How To: Multiple Authors in Drupal

Multiple people frequently collaborate to author content in Drupal. By default, Drupal only allows a single author. This makes crediting multiple users in a byline impossible with core functionality.

The author data is stored in the uid column of the node_field_data table, which stores an INT value. Considering that this functionality is deeply integrated in Drupal core we’ll have to use a different approach.

To solve this, we simply create a new field that allows for multiple User entity references. We now have the ability to easily associate one or many users with a piece of content.

With our new “Authors” field in place, new content will use our new user reference field, however we will need to update existing content to use this field to provide consistent data. Alternatively, we could create logic to check both fields values when constructing the author data to display.

We opted for updating existing content to maintain data parity. A simple update hook in my_module.install does the trick:

* Set value for new author field.

function my_module_update_8001() {
$nodes = \Drupal::entityTypeManager()
->loadByProperties(['type' => 'article']);
foreach ($nodes as $node) {
\Drupal::logger('my_module')->notice(sprintf('Updated node %s', $node->getTitle()));

The final step is updating content to use our new field. The steps required here will vary widely depending on your templating and site building approach. However the basics come down to:

  • Verify that the existing Author field on the needed content types is hidden.
  • Verify that the new field displays the correct data from the referenced User entities.

With these simple steps, your content is now ready for storing and displaying the names of every user who helped with the authoring process. Now the only thing left to do is sort out fights over who gets to be listed first!