TYPO3 v9 has reached its end-of-life September 30th, 2021 and is not maintained by the community anymore. Looking for a stable version? Use the version switch on the top left.
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This paragraph describes obsolete processes using Prototype and Scriptaculous
On the client-side we are using the Prototype JS library (located in typo3/contrib/prototype/prototype.js). If you have used it already, you know that you can make AJAX calls with AJAX.Request, AJAX.Updater and AJAX.PeriodicalUpdater. We extended the library and hooked in these objects, or better: in the callbacks users can define. If an AJAX request is made to our server-side component (typo3/ajax.php), everything developers need to do is to call this URL and add a unique, already registered parameter for their ajaxID. Their defined "onComplete" and "onSuccess" are only rendered if the X-JSON header is set to true by the server-side script. If the X-JSON header is set to false, the Responder checks if there is a callback function named "onT3Error" and executes it instead of the "onComplete" method. If the "onT3Error" method is not defined, the default TYPO3 error handler will be displaying the error in the TYPO3 backend. If the X-JSON header is set to false, the "onSuccess" callback will not be executed as well as but an error message will be shown in the notification area. This behaviour is done automatically with every AJAX call to "ajax.php" made through Prototype's AJAX classes. This responder is also only active if "typo3/js/common.js" is added to the base script.
Since TYPO3 4.4, ExtJS is used instead for AJAX calls. ((TYPO3 even supports usage of 'Ext.Direct')).
If you look into
typo3/ajax.php, it is only a small dispatcher
script. It checks for an ajaxID in the
array and tries to execute the function pointer. The function has two
parameters, where the first (an array) is not used yet. The second
parameter is the TYPO3 AJAX Object (located in
typo3/classes/typo3ajax.php) that is used to add the content that
the error message that should be displayed. The X-JSON header will be
set depending on whether
setError() was called on this AJAX object.
You can also specify if the object should return the result in a valid
XML object tree, as text/html (default) or as a JSON object, see
The "ajaxID" is a unique identifier and can be used to override the existing AJAX calls. Therefore you can extend existing AJAX calls that already exist in the backend by redirecting it to your function. But be aware of the side-effects of this feature: Other extensions could overwrite this function as well (similar problem as with XCLASSing or single inheritance in OOP).
Also, for every TYPO3 request, you will now have a
variable that can be used for bitwise comparison. You can now check if
you're in Backend or Frontend or in an valid AJAX request with
if (TYPO3_REQUESTTYPE && TYPO3_REQUESTTYPE_AJAX)
to see if you're calling through the new AJAX interface.
Different Content Formats¶
As with every AJAX response you can send it in different response formats.
text/html - plain text
text/xml - strict XML formatting
application/json - JSON notation
You can also specify the contentFormat in the AJAX object like this:
For the keyword you can choose between "plain" (default), "xml" and "json", "jsonbody" and "jsonhead".
Here are the specifics for each format.
The content array in the backend will be concatenated and returned uninterpreted.
The result will be available in the transport object as a string through "xhr.responseText".
The content is transformed to JSON using PHP's built-in functions and is then available in JSON notation through the second parameter in the onComplete / onSuccess methods, and additionally in the "responseText" part of the transport object ("xhr.responseText"). If it is set to "jsonbody", only the latter variable is filled, if "jsonhead" is set, it is only in the second parameter. This is useful to save traffic and you can use it with whatever format you like.