Experimental Project

This is a sandbox project, which contains experimental code for developer use only.

Use argument inputs in your filter settings.

See http://drupal.org/node/357082 for discussion on getting this module's functionality into Views in a more structured way.

So, what's the thing?

Arguments is one of the things that makes Views really powerful. Really. You should already know that arguments is some kind of filters in Views, but that they accept input data instead manual data to set the filter. Enough abou that.

There are at least two problems with arguments as they are currently used in Views:

  • Many people find it difficult to wrap their head around how arguments work.
  • It is not possible to use operators on arguments, for example to show all nodes created *after* the timestamp value you provide in an argument, or display all the nodes that in their title *contain* the word/phrase in the argument. There is just "equals" or "not equals". (Unless you more or less code your own argument handlers, which would end up a special case that few others can make use of.)

This module helps reducing these two problems, by introducing a new way of handling arguments. Using the "Views arguments in filters" module, you can use placeholders when configuring filters, like so:

  • Node: Title CONTAINS %1
  • Node: Post date >= %2

Where %1 and %2 is the standard replacement patterns used to fetch the values for input argument %1 and %2.

How to use this module

To make use of this module, configure your view as usual, but use the following steps when adding arguments.

  • Use the argument "Global: Null" to denote the input arguments your view will make use of. This argument not alter your query in any way, but you can still use validators and actions if no argument is present as usual. And title, breadcrumbs, et cetera. Sweet.
  • Add a filter, and instead of adding a filter value manually, you enter %1, %2, et cetera to filter on the first or second input argument.

That's it!

Future plans

This module is obviously a pretty quick hack to make a proof of concept. In the future the following should be implemented:

  • Instead of entering argument tokens manually, possibly misspelling or just conflicting with actual filter values you want to use, there should be a button "use argument value" in parallell to the "expose" button for each filter. The button switches all filter value inputs to a dropdown showing the names of the presently configured arguments.
  • It should be possible to use both the raw argument input value and the validated argument title (if any) – as a parallel to use %1 and !1.

Really futuristic plans

Eventually I hope that this module will be replaced by a Views patch. If so, the following could change:

  • All argument handlers are replaced by a single argument input thingy, being the current "Global: Null" argument (but would only have to be named "Argument input" or something). This would probably mean that arguments won't be handlers, but Views plugins.

Some more notes on what's good with this module

Though this module provides some new functionality in Views, it is more of a suggestion for a conceptual change in how arguments should be used in Views. Here are some bullets summarizing the points of why this conceptual change is beneficial:

  • The current arguments are a mix of input validators and filter handlers. This is confusing for users and produces extra work for coders (who have to implement two handers for the same functionality). This module allows separating the two functions of arguments.
  • There is currently no good way of reusing the same argument for several filters. This module changes this.
  • There is reasonable no way of using operators on arguments, currently. This module makes is as easy to use operators on arguments as on regular filters, since arguments become filters.


Cred to Letharion (http://drupal.org/user/373603) for ideas and discussion. Sorry that I found a way to realize this concept without rewriting Views argument handling more or less from scratch. :-)

Again: See http://drupal.org/node/357082 for discussion on getting this module's functionality into Views in a more structured way.

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