CraftCMS Plugin Development - Part 1: How to begin a CraftCMS plugin

in coding •  2 years ago 

Since 2 years we are using CraftCMS to build wonderful websites and web applications. During development you always come to a point where you want to extend the behavior of Craft. Why not develop a small plugin for such a use case? 

Developing a CraftCMS plugin sounds harder than it is. Read through the documentation and get a short overview of the environment.Let's assume your website want to call pages of entries via a given id. You could setup a plugin which handles this route, searches for entries and redirect to them.Our Goal: Calling entries with

Settings things up

Create a folder urlbyid in your craft/plugins folder.Add a initialization class called UrlByIdPlugin.php in the plugins root folder.

// urlbyid/UrlByIdPlugin.php
<?php namespace Craft;
class UrlByIdPlugin extends BasePlugin

Give your plugin a soul and add basic information to it:

public function getName() { return 'Url by id'; }
public function getVersion() { return '1.0.0'; }
public function getDeveloper() { return 'You Name'; }
public function getDeveloperUrl() { return ''; }

If you want to display an icon in the CP of Craft place one under /resources/icon.svg.In the UrlByIdPlugin class we can register a route (action) for the website.

public function registerSiteRoutes()
   return array(
       'entries/find' => array('action' => 'urlById/find'),

Your website should now accept request to We point to a UrlByIdController and it calls the method find. So let us set'em up.

Create a controller

All controllers are grouped in the controllers folder under the root of your plugin.

// urlbyid/controllers/UrlByIdController.php
<?php namespace Craft;
class UrlByIdController extends BaseController
   public function actionFind()

Our goal was:

  1. Find an entry by a given id
  2. If url -> redirect to it

// get query param
$requestedId = craft()->request->getParam('id');
// build criteria to find model
$criteria = craft()->elements->getCriteria(ElementType::Entry);
$criteria->id = $requestedId;
$criteria->limit = 1;

// fire !
$entries = $criteria->find();
$entry = count($entries) > 0 ? $entries[0] : null;

// redirect if possible
if($entry && $entry->url) {
  // here you can redirect to that entry
  // here you can redirect to root page or answer with a 404 status code


Test your implementation with

Setup Template helper to generate URL

If you call {{ entry.url }} you are getting the craft url based on the settings for section. You could also write a template helper to generate the id based url. For this you have to implement a Variable for your plugin.

// urlbyid/variables/UrlByIdVariable.php
<?php namespace Craft;
class UrlByIdVariable
   public function urlFor($entry)
     if ($entry->uri !== null)
          $url = UrlHelper::getSiteUrl('entries/find', array('id' => $entry->id), null, $entry->locale);
          return $url;

You can now use that syntax in your templates to generate the id:

{{ craft.urlById.urlFor(entry) }}

See the full source code in our github repository.

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I am interested in who has already made some experiences with CraftCMS. Happy with it ?