Using PHP based views

So far we have used Fluid as template engine. Most textual output formats are well representable with Fluid. For some use cases it is reasonable to use pure PHP for the output. An example of such an use case is the creation of JSON files.

For this reason, Extbase also supports PHP based views. Assume we want create a JSON based output for the list action in the post controller of the BlogExample. To be able to do so we need a PHP based view.

When no Fluid template is found for a controller/action/format combination, a PHP based view will be used. This PHP class is resolved against a naming convention which is defined in the ActionController in the class variable $viewObjectNamePattern . The default naming convention is following:

\MyVendor\@extension\View\@controller\@action@format

All parts beginning with @ will be replaced accordingly. When no class with this name can be found, the @format will be removed from the naming convention and a matching class again searched for.

Our PHP based view for the list view of the post controller should have the class name \MyVendor\BlogExample\View\Post\ListJSON , because it applies only for the format JSON. So that the class according to the naming convention must be implemented in the file EXT:blog_example/Classes/View/Post/ListJSON.php .

Each view must implement the interface \TYPO3\CMS\Extbase\Mvc\ViewViewInterface . This consists off some initializing methods and the render() method, which is called by the controller for displaying the view.

It is often helpful to inherit directly from \TYPO3\CMS\Extbase\Mvc\View\AbstractView which provides default initializing methods and you only have to implement the render() method. A minimal view would like this:

<?php
namespace MyVendor\BlogExample\View\Post;

class ListJSON extends \TYPO3\CMS\Extbase\Mvc\View\AbstractView
{
   public function render()
   {
      return 'Hello World';
   }
}

Now we have the full expression power of PHP available and we can implement our own output logic. For example our JSON view could look like this:

<?php
namespace MyVendor\BlogExample\View\Post;

class ListJSON extends \TYPO3\CMS\Extbase\Mvc\View\AbstractView
{
   public function render()
   {
      $postList = $this->viewData['posts'];
      return json_encode($postList);
   }
}

Here we can see that the data that is passed to the view is available in the array $this->viewData . These are converted to JSON data using the function json_encode and then returned.

Tip

PHP based views are also helpful for specially complex kind of output like the rendering of PDF files.

View configuration options in the controller

You have some methods in the controller that you can overwrite to control the resolution of the view. In the most cases the customization of $viewObjectNamePattern should be flexible enough, but sometimes you have to put more logic into it.

For example you might have to initialize your view in a special manner before it can be used. For this there is the template method initializeView($view) inside the ActionContoller , which gets the view as parameter. In this method you should write your own initializing routine for your view.

If you want to control the resolving and initializing of the view completely, you have to rewrite the method resolveView() . This method has to return a view that implements \TYPO3\CMS\Extbase\Mvc\ViewViewInterface . Sometimes it is enough to just overwrite the resolution of the view object name. Therefore you must overwrite the method resolveViewObjectName() . This method returns the name of the PHP class which should be used as view.

Tip

If you have a look at the source code of Extbase at these points, in the comment blocks of the above mentioned methods you see an @api annotation. These methods are part of the official API of Extbase and could be overwritten for personal use.

Methods without an API annotation should never be overwritten (although it is technically possible), because they could be directly changed in feature versions of Extbase.

Now you have learned about the most helpful functions of Fluid. In the following section we would show the interaction of these functions during the creation of a real template, to give you a better feeling for the work with Fluid.