Custom configurations

The Contao configuration is stored in one big array that is divided into three sections: the system configuration, the data container configuration and the language configuration. The configuration array is built at run-time and contains only those parts that are required to generate a certain page. Contao does not waste time and memory parsing a lot of redundant configuration files.

Customizing the system configuration

The system configuration is stored in the config.php files of the various Contao modules. If you want to customize it, apply your changes to the system/config/localconfig.php file, so they will not be overridden on the next update. Most parameters can be set in the back end in the settings module and will be written to the local configuration file automatically, so you hardly ever need to edit it manually.

// Disable the extension creator

$GLOBALS['TL_CONFIG']['debugMode'] = false;
$GLOBALS['TL_CONFIG']['displayErrors'] = false;

Make sure to store your changes above the INSTALL SCRIPT START line, otherwise they will be removed by the settings module. And never use the config.php file to store configuration parameters, because this file might be overridden on updates!

Customizing the data container configuration

Contao uses Data Container Arrays to store table meta information. The data container configuration is stored in the dca folders of the various Contao modules. Apply your changes to the system/config/dcaconfig.php file so they will not be overridden on the next update.

// Make company a mandatory field in the members table
$GLOBALS['TL_DCA']['tl_member']['fields']['company']['eval']['mandatory'] =

// Make sure that company names consist of alphanumeric characters only
$GLOBALS['TL_DCA']['tl_member']['fields']['company']['eval']['rgxp'] = 'alnum';

// Allow only admins to use include content elements
if (!BackendUser::getInstance()->isAdmin)

As you see, the dcaconfig.php file is a good place to store minor modifications to the Contao configuration. If you need to make a lot of changes, you should consider encapsulating them in a custom extension so you do not lose track.

Customizing labels and translations

Labels and translations are stored in the languages folders of the various Contao modules. Each language is identified by its ISO-639-1 language code. Apply your changes to the system/config/langconfig.php file so they will not be overridden on the next update.

// Change a label for all languages
$GLOBALS['TL_LANG']['MSC']['goBack'] = '«';

// Change a label for a particular language only
if ($GLOBALS['TL_LANGUAGE'] == 'de')
    $GLOBALS['TL_LANG']['tl_layout']['column'] = 'Bereich';
elseif ($GLOBALS['TL_LANGUAGE'] == 'fr')
    $GLOBALS['TL_LANG']['tl_layout']['column'] = 'Section';

Of course changes to the language array can also be encapsulated in a custom module, which is recommended if there are a lot of them.

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