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Get Familiar With LiteCart's Components

Coding with LiteCart is fun. And it's even more fun when you can do great things with the smallest amount of code.

This page will introduce you to some of the components in the LiteCart framework. Hopefully getting you a better understanding what they do and how they can be used.

Feel free to stop by the LiteCart Forums if you have questions.

Folder Structure

├── admin/
│   ├── *.app/
│   └── *.widget/
├── cache/
├── data/
├── ext/
│   ├── jquery/
│   └── ...
├── images/
├── includes/
│   ├── abstracts/
│   ├── boxes/
│   ├── entities/
│   ├── functions/
│   ├── library/
│   ├── modules/
│   ├── references/
│   ├── routes/
│   ├── templates/
│   └── wrappers/
├── install/
├── logs/
├── pages/
└── vqmod/
    ├── vqcache/
    └── xml/
Application Root
Admin apps
Dashboard widgets
Cache Directory
Data Storage


Class templates
Entity Objects
Defined functions called via using functions::name()
Libraries and system nodes
Read-only factory model reference objects
Route mapping
HTML and Output
Service Layers and Clients
Installation wizard
Application logs
Web Pages


Please note the folder structure is subject to change in a future version.


When defining files and locations you will come a cross two directory definitions:

FS_DIR_APP The file system path to the application root directory e.g. /home/john/public_html/litecart/. Used to reference a file on the server side.

WS_DIR_APP The web system path to the application root directory e.g. /litecart/. Used to reference a resource in the web interface on the client side.

file_get_contents(FS_DIR_APP . 'subfolder/myfile.ext');
<img src="<?php echo document::href_link(WS_DIR_APP . 'images/logotype.png'); ?>" />


The core of LiteCart contains of a set of system nodes called library. They are loaded automatically once requested and do not have a prefix for their class names.

The main purpose of these nodes is to hold and process niched data. E.g. lib_language holds and maintains everything language related.

To get the session currency maintained by ~/includes/library/


To change the session currency:



The lib_database library module handles all database activity. A connection to the default database is opened only when first needed.

To perform a MySQL query and fetch the results:

$query = database::query(
  "select * ..."

while ($row = database::fetch($query)) {


No need to keep track of included function files. Functions can be dynamically loaded through the system library module. This means the files defining the functions will be loaded once the functions are requested.

To load ~/includes/functions/ (if not previously loaded) and output a textarea:

<?php echo functions::form_draw_textarea('foo'); ?>

Note: All function names must be begin with the prefix func_ and be stored in ~/includes/functions/.

Entity Objects

Entity objects are class objects that control entity data and the mappings to their storage e.g. the database. By instantiating an entity object LiteCart will autoload the file constructing the class i.e. includes/entities/ and perform all the database queries for you.

To create a new product and give it an english name:

$product = new ent_product();
$product->data['name']['en'] = 'Test product';

To load customer 34 and update the email address:

$customer = new ent_customer(34);
$customer->data['email'] = '';

Please note prior to LiteCart 2.2.0 entity objects used the prefix ctrl_ instead of ent_.

Reference Objects

Reference objects are read-only class objects that can dynamically return partial parts of a data set.

The reference objects are of factory design. They do not possess a whole set of data, but fetches it for you once requested.

Access the database and output the english product name for a product:

$product = new ref_product(id);
echo $product->name;


echo reference::product(id)->name;

Internal links are created using document::ilink(). LiteCart will take care of all the logic such as adding a language prefix or rewriting the URL to a more friendly name. If used in an anchor href attribute use href_ilink() to escape special characters.

To redirect to the product page of product 1234:

header('Location: ' . document::ilink('product', array('product_id' => 1234)));

This will point to the resource at pages/

External links can be created using document::link(). LiteCart will then not prepend any logic to the URL such as language. When special characters are not allowed, i.e. inside HTML elements use document::href_link():

<img src="<?php echo document::href_link(WS_DIR_APP . 'images/myimage.png')); ?>" />


For convenience we are storing translations in the database. Anything that isn't already maintained by an entity object is handled by the language library module.

While fetching a translation you can inject a default translation if not previously stored. This is done by providing the first default translation straight in the code.

English is always the framework language and default translation. If translations are missing for any other languages an english translation will be returned.

To output a translation for title_hello_world and inject an english translation to the database (if not previously injected):

echo language::translate('title_hello_world', 'Hello World'); 

Template Layouts

The document library module holds global snippets of content that are output to placeholders in a layout or view file. Any placeholders that do not have snippet content will be removed before output to browser.

To store a global snippet named foo_bar:

document::$snippets['foo_bar'] = '<h1>Foo bar!</h1>';

To insert a placeholder for the snippet content in a view file:


Then, to change layout file for the output to ~/includes/templates/my_template.catalog/layouts/

document::$layout = 'my_layout';

Template Views

LiteCart tries to separate logic from the user interface code by the use of views.

Gather some data and pass to a view:

$my_content = new view();
$my_content->snippets['helloworld'] = 'Hello World';
echo $my_content->stitch('pages/mydoc');

This is how data can be picked up in the view:

<p><?php echo $helloworld; ?><p>
introduction.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/25 20:19 by admin