Custom inputs (user)


There are three columns config types that do similar things, but still have subtle differences between them. These are the none type, the passthrough type and the user type.

Characteristics of user:

  • A value sent to the DataHandler is just kept as is and put into the database field. Default FormEngine however never sends values.
  • Unlike none, type user must have a database field.
  • FormEngine only renders a dummy element for type user fields by default. It should be combined with a custom renderType.
  • Type user field values are rendered as-is at other places in the backend. They for instance can be selected to be displayed in the list module “single table view”.
  • Field updates by the DataHandler get logged and the history/undo function will work with such values.

The user field can be useful, if:

  • A special rendering and evaluation is needed for a value when editing records via FormEngine.


In previous versions of TYPO3 core, type='user' had a property userFunc to call an own class method of some extension. This has been substituted with a custom element using a renderType. See example below.


This example is part of the TYPO3 Documentation Team extension examples.

The example registers an own node element, a TCA field using it and a class implementing a rendering. See FormEngine docs for more details on this.

  1. Register the new renderType node element

    Add to ext_localconf.php:

    $GLOBALS['TYPO3_CONF_VARS']['SYS']['formEngine']['nodeRegistry'][<current timestamp>] = [
        'nodeName' => 'specialField',
        'priority' => 40,
        'class' => \T3docs\Examples\Form\Element\SpecialFieldElement::class,
  2. Use the renderType in a TCA field definition

    Add the field to the TCA definition, here in Configuration/TCA/Overrides/fe_users.php:

    'tx_examples_special' => [
       'exclude' => 0,
       'label' => 'LLL:EXT:examples/Resources/Private/Language/locallang_db.xlf:fe_users.tx_examples_special',
       'config' => [
          'type' => 'user',
          // renderType needs to be registered in ext_localconf.php
          'renderType' => 'specialField',
          'parameters' => [
             'size' => '30',
             'color' => '#F49700',
  3. Implement the FormElement class

    The renderType can be implemented by extending the class AbstractFormElement and overriding the function render():

    declare(strict_types = 1);
    namespace T3docs\Examples\Form\Element;
    use TYPO3\CMS\Backend\Form\Element\AbstractFormElement;
    use TYPO3\CMS\Core\Utility\GeneralUtility;
    use TYPO3\CMS\Core\Utility\StringUtility;
    class SpecialFieldElement extends AbstractFormElement
       public function render():array
          $row = $this->data['databaseRow'];
          $parameterArray = $this->data['parameterArray'];
          $color = $parameterArray['fieldConf']['config']['parameters']['color'];
          $size = $parameterArray['fieldConf']['config']['parameters']['size'];
          $fieldInformationResult = $this->renderFieldInformation();
          $fieldInformationHtml = $fieldInformationResult['html'];
          $resultArray = $this->mergeChildReturnIntoExistingResult($this->initializeResultArray(), $fieldInformationResult, false);
          $fieldId = StringUtility::getUniqueId('formengine-textarea-');
          $attributes = [
             'id' => $fieldId,
             'name' => htmlspecialchars($parameterArray['itemFormElName']),
             'size' => $size,
             'data-formengine-input-name' => htmlspecialchars($parameterArray['itemFormElName'])
          $attributes['placeholder'] = 'Enter special value for user "'.htmlspecialchars(trim($row['username'])).
             '" in size '. $size;
          $classes = [
          $itemValue = $parameterArray['itemFormElValue'];
          $attributes['class'] = implode(' ', $classes);
          $html = [];
          $html[] = '<div class="formengine-field-item t3js-formengine-field-item" style="padding: 5px; background-color: ' . $color . ';">';
          $html[] = $fieldInformationHtml;
          $html[] =   '<div class="form-wizards-wrap">';
          $html[] =      '<div class="form-wizards-element">';
          $html[] =         '<div class="form-control-wrap">';
          $html[] =            '<input type="text" value="' . htmlspecialchars($itemValue, ENT_QUOTES) . '" ';
          $html[]=               GeneralUtility::implodeAttributes($attributes, true);
          $html[]=            ' />';
          $html[] =         '</div>';
          $html[] =      '</div>';
          $html[] =   '</div>';
          $html[] = '</div>';
          $resultArray['html'] = implode(LF, $html);
          return $resultArray;


    The returned data in $resultArray['html'] will be output in the TYPO3 Backend as it is passed. Therefore don’t trust user input in order to prevent cross-site scripting (XSS).

    The array $this->data consists of the following parts:

    • The row of the currently edited record in $this->data['databaseRow']
    • The configuration from the TCA in $this->data['parameterArray']['fieldConf']['config']
    • The name of the input field in $this->data['parameterArray']['itemFormElName']
    • The current value of the field in $this->data['parameterArray']['itemFormElValue']

    In order for the field to work, it is vital, that the corresponding HTML input field has a unique id attribute, fills the attributes name and data-formengine-input-name with the correct name, as provided in the itemFormElName.

The field would then look like this in the backend:

New fields for fe\_users table

New fields for fe_users table

This example is also described in TYPO3 Explained, Extending TCA example.

Properties renderType default

The default renderType just renders a dummy entry to indicate a custom renderType should be added.