Editor plugins

Perch content editing forms can be extended using field types, offering a lot of flexibility over how content is structured at collected from the user. The existing textarea field type can be enhanced to use any number of WYSIWYG editors should you require.

Just about any WYSIWYG editor that progressively enhances (or can be made to progressively enhance) a basic HTML textarea can be used with Perch. To make things simple, a few popular editors are pre-packaged for easy installation.

Installing an existing editor plugin

The currently available editors can be found in the add-ons section of the Perch website.

To install, unzip the folder and place the plugin into the perch/addons/plugins/editors folder. If you were installing the CKEditor plugin, for example, this would go into your site at:

perch/addons/plugins/editors/ckeditor

You then use the plugin in the same way that the default markitup editor is used, by adding it to a template tag that has ty[e=”textarea”`.

For example, if I had installed and wanted to use TinyMCE I would use the following in my template.

<perch:content id="text" type="textarea" label="Text" editor="tinymce" html="true" />

As most editors create HTML you need to set html="true" on your region in addition to adding the editor attribute.

Note: If you are converting a default Perch template that uses the MarkItUp editor to use any of the other editor plugins – Redactor, TinyMCE or CKEditor you need to remove markdown=“true” from the tag and replace it with html=“true”.

If you are not sure how to edit Perch Templates then first watch the video on Creating Templates

Building a custom editor

If the editor you wish to use isn’t pre-packaged on our site, it should still be quite easy to install. Place your editor’s files in a folder within perch/addons/plugins/editors, for example,

perch/addons/plugins/editors/myeditor

When you specify editor="myeditor" on a template tag, Perch will do two things

  1. Add a class of myeditor to the textarea field in the edit form
  2. Include the special file perch/addons/plugins/editors/myeditor/_config.inc at the end of the edit page.

The _config.inc file should include any HTML output needed to initialise your editor. Usually that will be links to its JavaScript and CSS files.

Within _config.inc you can use the special string PERCH_LOGINPATH as a placeholder to the path to the user’s Perch installation. This will be replaced with the real path as the file is output. This helps to make your plugin portable between installations.

You should initialise your editor when the window loads, and also listen for the custom event Perch_Init_Editors on the window object. When this event is fired, you should initialise any new, uninitialised editors. It is called when a new block or repeater item is added.

A typical _config.inc file might look like this:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="PERCH_LOGINPATH/addons/plugins/editors/myeditor/myeditor.css" />
<script type="text/javascript" src="PERCH_LOGINPATH/addons/plugins/editors/myeditor/myeditor.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript"> 
$(document).ready(function(){
  // function to set up uninitialised textareas
  var set_up_myeditor = function(){
    $('textarea.myeditor:not([data-init])').attr('data-init', true).myeditor();
  };

  // run the function
  set_up_myeditor();

  // listen for when the function needs to be run again
  $(window).on('Perch_Init_Editors', function(){
    set_up_myeditor();
  }); 
});
</script>

The function is looking for any textarea with a class of myeditor that does not have the custom data-init attribute set. It then sets that attribute and initialises the editor for that textarea. The custom attribute is used as a flag to prevent the same textarea being initialised more than once.

Perch uses the jQuery library on its pages, so if your editor has a jQuery adaptor or implementation, that’s the best version to use.

Editor configuration sets

You can pass configuration options from the template to the editor using the editor-config attribute on your template tag. The value of this attribute is substituted for the string PERCH_EDITOR_CONFIG in your _config.inc file.

<perch:content id="desc" type="textarea" editor="myeditor" editor-config="headings links" />

It’s then up to your plugin code to parse the string and use it however you see fit to configure your plugin.

Note: currently, as the configuration file is only include once per form, there is a limitation of the editor-config applying once. It’s not possible to mix multiple editors with different configurations within the same form. You should probably think carefully about using multiple WYSIWYG editors per form anyway, as they can be quite heavy.