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page last edited on 25 October 2016

Templates and interfaces

Version: 5.4 and early


Templates are the part of X-Cart view layer. They define exactly how the content is shown on a page -- basically, templates present HTML code. In most cases, templates should not contain any logic whether they will or will not be rendered, this is typically handled by the corresponding View classes.

Templates in X-Cart are rendered with built-in rendering engine. Rendering engine allows to combine static HTML code with dynamic data, provided by View class. Also, the engine helps to automate code generation with the most basic conditional and loop operators. Data preprocessing should still be handled by the View class to separate two different concerns and allow a more maintainable software.

Flexy template engine was used in X-Cart 5.0 - 5.2 versions. You can read more about it in Flexy template engine guide.

Starting with X-Cart 5.3, default rendering system is Twig. It has been extended with some X-Cart specific features, which are described in Custom features with Twig template engine guide.

How to include template

Generally, templates become populated with data and displayed via View classes. The rendering process is done just before responding to the request - after controller has handled request data, all calculation of the view tree is completed and requested resources are compiled.

Code examples are given for the Twig rendering engine and X-Cart 5.3+ version. The concepts are pretty much the same for X-Cart 5.2 and earlier versions, the main difference is the syntax.

There are several ways to include the template on the page:

View class template

To render a template through a View class, you should specify its filepath in getDefaultTemplate() function inside XLite\View\AView descendant:

protected function getDefaultTemplate()
return 'modules/Tony/ViewerDemo/mycode.twig';

If template is to be outputed, its View obviously should be visible on the selected page.

Nested inside another template

Also, templates can be nested through {{ widget() }} or {% include %} Twig functions.

# include() function simply inlines the other template. You can access View methods through 'this' variable to determine the template path.

{% include this.getDir() ~ '/input.twig' %}

# If other widget has a defined template, it will be rendered through widget() function
{{ widget('\\XLite\\View\\Button\\AddAddress', label=t('Add new address'), style='main-button', profileId=this.profile_id) }}

View list inclusion

You can specify @ListChild annotation, which will include the annotated template automatically to the place where the appropriate {{ widget_list() }} call is done. Annotation list param is the widget list name and weight param is the sorting order of the templates (the higher value the lower position).

# Shopping cart item weight block
# @ListChild (list="", weight="100")

{% if not this.item.isValidAmount() %}
<p class="item-out-of-stock">{{ t('Out of stock') }}</p>
{% endif %}

Manual display() call

As a last resort, you can call display() function on View class instance and serve template path as its argument to print the rendered template to the output buffer.

Use of this method is very low-level and won't be needed in most of the cases. In almost any situation you can use the aforemented methods to achieve the task.

* Print widget inner content
* @return string
public function displayInnerContent()
$template = 'modules/Demo/Demo/other.twig';

if ($show_list) {
} else {

Template locations

Templates are generally stored in the following locations:

  • Core templates: skins/<interface>/<path_to_templates>
  • Module templates: skins/<interface>/modules/<vendor>/<module_name>/<path_to_templates>
  • Skin templates: skins/<skin_path>/<interface>/<path_to_templates>

Here <path_to_templates> might have several levels of directory nesting. Examples of the full template path:

  • skins/admin/order/page/info.twig
  • skins/customer/modules/XC/Reviews/reviews_page/rating/body.twig

Also, X-Cart has a system which allows to override core templates with the skin ones. Read more at Skin file substitution guide.

View interfaces

Interfaces are different modes of X-Cart presentation layer. Every UI-related file is grouped under certain interface. X-Cart rendering system can't render or anyhow access the file, if it is not present inside current interface folder.

X-Cart is using five interface modes:

  • Customer interface (stored in customer folder). Uses the files to render product lists, details pages, cart, checkout sections - everything, that can be seen in customer zone (cart.php).

  • Admin interface (stored in admin folder). Operates with the files to draw administrator panel inside admin zone (admin.php).

  • Common interface (stored in common folder). Or in other words - fallback interface, which is accessed when the current interface doesn't have the needed file.

  • Mail interface (stored in mail folder). This interface can contain any other interface, such as admin, customer, common ones. It contains very specific files and rules to render mail messages.

  • PDF interface (stored in pdf folder). Similar to mail interface, contains specific templates to render pdf pages.

There are overrides for interface when a certain language is enabled. You can read more at Substitution fallback scheme paragraph.

Getting dynamic data from View classes

Properties and methods of View class can be accessed in templates using the this object like this:

# Address
<ul class="address-entry">
{% for fieldName, fieldData in this.getSchemaFields() %}
{% if this.getFieldValue(fieldName, 1) %}
<li class="{{ this.getFieldStyle(fieldName) }}">
<ul class="address-text">
<li class="address-text-label address-text-label-{{ fieldName }}">{{ fieldData.label }}:</li>
<li class="address-text-value">{{ this.getFieldValue(fieldName, 1) }}</li>
<li class="address-text-comma address-text-comma-{{ fieldName }}">,</li>
{% endif %}
{% endfor %}