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Extending / Intermediate / Creating widgets

Note: You are currently reading the documentation for Bolt 3.7. Looking for the documentation for Bolt 5.2 instead?

In Bolt you can add widgets to both the frontend as well as the backend of the application. Creating widgets in Bolt is pretty straightforward. It usually consists of two steps, especially if you're adding widgets to the 'frontend':

  • Configuring the widget to assign it to a position, being a named area in the template, where it's allowed to be shown.
  • Adding a widget position to your template or theme, making the widget show up in that position.

To register a widget for use in an extension, use the following.

    protected function registerAssets()
        $widgetObj = new \Bolt\Asset\Widget\Widget();
            ->setCallback([$this, 'functionName'])

        return [ $widgetObj ];

If defer is true, the rendering of the widget is done in a seperate request, so it doesn't potentially block the rendering of the page. It does this by writing out an empty <div>, into which the rendered HTML is inserted via an ajax call.

The cache duration, if set using ->setCacheDuration(), keeps the rendered widget in cache for a set amount of time. This can be useful if the widget takes some time to render, but doesn't display real time information.

Note: It is the responsibility of the developer of the widget to check for authentication of a widget that is rendered 'defered' via Ajax.

Note: You should not use 'defer' for the login_top, login_middle and login_bottom positions. If you use defer on those, they will not show up when you're not already logged on.


You are free to choose any name for the position in the 'frontend', but it is good practice to stick with the default names if possible. This way it'll be easier for developers to use extensions in your theme, without having to dig through the template code to find which widget areas are defined.

For the 'backend', you should stick to the names listed below, because these are the only ones that are used.

Commonly used widget positions for the frontend are:

  • main_top
  • main_break
  • main_bottom
  • aside_top
  • aside_middle
  • aside_bottom
  • footer

Defined positions for the backend are:

  • dashboard_aside_top
  • dashboard_aside_middle
  • dashboard_aside_bottom
  • dashboard_below_header
  • dashboard_bottom
  • overview_aside_top
  • overview_aside_middle
  • overview_aside_bottom
  • overview_below_header
  • overview_bottom
  • editcontent_aside_top
  • editcontent_aside_middle
  • editcontent_aside_bottom
  • editcontent_below_header
  • editcontent_bottom
  • files_below_header
  • files_bottom
  • editfile_below_header
  • editfile_bottom
  • login_top
  • login_middle
  • login_bottom
  • edituser_aside_top
  • edituser_aside_bottom
  • edituser_below_header
  • edituser_bottom
  • users_aside_top
  • users_aside_bottom
  • users_below_header
  • users_bottom

Styling widgets, using CSS

See the page Using Widgets, for more information.

Using widgets in templates / themes

See the page Using Widgets, for more information.

Getting the global context

A Bolt widget has no so-called context, by design. Normally, a widget can be used on a number of locations in a website, as chosen by the implementor of the theme. As such, when developing the widget, we shouldn't make assumptions as to where it's being used.

In rare cases you might still need to get the context from the Twig templates, in order to provide a contextual widget. To do this, use the following, before rendering your widget's template:

    public function widgetCallback($widget)
        $app = $this->getContainer();

        // Data to pass into the widget
        $data = [
            'record'  => $record,
            'widget'  => $widget,
            'content' => $widget['content'],

        // Grab the current Twig globals, and prepare to pass them back in. 
        $data = array_merge($data, $app['twig']->getGlobals());

        return $this->renderTemplate($widget['template'], $data);

Note: This 'trick' will only work for widgets that are not deferred.


Initialise the widget:

        use Bolt\Asset\Widget\Widget;


        $widget = new Widget();
            ->setCallback([$this, 'frontendButton'])

And add the callback function

    public function frontendButton()

        $html = sprintf("<a href='%s' class='btn btn-default'><i class='fa fa-%s'></i> &nbsp;%s</a>",
            'Click me!'

        return $html;

Adding a widget to the sidebar on the dashboard

Add the widget:

        $widget = new \Bolt\Asset\Widget\Widget();
            ->setCallback([$this, 'backendDashboard'])

Add the callback function:

    public function backendDashboard()
        $currentuser = $this->app['users']->getCurrentUser();
        $twigvars = [ 'title' => "Hello, " . $currentuser['displayname'] ];

        // Render the template, and return the results
        return $this->renderTemplate('dashboard_widget_aside.twig', $twigvars);

And create a template file like templates/dashboard_widget_aside.twig:

<div class="panel panel-default panel-news">
    <div class="panel-heading">
        <i class="fa fa-fw fa-smile-o"></i>
        {{ title }}

    <div class="panel-body">
        <p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Et certamen honestum et disputatio splendida! omnis est enim de virtutis dignitate contentio.

            <a href="{{ path('dashboard') }}" class="btn btn-secondary">
                <i class="fa fa-music"></i>
                Click me!
            <a href="{{ path('about') }}" class="btn btn-default">
                <i class="fa fa-thumbs-up"></i>
                No, click me!


The result of this is:

screenshot 2015-10-18 09 57 07

To see a real-world example of Widgets in an extension, be sure to inspect the Base Widget extension as a decent example. The extension can be installed directly from Bolt's 'Extras' menu. More information about the extension can be found on the Bolt extensions website. The full readme can be found here.

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