Version 4 supported
This version of Silverstripe CMS is still supported though will not receive any additional features. Go to documentation for the most recent stable version.

Common variables

The page below describes a few of common variables and methods you'll see in a Silverstripe CMS template. This is not an exhaustive list. From your template you can call any method, database field, or relation on the object which is currently in scope as well as its subclasses or extensions.

Knowing what methods you can call can be tricky, but the first step is to understand the scope you're in. Scope is explained in more detail on the syntax page. Many of the methods listed below can be called from any scope, and you can specify additional static methods to be available globally in templates by implementing the TemplateGlobalProvider interface.

Want a quick way of knowing what scope you're in? Try putting $ClassName in your template. You should see a string such as Page of the object that's in scope. The methods you can call on that object then are any functions, database properties or relations on the Page class, PageController class as well as anything from their subclasses or extensions.

Outputting these variables is only the start, if you want to format or manipulate them before adding them to the template have a read of the Formatting, Modifying and Casting Variables documentation.

Some of the following only apply when you have the CMS module installed. If you're using the Framework alone, this functionality may not be included.

Base tag

    <% base_tag %>


The <% base_tag %> placeholder is replaced with the HTML base element. Relative links within a document (such as <img src="someimage.jpg" alt="">) will become relative to the URI specified in the base tag. This ensures the browser knows where to locate your site’s images and CSS files.

It renders in the template as <base href="" /><!--[if lte IE 6]></base><![endif]-->

A <% base_tag %>; is nearly always required or assumed by Silverstripe CMS to exist.


Returns the currently logged in Member instance, if there is one logged in.

<% if $CurrentMember %>
  Welcome back, $CurrentMember.FirstName
<% end_if %>

Title and menu title


Most objects within Silverstripe CMS will respond to $Title (i.e. they should have a Title database field or at least a getTitle() method).

The CMS module in particular provides two fields to label a page: Title and MenuTitle. Title is the title displayed on the web page, while MenuTitle can be a shorter version suitable for size-constrained menus.

If MenuTitle is left blank by the CMS author, it'll just default to the value in Title.

Page content


It returns the database content of the Content property. With the CMS Module, this is the value of the WYSIWYG editor but it is also the standard for any object that has a body of content to output.

Please note that this database content can be "versioned", meaning that draft content edited in the CMS can be different from published content shown to your website visitors. In templates, you don't need to worry about this distinction.

The $Content variable contains the published content by default,and only preview draft content if explicitly requested (e.g. by the "preview" feature in the CMS) (see the versioning documentation for more details).

SiteConfig: global settings

SiteConfig is a module that is bundled with the CMS. If you wish to include SiteConfig in your framework only web pages, you'll need to install it via composer.


The SiteConfig object allows content authors to modify global data in the CMS, rather than PHP code. By default, this includes a Website title and a Tagline.

SiteConfig can be extended to hold other data, for example a logo image which can be uploaded through the CMS or global content such as your footer content.

Meta tags

The $MetaTags placeholder in a template returns a segment of HTML appropriate for putting into the <head> tag. It will set up title, keywords and description meta-tags, based on the CMS content and is editable in the 'Meta-data' tab on a per-page basis.

If you don’t want to include the title tag use $MetaTags(false).

By default $MetaTags renders (assuming 4.11.0 is the current version of silverstripe/framework):

<title>Title of the Page</title>
<meta name="generator" content="Silverstripe CMS 4.11">
<meta http-equiv="Content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

$MetaTags(false) will render

<meta name="generator" content="Silverstripe CMS 4.11">
<meta http-equiv="Content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

If using $MetaTags(false) we can provide a more custom title.

<title>$Title - Bob's Fantasy Football</title>

Disabling the meta generator tag

The meta generator tag includes the current version of silverstripe/framework. This version number provides aggregate installation numbers to the product team who maintain Silverstripe CMS which is used to make informed product decisions.

If you dislike this behaviour, the entire meta generator tag can be disabled via:

  meta_generator: ''

The version portion of the metagenerator tag can be disabled via:

  show_meta_generator_version: false

Modifying meta tags

You can override the MetaComponents() method on your SiteTree sub-classes or make use of the MetaComponents extension point to manipulate the underlying data that is rendered by $MetaTags. Example (for Page class):

namespace App\PageType;

use Page;

class MyPage extends Page
    // ...

    public function MetaComponents()
        $tags = parent::MetaComponents();
        // Override the content of the Title tag (needs to be html)
        if ($this->MetaTitle) {
            $tags['title']['content'] = $this->obj('MetaTitle')->forTemplate();
        // Provide a default Meta Description
        if (!$tags['description']['attributes']['content']) {
            // provide raw text as attributes will be escaped later
                = $this->dbObject('Content')->LimitCharactersToClosestWord(300);
        return $tags;


<a href="$Link">..</a>

All objects that could be accessible in Silverstripe CMS should define a Link method and an AbsoluteLink method. Link returns the relative URL for the object and AbsoluteLink outputs your full website address along with the relative link.

<!-- returns /about-us/offices/ -->

<!-- returns -->

Linking modes


When looping over a list of SiteTree instances through a <% loop $Menu %> or <% loop $Children %>, $isSection and $isCurrent will return true or false based on page being looped over relative to the currently viewed page.

For instance, to only show the menu item linked if it's the current one:

<% if $isCurrent %>
<% else %>
    <a href="$Link">$Title</a>
<% end_if %>

An example for checking for current or section is as follows:

<a class="<% if $isCurrent %>current<% else_if $isSection %>section<% end_if %>" href="$Link">$MenuTitle</a>

Additional utility method

  • $InSection('page-url'): This if block will pass if we're currently on the page with the URLSegment page-url or one of its children.
<% if $InSection(about-us) %>
    <p>You are viewing the about us section</p>
<% end_if %>


This returns the part of the URL of the page you're currently on. For example on the /about-us/offices/ web page the URLSegment will be offices. URLSegment cannot be used to generate a link since it does not output the full path. It can be used within templates to generate anchors or other CSS classes.

<div id="section-$URLSegment">


<!-- returns <div id="section-offices"> -->


Returns the class of the current object in scope such as Page or HomePage. The $ClassName can be handy for a number of uses. A common use case is to add to your <body> tag to influence CSS styles and JavaScript behavior based on the page type used:

<body class="$ClassName">

<!-- returns <body class="HomePage">, <body class="BlogPage"> -->

Children loops

<% loop $Children %>

<% end_loop %>

Will loop over all Children records of the current object context. Children are pages that sit under the current page in the CMS or a custom list of data. This originates in the Versioned extension's getChildren method.

For doing your website navigation most likely you'll want to use $Menu since its independent of the page context.


<% loop $ChildrenOf(<my-page-url>) %>

<% end_loop %>

Will create a list of the children of the given page, as identified by its URLSegment value. This can come in handy because it's not dependent on the context of the current page. For example, it would allow you to list all staff member pages underneath a "staff" holder on any page, regardless if its on the top level or elsewhere.


Content authors have the ability to hide pages from menus by un-selecting the ShowInMenus checkbox within the CMS. This option will be honored by <% loop $Children %> and <% loop $Menu %> however if you want to ignore the user preference, AllChildren does not filter by ShowInMenus.

<% loop $AllChildren %>
<% end_loop %>

Menu loops

<% loop $Menu(1) %>
<% end_loop %>

$Menu(1) returns the top-level menu of the website. You can also create a sub-menu using $Menu(2), and so forth.

Pages with the ShowInMenus property set to false will be filtered out.

Access to a specific page

<% with $Page(my-page) %>
<% end_with %>

Page will return a single page from site, looking it up by URL.

Access to parent and level pages


<% with $Level(1) %>
<% end_with %>

Will return a page in the current path, at the level specified by the numbers. It is based on the current page context, looking back through its parent pages. Level(1) being the top most level.

For example, imagine you're on the "bob marley" page, which is three levels in: "about us > staff > bob marley".

  • $Level(1).Title would return "about us"
  • $Level(2).Title would return "staff"
  • $Level(3).Title would return "bob marley"


<!-- given we're on 'Bob Marley' in "about us > staff > bob marley" -->

<!-- returns 'staff' -->

<!-- returns 'about us' -->

Navigating scope

See scope.


Breadcrumbs are the path of pages which need to be taken to reach the current page, and can be a great navigation aid for website users.

While you can achieve breadcrumbs through the $Level(<level>) control manually, there's a nicer shortcut: The $Breadcrumbs variable.


By default, it uses the template defined in templates/ of the silverstripe/cms module.

<% if $Pages %>
    <% loop $Pages %>
        <% if $Last %>$Title.XML<% else %><a href="$Link">$MenuTitle.XML</a> &raquo;<% end_if %>
    <% end_loop %>
<% end_if %>

To customise the markup that $Breadcrumbs generates, copy templates/ from the silverstripe/cms module to your theme (e.g: themes/you-theme/templates/ Modify the newly copied template and flush your Silverstripe CMS cache.



A page will normally contain some content and potentially a form of some kind. For example, the log-in page has a Silverstripe CMS log-in form. If you are on such a page, the $Form variable will contain the HTML content of the form. Placing it just below $Content is a good default.

Related lessons

Related documentation

API documentation

  • ContentController: The main controller responsible for handling pages.
  • Controller: Generic controller (not specific to pages.)
  • DataObject: Underlying model class for page objects.
  • ViewableData: Underlying object class for pretty much anything displayable.