Structure of the $TCA array

The table entries (first level)

The “first level” of the $TCA array is made of the table names (as they appear in the database):

$TCA['pages'] = array(
    ...
);
$TCA['tt_content'] = array(
    ...
);
$TCA['tx_examples_haiku'] = array(
    ...
);

Here three tables, “pages”, “tt_content” and “tx_examples_haiku” are shown as examples.

Inside the table entries (second level)

Each table is further defined by an array which configures how the system handles the table, both for the display and the processing in the backend. The various parts on this second level are called “sections”.

The general structure (looking at a single table) is as follows:

$TCA['tx_examples_haiku'] = array(
    'ctrl' => array(
        ....
    ),
    'interface' => array(
        ....
    ),
    'columns' => array(
        ....
    ),
    'types' => array(
        ....
    ),
    'palettes' => array(
        ....
    ),
);

The following table provides a brief description of each the various sections of $TCA. Each section is covered in more details in its own chapter.

Section

ctrl

Description

The table

The “ctrl” section contains properties for the table in general.

These are basically divided in two main categories:

  • properties which affect how the table is displayed and handled in the backend interface .This includes which icon, what name, which columns contains the title value, which column defines the type value etc.
  • properties which determine how it is processed by the system (TCE).This includes publishing control, “deleted” flag, whether the table can only be edited by admin-users, may only exist in the tree root etc.
  • For all tables configured in $TCA this section must exist.

Full reference

Section

interface

Description

The backend interface handling

The “interface” section contains properties related to the tables display in the backend, mostly the Web > List module.

Full reference

Section

columns

Description

The individual fields

The “columns” section contains configuration for each table field (also called “column”) which can be edited in the backend.

The configuration includes both properties for the display in the backend as well as the processing of the submitted data.

Each field can be configured as a certain “type” (e.g. checkbox, selector, input field, text area, file or db-relation field, user defined etc.) and for each type a separate set of additional properties applies. These properties are clearly explained for each type.

Full reference

Section

types

Description

The form layout for editing

The “types” section defines how the fields in the table (configured in the “columns” section) should be arranged inside the editing form; in which order, with which “palettes” (see below) and with which possible additional features applied.

Full reference

Section

palettes

Description

The palette fields order

A palette is just a list of fields which will be arranged horizontally side-by-side. But the main idea is that these fields can be displayed in the top-frame of the backend interface on request so they don’t display inside the main form. In this way they are kind of hidden fields which are brought forth either by clicking an icon in the main form or (more usual) when you place the cursor in a form field of the main form).

Full reference

Deeper levels

All properties on the second level either have their own properties or contain a further hierarchy.

In the case of the [columns] section, this will be the fields themselves. For the [types] and [palettes] section this will be the list of all possible types and palettes.

Properties scope

In the detail reference one or more scopes are given for each property. They indicate which area is affected by a given property. The various scopes are explained below:

Display
A “display” property will only affect the backend forms themselves. They have no impact on the values, nor on the database.
Proc.
This stands for “processing”. Such properties have an impact on the values entered (for example, filtering them) or how they how written to the database (for example, dates transformed to time stamps).
Database
Such a property influences only the data type with regards to the database structure (for example, dates kept as datetime fields).
Search
Search properties are related to the general search feature provided by the TYPO3 backend.

Because some things never fit in precise categories, there may be properties with a special scope. The meaning will be explained in the description of the property itself.