Drupal 8 Headless Hello World

I will be writing a series of article on Drupal-8 Headless. This article will focus on simple headless hello world. We will first learn how to create a Hello World Module in Drupal-8. Oh! but this hello world page will return JSON Data :-) Then we will be creating a NodeJS+Express project which consume the JSON data from Drupal and display it.

Node JS

It’s like Apache server for PHP. Just like Drupal Application needs Apache or Nginx. For running a Javascript Application on Server we require Node JS to be installed. Read more about installing and using Node JS.

Express JS

Express JS is a server side Javascript framework that provides features including server side routing, MVC, etc.

  1. Install a standard drupal-8 profile
  2. Create hello world module
    Create a helloworld folder in modules directory.
    Create a file name helloworld.info.yml with content
    Create a file name helloworld.routing.yml with content
    name: helloworld
    type: module
    description: Hello World JSON Return
    core: 8.x
    package: Other
    Create new directories src and src/Controller. Create file src/Controller/DefaultController.php with below code
    headers->set('Content-Type', 'application/json');
        return $response;
  3. Enable the Hello World Module in Drupal
  4. Create a new Node Project (say meand8)
    From your terminal type:
    $ mkdir meand8
    $ cd meand8
    $ npm init # initiate the node project. Choose all default options. 
    $ npm install express —save # add dependency on express js.
    It will create a file named package.json with content similar to:
    "name": "meand8",
    "version": "1.0.0",
    "description": "",
    "main": "index.js",
    "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\"&& exit 1"
    "author": "",
    "license": "ISC",
    "dependencies": {
    "express": "^4.13.3",

    Create new file index.js with following content

    var express = require('express');
    var http = require('http');
    var app = express();
    var http = require('http');
    /* Assuming that you can access your drupal via http://localhost/d8 
    Make a http get request to drupal hello world page, that returns a JSON */
    http.get("http://localhost/d8/helloworld", function(res) {
      console.log("Got response: " + res.statusCode);
      res.on("data", function(chunk) {
        http_req = "" + chunk;
    }).on('error', function(e) {
      console.log("Got error: " + e.message);
    /*Create the landing page of Express JS App and return the Content from Drupal Hello World Page
    app.get('/', function(req, res) {
    console.log('Listening on port 3000...');
  5. Start your node server
    In terminal type
    $ node index.js
    Listening on port 3000...
    Got response: 200
  6. Check in browser localhost:3000