Quickly set up your Silverstripe CMS project for React development

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dev-master 2021-07-23 01:27 UTC

This package is auto-updated.

Last update: 2024-05-24 15:36:12 UTC


The purpose of this module is to allow Silverstripe CMS developers to quickly get started building React components to customise the CMS UI.

Before you get started

This guides assumes you have the following:

  • a working Silverstripe CMS project
  • the composer executable installed in your path
  • the yarn executable installed in your path

Setting up your projects

Step 1 - Add the recipe to your project

composer require maxime-rainville/recipe-react

Installing the recipe will:

  • Add a app/cms-client folder to your project. This is where you will put your React JS components.
  • Add a app/_config/recipe-config.yml file to your project. This will get your compiled JS/CSS code loaded in the Silverstripe CMS admin.

Step 2 - Re-install silverstripe/admin from source

To compile app/cms-client, you need to install silverstripe/admin from source and download the silverstripe/admin JS dependencies.

maxime-rainville/recipe-react comes with a small bash script to simplyfie this process:

  • Running vendor/bin/from-source check will validate if silverstripe/admin has been installed properly to do CMS JS development.
  • Running vendor/bin/from-source reinstall will attempt to reinstall silverstripe/admin to allow you to compile app/cms-client.

Alternatively, you can run this sequence of command:

# Start in your project root. This will reinstall admin from source
rm -rf vendor/silverstripe/admin
composer install --prefer-source

# This line will download all silverstripe/admin JS dependencies
(cd vendor/silverstripe/admin && yarn install)

Step 3 - Initial build of your CMS client

You should now be able to compile your CMS client:

cd app/cms-client
yarn install
yarn dev

This should create a app/cms-client/dist directory.

Step 4 - Expose your CMS client

The app/cms-client/dist folder needs to be accessible to your browser. To do this you need to "expose" it.

Update your project composer.json file. You need to add an expose key under extra and give it an array of paths to expose. Your composer file should look something like this when you are done.

    "name": "your/project",
    "require": {
        "php": "^7.1 || ^8",
        "silverstripe/recipe-plugin": "^1.2",
        "silverstripe/recipe-cms": "4.x-dev",
        "silverstripe-themes/simple": "~3.2.0",
        "maxime-rainville/recipe-react": "dev-master"
    "extra": {
        "resources-dir": "_resources",
        "expose": [

You now need to run this command to expose your cms-client:

composer vendor-expose

You should now have a folder public/_resources/app/cms-client/dist.

Step 5 - Test your set up

You can take these optional steps to validate that everything is working correctly.

  1. Edit app/cms-client/src/bundles/bundle.js and add alert('My set up is done'); at the end.
  2. Run yarn dev from app/cms-client to rebuild your library.
  3. Rebuild your Silverstripe CMS project with vendor/bin/sake dev/build
  4. Access your test site in your browser. You may need to flush the Silverstripe cache with by adding ?flush=1 to your URL.
  5. Access the CMS administration area.

You should see a JS alert with "My set up is done".

Building and using your first react component for Silverstripe CMS

In this step we will create a simple On/Off form field.

Step 1 - Create the PHP form field class

In your PHP code base, create a OnOffButton.php file with this content. This will be the object you will be adding to your PHP form.


use MaximeRainville\SilverstripeReact\ReactFormField;
use SilverStripe\Forms\FormField;

class OnOffButton extends ReactFormField

     * This should match the value type that our field will manage
    protected $schemaDataType = FormField::SCHEMA_DATA_TYPE_STRING;

     * If your component renders an HTML form field, you can omit this line
    protected $renderInput = true;

     * This will be the name of the React component that will be use to
     * render the field.
    public function getComponent(): string
        return 'OnOffButton';

     * You can customise the props that will be pass to your React component
     * by overriding the `ReactFormField::getProps` method
    public function getProps(): array
        return parent::getProps();

     * Our field will default to `off`
    public function Value()
        return parent::Value() ?: 'off';

Step 2 - Create a React Component

This is the react component will render our form field. Create a app/cms-client/src/components/OnOffButton.js file with the following content.

/* eslint-disable import/no-extraneous-dependencies */
import React from 'react';
import Button from 'components/Button/Button';

export default function ({ value, extraClass, id, onChange }) {
  const props = {
    color: 'info',
    className: extraClass,
    outline: value === 'off',
    // This callback will tell our parent when our form value changes
    onClick: (event) => {
      onChange(event, { id, value: value === 'off' ? 'on' : 'off' });

  return <Button {...props}>{value}</Button>;

Step 3 - Register your new component

We need to register our new component our form field can be bootstrapped properly.

Update app/cms-client/src/components/index.js with this content.

import OnOffButton from './OnOffButton';

export {

We need to rebuild our CMS client with yarn dev.

Step 4 - Seeing our new component in action

You can add your new form field to any CMS form with this code snippet.


Simply rebuild your project with vendor/bin/sake dev/build and access your CMS form to view the result.