The autoloader takes care of finding classes in TYPO3. It is closely related to \TYPO3\CMS\Core\Utility\GeneralUtility::makeInstance() which takes care of singleton and XCLASS handling.

As a developer you should always instantiate classes either through \TYPO3\CMS\Core\Utility\GeneralUtility::makeInstance() or with the Extbase ObjectManager (which internally uses makeInstance() again).


Since TYPO3 CMS 6.0 and the introduction of namespaces, developers are strongly encouraged to use the namespaces. When using namespaces it is not necessary to explicitely declare classes in an autoloader files. All namespaced classes are automatically autoloaded.

Please refer to the Namespaces chapter for more information.

Naming convention or autoloader file

In TYPO3 every class must reside in its own file, i.e. there should be only one class per PHP file. Extensions must not use require() or include() to load class files, but instead use the TYPO3 core API to automatically require a file upon request of the class.

A developer has two options to help the core find a specific class:

  • Use the class naming convention and file location.
  • Register a class name together with its location in an ext_autoload.php file.

If it’s not possible to stick to the class naming and file location conventions - for whatever reason - or if you don’t want to use namespaces, you can add a file to your extension called ext_autoload.php, in the base directory. Its goal is to inform the autoloader about the location of each class files. The autoloader automatically searches for this file when a class is requested.

The ext_autoload.php file must simply return a one-dimensional array with the class name as key, and the file location as value. No other code is allowed in this file.

Examples for non-namespaced classes

The examples below are related to non-namespaced classes. When using namespaces, autoloading will happen without any extra effort on your part.

Extbase conventions

Consider the following:

  • Extension name: my_extension
  • Extension location: typo3conf/ext/my_extension
  • Class name: Tx_MyExtension_Utility_FooBar
  • Required file location: typo3conf/ext/my_extension/Classes/Utility/FooBar.php

which respects the following rules:

  • The class name must start with Tx_
  • In the extension name underscores are converted to upper camel case, hence MyExtension
  • Every underscore after the extension name in the class name is resolved to a uppercases folder name below the Classes directory, i.e. "_utility" becomes folder "Utility"
  • The last part of the class name resolves to the file name with suffix .php

No conventions

For a file which doesn’t follow any particular conventions, an entry must be created in the extension’s ext_autoload.php file.

Example taken from an oldish version of extension “news”:

$extensionClassesPath = \TYPO3\CMS\Core\Utility\ExtensionManagementUtility::extPath('news') . 'Classes/';

$default = array(
        'tx_news_domain_model_dto_emconfiguration' => $extensionClassesPath . 'Domain/Model/Dto/EmConfiguration.php',
        'tx_news_hooks_suggestreceiver' => $extensionClassesPath . 'Hooks/SuggestReceiver.php',
        'tx_news_hooks_suggestreceivercall' => $extensionClassesPath . 'Hooks/SuggestReceiverCall.php',
        'tx_news_utility_compatibility' => $extensionClassesPath . 'Utility/Compatibility.php',
        'tx_news_utility_importjob' => $extensionClassesPath . 'Utility/ImportJob.php',
        'tx_news_utility_emconfiguration' => $extensionClassesPath . 'Utility/EmConfiguration.php',
        'tx_news_service_cacheservice' => $extensionClassesPath . 'Service/CacheService.php',
return $default;


The class names used as keys in the array must be in lower case, until TYPO3 4.7. This limitation was removed in TYPO3 6.0.