Creating a content plugin

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There are lots of abilities of the use of a Content Plugin. They all have to do with the display of your content and so your articles. You will need at least two files for this Plugin. An XML file and a PHP file. Because there are so many differences between two Content Plugins in the PHP file, two examples of them will be explained in this document. Also a part about internationalization (with INI files) is added. And last but not least: the Joomla! Core Content Plugin coding examples and the quick tips.

XML file

The XML file is named the same as the PHP file, and is one of the two required files. Always start off with the XML tag and define that it is written in a UTF-8 format.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
 <!DOCTYPE install PUBLIC 
  "-//Joomla! 1.5//DTD plugin 1.0//EN" "">

To define that the plugin has to be a content plugin, add this line:

<install version="1.5" type="plugin" group="content">

The type will define it is a Plugin, the group defines the Plugin is in the group of Content Plugins.

After that, add some information about yourself and the Plugin, like this:

<name>Name of your Search Plugin</name>
<creationDate>Created Date</creationDate>
<author>Your name</author>
<authorEmail>Your e-mail address</authorEmail>
<authorUrl>Your website</authorUrl>
<license>License, for example GNU/GPL</license>
<version>Version of the plugin</version>
<description>Description of the Plugin; showed with installation and when editing 
the Plugin in the Plugin Manager</description>

And now include your PHP file to the Content Plugin. The name of this file should be the same as the name of this XML file. Put this name also behind the plugin="" part.

You could also add more files for your plugin, for example an image. Just add another row between <files> and </file>, and then place the file between <filename> tags.

   <filename plugin="nameofplugin">nameofplugin.php</filename>

For the internationalization, we will use language files. This is not required, but people from other countries will love it they can easily translate your plugin to their own language. The language tags can be found here: [1] (use the ISO 639-1 column) and here: [2]

   <language tag="en-GB">language/en-GB/en-GB.plg_content_nameofplugin.INI</language>

Optionally, you could add some parameters to the Plugin. These will look like this:

   <param name="paramname" type="typeofparameter" default="defaultsetting" label="title" description="description"/>
  • Param name: The name of the parameter. You will need this when creating the PHP file.
  • Param type: You could choose between several types of parameters. Look at this document to learn something about the different types: [3]
  • Param default: The default setting for this parameter.
  • Param label: The name of this parameter displayed in the edit screen of this Plugin in the Plugin Manager.
  • Param description: The text which appears as a tool tip for this parameter.

When you do not want to use parameters, add the following tag:


And do not forget to end your XML file with the following tag:


PHP file - Example 1

Example 1 is about the Content Plugin vote. The PHP file will be displayed here, with comments what every function or part does.

//first start with some information about the Content Plugin, its author and probably some other information
* @version		$Id: vote.php 9764 2007-12-30 07:48:11Z ircmaxell $
* @package		Joomla
* @copyright	Copyright (C) 2005 - 2008 Open Source Matters. All rights reserved.
* @license		GNU/GPL, see LICENSE.php
* Joomla! is free software. This version may have been modified pursuant
* to the GNU General Public License, and as distributed it includes or
* is derivative of works licensed under the GNU General Public License or
* other free or open source software licenses.
* See COPYRIGHT.php for copyright notices and details.
//You can not directly access the file when you put this code at the beginning:
// no direct access
defined( '_JEXEC' ) or die( 'Restricted access' );
//Now set the registerEvent. The action will start before the content is opened.
//In plgContentVote you should replace Vote by the name of your own Plugin.
$mainframe->registerEvent( 'onBeforeDisplayContent', 'plgContentVote' );
//Here the real function starts.
function plgContentVote( &$row, &$params, $page=0 )
//Set the JURI
	$uri = & JFactory::getURI();
	$id 	= $row->id;
//$html is made empty
	$html 	= '';
//Get the rating_count and the parameters from the XML file
	if (isset($row->rating_count) && $params->get( 'show_vote' ) && !$params->get( 'popup' ))
//Load the language file
		JPlugin::loadLanguage( 'plg_content_vote' );
//Add the general HTML output
		$html .= '<form method="post" action="' . $uri->toString( ) . '">';
		$img = '';
//Look for images in template if available
		$starImageOn 	= JHTML::_('',  'rating_star.png', '/images/M_images/' );
		$starImageOff 	= JHTML::_('',  'rating_star_blank.png', '/images/M_images/' );
//Show the star images when the rate number is higher then 0
		for ($i=0; $i < $row->rating; $i++) {
			$img .= $starImageOn;
//Do not show the star images when the rate number is higher then 5
		for ($i=$row->rating; $i < 5; $i++) {
			$img .= $starImageOff;
//HTML output
		$html .= '<span class="content_rating">';
		$html .= JText::_( 'User Rating' ) .':'. $img .'&nbsp;/&nbsp;';
		$html .= intval( $row->rating_count );
		$html .= "</span>\n<br />\n";
//Get params
		if (!$params->get( 'intro_only' ))
//HTML output; set the display of the images
			$html .= '<span class="content_vote">';
			$html .= JText::_( 'Poor' );
			$html .= '<input type="radio" alt="vote 1 star" name="user_rating" value="1" />';
			$html .= '<input type="radio" alt="vote 2 star" name="user_rating" value="2" />';
			$html .= '<input type="radio" alt="vote 3 star" name="user_rating" value="3" />';
			$html .= '<input type="radio" alt="vote 4 star" name="user_rating" value="4" />';
			$html .= '<input type="radio" alt="vote 5 star" name="user_rating" value="5" checked="checked" />';
			$html .= JText::_( 'Best' );
			$html .= '&nbsp;<input class="button" type="submit" name="submit_vote" value="'. JText::_( 'Rate' ) .'" />';
			$html .= '<input type="hidden" name="task" value="vote" />';
			$html .= '<input type="hidden" name="option" value="com_content" />';
			$html .= '<input type="hidden" name="cid" value="'. $id .'" />';
			$html .= '<input type="hidden" name="url" value="'.  $uri->toString( ) .'" />';
			$html .= '</span>';
//HTML output; close the <form> tag
		$html .= '</form>';
//return when not valid
	return $html;

PHP file - Example 2

INI file(s)

Coding examples

Quick tips