Part II - Creating a basic content app

This page is the second part of the My first content app tutorial and describes how to configure and create a basic Bookshelf, a Magnolia content app. The configuration is done using Magnolia content types – formal definitions for types of content in Magnolia including the properties the type may contain and its relationships to other types of content.

Prerequisites

For development and testing you need a running instance of Magnolia. In this tutorial, we suppose that it is installed in a directory called magnolia.

If you don’t have Magnolia installed and running, go to the page called Installing Magnolia through npm CLI and complete the steps described on it. Then, return and proceed from here.

Creating the bookshelf light module

Magnolia light modules usually define page, area and component templates and many more things. In this tutorial, we use a light module called bookshelf to create a content app. The module contains both a definition of content types and the app descriptor.

  1. Open a terminal.

  2. Go to the light-modules folder of your Magnolia installation:

  3. Run the following command:

    mgnl create-light-module bookshelf

    The command creates the bookshelf light module.

    └── bookshelf
        ├── decorations
        ├── dialogs
        │ ├── components
        │ └── pages
        ├── i18n
        │ └── bookshelf-messages_en.properties
        ├── includes
        │ └── README.txt
        ├── README.md
        ├── templates
        │ ├── components
        │ └── pages
        └── webresources

Creating the app

Change to the bookshelf folder and enter the following command:

mgnl create-app bookshelf-app

This command creates the apps and contentTypes subfolders in the light module and adds the bookshelf-app.yaml file to both of them.

└── bookshelf
    ├── apps
    │ └── bookshelf-app.yaml
    ├── contentTypes
    │ └── bookshelf-app.yaml
    ├── decorations
    ├── dialogs
    │ ├── components
    │ └── pages
    ├── i18n
    │ └── bookshelf-messages_en.properties
    ├── includes
    │ └── README.txt
    ├── README.md
    ├── templates
    │ ├── components
    │ └── pages
    └── webresources

The bookshelf-app.yaml file in the apps subfolder is an app descriptor, while the bookshelf-app.yaml file in the contentTypes subfolder contains a content type definition for the app.

As the function of the content type definition in this module is to describe a book, rename the content type definition file to book.yaml. The structure of the light module folder will then look as follows:

└── bookshelf
    ├── apps
    │ └── bookshelf-app.yaml
    ├── contentTypes
    │ └── book.yaml
    ├── decorations
    ├── dialogs
    │ ├── components
    │ └── pages
    ├── i18n
    │ └── bookshelf-messages_en.properties
    ├── includes
    │ └── README.txt
    ├── README.md
    ├── templates
    │ ├── components
    │ └── pages
    └── webresources

In the next steps, you modify these files to meet the design requirements for the Bookshelf app.

The mgnl create-app bookshelf-app command also creates a new workspace called bookshelf-app. However, as the Bookshelf app must interact with the books workspace, the name of the workspace is changed to books below.

Customizing the content type definition

In the contentTypes folder, open the book.yaml file and replace its content with the following:

book.yaml (content type definition)
datasource: (1)
  workspace: books
  rootPath: /
  namespaces:
    lib: https://www.magnolia-travel.com/jcr/1.0/lib
  autoCreate: true

model: (2)
  nodeType: lib:book
  properties: (3)
    - name: authors
    - name: ed (4)
      type: Boolean
    - name: title
    - name: description
    - name: publisher
    - name: publish_date (5)
      type: Date
    - name: isbn13

When working with yaml files, we suggest you use the copy button in the upper right corner of the definition to make sure there aren’t any additional spaces as these file types are extremely sensitive to any mistakes and may result in a problem further on.

1 Define how the content type items are persisted.
For more details see the Content type Data source definition page.
2 Define the node type and the properties of the new content item for the Bookshelf app.
3 Defines the app properties.
Defaults to a String type when no other type is supplied.
4 Set the type of the ed property to Boolean since it is more appropriate in regard to the values the system can store (true, false).
5 Set the data type of the publish_date property to Date so that the value would be stored in the JCR as calendar object.
For more details, see the Content type Model definition page.

Customizing the app descriptor

In the apps subfolder, open the bookshelf-app.yaml file and make sure it contains only the following two lines:

bookshelf-app.yaml (app descriptor)
!content-type:book (1)
name: bookshelf-app (2)
1 The app descriptor instructs the app generator to construct the app from the book content type definition.
2 You give the app the name bookshelf-app, under which the app is known to other resources and systems in Magnolia.

Check the app in the Definitions app

After saving the changes, run mgnl start again. Then go to the Definitions app in your instance to check that the app’s definitions have been loaded by Magnolia (the bookshelf-app should appear in the apps folder).

In case the bookshelf-app isn’t visible or there’s a problem notification next to it, please double-check all your yaml files have been copied exactly as they appear in this documentation (no additional spaces or extra characters).

Starting the app

Magnolia adds a tile for your new app to the App launcher automatically when registering the app. However, to make the tile appear in the App launcher, you must first restart your Magnolia session once by logging out and logging in again. For further details see App launcher layout.

App launcher tiles list

To see the list of the app tiles, click the app launcher icon to the right of the Find Bar.

image

To start using the app, log into Magnolia again and click the bookshelf-app tile in the App launcher.

image

i18n message keys and the Name, Title and Description labels

The magnolia-ui-framework module already contains several generic i18n message keys whose values are applied as labels in the UI of the Bookshelf app. You will create new label values in Adding an i18n message bundle on the third page of the tutorial.

image


Congratulations! The content app is up and running now and the editors can already start using it by cataloging new books into it.

Continue to Part III - Fine-tuning a basic content app, where you fine-tune this basic app to its final form.

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