[development] Eliminate hooks entirely in Drupal 6

Sammy Spets sammys-drupal at synerger.com
Wed Jan 24 23:21:15 UTC 2007

Hi everyone,

I'm all for the use of some hook caching. I totally agree with chx's
proposal that all Drupal hooks get automatically scanned for when
modules are installed. Similar to the menu system. It would be handy if
a page was presented allowing an admin to fiddle with the ordering (i'm
sure chx is working on this). In addition, it would be fantastic to
allow modules to perform automatic hook registration on its sub-modules. 
For example, E-commerce would need this for its hooks.

+1 for registration of hooks with an automatic registration for known 

-1 for getting rid of the hook concept (it's the same thing as 

Sammy Spets
Synerger Pty Ltd

On 23-Jan-07 14:21, Earl Miles wrote:
> After some discussion this morning, I am putting up a proposal to eliminate 
> hooks entirely (though not the concept of hooks) and replace them with 
> officially registered callbacks. I have identified several areas where this 
> will improve Drupal (primarily in terms of probable performance gains). 
> There are 2 parts to this.
> Part 1: drupal_register_callback
>   function drupal_register_callback($callback, $function = NULL, $file = 
>   NULL)
> This function is only called from a particular location; ideally in its own 
> separate .register file that only needs to be loaded when the callback 
> registry is being rebuilt. However, it could also be a function within the 
> .module file. There are some questions here, primarily balancing ease of 
> use for the developer versus performance for the system. When it is called, 
> the system should already know which module context is being used.
> This function would register a given callback (examples: nodeapi, 
> form_alter, etc) with the Drupal system. The registry would replace the 
> logic module_implements uses to determine which module implements which 
> hook.
> The $function would be what's called. In today's world the function would 
> be called mymodule_nodeapi; and it would likely not change, but we should 
> allow registration to specify the function used. If left blank, the default 
> function name would be constructed. (i.e, modulename_hookname).
> The $file would be a file that should live in the same directory as the 
> .module file and tells the system which file to conditionally load when 
> that callback is invoked. This is one of the things that creates a big 
> advantage in this system: We could move callbacks into conditionally loaded 
> files, allowing Drupal's minimum per-page codesize to be smaller. The 
> 'nodeapi' hook is not run for every page load, but because hooks are 
> anonymous right now, that code *must* be present. When you can 
> conditionally load, however, the required size of the .module becomes very 
> small. (in fact you would only keep items in that file that are called on 
> every or nearly every page load. Currently that's hook_init and hook_menu 
> but with changes to hook_menu that one may well be eliminated from 
> every-page-load calls, and the .module file itself may not even need to be 
> loaded for every page).
> Invoking a callback would still be the same:
>   module_invoke('callback', arguments...);
> Part 2:
>   function drupal_register_theme($theme, $args, $function = NULL, $file = 
>   NULL)
> This works very similarly to callbacks, but it registers a theming function 
> that can be overridden by the theme. The only difference in is the $args 
> argument, which is an array that tells the function how to translate 
> function arguments into the $vars array, for use in .tpl.php files.
> For example, let's say I have the following theme function:
> function theme_foo($node, $bar, $baz);
> The $args array would be: array('node', 'bar', 'baz').
> Themes would also have a similar registry; we may need to make it slightly 
> more complex so that it could work with the theme engine to automatically 
> register a template. Which means we might want to find a way to make it 
> simpler for themers to register the templates they're using (for example, a 
> directory scan could find well-named template files and automatically 
> register them based upon already known registered info).
> This entire system (callbacks and functions) would be cached, so 
> information would only need to be re-read when modules and theme settings 
> are updated. A 'development' mode might be necessary that re-reads this 
> information every page load. There would probably be some way for 
> devel.module to expose this setting and automatically disable development 
> mode when devel.module is enabled.
> Overall benefits to this system:
> 1) Some execution time is saved looking up module hooks. I don't believe 
> this is a great deal of execution time, but it is definitely some.
> 2) A great deal of code can be loaded conditionally, reducing Drupal's 
> footprint. I believe this could be a *very* significant boost to Drupal and 
> could vastly reduce the amount of code that is loaded, making Drupal far, 
> far friendlier to hosts that cannot use an opcode cache.
> 3) Certain namespace collisions will be avoided. Developers will no longer 
> be penalized for forgetting that mymodule_user() is the user hook.
> 4) Theme functions will no longer have to hunt around for their function; 
> they will not have to test the file-system to see if templates exist. They 
> will know exactly where to go when the time is right.
> 5) Theme template files will be easier to include in modules. In fact, if 
> implemented properly, modules could actually include .tpl.php files, make 
> the proper registration, and no theme code will be harmed by being in the 
> .module file *at all*.
> 6) phptemplate.engine can have much of its code removed to core, making it 
> easier to implement alternative template engines.
> 7) As an interesting side effect, themes could be made to implement 
> hook_form_alter, if we coded it that way. There is a value to this, and 
> also an argument why this might not be a good thing.
> Overall cons:
> 1) Having to register a callback is less convenient than simply naming a 
> function. It's even more inconvenient to have a .register file. However, 
> using the existing naming convention, the module_builder.module *could* be 
> made to scan a module and produce a .register file or a register function.
> 2) Having to register theme functions is similarly inconvenient but I think 
> it's no worse than we have now.
> 3) Having to reregister upon making changes is very inconvenient; a 
> development mode would be a must.
> Thoughts?

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