Without Extbase:

\TYPO3\CMS\Core\Utility\ExtensionManagementUtility::addModule(
    'random',
    'filerelatedmodule',
    'top',
    null,
    [
        'navigationComponentId' => 'TYPO3/CMS/Backend/Tree/FileStorageTreeContainer',
        'routeTarget' => \MyVendor\MyExtension\Controller\FileRelatedController::class . '::indexAction',
        'access' => 'user,group',
        'name' => 'myext_file',
        'icon' => 'EXT:myextension/Resources/Public/Icons/module-file-related.svg',
        'labels' => 'LLL:EXT:myextension/Resources/Private/Language/Modules/file_related.xlf'
    ]
);

Parameters:

  1. Main module name, in which the new module will be placed, for example ‘web’ or ‘system’.
  2. Submodule key: This is an identifier for your new module.
  3. Position of the module: Here, the module should be placed at the top of the main module, if possible. If several modules are declared at the same position, the last one wins. The following positions are possible:
    • top: the module is prepended to the top of the submodule list
    • bottom or empty string: the module is appended to the end of the submodule list
    • before:<submodulekey>: the module is inserted before the submodule identified by <submodulekey>
    • after:<submodulekey>: the module is inserted after the submodule identified by <submodulekey>
  4. Path: Was used prior to TYPO3 v8, use $moduleConfiguration[routeTarget] now and set path to null.
  5. Module configuration: The following options are available:
    • access: can contain several, separated by comma
      • systemMaintainer: the module is accessible to system maintainers only.
      • admin: the module is accessible to admins only
      • user: the module can be made accessible per user
      • group: the module can be made accessible per usergroup
    • Module iconIdentifier or icon
    • A language file containing labels like the module title and description, for building the module menu and for the display of information in the Help > About Modules module (found in the main help menu in the top bar). The LLL: prefix is mandatory here and is there for historical reasons.
    • Navigation component navigationComponentId - you can specify which navigation component you want to use, for example TYPO3/CMS/Backend/PageTree/PageTreeElement for a page tree or TYPO3/CMS/Backend/Tree/FileStorageTreeContainer for a folder tree. If you don’t want to show a navigation component at all you can either set this to an empty string or not declare it at all. In case the main module (e.g. “web”) has a navigationComponent defined by default you’ll have to also set 'inheritNavigationComponentFromMainModule' => false.
    • A routeTarget indicating the controller/action-combination to be called when accessing this module.

‘iconIdentifier’ versus ‘icon’

‘iconIdentifier’ is the better and more modern way to go. It should always be used for Core icons. Other icons however need to be registered first at the IconRegistry to create identifiers. Note that ‘icon’ still works. Within custom packages it is easier to use. Example:

'icon' => 'EXT:extkey/Resources/Public/Icons/smile.svg',

Registering a toplevel module

Toplevel modules like “Web” or “File” are registered with the same API. The following example uses Extbase to register the module, however, the process for non-extbase modules is the same.

EXT:my_extension/ext_tables.php
\TYPO3\CMS\Extbase\Utility\ExtensionUtility::registerModule(
    'MyExtension',
    'mysection',
    '',
    '',
    [],
    [
        'access' => '...',
        'iconIdentifier' => '...',
        'labels' => '...',
    ]
);

This adds a new toplevel module mysection. This identifier can now be used to add submodules to this new toplevel module:

EXT:my_extension/ext_tables.php
\TYPO3\CMS\Extbase\Utility\ExtensionUtility::registerModule(
    'MyExtension',
    'mymodule1',
    'mysection',
    '',
    [],
    [
        'access' => '...',
        'labels' => '...'
    ]
);

Note

The main module name should contain only lowercase characters. Do not use an underscore or dash.

$TBE_MODULES

When modules are registered, they get added to a global array called $GLOBALS['TBE_MODULES']. It contains the list of all registered modules, their configuration and the configuration of any existing navigation component (the components which may be loaded into the navigation frame).

$GLOBALS['TBE_MODULES'] can be explored using the System > Configuration module.

../../../../_images/BackendModulesConfiguration.png

Exploring the TBE_MODULES array using the Configuration module

The list of modules is parsed by the class \TYPO3\CMS\Backend\Module\ModuleLoader.