical files – views-view-fields--search_this_site.tpl.php, views-view-fields--featured_articles.tpl.php, and views-view-fields--articles_archive.tpl.php. Here's how you clean up your act:

  1. Delete the latter two files.
  2. Add this to your theme's template.php file:
    <?php
    function mytheme_preprocess_views_view_fields(&$vars) {
      if (in_array(
        $vars['view']->name, array(
          'search_this_site',
          'featured_articles',
          'articles_archive'))) {
        $vars['theme_hook_suggestions'][] =
          'views_view_fields__search_this_site';
      }
    }
    
  3. Clear your cache (that being the customary final step when doing anything in Drupal, of course).

I've found that views-view-fields.tpl.php-based files are the biggest culprits for duplication; but you might have some other Views templates in need of cleaning up, too, such as:

<?php
function mytheme_preprocess_views_view(&$vars) {
  if (in_array(
    $vars['view']->name, array(
      'search_this_site',
      'featured_articles',
      'articles_archive'))) {
    $vars['theme_hook_suggestions'][] =
      'views_view__search_this_site';
  }
}

And, if your views include a search / filtering form, perhaps also:

<?php
function mytheme_preprocess_views_exposed_form(&$vars) {
  if (in_array(
    $vars['view']->name, array(
      'search_this_site',
      'featured_articles',
      'articles_archive'))) {
    $vars['theme_hook_suggestions'][] =
      'views_exposed_form__search_this_site';
  }
}

That's it – just a quick tip from me for today. You can find out more about this technique on the Custom Theme Hook Suggestions documentation page, although I couldn't find an example for Views there, nor anywhere else online for that matter; hence this article. Hopefully this results in a few kilobytes saved, and (more importantly) a lot of unnecessary copy-pasting of template files saved, for fellow Drupal devs and themers.

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Comments

24
Apr
2014

Nice tip! Just a side-note, you also get custom template suggestions when using the Views UI tagging feature; the tag name will be added as a suggestion. This way you can potentially re-use the same tpl for a bunch of views tagged with a common string without actually writing any code! :)

24
Apr
2014

Alex Weber: WHAT??!!! How come no one ever told me that??!! :p

25
Apr
2014

You can do all of this from the UI w/o the need for adding template suggestions in a preprocess. You just need to edit your views and give them a common tag (Edit the view, then Edit View Name/Description, then add some tags). After add you tags, you can use the Theme Information link to see the list of new suggestions.

26
Apr
2014

Great article but also great comments because I certainly didn't know about the tagging feature either!

28
Apr
2014

Agreed – thanks everyone who commented above about the tagging feature. I've never used Views tagging, and I didn't know that it affects template suggestions. Seems like Views tagging is actually the way to go, instead of the technique that I described in this article (although both achieve the same result, tagging is easier and cleaner).