Developer Guide

This is the Zotonic Developer Guide. It takes you through all aspects of Zotonic so you can start building your own sites as quickly as possible.
Getting Started
You have three options for running Zotonic: to get started quickly, start our Zotonic container. You can also use Nix or manually install the dependencies.
We offer the Docker image zotonic/zotonic-dev which contains build tools and Erlang.
Directory structure
Zotonic is a set of regular OTP applications. These can be found in the repository’s apps/ directory:
Zotonic has the capability of serving more than one site at a time. You can have multiple sites enabled, each with its own set of templates, database and…
The Status site
The Zotonic “status” site is the first thing you see once you have installed Zotonic, or if you do not have any sites configured yet.
Controllers are the Erlang modules which decide what happens when a browser requests a page. Zotonic looks at the dispatch rules that match the requested URL
Dispatch rules
Dispatch rules route incoming requests to controllers.
Resources are Zotonic’s main data unit. You may want to familiarise yourself with the Zotonic data model in the User Guide.
Templates are text files marked up using the Zotonic template language. Zotonic interprets that mark-up to dynamically generate HTML pages. Zotonic’s template…
CSS classes used in templates
If you are building a website then you might want to use the standard dialogs, overlays, authentication and other parts of Zotonic. To make those look like…
Resources can have media resources attached to them. Resources and their media (images, video and audio) are connected through ‘depiction’ edges. Additionally
Including Zotonic icons CSS Add the CSS file to your template:
Forms and validation
You should validate all input data entered in forms. In Zotonic you create forms by writing plain HTML. You can attach one or more validators to each input…
Using the query search API you can retrieve lists of resources in various ways. In your templates, you do so through the search model:
Many sites need to support content and templates in multiple languages. Luckily, Zotonic is completely multilingual, out of the box. mod_translation does all…
Wires are the older way to code actions and client/server interaction. It is now advised to use MQTT topics with mod_mqtt instead.
Access control
Access control is about defining who is allowed to access certain resources. It takes two steps:
Modules are the building blocks of Zotonic. They add functionality to your Zotonic website such as:
At different moments in the lifecycle of the web request, Zotonic sends notifications. By observing these notifications you can override Zotonic’s behaviour.
Browser/server interaction
There are multiple ways to set up interaction between server-side Zotonic code and client-side JavaScript.
E-mail handling
Any Zotonic system is capable of sending and receiving e-mail messages over SMTP.
Command-line shell
The Zotonic shell gives you access to a running Zotonic instance with its code and data.
Zotonic uses Logger for logging. Logger metadata is automatically set by Zotonic in the controller functions.
Testing sites
It is possible to create end-to-end integration tests for Zotonic websites. Tests like these are called sitetests . They run within the Zotonic shell
So you have built your Zotonic site, and now you want to show it to the world. This page tells you how to configure your zotonic environment so that it is…
Installation Zotonic won’t start and shows errors when running zotonic debug Check your site’s database configuration.
Contributing to Zotonic
We encourage contributions to Zotonic from the community! This chapter describes how you can help improve Zotonic.
Release Notes
Every time a Zotonic release is made, we create a document which lists the most important changes. This page contains links to the release notes for each…
Upgrade notes
These notes list the most important changes between Zotonic versions. Please read these notes carefully when upgrading to a new major Zotonic version.