Writing DecentCMS modules

Modules are made of all the files under a subdirectory of the /modules directory. A module may be put directly under the/modulesdirectory, or it can be part of a "module area".

Module areas are groups of modules that have a common origin, and make sense being together. An example of a module area is the "core" area, that groups all the core modules that come standard with DecentCMS. They provide essential features that are likely to be useful to any DecentCMS web site. Another advantage of module areas is that they make it easier to manage a whole group of modules under a single Git repository.

Module areas are simply subdirectories of the /modules directory that do not have a package.json file directly under it, but has one or more modules under it. You may not put areas under areas.

Under a module's directory, you will find some or all of these directories and files:

  • docs: The documentation for the module. At least an "index" topic (typically a index.yaml.md file) should be present.
  • lib: Code that is not part of a DecentCMS service can be stored under this directory. Most modules won't have a libdirectory, only services. JavaScript files under this directory will be automatically discovered by the "API Documentation" feature.
  • node_modules: The NPM dependencies and dev dependencies for the module. DecentCMS service dependencies do not need to exist in node_modules, as those are discovered and made available globally.
  • services: JavaScript files in this directory expose DecentCMS services. This is the most important directory of a module, where its features are implemented.
  • test: This directory should contain one or several JavaScript files that test all services in the module.
  • views: Templates used by services in the module can be found in this directory, and will be automatically discovered by DecentCMS.
  • Gruntfile.js: The Grunt file for a module describes all the automated tasks that are relevant to the module. At least, it should have a "default" task and a "test" task. The "default" task may just be the same as the "test" task. An easy way to get started with this is to just copy the module-gruntfile.js file from the root of the application to the root directory of the module, renaming it to Gruntfile.js.
  • package.json: This is a standard NPM package manifest, with a few additional properties that DecentCMS can recognize. This is where the features that the module exposes can be declared.
  • placement.json or placement.js: A file that describes how to dispatch shapes into zones.

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