Creating web UI module

In this page you can find a working example of a simple UI for a new module, but, first a little of theory.

Web UI structure

All code is organized in three main directories:

  • /usr/share/nethesis/Nethgui: framework libraries (can be used for other projects)
  • /usr/share/nethesis/NethServer: actual implementation of modules UI
  • /usr/share/nethesis/nethserver-manager: web root directory

Nethgui is a MVC framework that aims to abstract the developer from the backend and frontend. This means that you don’t have to deal with reading and writing properties from DB, neither care about HTML, CSS and JavaScript on the client side. You just write the controller. Of course, if you want, you can play with all three layers but it shouldn’t be necessary in the most of cases.

Each module is composed by 4 parts:

  • Controller: /usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Module/.php
  • View: /usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Template/.php
  • Translation: /usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Language//NethServer\_Module*.php
  • Inline help : /usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Help/NethServer_Module*\ .html

If needed, a module can add extra resources:

  • Specific authorization (JSON format): /usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Authorization/.json - See Nethgui:Authorization
  • Custom CSS: /usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Css/.css - See Including CSS
  • Custom JavaScript: /usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Js/.js - See Including JS
  • Unit tests: /usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Test/Unit/NethServer/Module/.php - See Nethgui unit test
  • Utility libraries: /usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Tool/.php

Writing the code

We add a UI to the package nethserver-ejabberd module. The UI will expose 2 properties of the ejabberd db key.


  • status: start and stop the ejabberd daemon on boot, can be enabled or disabled
  • WelcomeText: welcome text, can be anything


First, we create the controller which has 3 main functions:

  • initializeAttributes: handle module position in menu
  • initialize: bind the properties to the database and set the validator
  • onParametersSaved: apply the configuration

Here is the controller (/usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Module/Ejabber.php):

declareParameter('status', Validate::SERVICESTATUS, array('configuration', 'ejabberd', 'status'));
        // Bind 'WelcomeText' view parameter to 'WelcomeText' prop in ejabberd key of configuration db
        $this->declareParameter('WelcomeText', Validate::ANYTHING, array('configuration', 'ejabberd', 'WelcomeText'));

    // Execute actions when saving parameters
    protected function onParametersSaved($changes)
        // Signal nethserver-ejabberd-save event after saving props to db



Show all fields using built-in functions. If needed, you can add extra HTML markup but remember that the output must be functional on any device (desktop, mobile, text browser, etc).

Template (/usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Template/Ejabber.php):

header()->setAttribute('template', $T('Ejabber_Title'));

// add simple panel
echo $view->panel()
    //add 'status' parameter checkbox with value when checked and unchecked
    ->insert($view->checkbox('status', 'enabled')->setAttribute('uncheckedValue', 'disabled'))
    //add 'WelcomeText' text input field

// show submit and help buttons
echo $view->buttonList($view::BUTTON_SUBMIT | $view::BUTTON_HELP);


Translation files, are simple PHP files containing an associative array. All module language files are placed in /usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Language/<lang>. Given a module with name “Test”, the english language file will be /usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Language/en/NethServer_Module_Test.php.

Warning messages about missing translations can be found in /var/log/messages after Nethgui debug is enabled. To enable the debug, use index_dev.php on urls, eg: https://<ipaddress>/index_dev.php/en/<module>.

English translation (/usr/share/nethesis/NethServer/Language/en/NethServer_Module_Ejabber.php):


$L['Ejabber_Title'] = 'Chat server';
$L['status_label'] = 'Enable Ejabber chat server';
$L['WelcomeText'] = 'Welcome!';

Inline help

Help pages are RST documents compiled into xHTML pages at package build time.

Chat server

Ejabber is a chat server that implements the Jabber/XMPP protocol Jabber / XMPP, it support TLS on standard XMPP ports (5222 or 5223).

The chat server uses system users to login.

More examples

More examples can be found here or browsing the existing modules.