How to Work with Different Output Formats in Templates

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How to Work with Different Output Formats in Templates

Templates are a generic way to render content in any format. And while in most cases you'll use templates to render HTML content, a template can just as easily generate JavaScript, CSS, XML or any other format you can dream of.

For example, the same "resource" is often rendered in several formats. To render an article index page in XML, simply include the format in the template name:

  • XML template name: article/index.xml.twig
  • XML template filename: index.xml.twig

In reality, this is nothing more than a naming convention and the template isn't actually rendered differently based on its format.

In many cases, you may want to allow a single controller to render multiple different formats based on the "request format". For that reason, a common pattern is to do the following:

public function indexAction(Request $request)
    $format = $request->getRequestFormat();

    return $this->render('article/index.'.$format.'.twig');

The getRequestFormat() on the Request object defaults to html, but can return any other format based on the format requested by the user. The request format is most often managed by the routing, where a route can be configured so that /contact sets the request format to html while /contact.xml sets the format to xml. For more information, see the Advanced Example in the Routing chapter.

To create links that include the format parameter, include a _format key in the parameter hash:

  • Twig
  • PHP
<a href="{{ path('article_show', {'id': 123, '_format': 'pdf'}) }}">
    PDF Version
This work, including the code samples, is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.