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Magento 2: Creating a custom module

Juan pablo ventoso

By Juan Pablo Ventoso
April 1, 2020

Bridge with wires

Photo by Babatunde Olajide, cropped from original

A Magento module is a set of classes and routines that will depend on and interact with other Magento classes in order to add a specific feature to a Magento application. While a theme is orientated towards the front-end and user experience, a module is orientated towards backend logic and application flow.

We will need to create a custom module if we want to add or change the existing logic at a level where Magento doesn’t provide a setting or option for it. For example, if our business has a specific feature or set of features or requirements that are not common to the market, a module can fill that gap for us.

Creating a basic Magento 2 module

Creating a simple module in Magento 2 is not that hard. We will need to accomplish the following tasks:

  • Create a new directory for the module
  • Create a registration.php script
  • Create a etc/module.xml information file
  • Install the new module

Creating a new directory for the module

Where should the new directory for our module be placed? We have two options to choose from:

  • app/code/{vendor}/
  • vendor/{vendor}/

If your module is intended for a specific website you’re working on, you can use the first option. If you’re creating a module with the intention of it being used on several websites, it’s best to choose the second option. We’ll use the first for this example.

Let’s create a directory named EndPoint (our vendor name) with a subdirectory inside it, MyModule:

cd {website_root}
mkdir -p app/code/EndPoint/MyModule

Creating the registration.php script

The registration.php file tells Magento to register the new module under a specific name and location. Let’s create a file named app/code/EndPoint/MyModule/registration.php with the folllowing content:

<?php
\Magento\Framework\Component\ComponentRegistrar::register(
    \Magento\Framework\Component\ComponentRegistrar::MODULE,
    'EndPoint_MyModule',
    __DIR__
);

We’re telling Magento that our module will be named EndPoint_MyModule.

Creating the etc/module.xml information file

Now, let’s create our module information file, where we’ll specify the module version number. First, we need to create the etc directory inside app/code/EndPoint/MyModule:

mkdir app/code/EndPoint/MyModule/etc

then create module.xml with the following content:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<config xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="urn:magento:framework:Module/etc/module.xsd">
    <module name="EndPoint_MyModule" setup_version="1.0.0">
    </module>
</config>

Installing the new module

That’s it! We have everything we need to install our new module. Now we need to tell Magento we want to install and enable our new module. So from our website root we need to run:

php bin/magento setup:upgrade

Magento will output a list of module names and configuration updates, and our new module EndPoint_MyModule should be listed in that output.

Adding a custom route to our module

Now we have a working, enabled module, but it’s not doing anything yet! What’s a simple way to check that our module is enabled? Let’s set up a custom route, so if we hit a URL like https://{our_website}/mymodule/test/helloworld we can return a custom response from a controller.

Creating a custom route will need some steps on its own:

  • Create a new directory for the controller
  • Create a etc/routes.xml file
  • Create the controller
  • Upgrade the new module

Creating a new directory for the controller

First we need to create a new directory where the new PHP controller for our custom route will live. The new directory path should be:

app/code/EndPoint/MyModule/Controller

We can create as many directory levels we want, depending on our desired path. For example, if we create a class named Index in app/code/EndPoint/MyModule/Controller, the URL that will be routed to this controller will be https://{our_website}/mymodule/index (the “Controller” directory is ignored). If we create a class named HelloWorld in app/code/EndPoint/MyModule/Controller/Test, the resulting URL will be https://{our_website}/mymodule/test/helloworld.

Creating the etc/routes.xml file

routes.xml will tell Magento what base URL will be used for our module. First, we need to create the “frontend” directory where the routes.xml file needs to be placed:

mkdir app/code/EndPoint/MyModule/etc/frontend

In this example, we want the base URL to be MyModule, so we need to create an XML file inside the new directory that will route all requests made to the given URL to our module controllers:

<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<config xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="urn:magento:framework:App/etc/routes.xsd">
    <router id="standard">
        <route frontName="mymodule" id="mymodule">
            <module name="EndPoint_MyModule"/>
        </route>
    </router>
</config>

Creating the controller

If we want to respond to requests for https://{our_website}/mymodule/test/helloworld we first need to create the base Controller directory and the Test subdirectory:

mkdir -p app/code/EndPoint/MyModule/Controller/Test

Under this directory, we’ll create our custom Magento controller. All route controllers should extend \Magento\Framework\App\Action\Action. We also need to have a public construct() method to pass the context to our ancestor and an execute() function that will be called when the URL is hit:

<?php

namespace EndPoint\MyModule\Controller\Test;

class HelloWorld extends \Magento\Framework\App\Action\Action
{

    public function __construct(
        \Magento\Framework\App\Action\Context $context
    ) {
        parent::__construct(
            $context
        );
    }

    public function execute()
    {
        echo "Hello world!";
    }

}

Upgrading the new module

We have everything in place to tell Magento we have new changes to be deployed. How we do that? First, we need to upgrade our Magento setup. But since we added a new controller that gets parameters from the dependency injector in the construct, we also need to compile the dependency injection engine (including factories, proxies, and interceptors). And finally, we need to clear the cache so new content will be served from our custom URL:

php bin/magento setup:upgrade
php bin/magento setup:di:compile
php bin/magento cache:flush

This process can take a few minutes to complete, but after it’s done we can try to reach our new custom URL. If we get a response like the one below:

Hello world!

That means our module is working!

That’s all for now. In upcoming posts, we’ll start complicating things a bit by overriding Magento classes with our custom ones and creating custom controllers that will return information from the Magento core classes. We will also explore how to customize the front-end by creating a theme. Don’t forget to add any questions, suggestions, or issues in the comments below!

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