What Are Render Arrays? for Drupal 8, 9, and 10

The core structure of Drupal's Render API is the render array, which is a hierarchical associative array containing data to be rendered and properties describing how the data should be rendered. As a module developer you'll use render arrays to describe the content your module controls in order to output it on a page as HTML, or as part of a response in another format like JSON. As a theme developer, you'll manipulate render arrays in order to affect the way content is output on the page.

In this tutorial we'll learn:

  • What render arrays are and why they exist
  • The basic format of a render array
  • What "properties" and "elements" signify in the context of a render array
  • Where to find more information about how to create a render array to describe your own content

By the end of this tutorial you should be able to understand when you need to use a render array, recognize one when you see it, and know where to get more detailed information about render array formatting specifics.