Assignment: Create a highly customized page/node in Drupal and:
- Be able to develop the page/node using our text editor of choice and avoid the time-consuming and not-intended-to-be-developer friendly Drupal node-editing interface
- Optionally be able to decide whether to have the page/node be editable by the via the Drupal UI or not.
Sure, we could do this by creating a page-node-xx.tpl.php template file (where 'xx' is the node id number), but that's just a major hassle later on when updating/theming things and it won't give us the flexibility of being able to let an end-user edit things.
In this case, the thing to do is to create a file called my-file.php (.php because we want our text-editor to still recognize it correctly), put it in our theme folder, check the PHP input filter on the node itself, and then place this code in a node:
// Include a file with the rendering of a node so that you can edit in text editor and just refresh without having to use Drupal UI
$filename = 'my-file.php';
$path_to_file = drupal_get_path('theme', 'your_themes_name') .'/'. $filename;
What this will do is look for the file you placed inside your theme folder called "my-file.php" and render it. Which means that you make changes directly to my-file.php without having to touch the node itself and thus simply refresh your node anytime you make changes to the file.
This method has the advantage of:
- Saving a ton of time and headaches of dealing with the Drupal interface and doing without your favorite code editing tool.
- After you're finished you'll have the option of choosing to replace the include-code with the final code inside your file so that an end-user can edit it within UI...
- ...or you can just keep things like this and be able to do cool things like check the code into version control, which means that you basically get many of the benefits of a tpl.php file without the cost of one.
Enjoy and happy coding. :-)
UPDATE: if this all sounds like a good idea to you, head over to the project page for Save-to-File which was inspired by a conversation in the comment thread below.