Overview

Single Pages are just like regular pages in a concrete5 site, with the following important differences:

  • Like the name implies, single pages are meant to be used one place in a particular site. For example, multiple login pages makes little sense.

  • Single Pages are not shown in the page types list, because they are not page types (and they can't be added in more than one spot.)

  • Your custom code often relies on single pages living in a particular spot, at a particular path.

  • Single Pages view templates are not, by default, contained within a themes directory.

Want an example of a single page? The concrete5 login page is a single page, and the perfect one: there's no need to add multiple login pages throughout a site. One will do. Furthermore, since blocks and multiple parts of concrete5 need to point to the login page, we need to rely on it being available at "/login", off the root of your site.

The pages within the concrete5 dashboard are another example of single pages. We wouldn't want all the dashboard pages cluttering up our various themes, or our page types selector; however, since single pages are actual Concrete5 pages, we can assign permissions to them, change their titles through the CMS, and even add blocks to them. Yes: single pages can contain block areas.

Adding a Single Page

Let's say we're using Concrete5 to build a social networking tool, and we need a page that allows the logged-in user to upload pictures. We want this page to be available at

http://www.yoursite.com/index.php/media/

We've already decided that this should be a single page because this page is very custom, and will have multiple pages pointing to it at its address. To add this single page, create an empty PHP page within the application/single_pages/ directory at the root of your site. Name it "media.php." Whatever you name this page will be its path in the URL (e.g. "media.php" = http://www.yoursite.com/media"). Typically Concrete5 naming conventions should be used here, so if you want to name something with separators in it, using underscores (e.g. "my_profile.php").

Sign in to the Concrete5 dashboard, and go to Pages & Themes > Single Pages. Find the "Add a Single Page" form at the top of the list, and enter "media" at the bottom (or whatever the name of your single page.) Do not include ".php" in the field.

If all goes as planned, the page should refresh, and your single page will now be added at the root of your site. You can change its name, permissions and attributes all through the CMS. The only thing you can't do is change its handle and page path, because the page exists at one spot in the tree.

Browse to your single page. You should see a page in the current theme with very little content on it. That's because your single page has no content inside it yet. You'll need to add content to your single page view template (the media.php page you added.)

Adding Content to the Single Page View Template

Single pages are wrapped by the "view.php" template for the current theme. This means you don't need to include header or footer information within your single page - it is already present.

In a stock concrete5 site, try opening concrete/themes/elemental/view.php. This is the wrapper for all the single pages within the Elemental theme. Notice the line? That's where all the single page content will be inserted within this template.

Want to change this? You can. If you need more flexible control over a single page within a particular theme, just include a file with the same name as your single page within the theme itself. That entirely file will be used as the single pages template, including the header, footer, etc... It can completely override the single page, too. (So, in our example above, once we have "media" added as a single page, add "media.php" to your active theme. This template will then be used instead of the single page.

Single Pages and Paths

If you anticipate having multiple single pages in a particular section of your site, you can create an entire folder for your single page and its children. For example, instead of creating this:

application/single_pages/media.php

Create this:

 application/single_pages/media/view.php

And add the single page in the same way above. Your single page will still be viewable at /media, but you'll be able to add other pages beneath that path over time

application/single_pages/media/add.php
application/single_pages/media/organize.php

These single pages will be available at http://yoursite.com/index.php/media/add and http://yoursite.com/index.php/media/organize/, respectively.

Extending Existing Parts of Your Site

You can use single pages to extend existing Concrete5 functionality, like the dashboard. Say you want to add another page into the Concrete5 dashboard for some custom business forms. You want this form to be available at

http://www.yoursite.com/index.php/dashboard/my_business_forms/

Just add

application/single_pages/dashboard/my_business_forms.php

And add it through the single pages interface in the dashboard. The new page should show up immediately in the dashboard navigation, both in the side navigation and the home page.

Adding Interactivity

As mentioned, Single Pages are great for those parts of your site that solve custom problems, and will not need to be reused. This is typically because these pages offer some interactivity, whether its a search form, a lengthy multi-step business form, or forms that let you add/edit certain objects.

The keyword here is "form." Single Pages are made for solving complex, interactive problems on your site. Once we have a single page in place, we'll inevitably need to send some data into the single page, and perhaps submit the data back to a processing script of some page. This is what a single page's controller is for. Read on for more information.

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