Skip to main content

Creating a custom LinkIt matcher plugin

In one of our recent projects, our client made a request to use LinkIt module to insert file links to content from the group module.  However, with the added distinction of making sure that only content that is in the same group as the content they are editing is suggested in the matches.

Here’s how we did it.

by Pasan Gamage /

The LinkIt module

First, let me give you a quick overview of the LinkIt module.

LinkIt is a tool that is commonly used to link internal or external artifacts. One of the main advantages of using it is because LinkIt maintains links by uuid which means no occurrence for broken links. And it can link any type of entity varying from core entities like nodes, users, taxonomy terms, files, comments and to custom entities created by developers.

Once you install the module, you need to set a Linkit profile which consists of information about which plugins to use. To set the profiles use /admin/config/content/linkit path. And the final step will be to enable the Linkit plugin on the text format you want to use. Formats are found at admin/config/content/formats. And you should see the link icon when editing content item.

Once you click on the LinkIt icon it will prompt a modal as shown below.

By default LinkIt ships with a UI to maintain profiles that enables you to manage matchers.


Matchers are responsible for managing the autoload suggestion criteria for a particular LinkIt field. It provides bundle restrictions and bundle grouping settings

Proposed resolution

To solve the issue; we started off by creating a matcher for our particular entity type. Linkit has an EntityMatcher plugin that uses Drupal's Plugin Derivatives API to expose one plugin for each entity type. We started by adding the matcher that linkit module exposed for our custom group content entity type.

We left the bundle restrictions and bundle grouping sections un-ticked so that all existing bundles are allowed so the content of those bundles will be displayed.

Now that the content is ready we have to let the matcher know that we only need to load content that belongs to the particular group for which the user is editing or creating the page.

Using the deriver

In order to do that we have to create a new class in /modules/custom/your_plugin_name/src/Plugin/Linkit/Matcher/YourClassNameMatcher.php by extending existing EntityMatcher class which derives at /modules/contrib/linkit/src/Plugin/Linkit/Matcher/EntityMatcher.php.

Because Linkit module's plugin deriver exposes each entity-type plugin with and ID for the form entity:{entity_type_id} we simply need to create a new plugin with an ID that matches our entity type ID. This then takes precedence over the default derivative based plugin provided by Linkit module. We can then modify the logic in either the ::execute() or ::buildEntityQuery method.

Using LinkIt autocomplete request

But here comes the challenge, in that content edit page the LinkIt modal doesn’t know about the group of the content being edited, therefore we cannot easily filter the suggestions based on the content being edited. We need to take some fairly extreme measures to make that group ID available for our new class to filter the content once the modal is loaded and user starts typing in the field.

In this case the group id is available from the page uri.

So in order to pass this along, we can make use of the fact that the linkit autocomplete widget has a data attribute 'data-autocomplete-path' which is used by its JavaScript to perform the autocomplete request. We can add a process callback to the LinkIt element to extract the current page uri and pass it as a query parameter in the autocomplete path.

The code

To do so we need to implement hook_element_info_alter in our custom module. Here we will add a new process callback and in that callback we can add the current browser url as a query parameter to the data-autocomplete-path attribute of the modal.

\Drupal\linkit\Element\Linkit is as follows;

public function getInfo() {
 $class = get_class($this);
 return [
  '#input' => TRUE,
  '#size' => 60,
  '#process' => [
    [$class, 'processLinkitAutocomplete'],
    [$class, 'processGroup'],
  '#pre_render' => [
    [$class, 'preRenderLinkitElement'],
    [$class, 'preRenderGroup'],
  '#theme' => 'input__textfield',
  '#theme_wrappers' => ['form_element'],

Below is the code to add the process callback and alter the data-autocomplete-path element. We rely on the HTTP Referer header which Drupal sends in its AJAX request that is used to display the LinkIt modal, which in turn builds the LinkIt element

* Implements hook_element_info_alter().

function your_module_name_element_info_alter(array &$info) {
  $info['linkit']['#process'][] = 'your_module_name_linkit_process';

* Process callback.
function your_module_name_linkit_process($element) {
 // Get the HTTP referrer (current page URL)
 $url = \Drupal::request()->server->get('HTTP_REFERER');

 // Parse out just the path.
 $path = parse_url($url, PHP_URL_PATH);

 // Append it as a query parameter to the autocomplete path.
 $element['#attributes']['data-autocomplete-path'] .= '?uri=' . urlencode($path);
 return $element;

Once this is done we can now proceed to create the new plugin class extending EntityMatcher class. Notice the highlighted areas.

namespace Drupal\your_module\Plugin\Linkit\Matcher;

use Drupal\linkit\Plugin\Linkit\Matcher\EntityMatcher;
use Drupal\linkit\Suggestion\EntitySuggestion;
use Drupal\linkit\Suggestion\SuggestionCollection;

* Provides specific LinkIt matchers for our custom entity type.
* @Matcher(
*   id = "entity:your_content_entity_type",
*   label = @Translation("Your custom content entity"),
*   target_entity = "your_content_entity_type",
*   provider = "your_module"
* )

class YourContentEntityMatcher extends EntityMatcher {

 * {@inheritdoc}
public function execute($string) {
  $suggestions = new SuggestionCollection();
  $query = $this->buildEntityQuery($string);
  $query_result = $query->execute();
  $url_results = $this->findEntityIdByUrl($string);
  $result = array_merge($query_result, $url_results);

  if (empty($result)) {
    return $suggestions;

  $entities = $this->entityTypeManager->getStorage($this->targetType)->loadMultiple($result);

  $group_id = FALSE;
  // Extract the Group ID from the uri query parameter.
  if (\Drupal::request()->query->has('uri')) {
    $uri = \Drupal::Request()->query->get('uri');
    list(, , $group_id) = explode('/', $uri);

  foreach ($entities as $entity) {
    // Check the access against the defined entity access handler.
    /** @var \Drupal\Core\Access\AccessResultInterface $access */
    $access = $entity->access('view', $this->currentUser, TRUE);
    if (!$access->isAllowed()) {

    // Exclude content that is from a different group
    if ($group_id && $group_id != $entity->getGroup()->id()) {

    $entity = $this->entityRepository->getTranslationFromContext($entity);
    $suggestion = new EntitySuggestion();

  return $suggestions;


And we are done.

By re-implementing the execute() method of EntityMatcher class we are now able to make the LinkIt field to display only content from the same group as the content the user is editing/creating.

So next challenge here is to create some test coverage for this, as we're relying on a few random pieces of code - a plugin, some JavaScript in the LinkIt module, an element info alter hook and a process callback - any of which could change and render all of this non-functional. But that's a story for another post.

Posted by Pasan Gamage
Drupal Developer


Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
Not sure where to start? Try typing "hello" or "help" if you get stuck.