Using Config Assistant

The most up-to-date documentation for Config Assistant can always be found in the plugin, or in source control.

Using Config Assistant for Theme Options

This plugin adds support for a new element in any plugin's config.yaml file called options, which is placed as a descendant to a defined template set. When a user of your plugin applies the corresponding template set then a "Theme Options" menu item will automatically appear in their "Design" menu. They can click that menu item to be taken directly to a page on which they can edit all of their theme's settings.

The static_version root-level element will trigger Config Assistant to copy files to the mt-static/support/plugins/[plugin key]/ folder, and the skip\_static root-level element will let you specify files not to copy.

id: MyPluginID
name: My Plugin
version: 1.0
static_version: 1
template_sets:
    my_awesome_theme:
        base_path: 'templates'
        label: 'My Awesome Theme'
        options:
            fieldsets:
                homepage:
                    label: 'Homepage Options'
                    hint: 'These options only affect the home page.'
                    order: 1
                feed:
                    label: 'Feed Options'
                    order: 2
            feedburner_id:
                type: text
                label: "Feedburner ID"
                hint: "This is the name of your Feedburner feed."
                tag: 'MyPluginFeedburnerID'
                fieldset: feed
            use_feedburner:
                type: checkbox
                label: "Use Feedburner?"
                tag: 'IfFeedburner?'
                fieldset: feed
            posts_for_frontfoor:
                type: text
                label: "Entries on Frontdoor"
                hint: 'The number of entries to show on the front door.'
                tag: 'FrontdoorEntryCount'
                fieldset: homepage
                condition: > 
                  sub { return 1; }
                required: 1
skip_static:
    - index.html
    - readme.txt
    - .psd
    - .zip

Using Config Assistant for Plugin Settings

To use Config Assistant as the rendering and enablement platform for plugin settings, use the same options struct you would for theme options, but use it as a root level element. The static element is also valid here. For example:

id: MyPluginID
name: My Plugin
version: 1.0
schema_version: 1
static_version: 1
options:
  fieldsets:
    homepage:
      label: 'Homepage Options'
    feed:
      label: 'Feed Options'
  feedburner_id:
    type: text
    label: "Feedburner ID"
    hint: "This is the name of your Feedburner feed."
    tag: 'MyPluginFeedburnerID'
    fieldset: feed
skip_static:
    - index.html
    - readme.txt
    - .psd
    - .zip

Using this method for plugin options completely obviates the need for developers to specify the following elements in their plugin's config.yaml files:

  • settings
  • blog_config_template
  • system_config_template

Fieldsets

Fields can be grouped by fieldset, and fieldsets are "tabbed" on the Theme Options screen. This provides an easy way to organize all of your fields and present them to the user in a clear fashion.

options:
    fieldsets:
        homepage:
            label: 'Homepage Options'
            hint: 'These options only affect the home page.'
            order: 1
        feed:
            label: 'Feed Options'
            order: 2

In this example two fieldsets have been defined: homepage and feed, and this will generate two tabs of options on the Theme Options screen. Note that the fieldset keys (in this case homepage and feed) must be unique within your theme or plugin.

Fieldset Properties

  • label - is the description displayed on the tab, and is also displayed at the top of the page.
  • hint - is a space for you to provide more detail about the contents of this fieldset. It is displayed just above all of the fields in this fieldset
  • order - Use integers to sort the order of your fieldsets on the tabbed interface.

Fields

Fields are easily defined with properties.

options:
    feedburner_id:
        type: text
        label: "Feedburner ID"
        hint: "This is the name of your Feedburner feed."
        tag: 'MyPluginFeedburnerID'
        fieldset: feed
    use_feedburner:
        type: checkbox
        label: "Use Feedburner?"
        tag: 'IfFeedburner?'
        fieldset: feed

In this example two options, or fields, have been defined: feedburner_id and use_feedburner. Note that the option keys (in this case feedburner_id and use_feedburner) must be unique within your theme or plugin.

Field Properties

  • type - the type of the field. Supported values are: text, textarea, select, checkbox, blogs
  • label - the label to display to the left of the input element
  • show_label - display the label? (default: yes). This is ideal for checkboxes.
  • hint - the hint text to display below the input element
  • tag - the template tag that will access the value held by the corresponding input element
  • condition - a code reference that will determine if an option is rendered to the screen or not. The handler should return true to show the option, or false to hide it.
  • default - a static value or a code reference which will determine the proper default value for the option
  • fieldset - specify which fieldset a field belongs to.
  • order - the sort order for the field within its fieldset
  • republish - a list of template identifiers (delimited by a comma) that reference templates that should be rebuilt when a theme option changes
  • scope - (for plugin settings only, all theme options are required to be blog specific) determines whether the config option will be rendered at the blog level or system level.
  • required - can be set to 1 to indicate a field as required, necessitating a value.

Supported Field Types

Below is a list of acceptable values for the type parameter for any defined field:

  • text - Produces a simple single line text box.

  • textarea - Produces a multi-line text box. You can specify the rows sibling element to control the size/height of the text box.

  • select - Produces a pull-down menu of arbitrary values. Those values are defined by specifying a sibling element called values which should contain a comma delimited list of values to present in the pull down menu.

  • radio - Produces a set of radio buttons of arbitrary values. Those values are defined by specifying a sibling element called values which should contain a comma delimited list of values to present as radio buttons.

  • checkbox - Produces a single checkbox, ideal for boolean values, or a set of checkboxes. When using this type to display multiple checkboxes, use the values field option to provide a list of checkbox labels/values. Use the delimiter field option to specify how your list of checkbox options are separated. See "Working with Checkboxes."

  • blogs - Produces a pull down menu listing every blog in the system. Warning: this is not advisable for large installations as it can dramatically impact performance (negatively).

  • radio-image - Produces a javascript enabled list of radio buttons where each "button" is an image. Note that this version of the radio type supports a special syntax for the values attribute. See example below.

  • tagged-entries - Produces a pull down menu of entries tagged a certain way. This type supports the following additional attributes: lastn and tag-filter.

  • entry - Produces the ability to select a single entry via a small pop-up dialog. In the dialog, the user will be permitted to search the system via keyword for the entry they are looking for. This field type supports the field property of all_blogs, a boolean value which determines whether the user will be constricted to searching entries in the current blog, or all blogs on the system.

  • page - Operates identically to the entry type except that it pulls up a list of pages in the selected blog (as opposed to entries).

  • category - Produces the ability to select a single category via a drop-down listing.

  • folder - Produces the ability to select a single folder via a drop-down listing.

  • colorpicker - Produces a color wheel pop-up for selecting a color or hex value.

  • link-group - Produces an ordered list of links manually entered by the user. Options of this type will have defined for them an additional template tag to make it easier to loop over the links entered by the user in your templates. See "Link Group Template Tags" below.

  • file - Allows a user to upload a file, which in turn gets converted into an asset. An additional field property is supported for file types: destination which can be used to customize the path/url of the uploaded file. See "Example File" below. Files uploaded are uploaded into a path relative to the mt-static/support directory. Also, for each option of type file that defined, an additional template tag is created for you which gives you access to the asset created for you when the file is uploaded. See "Asset Template Tags" below.

  • separator - Sometimes you will want to divide your options into smaller sections, and the separator facilitates that. This is a special type of field because there is no editable form to interact with and is informational only. Only the label, hint, order, and fieldset keys are valid with this field type.

Link Group Tags

For each option of type link-group that is defined, two template tags are defined. The first is the one specified by the user using the tag parameter associated with the option in the config.yaml. This template tag will be useless to most users as it will return a JSON encoded data structure containing all the links entered by the user.

The second template tag is the useful one. It is called <TAGNAME>Links. This template tag is a container or block tag that loops over each of the links entered by the user. Inside each iteration of the loop the following template variables are defined for you:

  • __first__ True only if the current link is the first one in the list.
  • __last__ - True only if the current link is the last one in the list.
  • link_label - The label associated with the current link.
  • link_url - The URL associated with the current link.

For example, look at this config.yaml:

my_links:
    type: link-group
    label: 'My Favorite Links'
    tag: 'MyFavorites'

This will create two template tags:

  1. <$mt:MyFavorites$>
  2. <mt:MyFavoritesLinks></mt:MyFavoritesLinks>

You can use them like so:

<p>My favorite links are: 
  <mt:MyFavoritesLinks>
    <mt:if name="__first__"><ul></mt:if>
    <li><a href="<$mt:var name="link_url"$>"><$mt:var name="link_label"$></a></li>
    <mt:if name="__last__"></ul></mt:if>
  <mt:Else>
    I have no favorite links.
  </mt:MyFavoritesLinks>
</p>

Asset Template Tags

For each option of type file that is defined, two template tags are defined. The first is the one specified by the user using the tag parameter associated with the option in the config.yaml. This template tag will return the Asset ID of the asset created for you.

The second template tag is <TAGNAME>Asset. This template tag is a container or block tag that adds the uploaded asset to the current context allowing you to use all of the asset related template tags in conjunction with the uploaded file. For example, look at this config.yaml:

my_keyfile:
    type: file
    label: 'My Private Key'
    hint: 'A private key used for signing PayPal buttons.'
    tag: 'PrivatePayPalKey'
    destination: my_theme/%{10}e

This will create two template tags:

  1. <$mt:PrivatePayPalKey$>
  2. <mt:PrivatePayPalKeyAsset></mt:PrivatePayPalKeyAsset>

You can use them like so:

<p>The asset ID of my key file is: <$mt:PrivatePayPalKey$></p>
<p>The URL to my key file is: 
  <mt:PrivatePayPalKeyAsset>
    <$mt:AssetURL$>
  </mt:PrivatePayPalKeyAsset>
</p>

Example File

The file type allows theme admins to upload files via their Theme Options screen. The file, or files, uploaded get imported into the system's asset manager. The path where the uploaded file will be stored can be customized via the destination field option.

Allowable file format tokens:

  • %e - Will generate a random string of characters. The default length of the string is 8, but can be customized using the following syntax, %{n}e where "n" is an integer representing the length of the string.

Example:

my_keyfile:
    type: file
    label: 'My Private Key'
    hint: 'A private key used for signing PayPal buttons.'
    tag: 'PrivatePayPalKey'
    destination: my_theme/%{10}e

Example Radio Image

The radio-image type supports a special syntax for the values attribute. The list of radio button is a comma-delimited list of image/value pairs (delimited by a colon). Got that? The images you reference are all relative to Movable Type's mt-static directory. Confused? I think a sample will make it perfectly clear:

homepage_layout:
    type: radio-image
    label: 'Homepage Layout'
    hint: 'The layout for the homepage of your blog.'
    tag: 'HomepageLayout'
    values: >
      "plugins/Foo/layout-1.png":"Layout 1","plugins/Foo/layout-2.png":"Layout 2"

Working with Checkboxes

The option type of checkbox has two modes:

  • a boolean mode (a single checkbox either on or off)
  • a multi-select mode (multiple choices and options)

A single checkbox is ideal when needing to collect boolean values from users. For example, here is a theme option to enable/disable advertising on a web site:

enable_ads:
  type: checkbox
  label: 'Enable Advertising?'
  hint: 'Check this box if you want advertising to be displayed on your web site'
  tag: 'IfAdsEnabled?'

Your template tag should then be:

<mt:IfAdsEnabled>
   <!-- insert ad javascript -->
</mt:IfAdsEnabled>

Sometimes however you need to use checkboxes to allow the user to select multiple options that all relate to one another. Here is an example of how to use this field to allow users to specify which areas of a site should have ads enabled:

enable_ads:
  type: checkbox
  label: 'Enable Advertising?'
  hint: 'Check this box if you want advertising to be displayed on your web site'
  tag: 'AdsEnabled'
  delimiter: ';'
  values: 'Homepage;System: Profile, Reg, Auth;Entries;Pages'

You can then check to see if the theme option contains a specific value like so:

<mt:AdsEnabledContains value="System: Profile, Reg, Auth">
   <!-- insert ad javascript -->
<mt:else>
   <!-- do nothing? -->
</mt:AdsEnabledContains>

Or you can loop over all the selected values that have been checked:

<ul>
<mt:AdsEnabledLoop>
  <li>You checked <$mt:var name="value"$>.</li>
</mt:AdsEnabledLoop>
</ul>

Defining Custom Field Types

To define your own form field type, you first need to register your type and type handler in your plugin's config.yaml file, like so:

config_types:
  my_custom_type:
    handler: $MyPlugin::MyPlugin::custom_type_hdlr

Then in lib/MyPlugin.pm you would implement your handler. Here is an example handler that outputs the HTML for a HTML pulldown or select menu:

sub custom_type_hdlr {
  my $app = shift;
  my ($field_id, $field, $value) = @_;
  my $out;
  my @values = split(",",$field->{values});
  $out .= "      <ul>\n";
  foreach (@values) {
      $out .= "<li><input type=\"radio\" name=\"$field_id\" value=\"$_\"".
     ($value eq $_ ? " checked=\"checked\"" : "") ." class=\"rb\" />".$_."</li>\n";
  }
  $out .= "      </ul>\n";
  return $out;
}

With these two tasks complete, you can now use your new config type in your template set:

template_sets:
  my_theme:
    label: 'My Theme'
    options:
      layout:
        type: my_custom_type
        values: foo,bar,baz
        label: 'My Setting'
        default: 'bar'

Defining Template Tags

Each plugin configuration field can define a template tag by which a designer or developer can access its value. If a tag name terminates in a question mark then the system will interpret the tag as a conditional block element. Here are two example fields:

feedburner_id:
    type: text
    label: "Feedburner ID"
    hint: "This is the name of your Feedburner feed."
    tag: 'FeedburnerID'
use_feedburner:
    type: checkbox
    label: "Use Feedburner?"
    tag: 'IfFeedburner?'

And here are corresponding template tags that make use of these configuration options:

<mt:IfFeedburner>
  My feedburner id is <$mt:FeedburnerID$>.
<mt:Else>
  Feedburner is disabled!
</mt:IfFeedburner>

Deploying Static Content

Preparing the Static Content

If you've installed many plugins, you know that you must often copy content to [MT Home]/plugins/ and [MT Home]/mt-static/plugins/. For new users this can be a confusing task, and for experienced users it's one more annoying step that has to be done. But no more! Config Assistant can be used to help your plugin or theme copy static content to its permanent home in the mt-static/ folder!

Within your plugin, use the static_version root-level key to cause Config Assistant to work with your static content. This key should be an integer, and should be incremented when you've changed your static content and want it to be re-copied.

If you want to exclude some of your static content from the copy process, you can specify this with the skip_static root-level key, as in the examples.

skip_static:
    - index.html
    - readme.txt
    - .psd
    - .zip

skip_static builds an array of items to be excluded, which is signified with a leading dash and space. Files can be a partial match, so specifying an extension (such as .psd) will cause all files with .psd to not be copied. skip_static is not a required key.

On the filesystem side, you will want to create your folder and file structure inside of a static folder in your plugin envelope. Any files inside of this static folder (except those items matching skip_static) will be copied during installation.

Installing the Static Content

When installing your new plugin or theme, the static_version will trigger Movable Type or Melody to run an upgrade. During the upgrade, Config Assistant will copy static content to the mt-static/support/plugins/ folder, and will create a folder for its contents. (For example, after installing Config Assistant, its static files can be found in mt-static/support/plugins/ConfigAssistant/.)

Note that the mt-static/support/ folder must have adequate permissions to be writable by the web server; Movable Type and Melody will warn you if it does not. Also note that this path is different from where you often install static content, in mt-static/plugins/.

Developers may have reason to reinstall the static content; this can be done by running ./tools/static-copy.

Plugin-Specific Static Template Tags

Two template tags are created for your plugin or theme, to help you type less and keep code clean: [Plugin ID]StaticFilePath and [Plugin ID]StaticWebPath. For example, Config Assistant makes available ConfigAssistantStaticFilePath and ConfigAssistantStaticWebPath.

These tags will output the file path and the URL to a plugin's static content, based on the StaticFilePath and StaticWebPath configuration directives. These tags are really just shortcuts. You could use either of the following to publish a link to the image photo.jpg in your theme, for example:

<mt:StaticWebPath>support/plugins/MyPlugin/images/photo.jpg
<mt:MyPluginStaticWebPath>images/photo.jpg

both of which would output

http://example.com/mt/mt-static/support/plugins/MyPlugin/images/photo.jpg

Callbacks

Config Assistant supports a number of callbacks to give developers the ability to respond to specific change events for options at a theme and plugin level. All of these callbacks are in the options_change callback family.

On Single Option Change

Config Assistant defines a callback which can be triggered when a specific theme option changes value or when any theme option changes value. To register a callback for a specific theme option, you would use the following syntax:

callbacks:
  options_change.option.<option_id>: $MyPlugin::MyPlugin::handler

To register a callback to be triggered when any theme option changes, you would use this syntax:

callbacks:
  options_change.option.*: $MyPlugin::MyPlugin::handler

When the callback is invoked, it will be invoked with the following input parameters:

  • $app - A reference to the MT::App instance currently in-context.
  • $option_hash - A reference to a hash containing the name/value pairs representing this modified theme option in the registry.
  • $old_value - The value of the option prior to being modified.
  • $new_value - The value of the option after being modified.

Example

sub my_handler {
  my ($app, $option, $old, $new) = @_;
  MT->log({ message => "Changing " . $option->label . " from $old to $new." });
}

Note: The callback is invoked after the new value has been inserted into the config hash, but prior to the hash being saved. This gives developers the opportunity to change the value of the config value one last time before being committed to the database.

On Plugin Option Change

Config Assistat has the ability to trigger a callback when any option within a plugin changes. To register a callback of this nature you would use the following syntax:

callbacks:
  options_change.plugin.<plugin_id>: $MyPlugin::MyPlugin::handler

When the callback is invoked, it will be invoked with the following input parameters:

  • $app - A reference to the MT::App instance currently in-context.
  • $plugin - A reference to the plugin object that was changed

Sample config.yaml

id: MyPluginID
name: My Plugin
version: 1.0
schema_version: 1
static_version: 1
blog_config_template: '<mt:PluginConfigForm id="MyPluginID">'
plugin_config:
    MyPluginID:
        fieldset_1:
            label: "This is a label for my fieldset"
            hint: "This is some text to display below my fieldset label"
            feedburner_id:
                type: text
                label: "Feedburner ID"
                hint: "This is the name of your Feedburner feed."
                tag: 'MyPluginFeedburnerID'
skip_static:
    - index.html
    - readme.txt
    - .psd
    - .zip


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