The various content elements

The setup we just defined is pretty basic and will work only for content elements containing text. But the content elements are varied and we also need to render images, forms, etc. and we do not want to define everything in TypoScript - using HTML templates would be more convenient.

The type of a content element is stored in the column CType of table "tt_content". We can use this information with a CASE object, which makes it possible to differentiate how the individual content element types are rendered.

The following code is the default TypoScript rendering definition as taken from the TYPO3 Core. The default renderObj of a table is a TypoScript definition named after that table. In case of content in TYPO3 the table is called tt_content therefore the default renderObj is also called tt_content:

# Content element rendering taken from typo3/sysext/frontend/ext_localconf.php
tt_content = CASE
tt_content {
   key {
      # The field CType will be used to differentiate.
      field = CType
   # Render a error message in case no specific rendering definition is found
   default = TEXT
   default {
      field = CType
      htmlSpecialChars = 1
      wrap = <p style="background-color: yellow; padding: 0.5em 1em;"><strong>ERROR:</strong> Content Element with uid "{field:uid}" and type "|" has no rendering definition!</p>
      wrap.insertData = 1

The basic extension for rendering content in TYPO3 since TYPO3 v8 is fluid_styled_content. The example shows how fluid_styled_content is setup: It defines a basic content element based on the content object FLUIDTEMPLATE which is able to render html templates using the fluid templating engine. For every content element, the basic template, layout and partial parts are defined. As you can see by looking at the lines starting with 10 = there is the possibility to add your own templates by setting the corresponding constant (in the Constants section of a TypoScript template):

# Taken from typo3/sysext/fluid_styled_content/Configuration/TypoScript/Helper/ContentElement.txt
lib.contentElement = FLUIDTEMPLATE
lib.contentElement {
   templateName = Default
   templateRootPaths {
      0 = EXT:fluid_styled_content/Resources/Private/Templates/
      10 = {$styles.templates.templateRootPath}
   partialRootPaths {
      0 = EXT:fluid_styled_content/Resources/Private/Partials/
      10 = {$styles.templates.partialRootPath}
   layoutRootPaths {
      0 = EXT:fluid_styled_content/Resources/Private/Layouts/
      10 = {$styles.templates.layoutRootPath}
   # ...

Each content element inherits that configuration. As an example take a look at the content element definition of the content element of type header:

# Header Only:
# Adds a header only.
# CType: header
# Taken from typo3/sysext/fluid_styled_content/Configuration/TypoScript/ContentElement/Header.txt
tt_content.header =< lib.contentElement
tt_content.header {
   templateName = Header

First, all configuration options defined in lib.contentElement are referenced. Then the templateName for rendering a content element of type header is set - in this case Header. This tells fluid to look for a Header.html in the defined template path(s) (see above, by default in EXT:fluid_styled_content/Resources/Private/Templates/).

To adjust how the default elements are rendered you can overwrite the templates in your own site package extension and set the TypoScript constants defining the paths (see above). In your own templates you have the data of the currently rendered content element available in the {data} fluid variable. For example take a look at how the text element is rendered:

# Taken from typo3/sysext/fluid_styled_content/Resources/Private/Templates/Text.html
<f:layout name="Default" />
<f:section name="Main">

The database field bodytext from the tt_content table (which is the main text input field for content elements of type text) is available as {data.bodytext} in the fluid template. For more information about fluid_styled_content see its manual.