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0.1.1 • Public • Published

Contentful Widget SDK Developer Preview

The custom widgets API allows you to extend the Contentful Web Application's entry editor, so that you can build plugins that meet your specific content editing or content management needs. It operates on top of any of our current field types, and gives you the power to manipulate its data through an iframe where you can embed custom functionality, styling, integrations or workflows.

The Widgets API is still in development and therefore it is not encouraged to use it to build business critical solutions as it is likely to change. The purpose of making it available early is to provide early access to upcoming features and make our roadmap more transparent to users, as well as to collect early feedback before releasing, and commiting to support, a brand new API.

This SDK overview introduces you to the concept of custom widgets and lists concrete usage examples. The actual widget API documentation on the other hand gives you a more abstract and technical overview.

Widgets taxonomy and example use cases

Conceptually, there are two main categories of custom widgets, for content editing and content management. Editing widgets reside on the main body of the entry editor and operate on top of a particular field or set of fields, while the management widgets perform actions on the entire entry.

Content editing widgets

Content editing widgets can operate on either single fields, or multiple fields.

Single field widgets

Content editing widgets applied to single fields are great for circumstances where you just want to customize how you edit a particular field type. Examples of single field widgets are:

  • Integration with external digital asset management system (i.e. flickr) to insert external assets
  • Specific data manipulation, like removing an element ID for a social media link
  • Integration with a translation API service to programmatically translate the field's content
  • Creation or integration with custom text editing interface

Multiple field widgets

If you need more than a single field, you can try multi-field level widgets. Currently we have two approaches for this:

Using JSON objects

The first is a simple approach is to use a JSON object field type and construct any complex field type that is not provided out of the box by Contentful, along with its UI and logic. However, there is a tradeoff when using this approach. Data inside of a JSON field cannot be used to query or filter entries in our APIs.

Using relationships between multiple fields

This approach involves creating a single field custom widget that can use our CMA to perform operations on other fields within the entry. Examples of multi-field-level widgets are:

  • Automatic asset metadata creation: When inserting an asset on a media field I want the long-text field below it to query our copyright database and fill-in the details for the asset above
  • Custom recipes: When selecting an item from a dropdown menu I want the content of a short-text field type to change

Content management widgets

Content management widgets reside on the sidebar and allow for actions that include every element in the entry. These are better suited for tasks related to workflows, data-management, integrations, etc. Examples of entry-level widgets are:

  • Custom webhooks/notifications
  • Integration with a preview environment
  • Moving entries across different spaces

Getting Started

The most convenient way to upload and manage widgets through our API is via the contentful-widget command line tool. You can install it with

npm install -g contentful-widget-cli

To work with the widget sdk library and the examples, clone this repo and install the dependencies:

git clone
cd widget-sdk
npm install

Including the compiled version of the widget client library is as simple as adding the following line to your application.

<script src=""></script>

If you want to learn how to write your own widgets and see them in action, checkout the documentation for the Rating Dropdown Widget. To get an overview over the API have a look at the reference documentation

Using Contentful Styles

As widgets are rendered inside an iframe, you will need to include the cf-widget-api.css library within your custom widget in order to use any of Contentful's styles.

Download the CSS library here and include it in your widget

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="cf-widget-api.css">

Futher information can be found in the styleguide.


This repo includes the following example widget implementations. Before you can use them, you need to run npm install in the repository root.

Basic Rating Dropdown

Basic widget that helps you get started with developing. Uses a dropdown to change the value of a number field and makes some CMA requests.


Chessboard Widget in action

This widget displays a chessboard and stores the board position as a JSON object. You can drag pieces on the chessboard and the position data will be updated automatically. The widget also supports collaborative editing. If two editors open the same entry moves will be synced between them.

Slug Generator

This widget will automatically generate its values from an entries title field. For example typing “Hello World” into the title field will set the widgets input field to “hello-world”. It will also check the uniquness of the slug across a customizable list of content types.

This examples highlights how the widget API can be used to inspect any value of an entry and react to changes.

Rich Text Editor

This example integrates the Alloy rich text editor to edit “Text” fields.

JSON Editor

This widget provides a JSON formatter and validator based on the Codemirror library.

It should be used with fields with the type “Object”.

JSON Form Editor

This widget integrates the JSON Editor library to display an edit form based on a predefined JSON Schema. Form input gets stored as a JSON object.


This widget translates text from the default locale to other locales in a space using the Yandex translation API.

Providing Feedback

Technical feedback can be provided directly through the Github repo. This has several advantages, including a closer communication between developers and a single point of information. Answers provided to one participant may also be relevant to others, and we can use this space for a healthy and open communication channel. However, if at any point some confidential or business sensitive information needs to be discussed, then the conversation would temporarily be handled via Zendesk.

We are mostly interested in technical details (custom widgets management, SDK, API, specific functionality details) and use cases (concert examples of problems that your organization could solve using custom widgets).

End of Developer Preview Program

The custom widgets preview program will end once we achieve a stable and reliable specification definition. At this point, participants of the program will be notified of an internal stable release as well as provided an estimate on when the feature will be made available to the general public. At this time, it would be advisable for participants to start thinking into how to incorporate this feature in their production environment since this version of the specification will be officially supported.




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