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This is a template for customizing ConnextCMS/KeystoneJS for a new website. It's a slimmed down copy of the ConnextCMS Plugin Template. The main difference is the /connextcms directory present in Plugins is missing from Sites. This template contains the basic files required to customize a website served by KeystoneJS and (optionally) managed with ConnextCMS.

File Structure

|  This is where the KeystoneJS specific files live.
|  |--models/
|  |  Add any KeystoneJS models that your plugin needs to this directory.
|  |--routes/
|  |  This directory contains the handlers for any new APIs
|  |  |--exampleRouter.js
|  |  |  KeystoneJS reads this file to add new View and API paths to the KeystoneJS router.
|  |  |--exampleplugin.js
|  |  |  This is a demo/example API handler file.
|  |--templates/views/
|  |  This directory contains the KeystoneJS Views
|  |  |--test.hbs
|  |  |  This is an example KeystoneJS view.
|  |  |--loggedinuser.hbs
|  |  |  This is an example KeystoneJS view that is only accessible to logged in users.
|  |  |--index.hbs
|  |  |  This files contains the HTML displayed on the homepage.
|  |--template/views/layouts/
|  |  |--default.hbs
|  |  |  This files contains the HTML that make up the header (navigation menu) and footer of the site.
|  Bash shell script for merging your site into a working installation of ConnextCMS and KeystoneJS.
|  This file assumes you are installing into your home directory (~). If not, change the file paths in this script.


The easiest way to get started with ConnextCMS and KeystoneJS is to clone a demo Droplet. This provides you with an operational website out-of-the-box. Follow these installation instructions after recieving your copy of the demo droplet.

If you're not sold on using Droplets and want to develop your website on a different platform, consider cloning the Docker image for ConnextCMS. This will also allow you to easily get ConnextCMS and KeystoneJS up and running on any OS or hardware platform that can run Docker.

Regardless of platform, the installation instructions below assume you are starting with a working copy of ConnextCMS and KeystoneJS.

  1. Start by creating a directory to host this repository. It's assumed that you are following ConnextCMS best practices and have a keystone4 and connextCMS directory in your home directory. For documentation purposes, it's assumed the directory hosting this repository is ~/theme.

  2. Clone this repository and enter the newly created directory:

git clone
cd site-template-connextmcs
  1. Run the merge script: ./merge-plugin

This will copy the index.hbs and default.hbs files that contain the HTML of the hompage and navigation menu, respectively. You should notice that the homepage on the default installation of ConnextCMS will have changed after running the merge script. Edit these files with your own HTML to customize the site.

Design Overview

ConnextCMS now has hooks to allow the development of Sites, similar in nature to WordPress Themes. Sites allow new websites and web apps to develop their code base totally independent of the KeystoneJS or ConnextCMS code base. Seprate ConnextCMS core and Site code can be updated without one breaking the other. This site template has been developed for the following reasons:

  1. To give an example on how JavaScript developers can create their own ConnextCMS/KeystoneJS web apps.

  2. To illustrate the various interfaces between KeystoneJS and ConnextCMS. To show where and how the two systems interact and where they are independent.

  3. Show how to integrate a HTML template into a new KeystoneJS/ConnextCMS site.


Keystone has its own system for routing API calls, displaying views, and creating database models. ConnextCMS relies heavily on the API routes and interacts with database models through these APIs. The ConnextCMS dashboard is contained in a single KeystoneJS view, but otherwise does not interact with any other KeystoneJS view. This template allows you to create new KeystoneJS routes, views, and models as you see fit.

Keystone Routes

  • The API routes for this example plugin are defined in keystone/routes/exampleRouter.js. This file gets read by Keystone's routes/index.js file when KeystoneJS starts.

  • The API handler functions for this example plugin live in keystone/routes/api/exampleplugin.js. This is the code that gets executed when your plugin API is called.

Keystone Views

In ConnextCMS, KeystoneJS is configured to use the Handlebar template language for its views. View files end with extension .hbs, but HTML can be copied and pasted into these files. The ConnextCMS Dashboard is a single Keystone View configured for the path /dashboard. The /edituser view which lets users change their password is another example of a Keystone View.

This plugin contains example views: /test is a publically accessible view and /loggedinuser is a private view, accessible only to logged in users.

The route for Keystone Views are defined in the keystone/routes/exampleRouter.js file, but the website content is defined by the .hbs file in the keystone/templates/views directory.

Keystone Models

In many ways KeystoneJS Models act as an API to MongoDB, the database used to power KeystoneJS. Read up on the KeystoneJS model documentation for more information.

Any model files in this directory with the same name as default KeystoneJS or ConnextCMS model files will overwrite those default files. This is useful if you need to add a field to an existing model. For example, if you need to add a field called 'middleName' to the User model, just copy the default User.js model from KeystoneJS and place it in this directory, and add your field. Your updated model will overwrite the default model when the merge-plugin script is executed.

Support Files

merge-plugin is a bash script file that places your plugin files in the appropriate location, according to ConnextCMS installation best practices.


This is a template for creating a customized website with ConnextCMS and KeystoneJS



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