Shortcode API

The Shortcode API allows you to map specifically formatted content to a callback to transform them into something else, usually to HTML code. You might know this concept from forum software which don’t allow you to insert direct HTML, instead resorting to a custom syntax (e.g. BBCode).

A Shortcode is a QuickApps-specific pseudo-code that lets you do nifty things with very little effort. Shortcodes can for example print current language code/name or call specifics plugin/themes functions. For instance, the following shortcode can be used anywhere to print current language’s code:

{locale code /}

Defining Shortcodes

Shortcodes are implemented on top of Event System, so basically: a shortcode is a way to trigger events using pseudo-code. To create a shortcode you must simply create an event listener class suffixed with the Shortcode word and indicate which shortcodes it will handle using the implementedEvents() method. For example:

// Blog\Event\BoxesShortcode.php
namespace MyPlugin\Event;


public function implementedEvents()
    return [
        'redBox' => 'redBox',
        'blueBox' => 'blueBox',


Where redBox and blueBox are methods defined within the event listener class, these methods must expect four arguments:

  • $event (first argument): the event object that was triggered by the parser
  • $atts (second argument): an associative array of attributes
  • $content (third argument): the enclosed content (if the shortcode is used in its enclosing form)
  • $code (fourth argument): the shortcode name (only when it matches the callback name)

For example:

public function redBox(Event $event, $atts, $content, $code) {
    // logic here, and return HTML

These methods are responsible of converting a shortcode (that looks as {locale code /}) into their HTML equivalent.


The $atts array may include any arbitrary attributes that are specified by the user. Attribute names are always converted to lowercase before they are passed into the handler function. Values are untouched. {some_shortcode Foo=”bAr”} produces $atts = array(‘foo’ => ‘bAr’).


Don’t use camelCase or UPPER-CASE for your $atts attribute names.

Parsing Shortcodes

Once you have defined your shortcodes is time to start converting a shortcode into HTML. By default QuickAppsCMS parses shortcodes on every piece of content that is sent to users, This means you don’t require to do anything special for parsing shortcodes.

However, you can use the CMS\Shortcode\ShortcodeTrait trait in any class, to add shortcodes parsing functionalities. By defaults this trait is attached to CMS\View\View, which means you can use shortcode functionalities within any template using the methods shortcodes() & stripShortcodes() it provides.

Basically, shortcodes() receives a string as only arguments and look for shortcodes in the given text, for example, in any template you could:

echo $this->shortcodes("Current language code is: <b>{language code /}</b>");

Depending on the current language you are navigating you will get:

Current language code is: <b>en-us</b>

The second method, stripShortcodes(), simply removes all shortcodes from the given text:

echo $this->stripShortcodes("Current language code is: <b>{language code /}</b>");

Now you will get:

Current language code is: <b></b>

Escaping Shortcodes

Some times you would need to scape shortcodes so they are not processed by the Shortcode parser. Here we’ll explain how to escape shortcodes so they are ignored by the parser.


The most simple way to escape a shortcode is by surrounding it with { and } symbols. For example:

Please use the <code>{{locale /}}</code> shortcode for printing language code.

After parser is applied the following will be presented to the user:

Please use the <code>{locale /}</code> shortcode for printing language code.

And in the case of shortcodes using Enclosed form you must do the same:

This is an {{enclose_form_shortcode attr=value}with an enclosed content{/enclose_form_shortcode}}

Which result in:

This is an {enclose_form_shortcode attr=value}with an enclosed content{/enclose_form_shortcode}

Block Escaping

Some times you would need to escape entire portions of HTML code mixed with shortcodes. You can escape chunks of code by surrounding it with {no_shortcode} and {/no_shortcode}, which ironically is a shortcode itself. For example:

<h2>Allowed shortcodes are</h2>
    <li>{box_blue /}</li>
    <li>{box_red /}</li>
    <li>{box_green /}</li>

The code above will produce the following code after processed by the Shortcode Parser:

<h2>Allowed shortcodes are</h2>
    <li>{box_blue /}</li>
    <li>{box_red /}</li>
    <li>{box_green /}</li>

Tutorial: Creating a Shortcode

In this tutorial we’ll be creating a shortcode for displaying HTML content-boxes of different colors. We want our shortcode to be as follow:

  • Its name will be content_box.
  • Will use the enclosed form ({tag} ( content...) {/tag}), for holding the box’s content.
  • Will accept a color parameter for specify the color of the box to render.
  • Will be handled by the Blog plugin.

So our shortcode definition would looks as follow:

{content_box color=green}Lorem ipsum dolor{/content_box}

Which should be converted to HTML like so:

<div style="background-color:green;">
    Lorem ipsum dolor

Defining the listener class

As first step we must create a shortcode listener class, which would listen for the content_box event:

// Blog/src/Event/BoxesShortcode.php
namespace Blog\Event;

use Cake\Event\EventListener;

class BoxesShortcode implements EventListener
    public function implementedEvents()
        return [
            'content_box' => 'contentBox',

Creating the event handler method

Now we must define the event handler method which should receive shortcode’s information and convert it into HTML:

public function contentBox(Event $event, $atts, $content = null, $code = '')
    $return = '<div style="background-color:' . $atts['color'] . ';"';
    $return .= $content;
    $return .= '</div>';
    return $return;


The event’s subject is the View instance being used in current request, so a good practice is to rely on view-elements when rendering HTML, for instance:

return $event
    ->element('shortcode_content_box', compact('attrs', 'content', 'code'));

Using the shortcode

Now you should be able to use the content_box shortcode as part of any content as follow:

{content_box color=green}Lorem ipsum dolor{/content_box}

Wherever you place the code above it will replaced by the following HTML code:

<div style="background-color:green;">Lorem ipsum dolor</div>