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Creating A Consistent Look And Feel With Layouts

While partials are suitable for small recurring elements, layouts build the frame of the templates (see Figure 8-1). They should create a consistent look and feel of a web application and decorate an existing template. In a layout, areas are marked as variable and replaced with the current template. Note that the template has the focus and controls the output. You also have to determine which layout is being used in the template.


Figure 8-1: Layouts build the outer frame for a template, whereas recurring elements can be implemented in a template with partials.

Now we look at how to create and use a layout. A layout is a Fluid file in the folder Resources/Private/Layouts/. It contains placeholders which should be replaced by content of the corresponding template within the layout. In the following example you see a use case of the ViewHelper <f:render section="..." /> as placeholder.

   <!-- ... -->
      <h1>Blogging with Extbase:</h1>
      <f:render section="main" />
      <h6>This is the footer section</h6>


Layouts in Extbase usually don't contain the basic structure of a HTML document (<html>, <head> etc.), since this is usually generated with TYPO3. For the purpose of illustration though, we show a complete HTML page.

A template looks like this:

<f:layout name="default" />

<f:section name="main">
   <h2>Blog List</h2>
   <!-- ... -->

The first line in the template defines which layout should be wrapped around the template. With specifying name="default", Fluid will use the file Resources/Private/Layouts/default.html as layout.

The template must also contain <f:section name="...">...</f:section> for every placeholder in the layout. So by defining the placeholder <f:render section="main">, like in the example layout above, a template, which uses this layout, must define the section <f:section name="main">...</f:section>, whose content then is being inserted in the layout. Layouts can reference any number of sections. Different sections are often used for multi-column layouts. Besides, you can use all features of Fluid in layouts, which you'll get to know in the course of this chapter, for building templates. So layouts offer various possibilities for efficiently templating a web application.


You'll find a practical example for building layouts in the section "Template Creation by example" later on in this chapter.

Now that you got to know how you can structure templates with layouts and partials, we want to explore some options ViewHelpers offer. In the following segment we'll introduce a powerful tool for template building. A ViewHelper which combines the possibilities of Fluid and the classic TYPO3-templating.