Service Tags

Last updated on
3 April 2017

About Service Tags

Tags are used to indicate that a service should be registered or used in some special way, or that it belongs to a category. See the Symfony documentation on service tags.

The Service Tags API page documents the service tags in Drupal core.

Help document the service tags.

Collecting Services

Drupal has an API for defining a service collector, which is a special type of service that collects other services by tag (these are called the collected services). The way service collectors work is that you define the service collector and one or more collected services (define their classes and the *.services.yml definition). When the collector service is used, Drupal will instantiate it (as it does for any other service, using dependency injection), and then locate the collected services, instantiate them, and pass their instances to a method on the collector service class for processing.

One example is the string_translation service, whose services.yml definition is:

  class: Drupal\Core\StringTranslation\TranslationManager
  arguments: ['@language_manager']
    - [initLanguageManager]
    - { name: service_collector, tag: string_translator, call: addTranslator }

As you can see in this example, the service definition has a tag whose name is service_collector, which is how to tell Drupal that a service is a service collector. The tag attribute on the tag definition tells what tag name the collected services need to be tagged with in order to be collected; this can be omitted to use the collecting service's ID as the tag name.

The call attribute on the tag tells Drupal that the TranslationManager::addTranslator() method should be called once for each collected service that is located. Here's the method code:

// \Drupal\Core\StringTranslation\TranslationManager:
public function addTranslator(TranslatorInterface $translator, $priority = 0) {
  $this->translators[$priority][] = $translator;
  // Reset sorted translators property to trigger rebuild.
  $this->sortedTranslators = NULL;
  return $this;

The collecting method receives the collected service as its first parameter. In addition, if the collecting service's method signature contains parameters named id (the collected service's ID) or priority (the collected service's configured priority), the Drupal class that actually does the collecting work (TaggedHandlersPass) will be sure that these attributes will be taken from the collected service's service definition and passed into the method.

Here's an example of a service that will be collected by the previously-shown string_translation service:

  class: Drupal\Core\StringTranslation\Translator\CustomStrings
  arguments: ['@settings']
    - { name: string_translator, priority: 30 }

As you can see, this service is tagged string_translator, which is what causes it to be collected into the string_translation service. Also, since the tag has a priority attribute, this value (30) and an instance of the CustomStrings class will be passed into TranslationManager::addTranslator() when services are collected. A higher priority will be used over a lower priority. Many core services use a priority of 0, but some core modules use higher priorities.