This is the next post of our blog series where we introduce the capabilities of the Matomo (Piwik) platform (our previous post was How to create a widget). This time you’ll learn how to extend Matomo by adding new pages and menu items. For this tutorial you will need to have basic knowledge of PHP and optionally of Twig which is the template engine we use.

What can be displayed in a page?

To make it short: You can display any corporate related content, key metrics, news, help pages, custom reports, contact details, information about your server, forms to manage any data and anything else.

Getting started

In this series of posts, we assume that you have already set up your development environment. If not, visit the Matomo (Piwik) Developer Zone where you’ll find the tutorial Setting up Matomo.

To summarize the things you have to do to get setup:

  • Install Matomo (for instance via git).
  • Activate the developer mode: ./console development:enable --full.
  • Generate a plugin: ./console generate:plugin --name="MyControllerPlugin". There should now be a folder plugins/MyControllerPlugin.
  • And activate the created plugin under Settings => Plugins.

Let’s start creating a page

We start by using the Matomo (Piwik) Console to create a new page:

./console generate:controller

The command will ask you to enter the name of the plugin the controller should belong to. I will simply use the above chosen plugin name “MyControllerPlugin”. There should now be two files plugins/MyControllerPlugin/Controller.php and plugins/MyControllerPlugin/templates/index.twig which both already contain an example to get you started easily:

Controller.php

class Controller extends \Piwik\Plugin\Controller
{
    public function index()
    {
        return $this->renderTemplate('index', array(
             'answerToLife' => 42
        ));
    }
}

and templates/index.twig

{% extends 'dashboard.twig' %}

{% block content %}
    <strong>Hello world!</strong>
    <br/>

    The answer to life is {{ answerToLife }}
{% endblock %}

Note: If you are generating the Controller before Matomo (Piwik) 2.7.0 the example will look slightly different.

The controller action index assigns the view variable answerToLife to the view and renders the Twig template templates/index.twig. Any variable assigned this way can then be used in the view using for example {{ answerToLife }}.

Using a Twig template to generate the content of your page is actually optional: instead feel free to generate any content as desired and return a string in your controller action.

As the above template index.twig is extending the dashboard template the Logo as well as the top menu will automatically appear on top of your content which is defined within the block content.

Rendered page content

How to display the page within the admin

If you would like to add the admin menu on the left you have to modify the following parts:

  • Extend \Piwik\Plugin\ControllerAdmin instead of \Piwik\Plugin\Controller in the file Controller.php. In a future version of Matomo this step will be no longer neccessary, see #6151
  • Extend the template admin.twig instead of dashboard.twig
  • Define a headline using an H2-element
{% extends 'admin.twig' %}

{% block content %}
    <h2>Hello world!</h2>
    <br/>

    The answer to life is {{ answerToLife }}
{% endblock %}

Note: Often one needs to add a page to the admin to make a plugin configurable. We have a unified solution for this using the Settings API.

Admin page

How to display a blank page

If you would like to generate a blank page that shows only your content the template should contain only your markup as follows:

<strong>Hello world!</strong>
<br/>

The answer to life is {{ answerToLife }}

Predefined variables, UI components, security and accessing query parameters

In this blog post we only cover the basics to get you started. We highly recommend to read the MVC guide on our developer pages which covers some of those advanced topics. For instance you might be wondering how to securely access $_GET or $_POST parameters, you might want to restrict the content of your page depending on a user role, and much more.

If you would like to know how to make use of JavaScript, CSS and Less have a look at our Working with Matomo’s UI guide.

Note: How to include existing UI components such as a site selector or a date selector will be covered in a future blog post. Also, there are default variables assigned to the view depending on the context. A list of those variables that may or may not be defined is unfortunately not available yet but we will catch up on this.

Let’s add a menu item to make the page accessible

So far you have created a page but you can still not access it. Therefore we need to add a menu item to one of the Matomo (Piwik) menus. We start by using the Matomo Console to create a menu template:

./console generate:menu

The command will ask you to enter the name of the plugin the menu should belong to. I will use again the above chosen plugin name “MyControllerPlugin”. There should now be a file plugins/MyControllerPlugin/Menu.php which contains an example to get you started easily:

Menu.php

class Menu extends \Piwik\Plugin\Menu
{
    public function configureUserMenu(MenuUser $menu)
    {
        // reuse an existing category. 
        $menu->addManageItem('My User Item', $this->urlForAction('showList'));

        // or create a custom category
        $menu->addItem('My Custom Category', 'My User Item', $this->urlForDefaultAction());
    }
}

This is only a part of the generated template since all the examples of the different menus are similar. You can add items to four menus:

  • configureReportingMenu To add a new item to the reporting menu which includes all the reports like “Actions” and “Visitors”.
  • configureAdminMenu To add a new item to the admin menu which includes items like “User settings” and “Websites”.
  • configureTopMenu To add a new item to the top menu which includes items like “All Websites” and “Logout”.
  • configureUserMenu To add a new item to the user menu which is accessible when clicking on the username on the top right.

In this blog post we will add a new item to the user menu and to do so we adjust the generated template like this:

class Menu extends \Piwik\Plugin\Menu
{
    public function configureUserMenu(MenuUser $menu)
    {
        $menu->addManageItem('My User Item', $this->urlForAction($method = 'index'), $orderId = 30);
    }
}

That’s it. This will add a menu item named “My User Item” to the “Manage” section of the user menu. When a user chooses the menu item, the “index” method of your controller will be executed and your previously created page will be first rendered and then displayed. Optionally, you can define an order to influence the position of the menu item within the manage section. Following this example you can add an item to any menu for any action. I think you get the point!

User menu

Note: In Matomo (Piwik) 2.6.0 and before the above example would look like this:

class Menu extends \Piwik\Plugin\Menu
{
    public function configureUserMenu(MenuUser $menu)
    {
        $menu->addManageItem('My User Item', array($module = 'MyControllerPlugin', $action = 'index'), $orderId = 30);
    }
}

How to test a page

After you have created your page you are surely wondering how to test it. A controller should be usually very simple as it is only the connector between model and view. Therefore, we do usually not create unit or integration test for controllers and for the view less than ever. Instead we would create a UI test that takes a screenshot of your page and compares it with an expected screenshot. Luckily, there is already a section UI tests in our Automated tests guide.

Publishing your Plugin on the Marketplace

In case you want to share your page with other Matomo (Piwik) users you can do this by pushing your plugin to a public GitHub repository and creating a tag. Easy as that. Read more about how to distribute a plugin.

Advanced features

Isn’t it easy to create a page? We never even created a file! Of course, based on our API design principle “The complexity of our API should never exceed the complexity of your use case.” you can accomplish more if you want: You can make use of Vanilla JavaScript, jQuery, AngularJS, Less and CSS, you can reuse UI components, you can access query parameters and much more.

Would you like to know more about this? Go to our MVC (Model-View-Controller) and Working with Matomo’s UI guides in the Matomo (Piwik) Developer Zone.

If you have any feedback regarding our APIs or our guides in the Developer Zone feel free to send it to us.


Thomas Steur

Thomas is a Lead developer for Matomo. He created and maintains our Matomo Mobile app used by dozens of thousands users every week. Thomas has a passion for making Matomo mobile better and improving the Matomo platform by providing simple APIs and clean code.


Any questions?

Many answers and more information about Matomo you can find here:

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