Creating a custom layout type

Netgen Layouts ships with some layout types (from simple ones with one zone, to more complicated ones with 8 zones), which are readily available to be used in your own projects without any additional configuration.

If none of those layout types satisfy your needs, you can create your own. Creating your own layout type is split into three parts:

  • Basic configuration
  • Creating frontend and backend Twig templates for rendering the layout
  • Connecting the templates with your layout type

We will demonstrate the process by creating a simple layout type with two zones: left and right.

Basic configuration

To register a new layout type in Netgen Layouts, add the following YAML config:

            name: 'My layout'
            icon: '/path/to/icon.svg'
                    name: 'Left'
                    name: 'Right'

This specifies that our new layout type has a my_layout identifier, that its human readable name is My layout and that it has two zones, left and right. It also specifies the full path to layout type icon.


Since layout type icons are used in several places in admin interface and Block Manager app in different sizes, it is recommended to create your own icons in SVG format, rather than PNG to allow the CSS to resize the icons.

Creating frontend and backend Twig templates

Netgen Layouts uses two separate templates to render the layout on the frontend and in the backend. By default, all frontend templates and backend templates for built-in layout types are based on Bootstrap grid. Backend templates, used by the Block Manager app, will be rendered correctly as long as you provide the valid Bootstrap markup. On the other hand, to render frontend templates correctly, you will need to include CSS for Bootstrap Grid component in your site.


It is possible to switch all frontend templates to use a different grid like Flexbox, however at this time, only Bootstrap implementation of templates is available.

Creating a backend template

Backend templates for layout types usually do not have any logic, apart from HTML markup that specifies where each of the layout type zones goes within Bootstrap grid. If needed, backend templates can access the currently rendered layout with a Twig variable named layout.

The following template shows an example of how would the backend template look for layout type we configured earlier:

{# @App/layouts/api/my_layout.html.twig #}

<div class="row">
    <div class="col-md-8">
        <div data-zone="left"></div>

    <div class="col-md-4">
        <div data-zone="right"></div>

It is important for backend templates to have <div data-zone="my_zone"></div> element with correct zone identifier (replacing my_zone) for every zone configured.

Creating a frontend template

Frontend templates are usually more complicated, since they need to provide the code to actually render layout zones by themselves.

All markup in frontend templates for your layout types needs to be inside a Twig block named layout and they always need to extend a special ngbm.pageLayoutTemplate variable available in the template. This variable will always hold the name of the main pagelayout of your app, which is either configured manually through Netgen Layouts configuration, or in some cases picked up automatically from available configuration of your app (if using eZ Platform for example).

This template has access to currently rendered layout via Twig variable named ngbm.layout and each zone is rendered via ngbm_render_zone Twig tag. Since zone does not have a template of its own, this tag simply renders all blocks one after another. Accessing a zone via'left') function will either return the requested zone, or the zone in a shared layout if one is configured for the specified zone, so no additional code is required to handle zones connected to shared layouts.

The complete frontend template for your custom layout type with two zones might look something like this:

{# @App/layouts/my_layout.html.twig #}

{% extends ngbm.pageLayoutTemplate %}

{% block layout %}
    <div class="container">
        <div class="row">
            <div class="col-lg-8">
                {% if'left') is not empty %}
                    {% ngbm_render_zone'left') %}
                {% endif %}

            <div class="col-lg-4">
                {% if'right') is not empty %}
                    {% ngbm_render_zone'right') %}
                {% endif %}
{% endblock %}

Connecting the templates with your layout type

To activate the frontend and backend templates you defined, you will need to configure them through the view layer configuration. Read up on what a view layer is and the corresponding terminology in documentation specific to view layer itself.

Currently, two matchers are implemented in the view layer for layout view:

  • layout\type - Matches on layout type of a layout
  • layout\shared - Matches on “shared” flag of a layout

Most of the time, you will use layout\type matcher for configuring templates for your custom layout types. The reason for this is that shared layouts are never rendered directly on the frontend so there is no really need for using layout\shared matcher. The reason for its existence is that it is used in the administration interface of Netgen Layouts.

The following is an example config that enables the two templates we created:

                    template: "@App/layouts/my_layout.html.twig"
                        layout\type: my_layout
                    template: "@App/layouts/api/my_layout.html.twig"
                        layout\type: my_layout
                        api_version: 1

At this point, your new layout type is ready for usage.