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The FAL architecture consists of three layers:

Usage Layer

This layer is comprised of the File References, which represent relations to files from any structure that may use them (pages, content elements or any custom structure defined by extensions).

Storage Layer

This layer is made of several parts. First of all there are the files and their associated metadata. Then each file is associated with a Storage.

Driver Layer

This layer is the deepest one. It consists of the Drivers, managing the actual access to and manipulation of the files. It is invisible from both the frontend and the backend, as it works just in the background.

Indeed Drivers are explicitly not part of the public interface. Developers will only interact with File, Folder, FileReference or Storage objects, but never with a Driver object, unless actually developing one.

This layered architecture makes it easy to use different Drivers for accessing files, while maintaining a consistent interface for both developers (in terms of API) and end users (via the backend).