apostrophe-widgets (module)

Inherits from: apostrophe-module

The base class for all modules that implement a widget, such as apostrophe-rich-text-widgets, apostrophe-pieces-widgets and apostrophe-video-widgets.

All widgets have a schema. Many project-specific modules that extend this module consist entirely of an addFields option and a views/widget.html file.

For more information see the custom widgets tutorial.



The label of the widget, as seen in menus for adding widgets.


The unique name of this type of widget, as seen in the type property in the database. It will be singular if it displays one thing, like apostrophe-video, and plural if it displays more than one thing, like apostrophe-pieces. By default, Apostrophe automatically removes -widgets from the name of your module to set this option for you. This is a good convention but you may set this option instead if you wish.


If your widget wishes to use Apostrophe features like schemas when interacting with logged-out users — for instance, to implement forms conveniently — you can set the scene option to user. Any page that contains the widget will then load the full javascript and stylesheet assets normally reserved for logged-in users. Note that if a page relies on AJAX calls to load more content later, the assets will not be upgraded. So you may wish to set the scene option of the appropriate subclass of apostrophe-custom-pages or apostrophe-pieces-pages, as well.

addFields, removeFields, arrangeFields, etc.

The standard options for building schemas are accepted. The widget will present a modal dialog box allowing the user to edit these fields. They are then available inside widget.html as properties of data.widget.


If you set defer: true for a widget module, like apostrophe-images-widgets, the join to actually fetch the images is deferred until the last possible minute, right before the template is rendered. This can eliminate some queries and speed up your site when there are many separate joins happening on a page that ultimately result in loading images.

If you wish this technique to also be applied to images loaded by content on the global doc, you can also set deferWidgetLoading: true for the apostrophe-global module. To avoid chicken and egg problems, there is still a separate query for all the images from the global doc and all the images from everything else, but you won't get more than one of each type.

Setting defer to true may help performance for any frequently used widget type that depends on joins and has a load method that can efficiently handle multiple widgets.

If you need access to the results of the join in server-side JavaScript code, outside of page templates, do not use this feature. Since it defers the joins to the last minute, that information will not be available yet in any asynchronous node.js code. It is the last thing to happen before the actual page template rendering.

Important templates

You will need to supply a views/widget.html template for your module that extends this module.

In views/widget.html, you can access any schema field as a property of data.widget. You can also access options passed to the widget as data.options.


If your widget requires JavaScript on the browser side, you will want to define the browser-side singleton that manages this type of widget by supplying a public/js/always.js file. In that file you will override the play method, which receives a jQuery element containing the appropriate div, the data for the widget, and the options that were passed to the widget.

For example, here is the public/js/always.js file for the apostrophe-video-widgets module:

apos.define('apostrophe-video-widgets', {
  extend: 'apostrophe-widgets',
  construct: function(self, options) {
    self.play = function($widget, data, options) {
      return apos.oembed.queryAndPlay($widget.find('[data-apos-video-player]'), data.video);

ALWAYS USE $widget.find, NEVER $('selector....')` to create widget players. Otherwise your site will suffer from "please click refresh after you save" syndrome. Otherwise known as "crappy site syndrome."

Command line tasks

node app your-widget-module-name-here:list

Lists all of the places where this widget is used on the site. This is very useful if you are debugging a change and need to test all of the different ways a widget has been used, or are wondering if you can safely remove one.



Compose the schema, accepting addFields, removeFields, etc. as described in the schema guide. After afterConstruct invokes this method, self.schema is available. Throw an error if type is used as a field name

output(widget, options)

Returns markup for the widget. Invoked by widget.html in the apostrophe-areas module as it iterates over widgets in an area. The default behavior is to render the template for the widget, which is by default called widget.html, passing it data.widget and data.options. The module is accessible as data.manager.

load(req, widgets, callback)

Perform joins and any other necessary async actions for our type of widget. Note that an array of widgets is handled in a single call as you can usually optimize this.

Override this to perform custom joins not specified by your schema, talk to APIs, etc.

Also implements the scene convenience option for upgrading assets delivered to the browser to the full set of user assets.

sanitize(req, input, callback)

Sanitize the widget. Invoked when the user has edited a widget on the browser side. By default, the input object is sanitized via the convert method of apostrophe-schemas, creating a new output object so that no information in input is blindly trusted.

The callback is invoked with (null, output).


Remove all properties of a widget that are the results of joins (arrays or objects named with a leading _) for use in stuffing the "data" attribute of the widget.

If we don't do a good job here we get 1MB+ of markup! So if you override this, play nice. And seriously consider using an AJAX route to fetch the data you need if you only need it under certain circumstances, such as in response to a user click.


Filter options passed from the template to the widget before stuffing them into JSON for use by the widget editor. Again, we discard all properties that are the results of joins or otherwise dynamic (arrays or objects named with a leading _).

If we don't do a good job here we get 1MB+ of markup. So if you override this, play nice. And think about fetching the data you need only when you truly need it, such as via an AJAX request in response to a click.


Push always.js to the browser at all times. Push user.js to the browser when a user is logged in. Push editor.js to the browser when a user is logged in.

Note that if your module also has files by these names they are automatically pushed too, and they will always come after these, allowing you to extend properly when calling apos.define.


Define the browser-side singleton for this module, which exists always in order to permit play methods.


Before any page is sent to the browser, create the singleton.


Set the options to be passed to the browser-side singleton corresponding to this module. By default they do not depend on req, but the availability of that parameter allows subclasses to make distinctions based on permissions, etc.

If a browser option was configured for the module its properties take precedence over the default values passed on here for name, label, action (the base URL of the module), schema and contextualOnly.

list(apos, argv, callback)

Implement the command line task that lists all widgets of this type found in the database:

node app your-module-name-here-widgets:list

addSearchTexts(widget, texts)


Return true if this widget should be considered empty, for instance it is a rich text widget with no text or meaningful formatting so far. By default this method returns false, so the presence of any widget of this type means the area containing it is not considered empty.

API Routes

POST /modules/apostrophe-widgets/modal

A POST route to render widgetEditor.html. data.label and data.schema are available to the template.

Next: apostrophe-widgets (browser) →