Custom Entity Methods in Twig Templates

It is easy to see Twig code samples and just accept that label is some magic property of an entity now and use it in your template.

<h3>{{ node.label }}</h3>

Then you come across an example that calls referencedEntities, and it quickly becomes apparent some magic is going on.

{% for entity in node.example_reference_field.referencedEntities %}
<li>{{ entity.label }}</li>
{% endfor %}

The secret is that in Drupal 8, methods are now exposed in Twig templates.

However, not all methods are exposed (including referencedEntities in the example above). The TwigSandboxPolicy class defines the whitelisted method names and prefixes that are allowed. It also allows for these settings to be overridden via settings.php if needed.

$settings['twig_sandbox_whitelisted_methods'] = [
$settings[twig_sandbox_whitelisted_prefixes] = [

Note that additional items cannot be appended to the array due to the logic in TwigSandboxPolicy. The existing defaults must be included in the custom override.

See Discovering and Inspecting Variables in Twig Templates for additional information and background.

Example Use Case

Let’s use an example to further explore how this could be used. Suppose we have a user entity available in our template and want to retrieve some additional data.

The first step is overriding the core user class so we can add custom methods.

* Implements hook_entity_type_build().

function example_entity_type_build(array &$entity_types) {
// Override the core user entity class.
if (isset($entity_types['user'])) {

Next we can add custom methods that allow retrieval of data following some business rules.

namespace Drupal\example\Entity;

use Drupal\user\Entity\User;

* Extends the core user class.

Class ExampleUser extends User {

* Load custom data associated with the user.

public function getExampleData() {
// Return the entity returned by some business logic.
return $entity;

With the user class override in place, we can pass a user to our template.

return [
#theme’ => ‘example_template’,
#user’ => \Drupal::currentUser(),

Then in our template, that has a user entity passed in with the variable name user, we can access our custom method.

{% set entity = user.exampleData %}
<h4>{{ entity.label }}</h4>
<p>{{ entity.example_field.value }}</p>

Note that we defined our method as getExampleData, but we called exampleData. This is due to the get prefix being whitelisted by TwigSandboxPolicy. Had we named our method loadExampleData it would not have worked. However, adding loadExampleData to the whitelisted method names would fix it.

Sticking to methods that strictly retrieve data is best, and it honors the intentions set forth in TwigSandboxPolicy.

$whitelisted_methods = Settings::get('twig_sandbox_whitelisted_methods', [
// Only allow idempotent methods.

The ability to call and expose methods on entities, fields, etc allows for simple theme hook definitions, while still allowing the template easy access to nearly any data it needs without bloated preprocess hooks. The real power begins when you chain these methods and entity references fields together to drill into your data model all from your template.

It should be noted that this can begin to blur the lines in the MVC pattern. The view layer can quickly begin taking over logic previously owned by the controller. It’s up to you how far to take it, but either way, it is another powerful tool that Drupal 8 and Twig offer to make development easier.