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[HOW TO - vB4] Rendering templates and registering variables - a short guide
cellarius
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,524

Augsburg, Germany
by cellarius cellarius is offline 16 Nov 2009
Rating: (1 vote - 5.00 average)

Introduction

Starting with vB4, templates no longer get output using eval:

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is outdated.
What's more: Variables and arrays from plugins that are executed on a page no longer can automatically be accessed in the templates of that page. They need to be registered first.
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Basic functionality to render templates and register all variables/arrays you want to use inside


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  • The first line provides the template that is to be rendered, using the new vB_Template class (vB_Template::create). The method gets passed the name of the template as an argument.
  • The following two lines register a variable and an array that we want to use in our template. Arguments passed are 1. the name you want to use to access the variable, and 2. the variable from the code you want to register. You can register as many variables/arrays as you want. Just remember you have to register every variable and array that you want to use in your custom template in this way. If you don't register them, they will not be available.
  • The fourth line renders the template ($templater->render()).
In the template you know will be able to use the registered variables/arrays in this way:

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Note the last one: multidimensional arrays are perfectly possible.
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Now, with the result of the rendering we can do several things:
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Output template directly - custom pages



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This immediatly outputs the template. Use this if you have created your own page, for example.
Note the second line, which is special for this type of use:

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This auto-registers the page level templates header, footer and headinclude that you will use in the template of your custom page.
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Use a template hook



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The template will be shown using the choosen template hook (for example: $template_hook[forumhome_wgo_pos2]). See the dot before the = in the last line? The hook may be used by other modifications, too, so we don't want to overwrite it, but rather append our code to it, conserving everything that might already be there.
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Save into a variable for later use in custom template

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Now we have saved the rendered template into a variable. This variable in turn we can later on register in another template, if we want:

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Again, inside my_other_template we now could call

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If you're running the first template call inside a loop, you may want to use .= instead of = in the last line, so that the results of every loop get added instead of overwriting the existing. But that depends, of course.
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Save into an array and preregister to use in an existing/stock template


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  • This is another, more flexible method to save the rendered template into a variable for future use in an already existing template. In this example, we want to show our own rendered template on forumhome.
  • Problem is: We have no direct way to register variables for already existing templates like FORUMHOME. It's created and rendered in the files, and we don't want to mess there.
  • To help with this, a new method was created for vB_Template class, called preRegister. Using this, we can pass our data to FORUMHOME before it is rendered. Note that the data needs to be saved into an array ($templatevalues['my_insertvar']), a simple variable will throw an error. In the last line the array is preregistered; you need to pass as arguments 1. the name of the existing template and 2. the array that contains the data. Again, this can be done for as many arrays as needed.
  • Of course, the preRegister functionality can be used for any kind of variables or arrays, no matter whether you have saved a rendered template (like in our example) into it or it contains just a simple boolean true/false statement.
To access the data inside the template it was preregistered for use:

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Note: it is not {vb:raw templatevalues.my_insertvar}!

Essentially the same as what I put for preRegister would be the following two lines. They could replace the last two lines in the above php codebox:

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Of course you could add further pairs to that array if you need to preregister more than one variable.
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Bonus track: ...whatever you do, cache your templates!

Now you know how to get your templates on screen - once you succeeded in doing that, make sure to do it in a fast and ressource saving manner: make use of vB's template cache. To see whether your templates are cached or not, activate debug mode by adding $config['Misc']['debug'] = true;to your config.php (don't ever use that on your live site!). Among the debug info is a list of all templates called, and non-cached templates will show up in red.

To cache your templates, add a plugin at hook cache_templates with the following code:

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Hope this helps!
-cel

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Addendum - There are now two blog posts on vb.com related to this topic:
http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/entry...in-4-templates
http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/entry...-4-based-files

Last edited by cellarius : 20 Nov 2009 at 19:37.
Views: 65830
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  #2  
Old 16 Nov 2009, 15:29
Lynne's Avatar
Lynne Lynne is offline
 
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Great article, cellarius! Thanks for taking the time to write this out.
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  #3  
Old 16 Nov 2009, 15:35
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cellarius cellarius is offline
 
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I saw the same questoins over and over again, and you and others heroically answering the same time and again, so I thought this might come in handy. That's the system as I managed to grasp it up to now, and I myself learned while typing it down. However, I'd happily add any suggestions and improvements
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  #4  
Old 17 Nov 2009, 07:48
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Shadab Shadab is offline
 
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Thanks for the write up, Cellarius.

Btw, shouldn't {vb:raw my_array.value1} be {vb:raw my_array.key1} in the third codebox ?
(which would output "value1")
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  #5  
Old 17 Nov 2009, 08:03
cellarius's Avatar
cellarius cellarius is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Shadab View Post
Thanks for the write up, Cellarius.

Btw, shouldn't {vb:raw my_array.value1} be {vb:raw my_array.key1} in the third codebox ?
(which would output "value1")
Of course, thanks for pointing this out. Corrected.

--------------- Added 17 Nov 2009 at 08:13 ---------------

There's two blog posts on this on vb.com:
http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/entry...-4-based-files
http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/entry...in-4-templates
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Last edited by cellarius : 17 Nov 2009 at 08:13. Reason: Auto-Merged DoublePost
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  #6  
Old 17 Nov 2009, 12:18
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Shadab Shadab is offline
 
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Originally Posted by cellarius View Post
Of course, thanks for pointing this out. Corrected.
Not a problem!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another note; on multidimensional arrays...
Suppose you have a nested / multidimensional array set, like:


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You can chain the array 'keys' like in the second example:


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  #7  
Old 17 Nov 2009, 15:39
Jeweetog Jeweetog is offline
 
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Hi,

How do i add a variable in form home template?

Im trying to do this:

Display stats on the forumhome yes/no

Display chatbox stats on the forumhome.
Don't forget to add the $mgc_cb_evo_stats variable in the FORUMHOME template where you want to display them otherwise they won't appear.
Warning : Add 4 sql queries on the forumhome.
For the users of a vBulletin version prior to 3.7.2, you will have to manually add the $mgc_cb_evo_stats var in the FORUMHOME template where you want the stats to appear.


How do i get this done guys?

Thanks in advance!
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  #8  
Old 17 Nov 2009, 16:32
cellarius's Avatar
cellarius cellarius is offline
 
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You did not like my answer in the other thread?
Originally Posted by cellarius View Post
You are posting this question in the vB4 subforum, so I gather you want to do this in vB4. If the mod's php code is not altered to adapt to vB4, there is no way of showing the variable in the template at this time. In vB4, variables need to be registered to be available in templates.
The mod clearly has not been updated for vB4. This very likely is not only a template rendering question, and this is not the place to discuss the porting of other peoples modifications. If you want to try anyway, the answer is in the article, look at the "Save into an array and preregister to use in an existing/stock template" part.
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  #9  
Old 17 Nov 2009, 17:35
Jeweetog Jeweetog is offline
 
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Originally Posted by cellarius View Post
You did not like my answer in the other thread?

The mod clearly has not been updated for vB4. This very likely is not only a template rendering question, and this is not the place to discuss the porting of other peoples modifications. If you want to try anyway, the answer is in the article, look at the "Save into an array and preregister to use in an existing/stock template" part.

I don't know about whether this is a rendering question or not. All i know is i have to alter something. Since you where kind enough to help me out by pointing me to this thread, i dropped the question here too, after reading what has been said up here.

Now i just read that part where you pointed me out, it doesn't say what file i have to open and at what line i have to insert some code.

Isn't that how it works?
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  #10  
Old 17 Nov 2009, 18:30
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cellarius cellarius is offline
 
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Sorry for being honest, but this is not how it works and it is quite obvious that you do not know what you are doing.

Of course "something" has to be done, but I do not know that mod, and therefore can not tell you what exactly will have to be done to make it vB4 compatible. It's not like there is a file in every mod that needs tampering that could be pointed out to you, where you do some mechanical search and replace and everything is fine. That's just not how it works, and this thread is not about updating the particular mod you are so interested in, but about helping coders to update their work. What has to be done is different for every single one of the hundreds of mods out there, and this article tries to provide just some of the many tools needed for that work.

The author of that mod will have to update his work, and you will have to be patient until he does - just like anyone else. If he decides not to do that you can pay someone to do it, or you can do it yourself if you have the skills. If that is not sufficient to you, you may ask in the thread for that modification, but be prepared that mod authors will be annoyed if dozens of users spam their threads with questions that go "are you not yet done", "when will you be updating this" and stuff.

Please read the announcement regarding this: http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=228073
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Please note that there will be no further updates to my addons, especially they will not be upgraded for vB5. I'm leaving vB, since IB choose to go the banana-way yet again.

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  #11  
Old 17 Nov 2009, 18:44
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bobster65 bobster65 is offline
 
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Just wanted to thank you for this article.. I had been messing around on my own for a few hours on two of my mods that involved FORUMHOME and after reading your article (specially the last part) both my mods are now up and running smoothly on vb4 !!

CHEERS to Cellarius!
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  #12  
Old 17 Nov 2009, 19:15
Jeweetog Jeweetog is offline
 
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Originally Posted by cellarius View Post
Sorry for being honest, but this is not how it works and it is quite obvious that you do not know what you are doing.

Of course "something" has to be done, but I do not know that mod, and therefore can not tell you what exactly will have to be done to make it vB4 compatible. It's not like there is a file in every mod that needs tampering that could be pointed out to you, where you do some mechanical search and replace and everything is fine. That's just not how it works, and this thread is not about updating the particular mod you are so interested in, but about helping coders to update their work. What has to be done is different for every single one of the hundreds of mods out there, and this article tries to provide just some of the many tools needed for that work.

The author of that mod will have to update his work, and you will have to be patient until he does - just like anyone else. If he decides not to do that you can pay someone to do it, or you can do it yourself if you have the skills. If that is not sufficient to you, you may ask in the thread for that modification, but be prepared that mod authors will be annoyed if dozens of users spam their threads with questions that go "are you not yet done", "when will you be updating this" and stuff.

Please read the announcement regarding this: http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=228073

I'm not trying to do an update. Nor am I trying to port or convert the mod to vb4. I, myself uses vb 3.8.4.

This mod has a few options. And one of the options out there tells you that if you activate 'this' option you have to add the $mgc_cb_evo_stats variable in the forumhome template.

Althought its about a particular mod, but I got the impression that this is something that is outside the scope of the mods explanation, looking at the explanation on how to do it, which is rather 'short'.

You misunderstood me, lets just leave it to that. Now if you don't mind, have a nice evening.
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  #13  
Old 17 Nov 2009, 19:32
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cellarius cellarius is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Jeweetog View Post
I'm not trying to do an update. Nor am I trying to port or convert the mod to vb4. I, myself uses vb 3.8.4.
Then why in heaven do you post in an article that discusses vB4 programming techniques? If you need support for a mod the one and only place to go is the thread for this mod.
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  #14  
Old 17 Nov 2009, 22:38
winstone winstone is offline
 
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Just wanted to thank you guys both cellarius and Shadab, I've made a lot of progress on porting some major mods after reading what you have posted, I'm doing it for my own experience as I'm planning to finally make the move to vB after having the license for more than a year now lol (been running WBB2.x for ages)

hope that you guys to continue on posting more good stuff
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  #15  
Old 17 Nov 2009, 22:45
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rossco_2005 rossco_2005 is offline
 
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Very nice job.
I wasn't aware of pre-registering.
Thanks.
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