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Rich-Text Editing (WYSIWYG)


Editing and formatting content is the bread and butter of every content management system, which is why SilverStripe has a tight integration with our preferred editor library, TinyMCE. On top of the base functionality, we use our own insertion dialogs to ensure you can effectively select and upload files.


The framework comes with a HTMLEditorField form field class which encapsulates most of the required functionality. It is usually added through the DataObject::getCMSFields() method:

class MyObject extends DataObject {
    static $db = array('Content' => 'HTMLText');

    public function getCMSFields() {
        return new FieldList(new HTMLEditorField('Content'));


To keep the JavaScript editor configuration manageable and extensible, we've wrapped it in a PHP class called HtmlEditorConfig. The class comes with its own defaults, which are extended through the _config.php files in the framework (and the cms module in case you've got that installed). There can be multiple configs, which should always be created / accessed using HtmlEditorConfig::get(). You can then set the currently active config using set_active(). By default, a config named 'cms' is used in any field created throughout the CMS interface.

Example: Enable the "media" plugin:

// File: mysite/_config.php

Example: Remove some buttons for more advanced formatting

// File: mysite/_config.php
HtmlEditorConfig::get('cms')->removeButtons('tablecontrols', 'blockquote', 'hr');

Image and Media Insertion

The HtmlEditorField API also handles inserting images and media files into the managed HTML content. It can be used both for referencing files on the webserver filesystem (through the File and Image APIs), as well as hotlinking files from the web.

oEmbed: Embedding media through external services

The "oEmbed" standard is implemented by many media services around the web, allowing easy representation of files just by referencing a website URL. For example, a content author can insert a playable youtube video just by knowing its URL, as opposed to dealing with manual HTML code.

oEmbed powers the "Insert from web" feature available through HtmlEditorField. Internally, it makes HTTP queries to a list of external services if it finds a matching URL. These services are described in the Oembed.providers configuration. Since these requests are performed on page rendering, they typically have a long cache time (multiple days). To refresh a cache, append ?flush=1 to a URL.

To disable oEmbed usage, set the Oembed.enabled configuration property to "false".


Customizing the "Insert" panels

In the standard installation, you can insert links (internal/external/anchor/email), images as well as flash media files. The forms used for preparing the new content element are rendered by SilverStripe, but there's some JavaScript involved to transfer back and forth between a content representation the editor can understand, present and save.

Example: Remove field for "image captions"

// File: mysite/code/MyToolbarExtension.php
class MyToolbarExtension extends Extension {
    public function updateFieldsForImage(&$fields, $url, $file) {

// File: mysite/_config.php
Object::add_extension('HtmlEditorField', 'MyToolbarExtension');

Adding functionality is a bit more advanced, you'll most likely need to add some fields to the PHP forms, as well as write some JavaScript to ensure the values from those fields make it into the content elements (and back out in case an existing element gets edited). There's lots of extension points in the HtmlEditorField_Toolbar class to get you started.

Security groups with their own editor configuration

Different groups of authors can be assigned their own config, e.g. a more restricted rule set for content reviewers (see the "Security" ) The config is available on each user record through Member::getHtmlEditorConfigForCMS(). The group assignment is done through the "Security" interface for each Group record. Note: The dropdown is only available if more than one config exists.

Using the editor outside of the CMS

Each interface can have multiple fields of this type, each with their own toolbar to set formatting and insert HTML elements. They do share one common set of dialogs for inserting links and other media though, encapsulated in the HtmlEditorField_Toolbar class. In the CMS, those dialogs are automatically instanciated, but in your own interfaces outside of the CMS you have to take care of instanciation yourself:

// File: mysite/code/MyController.php
class MyObjectController extends Controller {
    public function EditorToolbar() {
        return HtmlEditorField_Toolbar::create($this, "EditorToolbar");

// File: mysite/templates/
<% with $EditorToolbar %>
<% end_with %>

Note: The dialogs rely on CMS-access, e.g. for uploading and browsing files, so this is considered advanced usage of the field.

// File: mysite/_config.php
HtmlEditorConfig::get('cms')->removeButtons('sslink', 'ssmedia');
HtmlEditorConfig::get('cms')->addButtonsToLine(2, 'link', 'media');

Developing a wrapper to use a different WYSIWYG editors with HTMLEditorField

WYSIWYG editors are complex beasts, so replacing it completely is a difficult task. The framework provides a wrapper implementation for the basic required functionality, mainly around selecting and inserting content into the editor view. Have a look in HtmlEditorField.js and the ss.editorWrapper object to get you started on your own editor wrapper. Note that the HtmlEditorConfig is currently hardwired to support TinyMCE, so its up to you to either convert existing configuration as applicable, or start your own configuration.

Integrating a Spellchecker for TinyMCE

The TinyMCE editor uses spellchecking integrated into the browser if possible (docs). Most modern browsers support it, although Internet Explorer only has limited support in IE10. Alternatively, you can use the PSpell PHP module for server side checks. Assuming you have the module installed, here's how you enable its use in mysite/_config.php:

HtmlEditorConfig::get('cms')->addButtonsToLine(2, 'spellchecker');
    THIRDPARTY_DIR . '/tinymce-spellchecker/rpc.php'
HtmlEditorConfig::get('cms')->setOption('browser_spellcheck', false);

Now change the default spellchecker in framework/thirdparty/tinymce-spellchecker/config.php:

// ...
$config['general.engine'] = 'PSpell';

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