Rendering A Page

This section explains how pages are rendered in Neos. More precisely, we show how to render a node of type Neos.Neos:Document. The default page type in Neos (Neos.NodeTypes:Page) inherits from this type. If you create custom document node types, they need to be a subtype of Neos.Neos:Document as well. This section also explains how to implement custom rendering for your own document node types.

Rendering flow example
  1. An URL is requested from Neos through an HTTP request.
  2. The requested URL is resolved to a node. This works via the Frontend NodeController and the NodeConverter of the Neos CR by translating the URL path to a node path, and then finding the node with this path. The document node resolution is completely done in the Neos core - usually, site integrators do not need to modify it.
  3. The document node is passed to Fusion, which is the Neos rendering engine. Rendering always starts at the Fusion path root. This rendering process is explained in detail below.
  4. Fusion can render Fluid templates, which in turn can call Fusion again to render parts of themselves. This can go back and forth multiple times, even recursively.
  5. Once Fusion has traversed the rendering tree fully, rendering is done and the rendered output (usually HTML, but Fusion can render arbitrary text formats) is sent back to the requester.

The root path

You may already have seen a Root.fusion that contain a path page which is filled with an object of type Neos.Neos:Page. Here, the Neos.Neos:Page Fusion object is assigned to the path page, telling the system that the Fusion object Page is responsible for further rendering:

page = Neos.Neos:Page {
  head {
    [...]
  }
  body {
    [...]
  }
}

Let’s investigate how this rendering process happens. Fusion always starts rendering at the fusion path root. You can verify this by simply replacing the code in your Root.fusion file with this snippet:

root = "Hello World!"

All page rendering will disappear and only the words “Hello World” will be rendered by Neos.

Using the page path is not the recommended way to render your document node types anymore. We encourage you to define a prototype named after your document node type extending Neos.Neos:Page. Read Rendering Custom Document Types for further details and how to achieve this.

The root Neos.Fusion:Case object

The root path contains, by default, a Neos.Fusion:Case object. Here is a section from this object - to see the full implementation, check out the file DefaultFusion.fusion in the package Neos.Neos, path Resources\Private\Fusion.

root = Neos.Fusion:Case {

  [...more matchers before...]

  documentType {
    condition = Neos.Fusion:CanRender {
      type = ${q(documentNode).property('_nodeType.name')}
    }
    type = ${q(documentNode).property('_nodeType.name')}
  }

  default {
    condition = TRUE
    renderPath = '/page'
  }
}

If you do not know what a Case object does, you might want to have a look at the Fusion Reference. All paths in the Case object (so-called matchers) check a certain condition - the condition path in the matcher. Matchers are evaluated one after another, until one condition evaluates to TRUE. If it does, matcher’s type, renderer or renderPath path (whichever exists) will be evaluated. If no other condition matches, the default matcher is evaluated and points Fusion to the path page. Rendering then continues with the page path, which is by default generated in your site package’s Root.fusion file. This is why, if you don’t do anything else, rendering begins at your page path.

The current best practice is to use the documentType matcher by defining your own Fusion prototypes for each document type. This approach will be covered further below.

The page path and Neos.Neos:Page object

The minimally needed Fusion for rendering a page looks as follows:

page = Page {
  body {
    templatePath = 'resource://My.Package/Private/Templates/PageTemplate.html'
  }
}

Page expects one parameter to be set: The path of the Fluid template which is rendered inside the <body> of the resulting HTML page.

If the template above is an empty file, the output shows how minimal Neos impacts the generated markup:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <!--
      This website is powered by Neos, the Open Source Content Application Platform licensed under the GNU/GPL.
      Neos is based on Flow, a powerful PHP application framework licensed under the MIT license.

      More information and contribution opportunities at https://www.neos.io
  -->
  <head>
    <meta charset="UTF-8" />
  </head>
  <body>
    <script src="/_Resources/Static/Packages/Neos.Neos/JavaScript/LastVisitedNode.js" data-neos-node="a319a653-ef38-448d-9d19-0894299068aa"></script>
  </body>
</html>

It becomes clear that Neos gives as much control over the markup as possible to the integrator: No body markup, no styles, only little Javascript to record the last visited page to redirect back to it after logging in. Except for the charset meta tag nothing related to the content is output by default.

If the template file is filled with the following content:

<h1>{title}</h1>

the body would contain a heading to output the title of the current page:

<body>
  <h1>My first page</h1>
</body>

Again, no added CSS classes, no wraps. Why {title} outputs the page title is covered in detail below.

Adding pre-rendered output to the page template

Of course the current template is still quite boring; it does not show any content or any menu. In order to change that, the Fluid template is adjusted as follows:

{namespace fusion=Neos\Fusion\ViewHelpers}
{parts.menu -> f:format.raw()}
<h1>{title}</h1>
{content.main -> f:format.raw()}

Placeholders for the menu and the content have been added. Because the parts.menu and content.main refer to a rendered Fusion path, the output needs to be passed through the f:format.raw() ViewHelper. The Fusion needs to be adjusted as well:

page = Neos.Neos:Page {
  body {
    templatePath = 'resource://My.Package/Private/Templates/PageTemplate.html'

    parts {
      menu = Neos.Neos:Menu
    }

    content {
      main = Neos.Neos:PrimaryContent {
        nodePath = 'main'
      }
    }
  }
}

In the above Fusion, a Fusion object at page.body.parts.menu is defined to be of type Neos.Neos:Menu. It is exactly this Fusion object which is rendered, by specifying its relative path inside {parts.menu -> f:format.raw()}.

Furthermore, the Neos.Neos:PrimaryContent Fusion object is used to render a Neos ContentRepository ContentCollection node. Through the nodePath property, the name of the Neos ContentRepository ContentCollection node to render is specified. As a result, the web page now contains a menu and the contents of the main content collection.

The use of content and parts here is just a convention, the names can be chosen freely. In the example content is used for the section where content is later placed, and parts is for anything that is not content in the sense that it will directly be edited in the content module of Neos.

The Neos.Neos:Page object in more detail

To understand what the Neos.Neos:Page object actually does, it makes sense to look at its definition. We can find the Page prototype in the file Page.fusion in the path Resources\Private\Fusion inside the Neos.Neos package. Here is a snippet taken from this object’s definition:

prototype(Neos.Neos:Page) < prototype(Neos.Fusion:Http.Message) {

  # The content of the head tag, integrators can add their own head content in this array.
  head = Neos.Fusion:Array {
    # Link tags for stylesheets in the head should go here
    stylesheets = Neos.Fusion:Array

    # Script includes in the head should go here
    javascripts = Neos.Fusion:Array {
      @position = 'after stylesheets'
    }
  }

  # Content of the body tag. To be defined by the integrator.
  body = Neos.Fusion:Template {
    node = ${node}
    site = ${site}

    # Script includes before the closing body tag should go here
    javascripts = Neos.Fusion:Array

    # This processor appends the rendered javascripts Array to the rendered template
    @process.appendJavaScripts = ${value + this.javascripts}
  }
}

By looking at this definition, we understand a bit more about how page rendering actually works. Neos.Neos:Page inherits from Neos.Fusion:Http.Message, which in turn inherits from Neos.Fusion:Array. Array fusion objects just render their keys one after another, so the Page object just outputs whatever is in it. The Neos.Neos:Page object renders the HTML framework, such as doctype, head and body tags, and also defines the default integration points for site integrators - head and body as well as their inner objects. It is not by coincidence that these exact paths are pre-filled with sensible defaults in site package’s generated default Root.fusion files.

We can also see that the body object is a Neos.Fusion:Template, which is why we have to set the template path to a Fluid template which will be rendered as the body.

Rendering custom document types

There are two basic approaches to render different document types. We currently recommend to create a Fusion prototype per custom page type, which is since Neos 4.0 automatically picked up by Neos (see below). The “old” way involves adding one root matcher per document type, explicitly checking for the node type in the condition, and redirecting Fusion to another render path. It is documented here for completeness’ sake, but we do not recommend to use it anymore.

Prototype-based rendering

Since Neos 4.0, the root Case object ships with a documentType matcher, which will automatically pick up and render Fusion prototypes with the same name as the corresponding document node type, if they exist. This snippet of Fusion in the root Case is responsible for it:

root = Neos.Fusion:Case {

  [...]

  documentType {
    condition = Neos.Fusion:CanRender {
      type = ${q(documentNode).property('_nodeType.name')}
    }
    type = ${q(documentNode).property('_nodeType.name')}
  }

  [...]
}

This means that if you have a custom page type Your.Site:CustomPage, you simply have to create a Fusion prototype with a matching name to get different rendering for it. We explain how to do this in more detail in the “How To” section of the docs: Rendering Custom Document Types

Explicit path rendering (discouraged)

Before document-based rendering, you had to add your own matchers to the root object to get different rendering:

root.customPageType1 {
  condition = ${q(node).is('[instanceof Your.Site:CustomPage]')}
  renderPath = '/custom1'
}

custom1 < page
custom1 {
  # output modified here...
}

There are a number of disadvantages of doing this, which is why we recommend to stick to prototype-based rendering:

  • We are polluting the root namespace, adding to the danger of path collision
  • We need to copy and modify the page object for each new document type, which becomes messy
  • The order of path copying is important, therefore introducing possibly unwanted side effects

Further Reading

Details on how Fusion works and can be used can be found in the section Inside Fusion. Adjusting Neos Output shows how page, menu and content markup can be adjusted freely.