From 1.x to 2.0

Elgg can be now installed as a composer dependency instead of at document root

That means an Elgg site can look something like this:


elgg_get_root_path and $CONFIG->path will return the path to the application root directory, which is not necessarily the same as Elgg core’s root directory (which in this case is vendor/elgg/elgg/).

Do not attempt to access the core Elgg from your plugin directly, since you cannot rely on its location on the filesystem.

In particular, don’t try load engine/start.php.

// Don't do this!
dirname(__DIR__) . "/engine/start.php";

To boot Elgg manually, you can use the class Elgg\Application.

// boot Elgg in mod/myplugin/foo.php
require_once dirname(dirname(__DIR__)) . '/vendor/autoload.php';

However, use this approach sparingly. Prefer Routing instead whenever possible as that keeps your public URLs and your filesystem layout decoupled.

Also, don’t try to access the _graphics files directly.

readfile(elgg_get_root_path() . "_graphics/elgg_sprites.png");

Use Views instead:

echo elgg_view('elgg_sprites.png');

Cacheable views must have a file extension in their names

This requirement makes it possibile for us to serve assets directly from disk for performance, instead of serving them through PHP.

It also makes it much easier to explore the available cached resources by navigating to dataroot/views_simplecache and browsing around.

  • Bad: my/cool/template

  • Good: my/cool/template.html

We now cache assets by "$viewtype/$view", not md5("$viewtype|$view"), which can result in conflicts between cacheable views that don’t have file extensions to disambiguate files from directories.

Dropped jquery-migrate and upgraded jquery to ^2.1.4

jQuery 2.x is API-compatible with 1.x, but drops support for IE8-, which Elgg hasn’t supported for some time anyways.

See for how to move off jquery-migrate.

If you’d prefer to just add it back, you can use this code in your plugin’s init:

elgg_register_js('jquery-migrate', elgg_get_simplecache_url('jquery-migrate.js'), 'head');

Also, define a jquery-migrate.js view containing the contents of the script.

JS and CSS views have been moved out of the js/ and css/ directories

They also have been given .js and .css extensions respectively if they didn’t already have them:

Old view

New view











The main benefit this brings is being able to co-locate related assets. So a template (view.php) can have its CSS/JS dependencies right next to it (view.css, view.js).

Care has been taken to make this change as backwards-compatible as possible, so you should not need to update any view references right away. However, you are certainly encouraged to move your JS and CSS views to their new, canonical locations.

Practically speaking, this carries a few gotchas:

The view_vars, $view_name and view, $view_name hooks will operate on the canonical view name:

elgg_register_plugin_hook_handler('view', 'css/elgg', function($hook, $view_name) {
  assert($view_name == 'elgg.css') // not "css/elgg"

Using the view, all hook and checking for individual views may not work as intended:

elgg_register_plugin_hook_handler('view', 'all', function($hook, $view_name) {
  // Won't work because "css/elgg" was aliased to "elgg.css"
  if ($view_name == 'css/elgg') {
    // Never executed...

  // Won't work because no canonical views start with css/* anymore
  if (strpos($view_name, 'css/') === 0) {
    // Never executed...

Please let us know about any other BC issues this change causes. We’d like to fix as many as possible to make the transition smooth.

fxp/composer-asset-plugin is now required to install Elgg from source

We use fxp/composer-asset-plugin to manage our browser assets (js, css, html) with Composer, but it must be installed globally before installing Elgg in order for the bower-asset/* packages to be recognized. To install it, run:

composer global require fxp/composer-asset-plugin

If you don’t do this before running composer install or composer create-project, you will get an error message:

Package fxp/composer-asset-plugin not found

List of deprecated views and view arguments that have been removed

We dropped support for and/or removed the following views:

  • canvas/layouts/*

  • categories

  • categories/view

  • core/settings/tools

  • embed/addcontentjs

  • footer/analytics (Use page/elements/foot instead)

  • groups/left_column

  • groups/right_column

  • groups/search/finishblurb

  • groups/search/startblurb

  • input/calendar (Use input/date instead)

  • input/datepicker (Use input/date instead)

  • input/pulldown (Use input/select instead)

  • invitefriends/formitems

  • js/admin (Use AMD and elgg_require_js instead of extending JS views)

  • js/initialise_elgg (Use AMD and elgg_require_js instead of extending JS views)

  • members/nav

  • metatags (Use the ‚head‘, ‚page‘ plugin hook instead)

  • navigation/topbar_tools

  • navigation/viewtype

  • notifications/subscriptions/groupsform

  • object/groupforumtopic

  • output/calendar (Use output/date instead)

  • output/confirmlink (Use output/url instead)

  • page_elements/contentwrapper

  • page/elements/shortcut_icon (Use the ‚head‘, ‚page‘ plugin hook instead)

  • page/elements/wrapper

  • profile/icon (Use elgg_get_entity_icon)

  • river/object/groupforumtopic/create

  • settings/{plugin}/edit (Use plugins/{plugin}/settings instead)

  • user/search/finishblurb

  • user/search/startblurb

  • usersettings/{plugin}/edit (Use plugins/{plugin}/usersettings instead)

  • widgets/{handler}/view (Use widgets/{handler}/content instead)

We also dropped the following arguments to views:

  • „value“ in output/iframe (Use „src“ instead)

  • „area2“ and „area3“ in page/elements/sidebar (Use „sidebar“ or view extension instead)

  • „js“ in icon views (e.g. icon/user/default)

  • „options“ to input/radio and input/checkboxes which aren’t key-value pairs will no longer be acceptable.

All scripts moved to bottom of page

You should test your plugin with the JavaScript error console visible. For performance reasons, Elgg no longer supports script elements in the head element or in HTML views. elgg_register_js will now load all scripts at the end of the body element.

You must convert inline scripts to AMD or to external scripts loaded with elgg_load_js.

Early in the page, Elgg provides a shim of the RequireJS require() function that simply queues code until the AMD elgg and jQuery modules are defined. This provides a straightforward way to convert many inline scripts to use require().

Inline code which will fail because the stack is not yet loaded:

$(function () {
    // code using $ and elgg

This should work in Elgg 2.0:

require(['elgg', 'jquery'], function (elgg, $) {
    $(function () {
        // code using $ and elgg

Attribute formatter removes keys with underscores

elgg_format_attributes() (and all APIs that use it) now filter out attributes whose name contains an underscore. If the attribute begins with data-, however, it will not be removed.

Callbacks in Queries

Make sure to use only valid callable values for „callback“ argument/options in the API.

Querying functions will now will throw a RuntimeException if is_callable() returns false for the given callback value. This includes functions such as elgg_get_entities(), get_data(), and many more.

Comments plugin hook

Plugins can now return an empty string from 'comments',$entity_type hook in order to override the default comments component view. To force the default comments component, your plugin must return false. If you were using empty strings to force the default comments view, you need to update your hook handlers to return false.

Container permissions hook

The behavior of the container_permissions_check hook has changed when an entity is being created: Before 2.0, the hook would be called twice if the entity’s container was not the owner. On the first call, the entity’s owner would be passed in as $params['container'], which could confuse handlers.

In 2.0, when an entity is created in a container like a group, if the owner is the same as the logged in user (almost always the case), this first check is bypassed. So the container_permissions_check hook will almost always be called once with $params['container'] being the correct container of the entity.

Creating or deleting a relationship triggers only one event

The „create“ and „delete“ relationship events are now only fired once, with "relationship" as the object type.

E.g. Listening for the "create", "member" or "delete", "member" event(s) will no longer capture group membership additions/removals. Use the "create", "relationship" or "delete", "relationship" events.

Discussion feature has been pulled from groups into its own plugin

The object, groupforumtopic subtype has been replaced with the object, discussion subtype. If your plugin is using or altering the old discussion feature, you should upgrade it to use the new subtype.

Nothing changes from the group owners‘ point of view. The discussion feature is still available as a group tool and all old discussions are intact.

Dropped login-over-https feature

For the best security and performance, serve all pages over HTTPS by switching the scheme in your site’s wwwroot to https at http://yoursite.tld/admin/settings/advanced

Elgg has migrated from ext/mysql to PDO MySQL

Elgg now uses a PDO_MYSQL connection and no longer uses any ext/mysql functions. If you use mysql_* functions, implicitly relying on an open connection, these will fail.

If your code uses one of the following functions, read below.

  • execute_delayed_write_query()

  • execute_delayed_read_query()

If you provide a callable $handler to be called with the results, your handler will now receive a \Doctrine\DBAL\Driver\Statement object. Formerly this was an ext/mysql result resource.

Event/Hook calling order may change

When registering for events/hooks, the all keyword for wildcard matching no longer has any effect on the order that handlers are called. To ensure your handler is called last, you must give it the highest priority of all matching handlers, or to ensure your handler is called first, you must give it the lowest priority of all matching handlers.

If handlers were registered with the same priority, these are called in the order they were registered.

To emulate prior behavior, Elgg core handlers registered with the all keyword have been raised in priority. Some of these handlers will most likely be called in a different order.

export/ URLs are no longer available

Elgg no longer provides this endpoint for exposing resource data.

Icons migrated to Font Awesome

Elgg’s sprites and most of the CSS classes beginning with elgg-icon- have been removed.

Usage of elgg_view_icon() is backward compatible, but static HTML using the elgg-icon classes will have to be updated to the new markup.

Increase of z-index value in elgg-menu-site class

The value of z-index in the elgg-menu-site class has been increased from 1 to 50 to allow for page elements in the content area to use the z-index property without the „More“ site menu’s dropdown being displayed behind these elements. If your plugin/theme overrides the elgg-menu-site class or views/default/elements/navigation.css please adjust the z-index value in your modified CSS file accordingly.

input/autocomplete view

Plugins that override the input/autocomplete view will need to include the source URL in the data-source attribute of the input element, require the new elgg/autocomplete AMD module, and call its init method. The 1.x javascript library elgg.autocomplete is no longer used.

Introduced third-party library for sending email

We are using the excellent Zend\Mail library to send emails in Elgg 2.0. There are likely edge cases that the library handles differently than Elgg 1.x. Take care to test your email notifications carefully when upgrading to 2.0.

Label elements

The following views received label elements around some of the input fields. If your plugin/theme overrides these views please check for the new content.

  • views/default/core/river/filter.php

  • views/default/forms/admin/plugins/filter.php

  • views/default/forms/admin/plugins/sort.php

  • views/default/forms/login.php

Plugin Aalborg Theme

The view page/elements/navbar now uses a Font Awesome icon for the mobile menu selector instead of an image. The bars.png image and supporting CSS for the 1.12 rendering has been removed, so update your theme accordingly.

Plugin Likes

Objects are no longer likable by default. To support liking, you can register a handler to permit the annotation, or more simply register for the hook ["likes:is_likable", "<type>:<subtype>"] and return true. E.g.

elgg_register_plugin_hook_handler('likes:is_likable', 'object:mysubtype', 'Elgg\Values::getTrue');

Just as before, the permissions_check:annotate hook is still called and may be used to override default behavior.

Plugin Messages

If you’ve removed or replaced the handler function messages_notifier to hide/alter the inbox icon, you’ll instead need to do the same for the topbar menu handler messages_register_topbar. messages_notifier is no longer used to add the menu link.

Messages will no longer get the metadata ‚msg‘ for newly created messages. This means you can not rely on that metadata to exist.

Plugin Blog

The blog pages showing ‚Mine‘ or ‚Friends‘ listings of blogs have been changed to list all the blogs owned by the users (including those created in groups).

Plugin Bookmarks

The bookmark pages showing ‚Mine‘ or ‚Friends‘ listings of bookmarks have been changed to list all the bookmarks owned by the users (including those created in groups).

Plugin File

The file pages showing ‚Mine‘ or ‚Friends‘ listings of files have been changed to list all the files owned by the users (including those created in groups).

Removed Classes

  • ElggInspector

  • Notable

  • FilePluginFile: replace with ElggFile (or load with get_entity())

Removed keys available via elgg_get_config()

  • allowed_ajax_views

  • dataroot_in_settings

  • externals

  • externals_map

  • i18n_loaded_from_cache

  • language_paths

  • pagesetupdone

  • registered_tag_metadata_names

  • simplecache_enabled_in_settings

  • translations

  • viewpath

  • views

  • view_path

  • viewtype

  • wordblacklist

Also note that plugins should not be accessing the global $CONFIG variable except for in settings.php.

Removed Functions

  • blog_get_page_content_friends

  • blog_get_page_content_read

  • count_unread_messages()

  • delete_entities()

  • delete_object_entity()

  • delete_user_entity()

  • elgg_get_view_location()

  • elgg_validate_action_url()

  • execute_delayed_query()

  • extend_view()

  • get_db_error()

  • get_db_link()

  • get_entities()

  • get_entities_from_access_id()

  • get_entities_from_access_collection()

  • get_entities_from_annotations()

  • get_entities_from_metadata()

  • get_entities_from_metadata_multi()

  • get_entities_from_relationship()

  • get_filetype_cloud()

  • get_library_files()

  • get_views()

  • is_ip_in_array()

  • list_entities()

  • list_entities_from_annotations()

  • list_group_search()

  • list_registered_entities()

  • list_user_search()

  • load_plugins()

  • menu_item()

  • make_register_object()

  • mysql_*(): Elgg no longer uses ext/mysql

  • remove_blacklist()

  • search_for_group()

  • search_for_object()

  • search_for_site()

  • search_for_user()

  • search_list_objects_by_name()

  • search_list_groups_by_name()

  • search_list_users_by_name()

  • set_template_handler()

  • test_ip()

Removed methods

  • ElggCache::set_variable()

  • ElggCache::get_variable()

  • ElggData::initialise_attributes()

  • ElggData::getObjectOwnerGUID()

  • ElggDiskFilestore::make_directory_root()

  • ElggDiskFilestore::make_file_matrix()

  • ElggDiskFilestore::user_file_matrix()

  • ElggDiskFilestore::mb_str_split()

  • ElggEntity::clearMetadata()

  • ElggEntity::clearRelationships()

  • ElggEntity::clearAnnotations()

  • ElggEntity::getOwner()

  • ElggEntity::setContainer()

  • ElggEntity::getContainer()

  • ElggEntity::getIcon()

  • ElggEntity::setIcon()

  • ElggExtender::getOwner()

  • ElggFileCache::create_file()

  • ElggObject::addToSite(): parent function in ElggEntity still available

  • ElggObject::getSites(): parent function in ElggEntity still available

  • ElggSite::getCollections()

  • ElggUser::addToSite(): parent function in ElggEntity still available

  • ElggUser::getCollections()

  • ElggUser::getOwner()

  • ElggUser::getSites(): parent function in ElggEntity still available

  • ElggUser::listFriends()

  • ElggUser::listGroups()

  • ElggUser::removeFromSite(): parent function in ElggEntity still available

The following arguments have also been dropped:

  • ElggSite::getMembers() - 2: $offset

  • elgg_view_entity_list() - 3: $offset - 4: $limit - 5: $full_view - 6: $list_type_toggle - 7: $pagination

Removed Plugin Hooks

Removed Actions

  • widgets/upgrade

Removed Views

  • forms/admin/plugins/change_state

Removed View Variables

During rendering, the view system no longer injects these into the scope:

  • $vars['url']: replace with elgg_get_site_url()

  • $vars['user']: replace with elgg_get_logged_in_user_entity()

  • $vars['config']: use elgg_get_config() and elgg_set_config()

  • $CONFIG: use elgg_get_config() and elgg_set_config()

Also several workarounds for very old views are no longer performed. Make these changes:

  • Set $vars['full_view'] instead of $vars['full'].

  • Set $vars['name'] instead of $vars['internalname'].

  • Set $vars['id'] instead of $vars['internalid'].

Removed libraries

  • elgg:markdown: Elgg no longer provides a markdown implementation. You must provide your own.

Specifying View via Properties

The metadata $entity->view no longer specifies the view used to render in elgg_view_entity().

Similarly the property $annotation->view no longer has an effect within elgg_view_annotation().

Viewtype is static after the initial elgg_get_viewtype() call

elgg_set_viewtype() must be used to set the viewtype at runtime. Although Elgg still checks the view input and $CONFIG->view initially, this is only done once per request.


It’s deprecated to read or write to metadata keys starting with filestore:: on ElggFile objects. In Elgg 3.0 this metadata will be deleted if it points to the current data root path, so few file objects will have it. Plugins should only use ElggFile::setFilestore if files need to be stored in a custom location.


This is not the only deprecation in Elgg 2.0. Plugin developers should watch their site error logs.