Dialog definition - 5 UI


This dialog definition has been deprecated since Magnolia 6.0. It is part of the Magnolia 5 UI framework.

For the updated implementation, see Dialog definition for Magnolia 6 UI instead.

Dialogs are used for content entry. A dialog defines the editable content properties of a template. Pages, area and component templates can all use dialogs.

The create-page and create-component commands in the Magnolia CLI create basic dialog definitions automatically.

A dialog is basically an HTML form with input fields for each content property. Editors type content into the fields and the dialog saves it in the repository.

The functionality of each field in a dialog is provided by a field definition class that allows the editor to perform a task such as enter text, upload an image, select a date etc. Fields are assembled into tabs and tabs into dialogs.

All dialogs used throughout the system are configured in the same way. For example, the configuration of dialogs used in apps and components is the same.

Dialog properties

At minimum a dialog definition must have a name and has to contain a form and actions.

Here’s what the configurations do:

  • Form definition: Defines the tabs and fields in the dialog. It determines what content users can enter into the dialog.

  • Action definition: Defines how the form is submitted. Each action definition displays as a button in the dialog. Action definitions control what happens when a user clicks a dialog button. Typical dialogs have save and cancel actions.

Example: Simple dialog definition:

YAML file JCR node

<module name>/dialogs/<dialog name>.yaml

    - name: tabText
        - name: title
          fieldType: text
          label: Title
    class: info.magnolia.ui.dialog.action.SaveDialogActionDefinition
    label: Save
    class: info.magnolia.ui.dialog.action.CancelDialogActionDefinition
    label: Cancel

ADVT dialog properties


Node Description



Arbitrary node name. Typically matches the template it edits. For example the component definition node and dialog definition node for a link component could both be named link. This is not required and one dialog can be used for more than one template.



Contains a form definition, which defines the fields where content is entered.



Contains action definitions which define how the data is submitted. The actions are rendered to users as buttons. Typically you need at least save and cancel actions.



Modality level defines how intrusive the dialog is. Valid values are strong (default), light and non-modal.




optional, default is false

true opens the dialog in wide mode using all available horizontal space.

Click the expand/collapse button in the top right corner to toggle between the wide and normal (720px) modes.



A property that sets the dialog’s caption.

The value is ignored if the dialogLabelItemProperty property is set (see below).

The value can be literal such as Group or retrieved from the message bundle with a key such as security-app.group.label.



Allows you to set the dialog’s caption dynamically through a property holding the preferred value for the caption, for example through the jcrName property.

If no dialogLabelItemProperty is configured for the dialog, Magnolia tries to retrieve the caption from the label property (see above) or from the respective i18n key in the language bundle associated with the dialog.

The jcrName property is implemented as the value of dialogLabelItemProperty, for instance, in the Security app’s user, role and group dialogs (group dialog shown below):


Location of dialog definitions

YAML file path JCR node path in config workspace

Dialog definition



Referencing dialogs

Templates reference dialog definitions in their template definition. This is how the system knows which dialog to associate with the template. Page, area and component templates reference dialogs in the same way by using the dialog property.

Example: A component definition that references a textImage dialog.

YAML file JCR node

<module name>/templates/components/textImage.yaml
dialog: my-module:components/textImage
renderType: freemarker
templateScript: /components/textImage.ftl
title: Text & Image Component
Node name Value












Text & Image Component

Property Description



Dialog definition ID in <module-name>:<path to dialog definition> format.

The ID has two parts, separated by a colon:

  1. <module-name> : The name of the module which contains the dialog definition.

  2. <path>: Relative path to the dialog definition inside dialogs root item. For example the dialog ID my-module:components/textImage either points to the YAML file $magnolia.resources.dir/my-module/dialogs/components/textImage.yaml or to the JCR node /modules/my-module/dialogs/components/textImage in the configuration workspace.

Using dialogs in templates

Dialogs are most commonly used for content entry in components. This is where the bulk on content is entered. But dialogs are also useful for page and area templates. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Page dialogs:

    • Content entry: Use the dialog for content entry that is not necessarily rendered on the page. For example, to enter a meta title and description that is injected into the <head> element, or a page excerpt for use in teaser components on other pages.

    • Navigation: Set up a field to mark the page for inclusion in or exclusion from navigation. You could also define browser header and tab titles.

    • Information: Page dialogs can provide editors with useful information. For example, the Content Dependencies module includes a generic tab that collects page dependencies such as other pages and assets. This information is useful when deleting a page.

  • Area dialogs: While most areas contain components, dialog content can be rendered by the script in noComponent areas.

Configuring secondary actions

The actionArea node lets you provide additional actions and specify a renderer, if required. You need a renderer when the action requires more than just a button (for instance for an upload action).

The choose dialog in the Assets app - 5 UI is an example. The dialog allows editors to upload assets to the DAM while working in other apps.

The configuration is in /modules/dam-app/apps/assets/chooseDialog:

ADVT choose dialog properties

Property Description



A secondary action area in the bottom left corner of the editor. Contains the action area configuration.



Add subnodes to match the secondary actions defined in the actions node. The order of the subnodes defines the sequence in which they are rendered. Actions configured under secondaryActions are rendered on the left and other actions are on the right side.



Secondary action name.



Define a subnode for each action which requires its own renderer.



Name of the secondary action.



A renderer class if the secondary action requires one. Must implement ActionRenderer.


Reusing configuration

Magnolia provides mechanisms to reuse dialogs or more general said to reuse configuration items. See Reusing configuration.