Configure the Backend Input Forms¶
In our sample application the data of our extension should be editable in the
Backend by the editors of the youth club organisation and - within certain
limitations - in the Frontend as well to provide functionalities for creation,
update and deletion of the organisation’s data. In this chapter, we first
configure the Backend’s form inputs for easy access to the database’s contents.
The forms that provide the management functionalities are stored in a
Table Configuration Array (TCA).
The TCA is stored in a file with the database table name suffixed with
.php in the directory
Example: The TCA for the database table tx_sjroffers_domain_model_organization is therefore in the
The configuration options that can be set in the TCA are very extensive and a broad description of them would cause the book to burst at its seams. However, each and every option is well documented in the Online-documentation TCA Reference
First, you should dip into the top layer of the TCA hierarchy. The TCA
for table tx_sjroffers_domain_model_organization is in the
Configuration/TCA/tx_sjroffers_domain_model_organization.php and has this structure:
<?php return [ 'ctrl' => [ // … ], 'columns' => [ // … ], 'types' => [ // … ], ];
The structure for the other tables like tx_sjroffers_domain_model_offer and tx_sjroffers_domain_model_person are the same.
The returned arrays will be added to one big array
$GLOBALS['TCA']. You can debug the configuration
for the table
tx_sjroffers_domain_model_organization in the TYPO3 backend module
System -> Configuration -> $GLOBALS['TCA'] (Table configuration array) -> tx_sjroffers_domain_model_organization
The associative array that is returned contains all information of all the tables of the TYPO3
instance. Thus, we use the key
tx_sjroffers_domain_model_organization and as
value we use another nested Array that holds the configurations of the
corresponding table. Then again, this Array is separated into several parts
with names that are the keys of the nested Array.
<?php return [ 'ctrl' => [ // … ], 'interface' => [ // … ], 'types' => [ // … ], 'palettes' => [ // … ], 'columns' => [ 'first_fieldname' => [ // … ], 'second_fieldname' => [ // … ], ], ];
Below, you find the names of the parts and their meaning.
This part contains configuration options that are used in the scope of the
table. This covers the name of the table in the Backend, which table fields
contain which meta data and the behavior of the table on creation and movement
of its row sets. Meta data cover information about Visibility and Access
fe_group), data about the history of changes (e.g.
tstamp as well as data for the localization of data sets (e.g.
This part contains information about the representation of the table data in the
Backend’s List Module. The key
showRecordFieldList contains a
comma-separated list of field values that will be shown in the info
dialogue of the table. This dialogue may be reached through a right-click on the
icon of the row set through the
Info option. The option
maxDBListItems allows you to set how many row sets will be shown in the List Module
without switching to the detail view of the database table. Then again, the
number of row sets shown on a page in this perspective may be set via
maxSingleDBListItems. If the option
always_description is set to true,
the corresponding help texts always show up .
This section defines the appearance of the Input Form for creation and update of
a row set. You can define several layout types by listing several elements in the
types. The key of all those elements is their type (usually a number)
and their value is another nested array which itself usually contains one
showItem as key and a list of comma-separated field names which
should emerge at the Input Form. An example of the table
'types' => [ '0' => ['showitem' => 'hidden,status,name,address;;1;;description,contacts,offers,administrator'], ],
Even though the behavior and the appearance of the table fields are configured in
columns, it is required to list them explicitly here so that they show
up in the input form. This prevents trouble when commenting out
or moving code that is already configured and a corresponding field should
just be hidden or the overall order of the Input Form’s table fields should be
The behaviour and the appearance of a field may be altered through several
additional parameters - as well as with the field
address. The notion
convention of those additional params may seem a bit unfamiliar since they are
appended behind the fieldname and separated through a semi-colon. At the first
position there is the fieldname; at the second an alternative name of the fieldname;
at third place follows the number of the palette (refer to the next book
section); the fourth position holds extensive options which are separated
through colons and the last place contains information about the appearance
(e.g. color and structure). The information at the fourth place allow the use of
the Rich Text Editor. For a full list of the options refer to the already
mentioned TYPO3-Online documentation for the TYPO3-Core API.
Palettes are used to collect occasionally used fields and show them up on
demand. The Backend user has to choose the Extended View in the
Backend’s List module to view these. Palettes are connected to a durable visible field. An
example from the table
'palettes' => [ '1' => ['showitem' => 'telephone_number,telefax_number,url,email_address'], ],
The structure is the same as in the section types where
refers to the palette with the number 1.
This Array contains information about the behavior and the appearance in the
Input Form of every table field. The fieldname is the key and, again, the value
is a nested array holding the field’s corresponding configuration. The field
configuration for the input of the name of an organisation would be as follows:
'name' => [ 'exclude' => false, 'label' => 'LLL:EXT:sjr_offers/Resources/Private/Language/locallang_db.xml:tx_sjroffers_domain_model_organization.name', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'input', 'size' => 20, 'eval' => 'trim,required', 'max' => 256 ], ],
The field name is name. First, we define some options that are independent
from the field’s type. This contains foremostly the field label (label), the
conditions for the visibility of the field (
well as information for its localization (
fieldname is, in our case, localized and will be taken from a language file
(head to Ch. 9).
The array connected to
config contains the field type and its corresponding
configuration. TYPO3 provides a great range of pre-defined field types, e.g.
text fields, date fields or selection fields. Each and every type has its own
presentation and procession options. Consecutively, you will find a list of all
the field types with their usual configuration:
Field type “input”¶
The input field type accepts a one-line character string like names and telephone numbers. The configuration of a name field (see Fig. 6-1) looks as follows:
'name' => [ 'label' => 'Organization\'s name', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'input', 'size' => 20, 'eval' => 'trim,required', 'max' => 256 ], ],
The given string will be truncated to 256 characters (
'max' => 256), ending
spaces will be dropped (
trim) and the status of this field being empty will be
Important: When a field is defined as required, the Domain Model must have the
@NotEmpty for the validator.
The field type
input may be used for date and time inputs:
'minimum_value' => [ 'label' => 'valid since', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'input', 'size' => 8, 'checkbox' => '', 'eval' => 'date' ], ],
The value then will be tested for being given in an appropriate date format. Simultaneously, this leads to the rendering of a collapsible calendar page with an icon right to the input field which is shown in Fig. 6-2:
Field type “text”¶
text field type may contain multi-line formatted or unformatted texts
e.g. product descriptions, addresses or news items. The indication of the lines
rows) and the columns (
cols) specifies the area of the text input field.
'address' => [ 'label' => 'Address:', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'text', 'cols' => 20, 'rows' => 3 ], ],
Field type “check”¶
- The field type
checkallows the definition of a single option (see Fig. 6-4)
- e.g. you can define whether a rowset should be hidden or not.
'hidden' => [ 'label' => 'Hide:', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'check' ], ],
Several related options which can be individually selected can be grouped to a field (see Fig. 6-5). This may be helpful e.g. for a selection of valid weekdays or recommended training levels of a certain exercise.
'level' => [ 'exclude' => true, 'label' => 'Property for', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'check', 'eval' => 'required,unique', 'cols' => 5, 'default' => 31, 'items' => [ ['Level 1',''], ['Level 2',''], ['Level 3',''], ['Level 4',''], ['Level 5',''], ], ], ],
The value that is written to the database is of type Integer. This will be computed by bitwise addition of the checkboxes states (which can be 1 or 0). The first element (Level 1) is the least significant Bit (= 2^0 = 1). The second element is one level above (= 2^1 = 2), the third element will then be (= 2^2 = 4) etc. The selection in the following Figure (see Fig. 6-5) would lead to the following Bit-Pattern (= binary-written number): 00101. This binary number is equivalent to the Integer value 5.
Field type “radio”¶
The field type radio is for choosing one unique value for a given property (see Fig. 6-6), e.g. the sex of a person or the color of a product.
'gender' => [ 'label' => 'Sex', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'radio', 'default' => 'm', 'items' => [ ['male', 'm'], ['female', 'f'], ], ], ],
The options (items) are given in an array and each option is an array itself containing the label and the key used to persist the selected option in the database.
Field type “select”¶
The field type “select” provides a space-saving way to render multiple values (see Fig. 6-7). Examples could be a member status, a product color or a region.
'status' => [ 'exclude' => false, 'label' => 'Status', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'select', 'foreign_table' => 'tx_sjroffers_domain_model_status', 'maxitems' => 1 ], ],
The options are taken from another database table (foreign_table) and by setting maxitems to 1 (which is standard) the selection box will be limited to exactly one showed item.
select may also be used to select a whole subset of values. This is
used for categories, tags or contact persons (see Fig. 6-8).
'categories' => [ 'exclude' => true, 'label' => 'Categories', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'select', 'renderType' => 'selectMultipleSideBySide', 'size' => 10, 'minitems' => 0, 'maxitems' => 9999, 'autoSizeMax' => 5, 'multiple' => 0, 'foreign_table' => 'tx_sjroffers_domain_model_category', 'MM' => 'tx_sjroffers_offer_category_mm' ], ],
Again, this takes the options of another table but it holds the references in a temporary table tx_sjroffers_offer_category_mm.
Field type “group”¶
The “group” field type is very flexible in its use. It can be used to manage references to resources of the filesystem or rowsets of a database (see Fig. 6-9).
'pages' => [ 'label' => 'Pages', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'group', 'internal_type' => 'db', 'allowed' => 'pages', 'size' => 3, 'maxitems' => 50, 'minitems' => 0 ] ],
The combination of
internal_type specifies the field’s type.
Field type “none”¶
Fields of this type show the raw data values which cannot be edited (see Fig. 6-10).
'date' => [ 'label' => 'Datum (Timestamp)', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'none' ], ],
In contrast to the date field with the type
input there is no evaluation as
'eval' => 'date'. The timestamp which is set in the database will be
shown as a raw number.
Field type “passthrough”¶
The field type “passthrough” is for data that is processed internally but cannot be edited or viewed in the form. An example for that would be information to references (foreign keys).
'organization' => [ 'config' => [ 'type' => 'passthrough' ], ],
This field configuration in the database table
tx_sjroffers_domain_model_offer has the effect that the property
organization of the
Offer-object will be filled with the correct object.
Field type “user”¶
User generates free definable form fields which can be processed by any PHP function. For further information, refer to the documentation which is available online and to the TYPO3-Core API.
Field type “flex”¶
The field type “flex” manages complex inline form fields (FlexForms). The form data will be saved as XML data structure in the database fields. Extbase uses FlexForms for persisting plugin configuration but not to save domain data. If your plugin data will be rather complex we encourage you to design your own backend module for them (refer to Ch. 10).
Field type “inline”¶
The field type “inline” is for saving complex Aggregates of the Domain (see Fig. 6-11). Basis of this field type is the so called Inline Relational Record Editing (IRRE) which powers the creation, update and deletion of Domain-objects of whole Aggregates in a single Input Form. Without IRRE the Domain-objects must be edited and connected each by itself which would require an intermediate save. This technique is a comfortable tool for managing complex Aggregates. All the possibilities provided by IRRE are well documented, refer to the TYPO3 TCA Reference.
'offers' => [ 'label' => 'Offers', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'inline', 'foreign_table' => 'tx_sjroffers_domain_model_offer', 'foreign_field' => 'organization', 'maxitems' => 9999 ], ],
The configuration is almost identical to the field type “select”. However, there are several more possibilities for the configuration of the management and the representation of the connected objects.
Extbase supports the most important aspects of IRRE with only one exception:
IRRE allows a temporary table of an
m:n-relationship to be enhanced by
additional fields which can hold Domain data. An example: Assume that we want to
connect a CD to it’s containing music tracks, whereas a CD can contain multiple
tracks and one track can be present on several CD’s. Thus, we can derive the
following temporary table:
CD --1:n-- Temporary-Table --n:1-- Title
The corresponding IRRE-Configuration looks as follows:
'titles' => [ 'label' => 'Track Title', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'inline', 'foreign_table' => 'tx_myext_cd_title_mm', 'foreign_field' => 'uid_local', 'foreign_selector' => 'uid_foreign' ], ],
The IRRE-Tutorial describes this configuration as “state-of-the-art” for
m:n-relationships. The option
foreign_selector leads to a selection box for
the music titles. Currently, IRRE only supports this option for
Every music track on the CD is given a unique track number. However, the track
number is neither a property of the CD nor that of a track. It semantically
corresponds to the relationship between them. Thus, IRRE provides the option
to persist them within the temporary table and this can always be modelled into
the Domain model which gets the following structure:
CD --1:n-- Track --n:1--Title.
Let’s change the configuration of the table
tx_myext_domain_model_track to a
simple 1:n-relationship with
cd as a foreign key.
'tracks' => [ 'label' => 'Track', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'inline', 'foreign_table' => 'tx_myext_domain_model_track', 'foreign_field' => 'cd' ], ],
However, Extbase does not support the persistence of additional Domain data in the temporary table because the corresponding Domain object does not exist. Nevertheless, the Online documentation of the TYPO3-Core API describes the second, more correct option for configuring m:n-relationships within IRRE. It depends on a plain temporary table. The following example shows off the configuration of products with their according categories:
'categories' => [ 'label' => 'Categories', 'config' => [ 'type' => 'inline', 'foreign_table' => 'tx_myext_domain_model_category', 'MM' => 'tx_myext_product_category_mm' ], ],
This second option deserves some additional kudos because it does not need a TCA-configuration for the temporary table tx_myext_product_category_mm. You don’t need to show up or edit the whole table or parts of it in the Backend - the SQL definition is sufficient.
Those are the summarized configuration possibilities within the TCA. As you see, the huge count of options can be overwhelming for the novice. But in the future, they can be auto-generated by the Extension Builder (refer to Ch. 10).
As already mentioned, the TCA is stored in a file with the database table name as filename suffixed with
.php in the directory
<?php return [ 'ctrl' => [ 'title' => 'LLL:EXT:sjr_offers/Resources/Private/Language/locallang_db.xlf:tx_sjroffers_domain_model_organization', 'label' => 'name', 'tstamp' => 'tstamp', 'crdate' => 'crdate', 'languageField' => 'sys_language_uid', 'transOrigPointerField' => 'l18n_parent', 'transOrigDiffSourceField' => 'l18n_diffsource', 'prependAtCopy' => 'LLL:EXT:lang/locallang_general.xlf:LGL.prependAtCopy', 'copyAfterDuplFields' => 'sys_language_uid', 'useColumnsForDefaultValues' => 'sys_language_uid', 'delete' => 'deleted', 'enablecolumns' => [ 'disabled' => 'hidden' ], 'iconfile' => 'EXT:sjr_offers/Resources/Public/Icons/Icon_tx_sjroffers_domain_model_organization.svg' ], 'interface' => [ 'showRecordFieldList' => 'status,name,address,telephone_number,telefax_number,url,email_address,description,contacts,offers,administrator' ], 'types' => [ '0' => ['hidden,status,name,address;;1;;,description, contacts,offers,administrator'] ], 'palettes' => [ '1' => ['showitem' => 'telephone_number,telefax_number,url,email_address'] ], 'columns' => [ 'sys_language_uid' => […], 'l18n_parent' => […], 'l18n_diffsource' => […], 'hidden' => […], 'status' => […], 'name' => […], 'address' => […], 'telephone_number' => […], 'telefax_number' => […], 'url' => […], 'email_address' => […], 'description' => […], 'contacts' => […], 'offers' => […], 'administrator' => […], ], ];
The tables of all the Domain objects are defined like this.
Now we can create a directory (SysDirectory) which will contain all the data sets. Let’s create our first organization (see Fig. 6-12).
Now you can set up the whole data structure. In our project this allows the offer-provider to set up some example data and thus we could do some early integration tests. However, we can not access the given data because we still miss the Repositories that will be defined in the following section.