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The Dispatcher's job is to find a class which can handle the current page request. Once found, the dispatcher executes the method handleRequest in the matching class and receives the result. This result is then passed out as website content.

Here's the dispatcher path, step by step:


Figure 1-1: Extbase dispatching process


Extbase innately contains a couple of classes for various requests and makes them available via Configuration/Extbase/RequestHandlers.php:

return [

This is how Extbase provides a RequestHandler for requests in frontend or backend context.

Thanks to this configuration, one can registering custom RequestHandler. For example, a handler for AJAX requests can be registered here.

The class-specific method canHandleRequest() decides whether the request can be handled by its RequestHandler. For a BackendRequestHandler, the check looks like this:

    return $this->environmentService->isEnvironmentInBackendMode()
        && !Environment::isCli();

Because multiple RequestHandlers can be responsible for a request, a prioritisation system is necessary. This is because only one RequestHandler can take responsibility. Default priority is set to 100. If another RequestHandler needs to take priority, the method getPriority() should return a higher value.

Once the definitive RequestHandler has been identified, its method handleRequest() is executed. This method creates an object containing all of the necessary data for the page request, using the RequestBuilder. It searches through the plugin configuration in ext_localconf.php in order to find out which Controller and Action should be used as standard. The RequestBuilder also checks the Uri, to check whether an alternative Controller or an alternative action should be loaded instead of the entries from ext_localconf.php.


Extbase does not use PSR-7 implementation for Request and Response, but custom implementations.


A Response object is now created, which contains the header data and content. These include status codes (like Error 404), as well as the necessary JavaScript and CSS files. This object is empty at this point, ready to be filled by the Dispatcher.

The Dispatcher

The Dispatcher fetches the Controller name from the Request object and creates the Controller.

The object Request and the currently empty object Response are passed to the the Controller, and the role of the Dispatcher is complete. The Controller now modifies the response, which is handed back all the way to the Bootstrap which calls shutdown(). It's now up to the response to handle further stuff, e.g. send headers and return rendered content.

That's the point when TYPO3 receives the content and integrates it into the rendering. The response itself will already send headers, no TYPO3 API will be used at this place.

The Controller

The Controller generates output and appends it to the Response. The Controller also can set further response headers and access arguments from the Request.

Accessing the request

Within the controller, $this->request allows to access the incoming Request. This way it's possible to directly access all arguments provided to the request. Still it's better to use argument mapping instead.

In case of an forward, the request also enables access to the original request. Further information like the controller name and plugin name can be retrieved from the request.

Arguments can be accessed through:


In order to make arguments available within the Request, or for mapping, they need to conform to Extbase naming standard, in order to be mapped to the extension. The default is to prefix arguments with plugin signature. This can be adjusted via TypoScript option view.pluginNamespace, see view.

Using the response

Useful API calls include:


Allows to define the return status, e.g. 200 or 404. E.g.:


Allows to set a specific response header. E.g.:

$this->response->setHeader('Content-Type', 'application/json; charset=utf-8');

Allows to replace the whole content. E.g.:

$this->response->setContent('Replaces existing content');

Allows to add further content. E.g.:

$this->response->appendContent('Add this content');
$this->response->appendContent('Add more content');

Returning content

Each action within the controller can optionally return content. If nothing is returned, the default implementation will render $this->view and return the rendering result.

Content can be returned as string or object with __toString() implementation.

Forwarding a request

Within an action the current request can be forwarded to another action:

$this->forward('newAction', 'ForeignController', 'ForeignExtension');

Extbase will modify the current request and mark it as not dispatched. An exception is thrown which stops current execution and starts dispatching the request again.

Redirecting a request

Within an action the current request can be redirected to another action or uri:

$this->redirect('newAction', 'ForeignController', 'ForeignExtension');

In first example Extbase will build the url and call redirectToUri().

Extbase will adjust the response to contain the redirect and stop execution by throwing an exception.