Bundle that provides controllers and services for using Sulu as headless content management system

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0.2.1 2020-09-09 15:09 UTC

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Last update: 2020-09-09 15:10:46 UTC


Official Sulu Bundle Badge

GitHub license GitHub actions status Sulu compatibility

The SuluHeadlessBundle provides controllers and services for using the Sulu content management system in a headless way.

To achieve this, the bundle includes a controller that allows to retrieve the content of a Sulu page as plain JSON content. Furthermore, the bundle provides APIs for accessing the managed navigation contexts and the search functionality of Sulu via AJAX requests. Finally, the bundle includes an optional single page application setup that is built upon React and MobX and utilizes the functionality of the bundle.

The SuluHeadlessBundle is compatible with Sulu starting from version 2.0. Have a look at the require section in the composer.json to find an up-to-date list of the requirements of the bundle. Please be aware that this bundle is still under development and might not cover every use-case yet. Depending on the feedback of the community, future versions of the bundle might contain breaking changes.

🚀  Installation and Usage

Install the bundle

Execute the following composer command to add the bundle to the dependencies of your project:

composer require sulu/headless-bundle

Enable the bundle

Enable the bundle by adding it to the list of registered bundles in the config/bundles.php file of your project:

return [
    /* ... */
    Sulu\Bundle\HeadlessBundle\SuluHeadlessBundle::class => ['all' => true],

Include the routes of the bundle

Include the routes of the bundle in a new config/routes/sulu_headles_website.yml file in your project:

    type: portal
    resource: "@SuluHeadlessBundle/Resources/config/routing_website.yml"

This will enable a JSON API to access the search functionality of Sulu via {host}/api/search and a JSON API for retrieving the navigation contexts of the project via {host}/api/navigations/{contextName}.

Set the controller of you template

To provide an API for retrieving the content of a page in the JSON format, the controller of the page template must be set to the HeadlessWebsiteController included in this bundle:

<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<template xmlns="..." xmlns:xsi="..." xsi:schemaLocation="...">
    <!-- ... -->
    <!-- ... -->

This controller will provide the content of the page as JSON object if the page is requested in the JSON format via {pageUrl}.json.

💡  Key Concepts

Deliver content of pages with the HeadlessWebsiteController

The main use-case of the SuluHeadlessBundle is delivering the content of a page as a JSON object. This can be enabled individually per template by setting the controller of the template of the page to Sulu\Bundle\WebsiteBundle\Controller\DefaultController::indexAction. When using the HeadlessWebsiteController as controller for a template, the content of the page is available as JSON object via {pageUrl}.json.

Additionally to the content of the page, the JSON object returned by the HeadlessWebsiteController contains meta information such as the page template and the data of the page excerpt:

   "id": "a5181a5a-b030-4933-b3b0-e9faf7ec756c",
   "type": "page",
   "template": "headless-template",
   "content": {
      "title": "Headless Example Page",
      "url": "/headless-example",
      "contacts": [
            "id": 416,
            "firstName": "Homer",
            "lastName": "Simpson",
            "fullName": "Homer Simpson",
            "title": "Dr. ",
            "position": "Nuclear safety Inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plan"
   "view": {
      "title": [],
      "url": [],
      "contacts": []
   "extension": {
      "seo": {
         "title": "",
         "description": "",
         "keywords": "",
         "canonicalUrl": "",
         "noIndex": false,
         "noFollow": false,
         "hideInSitemap": false
      "excerpt": {
         "title": "",
         "more": "",
         "description": "",
         "categories": [],
         "tags": [],
         "icon": [],
         "images": []
   "author": "2",
   "authored": "2019-12-03T11:01:38+0100",
   "changer": 2,
   "changed": "2020-01-30T07:47:46+0100",
   "creator": 2,
   "created": "2019-12-03T11:01:38+0100"

If the content of a page that uses the HeadlessWebsiteController is requested without the .json suffix, the controller will render Twig template that is set as view of the template of the page. This is similar to the default behavior of Sulu and allows to start a javascript application that utilizes the functionality of the SuluHeadlessBundle after the initial request of the user.

Be aware that the data that is passed to the Twig template by the HeadlessWebsiteController contains only scalar values and therefore might differ from the data that would be passed by the default Sulu WebsiteController.

Resolve content data to scalar values via ContentTypeResolver

Internally, Sulu uses ContentType services that are responsible for persisting page content when a page is modified and resolving the data that is passed to the Twig template when a page is rendered. Unfortunately, some ContentType services pass non-scalar values such as media entities to the Twig template. As a JSON object must contain only scalar values, the SuluHeadlessBundle cannot use the existing ContentType services for resolving the content of a page.

To solve this problem, the SuluHeadlessBundle introduces ContentTypeResolver services to resolve the content of pages to scalar values. The bundle already includes ContentTypeResolver services for various content types. If your project includes custom content types or if you are not satisfied with an existing ContentTypeResolver, you can register your own ContentTypeResolver by implementing the ContentTypeResolverInterface and adding a sulu_headless.content_type_resolver tag to the service.

Provide popular Sulu functionality via JSON APIs

The Sulu content management system comes with various services and Twig extensions to simplify the development and the rendering complex websites. This functionality is not available when serving the content of the website in a headless way, therefore the SuluHeadlessBundle includes controllers to provide JSON APIs for accessing these features.

  • Sulu navigation contexts of the application can be retrieved as JSON object via {host}/api/navigations/{contextName}. Similar to the Twig extension, the API respects the following query parameters depth, flat and excerpt.

  • The search functionality of SULU is accessible as JSON API via via {host}/api/search?q={searchTerm}.

Reference single page application implementation

The SuluHeadlessBundle is completely frontend independent and does not require the use of a specific technology or framework. Still, the bundle contains an independent and optional single page application setup in the Resources/js-website directory that allows you to quick-start your project and serves as a reference implementation for utilizing the bundle functionality.

The provided reference implementation builds upon React as rendering library and utilizes MobX for state management. It is built around a central viewRegistry singleton that allows you to register React components as view for specific types of resources (eg. pages of a specific template). The application contains a router that will intercept the navigation of the browser, load the JSON data for the requested resource and render the respective view with the loaded data.

Reference Frontend Implementation

To use the provided single page application setup, you need to include the following lines in your Twig template to initialize and start the application:

{% block content %}
    {# ... #}

    {# define container element for rendering single page application #}
    <div id="sulu-headless-container"></div>
    {# initialize application with json data of current page to prevent second request on first load #}
    <script>window.SULU_HEADLESS_VIEW_DATA = {{ jsonData|raw }};</script>
    <script>window.SULU_HEADLESS_API_ENDPOINT = '{{ sulu_content_path('/api') }}';</script>
    {# start single page application by including built javascript code #}
    <script src="/build/headless/js/index.js"></script>
{% endblock %}

Additionally, you need to add the following files to your project to setup the single page application:

  "name": "my-frontend-application",
  "main": "src/index.js",
  "private": true,
  "scripts": {
    "build": "webpack src/index.js -o ../../public/build/headless/js/index.js --module-bind js=babel-loader -p --display-modules --sort-modules-by size",
    "watch": "webpack src/index.js -w -o ../../public/build/headless/js/index.js  --module-bind js=babel-loader --mode=development --devtool source-map"
  "dependencies": {
    "sulu-headless-bundle": "file:../../vendor/sulu/headless-bundle/Resources/js-website",
    "core-js": "^3.0.0",
    "loglevel": "^1.0.0",
    "mobx": "^4.0.0",
    "mobx-react": "^5.0.0",
    "prop-types": "^15.7.0",
    "react": "^16.8.0",
    "react-dom": "^16.8.0",
    "whatwg-fetch": "^3.0.0",
    "history": "^4.10.1"
  "devDependencies": {
    "@babel/core": "^7.6.0",
    "@babel/plugin-proposal-class-properties": "^7.5.5",
    "@babel/plugin-proposal-decorators": "^7.6.0",
    "@babel/preset-env": "^7.6.0",
    "@babel/preset-react": "^7.0.0",
    "babel-eslint": "^10.0.3",
    "babel-loader": "^8.0.6",
    "webpack": "^4.40.2",
    "webpack-cli": "^3.3.8"
const path = require('path');
const nodeModulesPath = path.resolve(__dirname, 'node_modules');

/* eslint-disable-next-line no-unused-vars */
module.exports = (env, argv) => {
    return {
        resolve: {
            modules: [nodeModulesPath, 'node_modules'],
        resolveLoader: {
            modules: [nodeModulesPath, 'node_modules'],
module.exports = {
    presets: ['@babel/env', '@babel/react'],
    plugins: [
        ['@babel/plugin-proposal-decorators', {'legacy': true}],
        ['@babel/plugin-proposal-class-properties', {'loose': true}]
import { startApp } from 'sulu-headless-bundle';
import viewRegistry from 'sulu-headless-bundle/src/registries/viewRegistry';
import HeadlessTemplatePage from './views/HeadlessTemplatePage';

// register views for rendering page templates
viewRegistry.add('page', 'headless-template', HeadlessTemplatePage);

// register views for rendering article templates
// viewRegistry.add('article', 'headless-template', HeadlessTemplateArticle);

// start react application in specific DOM element
import React from 'react';
import { observer } from 'mobx-react';

class HeadlessTemplatePage extends React.Component {
    render() {
        const serializedData = JSON.stringify(, null, 2);

        return (<pre>{ serializedData }</pre>);

export default HeadlessTemplatePage;

Finally, you can build your frontend application by executing npm install and npm run build in the assets/headless directory.

❤️  Support and Contributions

The Sulu content management system is a community-driven open source project backed by various partner companies. We are committed to a fully transparent development process and highly appreciate any contributions.

In case you have questions, we are happy to welcome you in our official Slack channel. If you found a bug or miss a specific feature, feel free to file a new issue with a respective title and description on the the sulu/SuluHeadlessBundle repository.

📘  License

The Sulu content management system is released under the under terms of the MIT License.