Database structure

This chapter lists the various tables related to FAL and highlights some of their important fields.


This table is used to store basic information about each file. Some important fields:

Id of the storage where the file is stored.
A string which should uniquely identify a file within its storage. Duplicate identifiers are possible, but will create a confusion. For the local file system driver, the identifier is the path to the file, relative to the storage root (starting with a slash and using a slash as directory delimiter).
The name of the file. For the local file system driver, this will be the current name of the file in the file system.
A hash of the file’s content. This is used to detect whether a file has changed or not.
Foreign side of the “sys_file_metadata” relation. Always “0” in the database, but necessary for the TCA of the “sys_file”.


This table is used to store metadata about each file. It has a one-to-one relationship with table “sys_file”. Contrary to the basic information stored in “sys_file”, the content of the table “sys_file_metadata” can be translated.

Most fields are really just additional information. The most important one is:

Id of the sys_file record of the file the metadata is related to.

The “sys_file_metadata” table is extended by system extension “filemetadata”. In particular, it adds the necessary definitions to categorize files with system categories.


This table is used to store all references between files and whatever other records they are used in, typically pages and content elements. The most important fields are:

Id of the file.
Id of the related record.
Name of the table containing the related record.
Name of the field of the related record where the relation was created.
Always “sys_file”.

When a file is referenced, normally its title is used (for whatever purpose, like displaying a caption for example). However it is possible to define a title in the reference, which will be used instead of the original file’s title.

The fields “description”, “alternative” and “downloadname” obey the same principle.


This table is similar to “sys_file”, but for “temporary” files, like image previews. This table does not have a TCA representation, as it is only written for using direct SQL queries in the source code.


FAL offers the possibility to create File Collections, which can then be used for various purposes. By default, they can be used with the “File links” content element.

The most important fields are:

The type of the Collection. A Collection can be based on hand-picked files, a folder or categories.
The list of selected files. The relationship between files and their Collection is also stored in “sys_file_reference”.
The chosen storage, for folder-type Collections.
The chosen folder, for folder-type Collections.
The chosen categories, for category-type Collections.


This table is used to store the Storages available in the installation. The most important fields are:

The type of Driver used for the storage.
The Storage configuration with regards to its Driver. This is a FlexForm field and the current options depend on the selected Driver.


File Mounts are not specifically part of the FAL (they existed long before), but their definition is based on Storages. Each File Mount is related to a specific storage. The most important fields are:

Id of the storage the File Mount is related to.
Folder which will actually be mounted (absolute path, considering that / is the root of the selected Storage).