Contao API Reference

Contao development has started back in 2005. Over the years, a lot of features were added to the framework.


Be aware that this reference guide always describes the latest Contao version. The differences are described in the respective sections of the reference guide.

The Contao API (Application Programming Interface) Reference is split into different sections.

  1. Data Configuration Array

    The DCA is one of the most important features in Contao. The backend CRUD functinality is described in a PHP array structure. The DCA is responsible for a unified look in the backend, and one of the first points where you can customize the system.

  2. Extending Contao

    This section describes how to add functionality like content elements, frontend modules or custom form fields to the system. Another important parts are hooks, Contao's own event system to extend core functionality.

  3. Frontend Output

    Detailed information how to inject custom code to the frontend output, without modifying the fe_page template.

  4. Advanced Configuration

    In-depth list of configuration options for the advanced framework users.

  5. Constants

    Contao 3 uses a lot of PHP constants to represent state.

  6. Functions and static methods

    Descriptions of the available functions and static methods.

  7. Classes and Singletons

    A reference guide to the framework classes.


The Contao documentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License license (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). If you want to redistribute a modified or unmodified version of the documentation, you can do so under the license terms.

If you contribute to the documentation, e.g. by creating pull requests, you grant us full usage rights of any content you create or upload. You also ensure that your content does not violate any third-party rights.

We are not claiming exclusive usage rights, therefore you are free to use your contributed content (e.g. texts or images) in any other project as well.

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