Elemental pagetype and collection of Elements

Installs: 58 068

Dependents: 66

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Open Issues: 57


4.0.0-beta1 2018-11-07 15:35 UTC


Build Status Scrutinizer Code Quality codecov SilverStripe supported module Version License


This module extends a page type to swap the content area for a GridField and manageable elements to compose a page out of rather than a single text field. Features supported:

  • Versioning of elements
  • Ability to add, remove supported elements per page

The module provides basic markup for each of the elements but you will likely need to provide your own styles. Replace the $Content variable with $ElementalArea in your page templates, and rely on the markup of the individual elements.

For a more detailed overview of using this module, please see the User help guides.


  • SilverStripe CMS ^4.2
  • Versioned Admin ^1.0
  • GridFieldExtensions ^3.1

For a SilverStripe 3.x compatible version of this module, please see the 1 branch, or 1.x release line.


composer require dnadesign/silverstripe-elemental 3.0.x-dev

The following YAML config will enable elements on every Page object, replacing the standard Content rich text field.


    - DNADesign\Elemental\Extensions\ElementalPageExtension

In your page type layout template use $ElementalArea to render the elements to the page.

Getting more elements

Note that this module comes by default with the base element and a "Content" element. If you need more, take a look at some other modules:

SilverStripe supported content block modules

To learn more about SilverStripe supported content block types see, Creating new blocks.

Examples of community built content block modules (not a comprehensive list)

Helpful modules

These modules can extend functionality, and make elemental more compatible with other approaches in SilverStripe:


Limit to specific page type

If you want to use elements alongside traditional page types, you can define an "empty" page type and assign the extension only to this type.


class MyElementPage extends Page


    - DNADesign\Elemental\Extensions\ElementalPageExtension

Customize HTML and markup

The basic element area is rendered into the DNADesign/Elemental/Models/ElementalArea.ss template. This loops over each of the element controller instances. Each controller instance will render $ElementHolder which represents the element contained within a holder div. The wrapper div is the ElementHolder.ss template.

Limit allowed elements

You may wish to only enable certain elements for the CMS authors to choose from rather than the full set. This can be done according to various page types:

    - DNADesign\Elemental\Models\ElementContent

Likewise, you can exclude certain elements from being used.

    - YourCompany\YourModule\Elements\ElementContact

Sharing elements between pages

By default the page to element relationship is a "has one", meaning you cannot share elements between pages. If this functionality is desired, you could take a look at the silverstripe-elemental-virtual module which helps to achieve this.

Defining your own elements

An element is as simple as a PHP class which extends DNADesign\Elemental\Models\BaseElement, and a template to go with it (unless you want it to use the default template). After you add the class, ensure you have rebuilt your database and reload the CMS.


use DNADesign\Elemental\Models\BaseElement;

class MyElement extends BaseElement
    private static $singular_name = 'my element';

    private static $plural_name = 'my elements';

    private static $description = 'What my custom element does';

	public function getCMSFields()
        $fields = parent::getCMSFields();

        // ...

        return $fields;

    public function getType()
        return 'My Element';

Defining your own HTML

MyElement will be rendered into a MyElement.ss template with the ElementHolder.ss wrapper. Changing the holder template can be done via YAML, or by using a $controller_template on your subclass.

private static $controller_template = 'MyElementHolder';

To customise existing block templates such as Content and Form templates, copy the relevant files from vendor/dnadesign/silverstripe-elemental/templates to your theme. When doing this, ensure you match the folder structure (PHP class namespace) to ensure that your new template version takes priority.

Note: The default set of elements follow the [BEM (Block Element Modifier])(http://getbem.com/) class naming convention, which allows developers to style individual parts of the DOM without unnecessarily nested CSS. Where possible, we encourage you to follow this naming system.

Position Helpers

In your BaseElement template you can use the following variables for additional logic or styling helpers. They behave in the same way traditional SS_Viewer methods work either returning a Boolean, String or a Int

  1. $First (boolean)
  2. $Last (boolean)
  3. $Pos (int)
  4. $TotalItems (int)
  5. $EvenOdd (string - 'even' or 'odd')
<div class="element element--{$EvenOdd} <% if First %>element--first<% end_if %> <% if Last %>element--last<% end_if %>">
    // ...

Style variants

Via YAML you can configure a whitelist of style variants for each BaseElement subclass. For instance, if you have dark and light variations of your content block you would enter the following in YAML in the format (class: 'Description'). The class will be added to the ElementHolder.

    light: 'Light Background'
    dark: 'Dark Background'

Disabling the default stylesheets

When installing this module, there may be a default set of CSS stylesheets that come to provide some examples for the various default element types for the front-end website.

You can disable this with YAML configuration:

# File: mysite/_config/elements.yml
  include_default_styles: false

Implementing search

The Elemental module comes with an indexer for Solr (via the silverstripe-fulltextsearch module). You can enable this index in your search engine to ensure that a page's elemental area content is indexed under the page's data.

For information on configuring Solr please see the fulltextsearch documentation.

Note: If using this indexer, be aware that HTML tags will be stripped from the content before it is indexed. The Solr search results may add in emphasis tags or other formatting around matched key words, so you may need to allow unescaped HTML in your search results template. You should use the $Excerpt property (see SolrIndex::search for more) to display the relevant search matches.

Building the elemental frontend assets

This module uses the SilverStripe Webpack module, and inherits things from the core SilverStripe 4 modules, such as a core variable sheet and Javascript components.

When making changes to either the SASS or Javascript files, ensure you change the source files in client/src/.

You can have yarn watch and rebuild delta changes as you make them (for development only):

yarn watch

When you're ready to make a pull request you can rebuild them, which will also minify everything. Note that watchwill generate source map files which you shouldn't commit in for your final pull request. To minify and package:

yarn build

You'll need to have yarn installed globally in your command line.

Note: If adding or modifying colours, spacing, font sizes etc. please try and use an appropriate variable from the silverstripe/admin module if available.


Elemental content block overview


This library follows Semver. According to Semver, you will be able to upgrade to any minor or patch version of this library without any breaking changes to the public API. Semver also requires that we clearly define the public API for this library.

All methods, with public visibility, are part of the public API. All other methods are not part of the public API. Where possible, we'll try to keep protected methods backwards-compatible in minor/patch versions, but if you're overriding methods then please test your work before upgrading.

Reporting Issues

Please create an issue for any bugs you've found, or features you're missing.


CMS Icon blocks by Creative Stall from the Noun Project.