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Howto: Customize the Pages List in the CMS

The pages "list" view in the CMS is a powerful alternative to visualizing your site's content, and can be better suited than a tree for large flat hierarchies. A good example would be a collection of news articles, all contained under a "holder" page type, a quite common pattern in SilverStripe.

The "list" view allows you to paginate through a large number of records, as well as sort and filter them in a way that would be hard to achieve in a tree structure. But sometimes the default behaviour isn't powerful enough, and you want a more specific list view for certain page types, for example to sort the list by a different criteria, or add more columns to filter on. The resulting form is mainly based around a GridField instance, which in turn includes all children in a DataList. You can use these two classes as a starting point for your customizations.

Here's a brief example on how to add sorting and a new column for a hypothetical NewsPageHolder type, which contains NewsPage children.

// mysite/code/NewsPageHolder.php
class NewsPageHolder extends Page {
    private static $allowed_children = array('NewsPage');

// mysite/code/NewsPage.php
class NewsPage extends Page {
    private static $has_one = array(
        'Author' => 'Member',

We'll now add an Extension subclass to LeftAndMain, which is the main CMS controller. This allows us to intercept the list building logic, and alter the GridField before its rendered. In this case, we limit our logic to the desired page type, although it's just as easy to implement changes which apply to all page types, or across page types with common characteristics.

// mysite/code/NewsPageHolderCMSMainExtension.php
class NewsPageHolderCMSMainExtension extends Extension {
    function updateListView($listView) {
        $parentId = $listView->getController()->getRequest()->requestVar('ParentID');
        $parent = ($parentId) ? Page::get()->byId($parentId) : new Page();

        // Only apply logic for this page type
        if($parent && $parent instanceof NewsPageHolder) {
            $gridField = $listView->Fields()->dataFieldByName('Page');
            if($gridField) {
                // Sort by created
                $list = $gridField->getList();
                $gridField->setList($list->sort('Created', 'DESC'));
                // Add author to columns
                $cols = $gridField->getConfig()->getComponentByType('GridFieldDataColumns');
                if($cols) {
                    $fields = $cols->getDisplayFields($gridField);
                    $fields['Author.Title'] = 'Author';

Now you just need to enable the extension in your configuration file.

// mysite/_config/config.yml
    - NewsPageHolderCMSMainExtension

You're all set! Don't forget to flush the caches by appending ?flush=all to the URL.

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