OpenCms Documentation


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Documented since: 9.5 Latest revision for: 9.5 Valid for OpenCms: 13.0

In the documentation we use special terminology and abbreviations. Here you'll find an overview of commonly used terms.


basic schema type

A basic schema type is a schema type supplied by OpenCms. Such basic schema types are, e.g., OpenCmsString, OpenCmsVfsFile, etc. In all schemas that are used to define content types, the part defining the content's structure must have schema elements with basic schema types as leavesLeaves are nodes that do not have subnodes - or more precisely in our context, do not have the schema type of a nested content..

bundle descriptor

Bundle descriptors are XML contents that define the key set of a message bundle and provide at most two bits of extra information for each key. The descriptor influences the bundle editor, not the bundle mechanism itself.

bundle editor

An editor for message bundles added in OpenCms 10.5. See here for a description.

content editor

OpenCms provides two content editors, the form-based editor and the inline editor. 'Content editor' is a generic term for both of them.

content type

'Content type' is usually used as a synonym for resource type in OpenCms. When the structure of a content item is defined via an XML schema definition, the type is typically configured as a resource type where it gets a type name that we call 'resource' or 'content type'.

display formatter

Besides being a normal formatter, a display formatter is used to render contents in lists using the <cms:display> tag. The tag uses the formatter marked as display formatter to render a content, moreover specific such formatters (if more than one is present for a content type) can be provided to the tag. To select them, the special "DisplayTypeSelectWidget" is available. Read about lists since OpenCms 11 to get a good impression on display formatters.

edit point

The edit point symbol is shown on elements of a page in the page editor. If you hover over the edit points, you see the options for that element. Furthermore, the symbol is used in the page editor's toolbar to show the toolbar and show or hide edit points. It may appear in even more places - usually indicating "here you can edit something".

editor field

In the content editors, a field where content is shown is called an 'editor field'. Typically, an editor field corresponds to a schema element of the displayed content.

element view

Since OpenCms 10, elements can be placed in different views. For each resource type you can configure an element view. In the page editor, you can switch between the element views. Edit points are only shown for elements of the currently selected view. Moreover, only elements of the selected view can be added. The use of different element view is in particular helpful, when building templates with nested containers, where first layout elements are dropped on a page and afterward the "real" contents are added. Read moer about element views starting here.


The explorer app allows you to browse the VFS as you can do in a normal explorer. See here for more details.

explorer type

Content types in OpenCms are configured as explorer types to make them visible in the explorer view and in the add wizard of the page editor. We use 'explorer type' only in the context of that configuration. In all other contexts we assume that the term 'content' or 'resource type' already implies that an explorer type configuration is set up for the type.

form-based editor

The form-based editor, or form-based content editor, is a content editor integrated in OpenCms. It allows you to edit content via a form assembled from highly configurable widgets. See here for more details.


In OpenCms contents are rendered by formatters. These consist of a formatter JSP and a formatter configuration - or are defined as macro formatters. Read more about formatters here.

index field

'Index field' describes a field of a search index. Depending on the search engine used, it refers to a Solr field or a Lucene field.

inline editor

The inline editor, or inline content editor, is a content editor integrated into OpenCms, that allows you to edit content directly on the webpage. See here for more information.

Lucene field

Lucene (index) field describes a field in a Lucene search index.

page editor

The page editor is the (ADE) view in OpenCms where you edit pages, i.e., add, move or remove content. It is the normal view when you open a page offline. See here for a description of the editor.

page element

Page elements are content that is added to a webpage via drag & drop.


OpenCms has two versions of the virtual file system: online and offline. Resources are edited offline. Guests visiting your website see only the online version. Copying the offline version of a resource to the online version of the virtual file system, thus making the resource available to guests visiting your website, is called 'publishing'. See here for more information on publishing.

resource selection dialog

The resource selection dialog, or just 'resource dialog', appears whenever a resource should be selected. For example, it is used in the add wizards of the page and sitemap editors, but also in the widgets for file selection in the content editor. The dialog has several tabs (Folders, Galleries, ...) with different selection modes. Which tabs are available depends on the context.

resource type

'Resource type' is typically used as a synonym for content type. Only in the context of configuration, resource type has a special meaning.

RFS (real file system)

RFS, real file system, we call the file system on the server where OpenCms is running. Several configuration files, e.g., the opencms-vfs.xml, opencms-modules.xml, etc. are located in the real file system.

Contrary to the RFS, we speak of 'VFS' (virtual file system) that is just a view of the database that holds all OpenCms resources.

schema element

In an XML schema definition, the elements of types are called 'schema elements'.

schema type

In OpenCms the structure of content is defined via XML Schema definitions (XSDs). In such schemas, definitions get type names that we call 'schema types'.

sitemap editor

The sitemap editor is an (ADE) view. It is used to browse the sitemap, add, move, remove pages or edit a page's properties. Several sub-views also allow editing model pages and galleries. Here is an overview of the sitemap editor.

Solr field

A Solr (index) field describes a field in the Solr search index.

VFS (virtual file system)

OpenCms stores all resources in a database. The part of the database structure resembles a virtual file system, VFS. This system is visible via the explorer view, or it can be mounted. The VFS exists in two versions: online and offline. The VFS is not part of the server's real file system (RFS). So you'll find only exported resources in the RFS on your server. More information about the VFS can be found here.


If you are logged in to OpenCms, you are in the OpenCms workplace. Whenever you are in the workplace, you see a toolbar at the top of the window. Learn more about the workplace here.