Extending classes (XCLASSes)

Introduction

XCLASSing is a mechanism in TYPO3 CMS to extend classes or overwrite methods from the Core or extensions with one's own code. This enables a developer to easily change a given functionality, if other options like hooks, signals or the extbase dependency injection mechanisms do not work or do not exist.

However there are several limitations.

Note

If you need a hook or a signal that does not exist, feel free to submit a feature request and - even better - a patch. Consult the TYPO3 Contribution Guide about how to do this.

How does it work?

In general every class instance in the Core and in extensions that stick to the recommended TYPO3 coding guidelines is created with the API call \TYPO3\CMS\Core\Utility\GeneralUtility::makeInstance(). The methods takes care of singletons and also searches for existing XCLASSes. If there is an XCLASS registered for the specific class that should be instantiated, an instance of that XCLASS is returned instead of an instance of the original class.

Limitations

  • Using XCLASSes is risky: neither the core, nor extensions authors can guarantee that XCLASSes will not break if the underlying code changes (for example during upgrades). Be aware that your XCLASS can easily break and has to be maintained and fixed if the underlying code changes. If possible, you should use a hook instead of an XCLASS.
  • XCLASSes do not work for static classes, static methods or final classes.
  • There can be only one XCLASS per base class, but an XCLASS can be XCLASSed again. Be aware that such a construct is even more risky and definitely not advisable.
  • A small number of Core classes are required very early during bootstrap before configuration and other things are loaded. XCLASSing those classes will fail if they are singletons or might have unexpected side-effects.

Declaration

The $GLOBALS['TYPO3_CONF_VARS']['SYS']['Objects'] global array acts as a registry of overloaded (XCLASSed) classes.

The syntax is as follows and is commonly located in an extension's ext_localconf.php file:

$GLOBALS['TYPO3_CONF_VARS']['SYS']['Objects']['TYPO3\\CMS\\Backend\\Controller\\NewRecordController'] = array(
   'className' => 'Documentation\\Examples\\Xclass\\NewRecordController'
);

In this example, we declare that the \TYPO3\CMS\Backend\Controller\NewRecordController class will be overridden by the \Documentation\Examples\Xclass\NewRecordController class, the latter being part of the "examples" extension.

Note

In the above declaration, namespaced classes are entered without the leading backslash.

When XCLASSing a class that does not use namespaces, simply use that class' name in the declaration.

Note

To be compatible with older versions of TYPO3 CMS, you need to also add old-style XCLASS declarations. Please refer to older versions of this document for more information.

Coding practices

The recommended way of writing an XCLASS is to extend the original class and overwrite only the methods where a change is needed. This lowers the chances of the XCLASS breaking after a code update.

Tip

You're even safer if you can do your changes before or after the parent method and just call the latter with parent::.

The example below extends the new record wizard screen. It first calls the original method and then adds its own content:

class NewRecordController extends \TYPO3\CMS\Backend\Controller\NewRecordController {
   function regularNew() {
      parent::regularNew();
      $this->code .= $this->doc->section(
         $GLOBALS['LANG']->sL('LLL:EXT:examples/locallang.xml:help'),
         $GLOBALS['LANG']->sL('LLL:EXT:examples/locallang.xml:make_choice'),
         0,
         1
      );
   }
}

The result can be seen here:

Adding an element to the new record wizard

A help section is added at the bottom of the new record wizard.