Build an Infinite Scroll List for OXID eShop – Basics

Anh Ho
This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Extending OXID eShop

Extending OXID eShop

OXID eShop, officially known as OXID eSales, is a powerful and scalable ecommerce standard platform optimized for every segment of online business. As a developer spending most of my “9-to-5” tasks with OXID, I found out that this e-commerce system is extremely easy to customize and extend.

If you are new to OXID or are looking for a simple but effective platform for your own online business, I recommend you read Matthew Setter’s series on OXID eSales that came up with a standard implementation to get started with OXID system.

In this 2-part tutorial, we will create a new OXID module extension that implements infinite scrolling to the article list instead of traditional pagination. During this article, I attempt to share my personal experience that may help you speed up your working process if you encounter any OXID development later.

Here is what you will achieve.

The entire source code will be available at the end of the series.

The tutorials will cover the following areas:

Part 1:

  • Creating proper folder structure for new module extension.
  • Working with metadata.php to:
    • Extend a necessary controller.
    • Replace the existing template with a new template.
    • Add a new module configuration option.
  • How to work with back-end language files to create a display name and help text for the module’s settings.
  • Work with the new module controller.

Part 2:

  • Working with the new template:
    • How to properly get the module URL.
    • Recap to working with OXID template engine.
    • Adding content for the new template.
  • Adding JavaScript to handle the execution of infinite scrolling on article list.
  • Updating the database views and activating the module.

Note: I assume that you have some working experience with OXID eShop (if not, see Matthew’s article, linked above). Thus, there won’t be much explanation for basic concepts of OXID.

OXID Module Folder Structure

The most important task you have to do first is to create a standard folder structure.

  • Please go to {your_web_root}/oxid/modules/
  • Create a new folder called aho_infinitescroll followed by its subsequent folders/files.
aho_infinitescroll/
|	
|--- controllers/
|		|-- aho_infinite_alist.php 	# A new controller that extends alist.php
|
|--- out/
|	|--admin/
|		|--en/
|			|-- aho_infinitescroll_lang.php 	# Back-end English text.
|		|--de/
|			|-- aho_infinitescroll_lang.php 	# Back-end Deustch text.
|
|	|--css/
|		|--> infinitescroll.css  	# Style for infinite scrolling elements.
|		
|	|--img/
|		|--> ajax-loader.gif     # image indicates the loading status.
|	|--js/
|
|--- translations/
|		|--de/
|			|--> aho_infinitescroll_lang.php  # Front-end Deustch text.     
|		|--en/ 
|			|--> aho_infinitescroll_lang.php  # Front-end English text.
|
|--- views/
|		|-- page/
|			|-- list/
|				|--> aho_infinitescroll_list.tpl  # new template file.
|	
|--- metadata.php  # Define extension name, classes and other infos. 
|--- picture.jpg   # A thumbnail for the module's functionality.

NOTE:
The best practice of naming a new module is to combine the name of vendor/developer/group and the module’s functionality. It helps to reveal instantly the vendor and functionality of the new module for team collaboration.
Thus, the formula can be as follows:

vendor name + underscore + functionality

  • i.e: sitepoint_infinitescroll

Vendor name can be replaced by either developer name or group name. It’s up to you.

Working with Metadata.php

Metadata.php is essential to any module development. That file provides basic details about module, classes to be extended, blocks to be overidden, templates to be replaced, settings for both front-end and back-end sides, etc.

Please open the file metadata.php and add the following lines of code into it:

<?php

$sMetadataVersion = '1.0';  # Define version of this file

// An array to store modules' details
$aModule = array
(
    'id' => 'aho_infinitescroll',
    'title' => '[AHO] Infinite Scrolling List', 
    'description' => 'Infinite Scrolling for article list',
    'thumbnail' => 'picture.jpg',
    'version' => '1.0.0',
    'author' => 'Tuan Anh Ho',
    'url' => '',
    'email' => 'anhhothai@gmail.com'
);
  • We’ve just inserted basic information for our new module, and all elements are self-descriptive by their terms.

  • Please note that the id and title are mandatory variables. Especially, the value of id has to be the same as the module’s folder name.

  • thumbnail is an optional element that describes your module visually. I usually prepare a good-looking thumbnail because I believe that a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes, you intend to sell some of your favourite self-developed modules via OXID market, and a better designed thumbnail entices more buyers.

Next, we’re going to define some more elements, right after email.

    'extend' => array(
        'alist' => 'aho_infinitescroll/controllers/aho_infinitescroll_alist'
    ),
    'templates' => array(
        'aho_infinitescroll_list.tpl' 
            => 'aho_infinitescroll/views/page/list/aho_infinitescroll_list.tpl'
    )
  • The value extend specifies a particular core/controller class from which the new module will extend. In this case, it will be alist.php, located at /oxid/application/controllers/.

  • The value templates is an array, which stores all registered templates of the new module. It’s recommended we create the same folder structure of the template to be replaced, for easy team collaboration. Please note that both items and values of templates need to include the file name extension .tpl

    NOTE:

    • The proper way to name a new template is “module name + _ + the old template name
    • i.e: aho_infinitescroll_list.tpl

We leave the new template file empty at the moment and continue with the file metadata.php. Please insert an array called settings just after the item templates:

'settings' => array(
    array(
        'group' => 'aho_infinitescroll',
        'name' => 'sInfiniteScrollListType',
        'type' => 'str',
        'value' => 'line'
    )
)
  • The value settings is a place to register all configuration options of a new module. group always has the value identical to the module’s id.

  • Value: this new setting helps to manage the view type of list. In the scope of this tutorial, I will set the default value as line and keep using it till the end.

  • As we activate the module for the first time, this setting is inserted into two tables oxconfig and oxconfigdisplay. OXID will automatically insert the value module:aho_infinitescroll into columns OXMODULE (table oxconfig) and OXCFGMODULE (table oxconfigdisplay) with the value module:aho_infinitescroll. This is very handy as it happens automatically.

You can follow this online document of extension metadata to read more about other possible arguments.

Next, we look into the back-end translations.

Adding Back-end Translations

In the last section, we added the settings for the new module. Now it’s time to work with its translation.
Please open the file aho_infinitescroll/out/admin/en/aho_infinitescroll_lang.phpand add the following lines in it.

<?php
$sLangName = 'English'; // English or Deustch
        
$aLang = array(
    'charset' => 'UTF-8',
    'SHOP_MODULE_GROUP_aho_infinitescroll' => 'Settings', 
    
    'SHOP_MODULE_sInfiniteScrollListType' => 'Select the type of list that will be applied for infinite scrolling.',
    
    'HELP_SHOP_MODULE_sInfiniteScrollListType' => 'OXID supports 3 default view types as `line`,`grid` and  `infogrid`. If you define an extra view type, make sure it has been created in your shop directory.'
);

  • Syntax to add translation for a configuration option SHOP_MODULE + _ + setting_column_name.

  • Syntax to add the help text for a configuration option HELP_SHOP_MODULE + _ + setting_colum_name.

The above lines of codes will result in output as in the figure below. Later, when you activate the module, please enter line into the text box:


"view option"


Please do the same for the file aho_infinitescroll/out/admin/de/aho_infinitescroll_lang.php. Assign the variable $sLangName with value Deustch and have someone specializing in language translate all the text into German, or just put gibberish in there, as long as it’s different from English so you can see the difference.

Working with the new controller

Please open aho_infinitescroll/controllers/aho_infinite_alist.php and add the following lines in it:

<?php

class aho_infinitescroll_alist extends aho_infinitescroll_alist_parent 
{
    protected $_sThisTemplate = 'aho_infinitescroll_list.tpl';
    
    /**
     * @Todo: Change the template view
     * @return string
     */
    public function render(){
        parent::render();
        return $this->_sThisTemplate;
    }

    /** @Todo: Get the module option of view type 
     *  @return string
     */
    public function getViewTypeList(){
        return $this->getConfig()->getConfigParam('sInfiniteScrollListType');
    }
}

This new controller does just a few things:

  • Change the value of $_sThisTemplate to aho_infinitescroll.tpl, which we have defined in metadata.php: Please note that we only need to specify the template name here. Thus, template name should be unique. It helps the system find the correct template quickly.

  • The function render does nothing but just returns the new template name.

  • The function getViewTypeList will return value of data column sInfiniteScrollListType that is defined in metadata.php. The template aho_infinitescroll.tpl will make use of this value to determine which view type will be applied for the article list.

  • You can note that the name of the extended class is aho_infinitescroll_alist_parent. The formula is module controller name + _ + parent.

Tips to find the necessary class to extend

  • You usually need to know which classes need to be extended. There is an easy way to find out which class is running in the current view. You just browse the file /application/views/{theme_name}/tpl/layout/page.tpl and insert the following line in the top of the file:
[{$oViewConf->getActiveClassName()}]

The above line helps print out which core class is used in the current view. If you want to detect the core class that performs Ajax requests, you will need a little more effort working with ChromeDev Tools.

Conclusion

So far, we’ve gone through the step-by-step back-end implementation to develop a new module extension. At the moment, we are able to activate the module to see what we will have in the administration dashboard. If any issues come up, please feel free to leave your comment here. I’m going to do my best to help you out.

The next part will go into details about essential front-end implementation, which consists of customizing the template, and adding JavaScript to handle workflow for infinite scrolling.

Extending OXID eShop

Build an Infinite Scroll List for OXID eShop – Implementation >>

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  • Mohd. Mahabubul ALam

    OXIDE e Shop, officially known as OXIDE e Sales, is a powerful and scalable eCommerce standard platform optimized for every segment of online
    business. As a developer spending most of my “9-to-5” tasks with OXIDE, I
    found out that this e-commerce system is extremely easy to customize
    and extend.