Add actions to your models in SilverStripe

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1.7.1 2024-05-16 10:12 UTC


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For those of you missing betterbuttons :-) Because let's face it, adding custom actions in SilverStripe is a real pain.

How does it work ?

Well it's actually quite simple. First of all, we improve the GridFieldItemRequest with our ActionsGridFieldItemRequest. This is heavily inspired by betterbuttons module. Thanks to this extension, our actions defined in getCMSActions will appear properly.

Then, we forward our requests to the model (a button declared on Member call the ItemRequest handler which forwards the action to the Member model).

We can declare things in two functions:

  • As actions in getCMSActions : these are displayed next to the regular "save" button

custom action

  • As utilities in getCMSUtils : these are displayed on the top right corner, next to the tabs

cms utils

LeftAndMain support

This module is mainly targeted at dealing with actions on regular DataObjects. However, in order to support actions on pages, the ActionsGridFieldItemRequest is also applied on LeftAndMain. Therefore, actions defined on pages should work properly as well.

Add your buttons


Simply use getCMSActions on your DataObjects and add new buttons for your DataObjects! For this, simply push new actions. The CustomAction class is responsible of calling the action defined on your DataObject.

In the following example, we call doCustomAction. The return string is displayed as a notification. If not return string is specified, we display a generic message "Action {action} done on {record}".

public function getCMSActions()
    $actions = parent::getCMSActions();

    $actions->push(new CustomAction("doCustomAction", "My custom action"));

    return $actions;

public function doCustomAction() {
    return 'Done!';

If it throws an exception or return a false bool, it will show an error message

public function doCustomAction() {
    throw new Exception("Show this error");
    return false;

CustomActions are buttons and submitted through ajax. If it changes the state of your record you may need to refresh the UI, but be careful of not losing any unsaved data.


You can also redirect to a custom URL (eg: to the main list) after the action

$fields->push($doRedirect = new CustomAction('doRedirect', 'Redirect'));

Sometimes, you don't want buttons, but links. Use CustomLink instead. This is useful to, say, download an excel report or a pdf file.

public function getCMSActions()
    $actions = parent::getCMSActions();

    $actions->push($downloadExcelReport = new CustomLink('downloadExcelReport','Download report'));

    return $actions;

public function downloadExcelReport() {
    echo "This is the report";

Please note that are we use a die pattern that is not very clean, but you can very well return a HTTPResponse object instead.

CustomLink use by default ajax navigation. You can use setNoAjax(true) to prevent this. CustomLink can open links in a new window. You can use setNewWindow(true) to enable this. CustomLink calls by default an action on the model matching its name. But really you can point it to anything, even an external link using setLink('https//www.silverstripe.org').

Confirm actions

If an action is potentially dangerous or avoid misclicks, you can set a confirmation message using setConfirmation('Are you sure') or simply pass true for a generic message.

Decoration & Placement

You can set icon. See SilverStripeIcons class for available icons. We use base silverstripe icons.


The native setIcon from SilverStripe is also supported for FormAction.

You can also put buttons into a drop-up menu.

Drop-up example


Last icon

You can use an unlimited set of icons using last-icon.

Simply make sure you included the required javascript (the css is already included by default as it is limited and has no side-effect):


or with yml

    - "https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/npm/last-icon@2/last-icon.min.js"

And add the icon of your choice:


You can pass additional parameters or pass directly an array.


Buttons can be grouped in the same manner as the "Save"/"Save and close" usually are when enclosed in ActionButtonsGroup container.

Grouping example

$groupedButtons = [
    CustomAction::create("doAction1", "Action1")
    CustomAction::create("doAction2", "Action2")
$btnGroup = ActionButtonsGroup::create($groupedButtons);


Declare getCMSUtils or use updateCMSUtils in your extensions. These utilities will appear next to the tabs. They are ideal to provide some extra information or navigation. I've used these to add shortcuts, timers, dropdowns navs...

public function getCMSUtils()
    $fields = new FieldList();
    $fields->push(new LiteralField("LastLoginInfo", "Last login at " . $this->LastLogin));
    return $fields;

Save and close

Add a default "save and close" or "create and close" button to quickly add DataObjects.

This feature can be disabled with the enable_save_close config flag

save and close

Delete action is on the right

Really I don't know who thought that having delete button next to a save button was a good idea, but I'd rather have it on the right end side.

This feature can be disabled with the enable_delete_right config flag

delete btn

Prev/next support

SilverStripe 4.4 introduced a more refined UI for prev/next records. However, it only allows navigation and does not support "save and next" or "previous and next" which is useful when you edit records in a row.

This feature can be disabled with the enable_save_prev_next config flag

save prev next

You can also use the HasPrevNextUtils trait to add navigation in your utils as well.

Configure UI options per record

Instead of using the global config flags, you can configure the form based on the record being edited.

Your DataObject needs to implement getCMSActionsOptions. This function should return an array with the following keys:

  • save_close: true/false
  • save_prev_next: true/false
  • delete_right: true/false

This will be use instead of the default global options if provided.

Custom prev/next record

By implementing PrevRecord and NextRecord and your DataObject, you can override the default logic provided by SilverStripe.

Prev/next records can be tricky to manage, if you have grid state issues, using nested gridfields and stuff like that. Using PrevRecord and NextRecord provide a simple mean without dealing with state problems.

Adding actions to a GridField row

You can create new row actions by extending the GridFieldRowButton

All actions will be stored in a new "Actions" column that supports multiple actions. This can be used, for example, to download files, like invoices, etc directly from a GridField.

For example, you can do this:

class MyRowAction extends GridFieldRowButton
    protected $fontIcon = 'torso';

    public function getActionName()
        return 'my_action';

    public function getButtonLabel()
        return 'My Action';

    public function doHandle(GridField $gridField, $actionName, $arguments, $data)
        $item = $gridField->getList()->byID($arguments['RecordID']);
        if (!$item) {
        // Do something with item
        // Or maybe download a file...
        return Controller::curr()->redirectBack();

And use it in your ModelAdmin like so:

public function getGridFieldFrom(Form $form)
    return $form->Fields()->dataFieldByName($this->getSanitisedModelClass());

public function getEditForm($id = null, $fields = null)
    $form = parent::getEditForm($id, $fields);

    $gridfield = $this->getGridFieldFrom($form);

    if ($this->modelClass == MyModel::class) {
        $gridfield->getConfig()->addComponent(new MyRowAction());

    return $form;

Adding links to GridField

If actions are not your cup of tea, you can also add links to your GridField.

Again, it will be added to the Actions column.

This acts like a CustomLink describe above, so if we go back to our report example, we get this:

$gridfield->getConfig()->addComponent(new GridFieldCustomLink('downloadExcelReport', 'Download Report'));

gridfield row actions

For security reasons, the action MUST be declared in getCMSActions. Failing to do so will return a helpful error message. If you do not want to display the button in the detail form, simply set a d-none on it:

$actions->push($downloadExcelReport = new CustomLink('downloadExcelReport', 'Download report'));
//or simply...

Adding buttons to a whole GridField

This is done using GridFieldTableButton

class MyGridButton extends GridFieldTableButton
    protected $buttonLabel = 'Do stuff';
    protected $fontIcon = 'do_stuff';

    public function handle(GridField $gridField, Controller $controller)

This class can then be added as a regular GridField component

Adding actions in getCMSFields

If you have a lot of actions, sometimes it might make more sense to add it to your cms fields. I've used this to provide template files for instance that needs to be uploaded.

This is done using the CmsInlineFormAction class. Please note that the doCustomAction function must be declared on your controller, not on the model.

This is due to the fact that we are not submitting the form, therefore we are not processing the record with our ActionsGridFieldItemRequest.

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

    $fields->addFieldToTab('Root.Actions', new CmsInlineFormAction('doCustomAction', 'Do this'));

    return $fields;

In your admin class

// don't forget to add me to allowed_actions as well
function doCustomAction()
    // do something here
    return $this->redirectBack();

Posting with inline actions

You can also post the whole form to another location with CmsInlineFormAction.

Simply do this

    $fields->addFieldToTab('Root.MyTab', $myAction = new CmsInlineFormAction("myAction", "My Action"));

And add to your admin class

    public function myAction()
        $RecordID = $this->getRequest()->getVar("ID");

        $message = "My action done";
        $response = Controller::curr()->getResponse();
        $response->addHeader('X-Status', rawurlencode($message));

        return $response;

This will trigger the Save action (through ajax) do your new endpoint, allowing custom behaviour and feedback messages.

Show messages instead of actions

If an action is not available/visible, the user may wonder why. Obviously you can display a disabled button, but you can also display a message instead of the button. This can be done like so:

$actions->push(LiteralField::create('MyCustomAction', "<span class=\"bb-align\">Action not available</span>"));

The bb-align class ensure the text is properly aligned with the buttons.

Extensions support

If your extensions depend on this module, you can play with DataObject::onBeforeUpdateCMSActions and DataObject::onAfterUpdateCMSActions extension hook to add your own buttons. This is called after all buttons have been defined.

See for instance how it's done in my softdelete module.

Tab tracking

This extension will also track the active tab when you call save and next / prev and next. This allows editing stuff in a row and keep the same tab.

When clicking on the main tabs, it will also update the url. This way, when you reload the page, the good tab will reopen.

This also allows targeting specific pages with a given tab with links.

Profile and LeftAndMain extension support

Since we apply our extension on SilverStripe\Admin\LeftAndMain actions declared in updateCMSActions/getCMSActions are visible in the profile for example.

The issue here is that the updateItemEditForm is never called (this is only called by GridFieldDetailForm_ItemRequest, so when you are in a GridField item... in ModelAdmin for instance).

For instance, this means that you actions are displayed before the 'save' button provided by the Profile controller. Currently, this module fixes this with a bit of css.

Progressive actions

Since version 1.2, this module supports progressive actions. Progressive actions are buttons that use a progress bar to display what is happening. Under the hood, it translates to multiple ajax calls to the same handler function and passing the following post parameters:

  • progress_step: the current step
  • progress_total: this can be either set in advance or provided by the handler function

progressive action

Progressive actions are supported for GridFieldTableButton and CustomLink.

Here is a sample implementation. The action needs to return an array with the following keys:

  • progress_step: the updated step. Usually +1.
  • progress_total: the total number of records. It should only be computed once (on the initial run) when none is provided.
  • progress_id: you can return a unique id that will be passed along on each call
  • reload: should we reload at the end ?
  • message: each run can display a short lived notification with specific text
  • label: the end label (by default : Completed).
class MyProgressiveTableButton extends GridFieldTableButton
    public function __construct($targetFragment = "buttons-before-right", $buttonLabel = null)
        $this->progressive = true;
        parent::__construct($targetFragment, $buttonLabel);

    public function handle(GridField $gridField, Controller $controller)
        $step = (int) $controller->getRequest()->postVar("progress_step");
        $total = (int) $controller->getRequest()->postVar("progress_total");
        if (!$total) {
            $total = $list->count();
        $i = 0;
        $res = null;
        foreach ($list as $rec) {
            if ($i < $step) {
            $res = "Processed record $i";
        return [
            'progress_step' => $step,
            'progress_total' => $total,
            'reload' => true,
            'message' => $res,

Modal action

What if you need to ask some input from your user when clicking a button ? Like a 'Send Message' button which would display a nice textarea ?

This is covered as part of another module: https://github.com/lekoala/silverstripe-pure-modal

It requires a modal to be displayed (and modals are a bit of a pain to setup in SilverStripe 4, so I created a module to make that much easier). When using both modules it's easy to have actions that open a modal.

Collapsing icons

The icons collapse in mobile view. If you have your own buttons, you can add the btn-mobile-collapse class so that they do the same. This will be added by default if you set an icon on your buttons.

You can also hide buttons completely with btn-mobile-hidden

btn mobile collapse

Sponsored by

This module is kindly sponsored by RESTRUCT


Tested with 5.1 but should work on any ^5.1 projects


LeKoala - thomas@lekoala.be