[development] Views - a tool for developers?

Nedjo Rogers nedjo at islandnet.com
Wed Nov 21 05:44:56 UTC 2007

> Should we be making the effort to expose our
> custom modules' fields to Views,

Definitely. Your users will want this.

> and then generate lists we want with
> the Views module?

This is of course optional, but has many advantages. One is ease for you as 
a developer. Yes, you know how to generate these lists manually. Still, it's 
coding time to generate them and then modify them when a changed UI is 

Assuming you've already taken to the time to expost your data to Views, the 
task now becomes easy. You build your views to spec, export them, copy the 
code, and put it into a hook_views_default_views() implementation. Want some 
change to the presentation? Change your view, then re-export.

Key advantages as I see them are:

1. Reduced code that you need to maintain. A default view isn't really code 
you're stuck maintaining--it's something you can configure and reconfigure 
through a UI.

2. Flexibility for your users. Seldom will you be able to hard-code a data 
presentation that's exactly what all your users want or need. By providing a 
default view, you give your users your best guess, but leave them full 
control over customizing to their own needs.

3. Examples to work from. Depending on the complexity of your module and its 
data presentation, it may be difficult for some admins to figure out how to 
construct effective views of your data. This is especially true if you e.g. 
expose argument fields or have complex filtering possibilities. Besides 
accomplishing their direct aims, default views also provide useful tutorials 
for admins wishing to take advantage of your views implementations. 

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