First care guide

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First part of the e107 handbook
Main page > I : First Aid > II : Development > III : Administration > IV : How To's > V : Plugin Writing > VI : Theming & Shortcodes

Beginners overview

e107 is a website Content Management System (CMS). Most of the look and feel of the content is created without doing any HTML coding. The content is stored in a MySQL database and is presented in a structured and consistent way when the user requests a page. Want to know more? Read the Wikipedia definition of e107.

This overview intends to help you get started, however we assume you have already installed e107. If you need help with that go to the install help link.


Content Pane

e107 uses themes to divide the screen or window into several areas often called panes. The main area is the content pane. You are reading text in the content area.

Non Content Areas

Around the content pane are located eye candy such as menus, information panels, icons, logos, pictures and applications such as search and calendars. In e107 these are simply called areas... actually menu_areas. The number of menu_areas is defined by the theme and there can be from zero to 9 areas.

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Handling Menu_Areas

Selecting a Menu

Go to the menu tool. Scroll down to PCMag. Select it. Activate in Area 1. Find it, select the drop down box. Move it to the top. Go see what it looks like. The site now shows a recommended by PC-Mag icon.

    • Note: Some themes will not show some of your changes.
    • The theme may not handle that plugin or the menu_area
    • you chose to put the menu in does not exist in that theme.


e107 is a volunteer effort. Sometimes there is an apparent lack of co-ordination due to the absence of central control.

A case in point is the main menu - the list of entries you click on to go to another main page of the site.

You won't find 'main_menu' in the list of menus. That is because it is called 'Tree'. You won't find a tool to handle either main_menu or tree in the admin options. That is because the main_menu/tree is handled by the 'site_link' tool.

You edit the main_menu using the site_link tool and display it using the name Tree.

No criticism is intended by this comment - it is a common problem with language in general. The most common words have multiple synonyms and often don't follow the usual spelling rules. That said, it is a potential point of confusion which needs to be explained to assist the learning of e107.


It is important to be able to name the different objects found in e107 so that you know how to handle them.

The menus tool handles placing items into the menu_areas. Many of these items are not your typical menu. There is a calendar menu, a login menu, a search menu. Basically any function whose output is small enough to fit in a menu_area can be coded as a menu. These mini applications are called plugins because they can be pluged into and removed from e107 easily.

The content pane is filled by creating custom pages or using special plugins.

Eventually everything with e107 should be a plugin, however there are some builtin functions that are handled differently.