Creating a simple package#
Setup and Requirements#
This guide will help you to create a simple package that provides a simple test page. It is nothing too fancy, but you can use it as the foundation for your next project.
There are some requirements you should met before starting:
- Text editor with syntax highlighting for PHP, Notepad++ is a solid pick
*.tplshould be encoded with ANSI/ASCII
*.xmlare always encoded with UTF-8, but omit the BOM (byte-order-mark)
- Use tabs instead of spaces to indent lines
- It is recommended to set the tab width to
8spaces, this is used in the entire software and will ease reading the source files
- An active installation of WoltLab Suite
- An application to create
*.tararchives, e.g. 7-Zip on Windows
The package.xml File#
We want to create a simple page that will display the sentence "Hello World" embedded into the application frame. Create an empty directory in the workspace of your choice to start with.
Create a new file called
package.xml and insert the code below:
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There is an entire chapter on the package system that explains what the code above does and how you can adjust it to fit your needs. For now we'll keep it as it is.
The PHP Class#
The next step is to create the PHP class which will serve our page:
- Create the directory
filesin the same directory where
filesand create the directory
liband create the directory
- Within the directory
page, please create the file
Copy and paste the following code into the
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The class inherits from wcf\page\AbstractPage, the default implementation of pages without form controls. It
defines quite a few methods that will be automatically invoked in a specific order, for example
readData() and finally
assignVariables() to pass arbitrary values to the template.
$greet is defined as
World, but can optionally be populated through a GET variable (
index.php?test/&greet=You would output
Hello You!). This extra code illustrates the separation of data
processing that takes place within all sort of pages, where all user-supplied data is read from within a single method. It helps organizing the code, but most of all it enforces a clean class logic that does not
start reading user input at random places, including the risk to only escape the input of variable
$_GET['foo'] 4 out of 5 times.
Reading and processing the data is only half the story, now we need a template to display the actual content for our page. You don't need to specify it yourself, it will be automatically guessed based on your namespace and class name, you can read more about it later.
Last but not least, you must not include the closing PHP tag
?> at the end, it can cause PHP to break on whitespaces and is not required at all.
Navigate back to the root directory of your package until you see both the
files directory and the
package.xml. Now create a directory called
templates, open it and create the file
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Templates are a mixture of HTML and Smarty-like template scripting to overcome the static nature of raw HTML. The above code will display the phrase
Hello World! in the application frame, just as any other
page would render. The included templates
footer are responsible for the majority of the overall page functionality, but offer a whole lot of customization abilities to influence their behavior and appearance.
The Page Definition#
The package now contains the PHP class and the matching template, but it is still missing the page definition. Please create the file
page.xml in your project's root directory, thus on the same level as the
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You can provide a lot more data for a page, including logical nesting and dedicated handler classes for display in menus.
Building the Package#
If you have followed the above guidelines carefully, your package directory should now look like this:
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Both files and templates are archive-based package components, that deploy their payload using tar archives rather than adding the raw files to the package file. Please create the archive
files.tar and add the contents of the
files/* directory, but not the directory
files/ itself. Repeat the same process for the
templates directory, but this time with the file name
templates.tar. Place both files in the root of your project.
Last but not least, create the package archive
com.example.test.tar and add all the files listed below.
The archive's filename can be anything you want, all though it is the general convention to use the package name itself for easier recognition.
Open the Administration Control Panel and navigate to
Configuration > Packages > Install Package, click on
Upload Package and select the file
com.example.test.tar from your disk. Follow the on-screen instructions until it has been successfully installed.
Open a new browser tab and navigate to your newly created page. If WoltLab Suite is installed at
https://example.com/wsc/, then the URL should read
Congratulations, you have just created your first package!
This feature is available with WoltLab Suite 3.1 or newer only.
The developer tools provide an interface to synchronize the data of an installed package with a bare repository on the local disk. You can re-import most PIPs at any time and have the changes applied without crafting a manual update. This process simulates a regular package update with a single PIP only, and resets the cache after the import has been completed.
Registering a Project#
Projects require the absolute path to the package directory, that is, the directory where it can find the
package.xml. It is not required to install an package to register it as a project, but you have to install it in order to work with it. It does not install the package by itself!
There is a special button on the project list that allows for a mass-import of projects based on a search path. Each direct child directory of the provided path will be tested and projects created this way will use the identifier extracted from the
The install instructions in the
package.xml are ignored when offering the PIP imports, the detection works entirely based on the default filename for each PIP. On top of that, only PIPs that implement the interface
wcf\system\devtools\pip\IIdempotentPackageInstallationPlugin are valid for import, as it indicates that importing the PIP multiple times will have no side-effects and that the result is deterministic regardless of the number of times it has been imported.
Some built-in PIPs, such as
script, do not qualify for this step and remain unavailable at all times. However, you can still craft and perform an actual package update to have these PIPs executed.
The class name including the namespace is used to automatically determine the path to the template and its name. The example above used the page class name
wcf\page\TestPage that is then split into four distinct parts:
wcf, the internal abbreviation of WoltLab Suite Core (previously known as WoltLab Community Framework)
Test, the actual name that is used for both the template and the URL
Page(page type, ignored)
3. from above are used to construct the path to the template:
<installDirOfWSC>/templates/test.tpl (the first letter of
Test is being converted to lower-case).