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TYPO3 is a free and open source web content management system written in PHP. It is released under the GNU General Public License. It can run on several web servers, such as Apache or IIS, on top of many operating systems, among them Linux, Microsoft Windows, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and OS/2.

TYPO3 is, along with Drupal, Joomla! and WordPress, among the most popular content management systems worldwide, however it is more widespread in Europe than in other regions. The biggest market share can be found in German-speaking countries.

TYPO3 is credited to be highly flexible. It can be extended by new functions without writing any program code. Also, the software is available in more than 50 languages and has a built-in localization system, therefore supports publishing content in multiple languages. Due to its features, scalability and maturity, TYPO3 is used to build and manage websites of different types and size ranges, from small sites for individuals or nonprofit organizations to multilingual enterprise solutions for large corporations. According to the ability to support a corporate environment, it is classified as an enterprise level content management system.

History & Usage

TYPO3 was initially authored by the Dane Kasper Skårhøj in 1997. It is now developed by two teams. The maintenance (versions 4.x, 6 and newer) tree's team leader is Oliver Hader. The development (TYPO3 Neos) tree's team leader is Robert Lemke.

Latest calculations from the TYPO3 Association claim that it is currently used in more than 500,000 installations. However the number of installations crawled by the public website "CMS Crawler" was around 270,000 by July 2013.


Delivered with a base set of interfaces, functions and modules, TYPO3's functionality spectrum is implemented by extensions. More than 5000 extensions are currently available for TYPO3 for download under the GNU General Public License from a repository called the TYPO3 Extension Repository, or TER.

TYPO3 can run on most HTTP servers such as Apache or IIS on top of Linux, Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X. It uses PHP 5.3 or newer and any relational database supported by the TYPO3 DBAL including MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and others. Some 3rd-party extensions - not using the database API - support MySQL as the only database engine. The system can be run on any web server with a modern CPU and at least 256 MB RAM. The backend can be displayed in any modern browser with JavaScript. There is no browser restriction for displaying user-oriented content generated by TYPO3.

System architecture

Conceptually, TYPO3 consists of two parts: the frontend, visible to visitors, and the administrative backend. The frontend displays the web content. The backend is responsible for administration and managing content. The core functions of TYPO3 include user privileges and user roles, timed display control of content (show/hide content elements), a search function for static and dynamic content, search-engine friendly URLs, an automatic sitemap, multi-language capability for frontend and backend, and more.

Like most modern CMSes, TYPO3 follows the policy of separation of content and layout: The website content is stored in a relational database, while the page templates are stored on the file system. Therefore, both can be managed and updated separately.

TYPO3 defines various basic types of content data. Standard content elements are described as text, text with media, images, (plain) HTML, video etc. Various additional types of content elements can be handled using extensions.

The fundamental content unit is a "page". Pages represent a URL in the frontend and are organized hierarchically in the backends' page tree. Standard pages serve as "containers" for one or multiple content elements. There are several additional special page types:

  • shortcuts (they show content from another page)
  • mount points (that insert a part of the page tree at the mount point)
  • external URLs
  • system folders (to handle complex data such as registered users)
  • …and more

Internally, TYPO3 is managed by various PHP arrays. They contain all the information necessary to generate HTML code from the content stored in the database. This is achieved by a unique configuration language called TypoScript.

Design elements

Designing and developing with TYPO3 is commonly based on the following elements, among others:

Page treeRepresentation of all pages of a site, their structure and propertiesConstantsSystem-wide configuration parametersTemplateTraditionally, a simple HTML skeleton with markers (e.g., „###MARKER###“) and range markers, called subparts (e.g., „<!-- ###CONTENT### Start --> … <!-- ###CONTENT### End -->“); that are replaced by various content elements: navigation, text, graphics etc.) or serve as a subtemplate. Since TYPO3 4.3, the new template engine Fluid can be used.TypoScriptsee TypoScriptExtensionsAdditional plug-ins to enable additional functions. See ExtensionsPHPAs TYPO3 CMS is written in PHP, therefore most features can be modified or extended by experienced users. Mentionable here is the XCLASS mechanism, by which classes and methods can be overwritten and extended. If available, hooks are preferred.


TypoScript is a purely declarative configuration language. In Typoscript, configuration values are defined, which are parsed into a system-wide PHP array. TypoScript is object-based and organized in a tree-like structure.

TypoScript Template: The section associated with generating frontend output is called TypoScript Template. Its main use is to generate HTML code, possibly based on one or more HTML templates. The array controls the functions that, for example, are executed when the page is rendered in the frontend. Therefore, it enables developers to globally manage features and extensions for the entire website with just a few modifications. Simplified: By creating an object in TypoScript, the system is instructed to execute several PHP functions, which create the desired output.

TSconfig: TypoScript also influences the backend and other aspects of a TYPO3 project. The TSconfig branch of the TypoScript tree consists of User TSconfig and Page TSconfig. It's built by the same syntax as the TypoScript Template described above.

Basic syntax:

[objectpath].[attribute] [operator] [value] 

Operators include:

= assign a value< copy an object=< insert a reference to an object> delete an object


In order to create any output at all, at least a PAGE-object has to be defined. Using the following code will render the text "Hello World" in the frontend, wrapped in <h2> HTML tags:


 page = PAGE page.10 = TEXT page.10.value = Hello, world! page.10.wrap = <h2>|</h2> 


<h2>Hello, world!</h2> 

Other important TypoScript objects are CONTENT (get content from the database) and TEMPLATE (render a HTML template).


Extensions are the cornerstone in the internal architecture of TYPO3. A feature that was introduced with version 3.5 in 2003 is the Extension Manager, a control center managing all TYPO3 extensions. The division between the TYPO3 core and the extensions is an important concept which determined the development of TYPO3 in the past years. Extensions are designed in a way so they can supplement the core seamlessly. This means that a TYPO3 system will appear as a unit while actually being composed of the core application and a set of extensions providing various features.


Diagram of the basic TYPO3 system architecture

They can be downloaded from the online repository (TER) directly from the backend, and are installed and updated with a few clicks. Every extension is identified by a unique extension key (for example, tt_news). Also, developers can share new or modified extensions by uploading them to the repository.

Examples for popular extensions:

  • News (extension key: tt_news): Website news with front page teasers and article handling
  • TemplaVoila (extension key: templavoila), a popular third-party template engine extension
  • RealURL (extension key: realurl): Creates SEO-friendly URLs, "pretty" URLs
  • Front End User Registration (extension key: sr_feuser_register): A self-registration system for website users
  • Direct Mail (extension key: direct_mail): Newsletter mailer system with options for personalized mails and feedback statistics

Generally, extensions are written in PHP. The full command set of PHP 5.3 can be used (regarded the system requirements of the specific TYPO3 version), but TYPO3 also provides several library classes for better efficiency: Best known and most used is the piBase library class. With introduction of TYPO3 4.3 in 2009, piBase has been replaced (or extended) by the Extbase library, which is a modern, MVC-based development framework. To ensure backwards compatibility, both libraries can be used in the same TYPO3 installation. Extbase itself is a backport of some features of FLOW3, a general web application framework and also the base for future versions of TYPO3 (see TYPO3 Neos)


Version history

Legend: Old version Older version, still supported Current version Future release
Package name Branch Version  Release date Major changes
formerly TYPO3
3.x 3.0 2001  
  • First public release
3.2 May 2002  
  • Several bug fixes
3.3 3 June 2002  
  • Several bug fixes
  • First version hosted on Sourceforge
3.5 18 February 2003  
  • Several bug fixes
  • Introducing the Extension Manager - users can now write their own extension modules
3.6 30 April 2004  
  • Create XHTML code in standard content elements
  • XML storage for content elements
  • Introducing basic database abstraction concept
3.7 24 September 2004  
  • Simplified content-localisation
  • Extended permission system
  • Renewed TypoScript-Engine
3.8 23 May 2005  
  • Multi-language ability for the backend (introducing language packs)
  • GraphicsMagick support
  • Improved frontend search
3.8.1 14 November 2005  
  • Several bug fixes and security improvements
4.x 4.0 7 April 2006  
  • Backend redesign for better user experience
  • Restructured HTML output
  • Introducing backend skins and the new rich text editor
  • Introducing workspaces (integrated versioning)
  • Implementation of a database abstraction layer
  • Enabling TYPO3 to work on Oracle and PostgreSQL
  • Current Version: 4.0.13
4.1 6 March 2007  
  • Improved page tree with Ajax
  • Introducing Inline Relational Record Editing (IRRE)
  • Improved UTF-8 support and enabling of InnoDB features
  • Current version: 4.1.15
4.2 24 May 2008  
  • Many GUI improvements in the backend, including AJAX features, extended features of the text editor
  • Improvement of frontend login and extension update process
  • Current version: 4.2.17
4.3 30 November 2009  
  • Modified frontend editing
  • Flash uploader and recycle bin for the backend
  • New system reports & system scheduler
  • Introducing the new caching framework
  • Security improvements with Salt (cryptography) & RSA
  • Integration of Extbase & Fluid features
  • Current version: 4.3.14
4.4 22 June 2010  
  • Full backend redesign incl. performance improvements
  • Simplified installation, first Introduction Package - a complete website template
  • CSS and javascript compression, HTML5 support in frontend
  • Current version: 4.4.15
4.5 LTS 26 January 2011  
  • First release with long-term support (LTS), until March 2015 incl. support of IE6
  • UTF-8 as default charset and HTML5 in backend
  • Refurbished backend forms and extension manager
  • Integrated protection against CSRF
  • Current version: 4.5.40
4.6 25 October 2011  
  • Internationalization with XLIFF
  • New website form content element
  • Security & performance improvements
  • Current version: 4.6.15
4.7 24 April 2012  
  • Complete Accessibility for new installations acc. to WCAG
  • Introducing new HTML5 elements like <audio> & <video>, improvements for TCEforms
  • Introducing the Government Package
  • Current version: 4.7.19
6.x 6.0 27 November 2012  
  • Integration of a file abstraction layer (FAL)
  • Drag & Drop in the Page Module
  • Support for IPv6
  • Standardized bootstrap for mount points
  • Latest version: 6.0.14 
6.1 30 April 2013  
  • Automatic updates for the Core and for translations, e.a.
  • Latest version: 6.1.11 
6.2 LTS 25 March 2014  
  • Second release with Long Term Support (LTS), until April 2017
  • File Abstraction Layer (FAL) re-worked
  • Install Tool re-written and Distribution Management added
  • Responsive image rendering and mobile device preview
  • New documentation module added
  • Enhanced security features
  • Latest version: 6.2.15 
7.x 7.0 02. December 2014  
  • general code cleanup, speed improvements through outsourcing of an old compatibility layer, refresh of the visual appearance of the backend.
7.4 04. August 2015  
  • Backend Overhaul Vol 2
7.5 29. September 2015  
  • general code base improvements, Backend Overhaul Vol 3
7 LTS (7.6) 10. November 2015  
  • Third release with Long Term Support (LTS), until November 2018
8.x 8.0 February 2016  
  • general code cleanup, speed improvements through outsourcing of an old compatibility layer, refresh of the visual appearance of the backend.
TYPO3 Neos 1.x 1.0 10 December 2013  
  • Originally planned as TYPO3 Version 5.0
  • Complete rewrite of TYPO3, based on the new framework FLOW3, following modern design concepts like MVC.
1.1 19 June 2014  
  • Focus on Speed and Stability
  • Release notes
1.2 11 December 2014  
  • Focus on content translation support & authoring experience
  • Release notes
TYPO3 Flow
formerly FLOW3
1.x 1.0 20 October 2011  
  • After 5 years of development, the framework FLOW3 1.0. is released, to serve as the foundation for the new product,
    codename "TYPO3 Phoenix", finally named TYPO3 Neos.
1.1 28 August 2012  
  • Focus on Speed and Stability
  • Cookie management, content negotiation for media types, cache headers support, expiration model support and a new virtual HTTP client 
2.x 2.0 24 June 2013  
  • Focus on Speed and Stability
  • Lazy Dependency Injection, Safe Request Methods, Composer, REST Support 

TYPO3 Neos

A completely rewritten version (working title "Phoenix") was originally planned as TYPO3 version 5.0. While working on this new release and analyzing the 10-year history and complexity of TYPO3 v4, the TYPO3 community decided to publish version 5 as a completely new product that cannot replace version 4 in the near future, and therefore needs to have its own name. Phoenix is based on FLOW3 and various other packages and will be released in late 2012.

Starting with the new version, the TYPO3 Association asked all contributors to sign an individual Contributor License Agreement (CLA). Signing such an agreement is not necessary, but recommended. This recommendation is common practice. it is also used by Zend Framework, Apache, Yahoo and other software publishers

In September 2012, the TYPO3 developers decided on the final name for the new product, "TYPO3 Neos". With TYPO3 Neos 1.0 alpha1, a public test version was released in late 2012. 

Source; Wikipedia