File Collections

File collections are collections of file references. They are used by the “File links” (download) content element.

A file links content element

A “File links” content element referencing a file collection

File collections are stored in the sys_file_collection table. The selected files are stored in the sys_file_reference table.

Note that a file collection may also reference a folder, in which case all files inside the folder will be returned when calling that collection.

A folder collection

A file collection referencing a folder

Collections API

The TYPO3 CMS Core provides an API to enable usage of collections inside extensions. The most important classes are:

\TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\FileCollectionRepository
Used to retrieve collections. It’s not exactly an Extbase repository but works in a similar way. The default “find” methods refer to the “sys_file_collection” table and will fetch “static”-type collections.
\TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\Collection\StaticFileCollection
This class models the static file collection. It is important to note that collections returned by the repository (described above) are “empty”. If you need to access their records, you need to load them first, using method loadContents(). On top of some specific API methods, this class includes all setters and getters that you may need to access the collection’s data. For accessing the selected files, just loop on the collection (see example).
\TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\Collection\FolderBasedFileCollection
Similar to the StaticFileCollection, but for file collections based on a folder.
\TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\Collection\CategoryBasedFileCollection
File collection based on a single category.

Example

The “examples” extension provides a simple frontend plugin to demonstrate usage of collections. Here is what happens in the controller:

/**
 * @var \TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\FileCollectionRepository
 */
protected $collectionRepository;

public function __construct(FileCollectionRepository $collectionRepository) {
  $this->collectionRepository = $collectionRepository;
}

/**
 * Renders the list of all existing collections and their content
 *
 * @return void
 */
public function indexAction()
{
  // Get all existing collections
  /** @var \TYPO3\CMS\Core\Resource\Collection\AbstractFileCollection[] $collections */
  $collections = $this->collectionRepository->findAll();

  // Load the records in each collection
  foreach ($collections as $aCollection) {
      $aCollection->loadContents();
  }

  // Assign the "loaded" collections to the view
  $this->view->assign('collections', $collections);
}

The base is code is quite simple: all collections are fetched and passed to the view. The one specific step is the loop over all collections to load their referenced records. Remember that a collection is otherwise “empty”.

In the view we can then either use collection member variables as usual (like their title) or put them directly in a loop to iterate over the record selection:

<f:section name="main">
    <ul class="collection with-header">
        <f:for each="{collections}" as="collection">
            <li class="collection-header"><h4>{collection.title} (Records from <code>{collection.itemTableName}</code>)</h4></li>
            <f:for each="{collection}" as="record">
                <li class="collection-item">{record.name}</li>
            </f:for>
        </f:for>
    </ul>
</f:section>

Here is what the result may look like (the exact result will obviously depend on the content of the selection):

Collections plugin output

Typical output from the “Collections” plugin of extension “examples”