Layouts Plugin

This plugin is a framework for custom Discourse layouts. Its main use case is adding sidebars to Discourse.

:desktop_computer: Get the code

:page_facing_up: Read the documentation

:bug: Report a bug

Quick Links

The advantages of the Layouts Plugin
Installation and Setup
Widget Development

:wave: Before you post in this topic, bug reports over at are much appreciated (it’s easier to manage than one big topic!). If you just have a quick question, it’s fine to post that here.

[Paid] Widgets for the custom layouts plugin
Theming / Skinning Discourse to show Topics in a Responsive "Newsy" way
Topic list sidebar navigation
Question Answer Plugin
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New per-category view mode: 2 columns; left is for topic list; right is for topic itself
Some things I've built which you can use
Locations Plugin
Facebook-like Feed?
Is there CSS code to put HTML banner beside post topic
How to make 2 sidebars and the topic list in the middle?
Sidebar for Subcategories
Fakebook, a theme for social media lovers
:family_man_man_girl_boy: Groups Widget (Layouts Plugin)
Plugin with sidebar: how to modify small-width, medium-width, large-width?
Adding rss feed to discourse page
[PAID] Post Badges, Reputation Plugin, Custom Link Embedding & Hide IPs from Moderators
Estimated timeline on a project?
Traditional multi level hierarchy vs flat discourse hierarchy
How can I make a Discourse forum as "reddit like" as possible
The topic list doesn't need a category column
A native sidebar system
BlogRoll (Blog List)
How to add the two floating sidebar banners?
Fakebook, a theme for social media lovers
Heavily customized Discourse
Hide sub-sub-categories from /categories listing?
📅 Event List Widget (Layouts Plugin)
Collapsible Categories/Sub-Category vertical nav menu (left sidebar)
Collapsible Categories/Sub-Category vertical nav menu (left sidebar)
Vertical Navigation with Categories
Upcoming core changes that may break some themes/components (April 12)
Customizing main layout
A layout for community projects
A layout for community projects
2020: The Year in Review
Discourse Category Sidebars
Is anyone using Discourse in higher ed for courses?
How difficult would it be to make the Discourse UI more like Flarum?
🏷️ Tag List Widget (Layouts Plugin)
🏷️ Tag List Widget (Layouts Plugin)
A native sidebar system
Render a component within a Widget. (Using select-kit components within plugin code)
:family_man_man_girl_boy: Groups Widget (Layouts Plugin)
Widget/ theme Components like Top Posters, Most read, Hot topic etc
What I need to do if I want this kind of page layout?
Easiest way to create forum homepage with sidebar w/static page links?
Adding elements to the left and right side of main-outlet in a theme
Topic List Previews Theme Component
Sticky global notice

This is exactly what I need , thank you very much :+1:

1 Like

@angus it would be possible to test some functionality in a sandbox to see it in action?
With your other plugins of course.

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This is very cool. I’ve had a play with Discourse Layouts and written dl-custom-content.

It’s a tiny plugin using Discourse Layouts to show arbitrary HTML.

A really awesome projects; thank you!


Great! I’m just in transit at the moment. I’ll check it out when I get back home next week.

And provide an example instance @trash

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You can now see this plugin in action, along with my other plugins at:


Great idea for a widget, I tried it on a test server (with a heavily modified Discourse) but I had a failed to bootstrap, is it working on yours still ?

The profile widget worked well during install.

@jez Thanks again for making a widget that works with Custom Layouts. I’ve submitted a PR to your widget repo to fix the issue @Steven mentions.


Thanks for you plugin.
I have some question about your widget.
in your profile widget there is some lines :

h('h3', this.attach('link', {
            route: 'user',
            model: currentUser,
            className: 'user-activity-link',
            icon: 'user',
            rawLabel: username


this.attach('button', {
          label: "sign_up",
          className: 'btn-primary sign-up-button',
          action: "sendShowCreateAccount"

I know what these codes do but I don’t know where how to modify these codes.
for example I want to add a create topic button to widget but I don’t know how should I change
this code:

this.attach('button', {
          label: "sign_up",
          className: 'btn-primary sign-up-button',
          action: "sendShowCreateAccount"

I know what is className(used for CSS) and label and rawLabel(used for translation)(if I am wrong please tell me) but I don’t know where should I find all other actions for button and icons.
I have another question,
In this code:

h('h3', this.attach('link', {
            route: 'user',
            model: currentUser,
            className: 'user-activity-link',
            icon: 'user',
            rawLabel: username

what does the route and model do?what is link?
Last question, in this code:
contents.push("img", "")
how should I config the image source?image is not in my site

Hey @Alavi1412, if I’m understanding you correctly, you want to modify the profile widget to add a button that allows the user to open the composer to create a new topic?

Any button has two basic parts two it: the button element, and the button action. I think you already understand the button element part. As you say you’ll need to use the button widget with the appropriate classes, icon and label (note that the button widget doesn’t have a rawLabel, only a link does - go to the button widget file and search for ‘rawlabel’ and there will be no matches. Yes the ‘label’ requires a translation object). We’ll also need the button action, which refers to a method that handles what happens when the button is clicked.

This is the process I would take to figure out what we need for both the button element and the button action. I suggest you follow these steps yourself, as it will help you understand other issues you’ll encounter.

As always, the place we start is with the existing Discourse functionality we want to copy. In this case we start with the button in normal Discourse that opens the new topic compose when it is clicked.

  1. Go to and highlight the Create Topic button with the chrome inspector. You’ll see it has the id create-topic.

  2. Do a search for create-topic in the Discourse code. These are the results you’ll get

    How do we know which results are relevant? There’s often good hints in the name of the files. We know that the ‘Create Topic’ button appears in the same part of the app as the navigation controls, so it seems likely that the files with ‘navigation’ in the path are relevant. Those results also seem to be about button elements, which is what we’re after.

  3. Click through one of those relevant results and you’ll find button elements in templates that give us much of the information we need. e.g.:

    <button id="create-topic" class='btn btn-default' {{action "createTopic"}}><i class='fa fa-plus'></i>{{i18n 'topic.create'}}</button>

    We can simply copy / past these details to our button widget like so:

    this.attach('button', {
        className: 'btn btn-default',
        action: 'createTopic',
        label: 'topic.create',
        icon: 'plus'

    Once we add that button widget to the profile widget, we now have a create topic button in the profile widget. We’re half the way there.

  4. If you click that new button, you’ll see a message in the console createTopic not found. We need to deal with the second part of the button, the button action. If you’ve read the part of the Ember Guide that covers Template Actions, you’ll know that the action handler we got from one of those templates refers to an action method in a corresponding component, controller or route. So let’s just do a search for that handler and find the corresponding instance.

    The search for createTopic will produce many results. It is useful to know that the part of the app with topic lists is called ‘discovery’. Also keep in mind that we’re looking for a method; any of the results are not methods. Scanning the results list the first one that really jumps out at me is this one (it’s both a method and it seems to be in the right place in the code:

    If you click through that result you’ll see a method like this:

    createTopic() {
  5. Ok we’ve now found the method. How do we get that method to work for our widget button? If you’ve read A tour of how the Widget (Virtual DOM) code in Discourse works, you’ll know that each action in a widget needs a corresponding action handler in the widget. Ok, so let’s create a createTopic method in the profile widget that does the same thing the createTopic method in the Discovery Route does.

    If you follow where the openComposer method in createTopic in the Discovery Route comes from (or open any of the other results in our search for createTopic methods in the codebase) you’ll figure you that what we need to do is send an ‘open’ action to the composer controller with the right parameters.

      categoryId: controller.get(''),
      action: Composer.CREATE_TOPIC,
      draftKey: controller.get('model.draft_key'),
      draftSequence: controller.get('model.draft_sequence')

    So we need to access the composer controller in our widget action. The createTopic method in the discovery route also uses the discovery/topics controller, so we’ll need that too. If you look at the other action handlers in the profile widget you’ll see how they access controllers and routes from the widget. i.e.

    const cController = this.register.lookup('controller:composer');
    const dtController = this.register.lookup('controller:discovery/topics');

    Using this approach we can now make our own createTopic method.

      createTopic() {
        const cController = this.register.lookup('controller:composer');
        const dtController = this.register.lookup('controller:discovery/topics');{
          categoryId: dtController.get(''),
          action: Composer.CREATE_TOPIC,
          draftKey: dtController.get('model.draft_key'),
          draftSequence: dtController.get('model.draft_sequence')

    The only part we’re missing now is the Composer object. That’s a reference to the composer model. All we need to do for that is import the composer model. Add the import at the top of the profile widget file

    import Composer from 'discourse/models/composer';

Once you add that new createTopic method and reload, your Create Topic button will now (mostly) work like the Create Topic button in the normal Discourse discovery. The composer will open. There are some issues that arise by virtue of the fact that the profile widget can appear in different contexts from the context in which the normal Create Topic button appears.

There are other ways to do the same thing we just did, however the key point here is:

  1. Start with what you already know. We know that there is a button in normal Discourse that does what we want to do. Start by figuring out how that works.

  2. Copy as much as possible. We can copy from both normal Discourse and the existing code in the profile widget that does similar things to what we want to do.

Using this approach the answers you get will not be 100% perfect, but they will get you 90% of the way there. Once you’re 90% there you have a much better idea of what the 10% of actual problems you’ll need to figure out are.

I have to get back to work now, so I’ll leave those other questions with you for now. Apply the same approach and see if you can figure out the answers.


Thank you so much.It helps me very well,
but I still have one question.
when our widget become long(longer than browser height), the button part is not shown after scrolling
before scrolling:

after scrolling:

one part of my widget is at the bottom but because of the height it is not shown even after scrolling.
in the other words, I don’t want my widget to float with user,I want to fix the widget in a position

1 Like

Yup, there’s a setting for that actually. Check Settings > Plugins.

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Why widget is not shown in categories page like :
there is a white space in the widgets place but there is no widget

Have you enabled the sidebar on category pages?

You can enable the sidebar either for all category pages in the admin plugin settings or you can enable the sidebar and widgets for specific categories in the category settings.


Yes I have done this.but nothing is shown.
this page can define my problem

Ah, you mean the sidebars are not working on the tags index page?

I’ve added sidebar support to the tags show route. Let me know if that solves your issue.

You’ll need to turn sidebars on for the tags route in admin settings

1 Like

@angus Thank you for your change but my problem was something else.(apologize for my delay, I was travelling)
I have done every changes you said but I still have this problem:

my widget didn’t show here.
Here is my code.

The problem is that you’re trying to convert the attrs object to a JSON string and it’s failing. This exception is preventing the sidebars from loading on category routes.

Change these lines

alert("state: " + JSON.stringify(state));
alert("attrs: " + JSON.stringify(attrs));

to this

console.log("state: ", state);
console.log("attrs: ", attrs);

And check the output in your browser console: View > Developer > JavaScript Console

Also, rather than using an ajax call to get your category list, I suggest you use:

const categories = Discourse.Category.list()

Let me know if you need any help with the rest of it.


awesome !!!

where should I find something like this?
in writing widget I find the data I need in site and then in XHR of network tab in chrome, I find the url and I use this url in my widget and its response in ajax. but your way is very fast and useful. How can I replace my way of getting data by ajax with something like Discourse.Category.list()