Control architecture

Controls defined in this directory will be transpiled into the core formBuilder & formRender plugins. Only 'core' regularly used plugins should be included here. Plugins that have less common use-cases should be added as control plugins which are only loaded as required.

All control classes should inherit from src/js/control.js. Each class can support one or more types or subtypes.

Key steps to creating a new control:

  • import control from '../control'
  • define a new class extending control (or any other child control class)
  • define a static get definition class if you wish to have a custom icon, or any mi18n mappings. This is not always required - you can simply ensure that your types & subtypes have definitions in the mi18n translation file and by default your new control will use an the css class icon-${type}.
  • define a configure method if required - used to specify external javascript & css files and perform any additional configuration
  • define a build method - this is always required. This method should use this.config to retrieve any required configuration and return a DOMElement representing the control
  • define a onRender method. Receives an event parameter, and is called when the DOMElement from build is inserted into the interface. This method is especially useful for controls that require javascript to render correctly - e.g. rich text editors.
  • call control.register to register your new control types.

Loading external javascript & CSS

To load in external javascript & CSS set this.js or this.css as appropriate to a file, or an array of files.

Registering the new types & subtypes

Once you have created the class, you need to call the control.register method to register your new type. Call the method with two args:

  • type - the new type, or an array of new types that will use this class to render
  • controlClass - the name of the class you just created which will be bound to the specified types

To register new subtypes, call the register method with 3 args:

  • type - when the third parameter is specified (as it will be in this case), this arg is now specifying subtypes.
  • controlClass - as above
  • parentType - the parent type that these are subtypes to.

If your new class inherits from another child class, you should conform to the naming scheme ..js. E.g check out textarea.tinymce.js which extends the controlTextarea control class. In this situation, it is often easier to simply call the register method on the parent class - e.g. in this case controlTextarea.register(subtypes, controlNewClass, 'textarea'); - however this makes no tangible difference aside from not having to import the control class.

Supporting user configuration of controls

For a lot of controls, it is entirely feasible that the user will want to customise that control on a case by case basis. Rather than forcing them to create a whole new control, you can allow you control to be configured by using the controlConfig option with formBuilder or formRender.

This option expects an object with keys for the names of controls to specify an object of configuration for. This configuration is then exposed to the control in this.classConfig.

Have a look at src/js/control/textarea.tinymce.js for an example of a control that supports configuring. Rich text editors regularly require this type of configuration - customising toolbars, adding in plugins etc.

var renderOpts = {
  controlConfig: {
    'textarea.tinymce': {
      paste_data_images: false

// inside the tinymce control class this is available as this.classConfig.paste_data_images


For an example just look at any of the controls in this directory.