Getting Started with AEM Sites Chapter 2 - Creating a Base Page and Template

Covers the creation of a base page and an editable template. Core Components are proxied into the project. Core Components of Text, Image, and Title are used to author an initial page.


This is Chapter 2 of the multi-part tutorial. Chapter 1 can be found here and an overview can be found here.

Note you will need Eclipse or an IDE setup. Instructions for setting up a development environment can be found in Chapter 1

You can view Chapter 1 on GitHub or you can download the solution package:


Inspect Base Page Component

The archetype has created a component to be used as a base for all Pages created. The base page is responsible for ensuring that global areas of the site are consistent. This includes loading of global CSS and Javascript, as well as the inclusion of code that will ensure the page can be edited using AEM authoring tools.

In Eclipse (or in the IDE of your choice) you will be viewing nodes beneath /apps/wknd in the ui.apps project.

  1. View the folder beneath /apps/wknd/components named structure.

    The AEM project archetype creates a component named pageEditable templates will be used for the WKND site. The name structure matches a specific mode of Editable template and is the common convention when using Editable templates. Any component added into the structure folder indicates that the component is meant to be used when constructing a template, and not to be used when authoring a page. 

  2. Select the page component and view its properties:






    indicates that this is not an authorable component


    WKND Site Page




    will inherit functionality from the Core Page component



    primary node type (read-only)

    The sling:resourceSuperType property is critical in that it allows the WKND's page component to inherit all of the functionality of the Core Component page component. This is the first example of something called the Proxy Component Pattern. More information can be found here.

Create Header Component

Next a Header component will be created to be integrated into the Base page. The goal is just to establish a basic structure, so the code will be minimal. In later tutorials this component will be built in full.

  1. Create a node named header with node type of cq:Component beneath /apps/wknd/components/structure

  2. You may see an error like the following: Unable to validate node types since project aem-guides-wknd.ui.apps is not associated with a server or the server is not started.

    Double check and ensure that the aem-guides-wknd.ui.apps project is associated with an AEM eclipse server and that the server is started.

    If you continue to encounter the error:

    1. Right+Click the aem-guides-wknd.ui.apps project in the Project explorer
    2. Open Properties > Project Facets
    3. Uncheck Dynamic Web Module 

    This should resolve the error and you should then get a drop down of node types when creating new nodes.

    uncheck Dynamic Web Module
    uncheck Dynamic Web Module under Properties > Project Facets

    Also ensure that the content sync root directory beneath the AEM tab is pointed to the jcr_root folder:

  3. Update the header component with additional JCR properties. Select the header component and then Right+Click in the JCR Propertied panel to add new properties.

    Add the following properties to the header component.




    Tutorial Description
    (don't copy, info only)




    All components meant for the structure of Templates will use this group.



    Page Header with navigation

    description of component



    WKND Page Header





    primary node type


    Pro Tip!

    You can Double+Click the component in the Project Explorer and edit the XML configuration directly. This is preferrable when many edits must be made, but it can be error prone.

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
        jcr:description="Page Header with navigation"
        jcr:title="WKND Page Header"/>
  4. Add a node named cq:dialog of type nt:unstructured beneath the header component


    Dialogs are the mechanism that allows content authors to update properties/logic of a component through a UI dialog. The full dialog and fields will be defined in later parts of the tutorial. In order to support baseline author functionality at least a dialog placeholder is needed.

  5. Add a file named header.html beneath the header component

    header.html file

    This file is is actually an HTL script. There are a set of global objects that are always available to HTL scripts within a component. currentPage represents the current content page. Using the dot notation .title a method named .getTitle() is called. This will print the current page's title. Conditional logic can be used to print out 'header' if the page title can't be found. The name of the file header.html is important for Sling resource resolution, as it matches the name of the component. More information about Sling resource resolution can be found here.

    Add the following contents to the header.html file:

    <!--/* Header Component for WKND Site 
    <header class="wknd-header">
     <div class="container">
      <a class="wknd-header-logo" href="#">WKND</a>
      <h1>${currentPage.title ? currentPage.title : 'header'}</h1>
  6. Deploy to AEM

    Its a good idea to periodically publish to AEM to verify/test your code changes. With Eclipse AEM dev tools you can publish the ui.apps project from within Eclipse.

    You can also always publish using Maven. It is a good idea deploy using Maven as well since this will ultimately be how you deploy to a Dev/Production environment and Maven will also run through unit tests and other code style checks prior to installing.

    More details about pushing code between the IDE and AEM instance can be found on Part 1.

    $ mvn -PautoInstallPackage -Padobe-public clean install
    page in CRXDE Lite
    See the Page node in CRXDE Lite after deploying code changes

    In CRXDE-Lite verify that the header component has been pushed to your local AEM instance.

Inspect Proxy Components

AEM Core Components provide several basic building blocks for creating content. This includes Text, Image and Title and several other components. The AEM project archetype includes these in the WKND project automatically. Each component added has a sling:resourceSuperType property to point to the Core Component. This is known as creating proxy components and is the recommended way of using Core Components in your project. 

In the first few parts of the tutorial the following Core Components will be used:

The Core Components themselves can be viewed in CRXDE Lite under /apps/core/ wcm /components

  1. Expand /apps/wknd/components/content

    Notice that several Core Components have already been included in the project. Each component included will have a sling:resourceSuperType property that points to the equivalent Core Component. The exception is the helloworld component which is a sample component.

    Breadcrumb Component
    Breadcrumb Component for creating navigation breadcrumbs.

  2. Expand /apps/wknd/components/form

    Core Components also include a set of components for building HTML forms. These components are also proxied into the project, like the components under /content. Notice also that these components have a unique componentGroup.

    Text Component
    Text Component for creating RTE content

  3. Inspect cq:editConfig beneath image component

    The cq:editConfig defines various behavior including Drag+Drop functionality from the Asset Finder in the Sites Editor. It is a required configuration for the Image component.

    1. View the node beneath the image component named cq:editConfig with a type of cq:EditConfig

    2. Notice the cq:dropTargets/image/parameters node. This tells AEM what component resource type to use when dragging an Image on to the page. If you are extending the Image component for custom component it will be important to update the cq:editConfg

Inspect Empty Page Template Type

Template Types are effectively a template for a template. They are necessary in order to take advantage of AEM's Editable Template feature. Templates and Template Types are stored beneath /conf. The AEM project archetype creates a template type to get started with. Nodes in /conf can be updated in AEM directly via the UI. Thus any template related nodes are stored in the ui.content project. 

There are 3 main areas of Editable Templates:

  1. Structure - defines components that are a part of the template. These will not be editable by content authors.
  2. Initial Content - defines components that the template will start with, these can be edited and/or deleted by content authors
  3. Policies - defines configurations on how components will behave and what options authors will have available.

Since Template Types can be thought of as a template of a template you will find the same structure for the template type. There are examples of template type structures that can be found beneath: /libs/settings/wcm/template-types/

The AEM Project archetype creates an Empty Page Template Type to start with. Inspect a few areas of the Empty Page Template Type in the ui.content module. 

  1. /conf/wknd/settings/wcm/template-types/empty-page/structure/jcr:content

    Note on the jcr:content node that the sling:resourceType points to the base page component (created earlier in this part). Also notice that the breakpoints for Phone and Tablet are defined here. Desktop will be considered larger than 1200. 

  2. Update the Phone Breakpoint to 768

    Beneath /conf/wknd/settings/wcm/template-types/empty-page/structure/jcr:content/cq:responsive are nodes for Tablet and Phone breakpoints. The default Tablet breakpoint is 1200.

    Set the Phone breakpoint to 768 

  3. /conf/wknd/settings/wcm/template-types/empty-page/initial/jcr:content

    The jcr:content node beneath the initial page also points back to the base page component created earlier.

  4. /conf/wknd/settings/wcm/template-types/empty-page/policies/jcr:content

    The policies page defines how policies will be mapped to various components. This structure is standard across template types and not unique to the wknd's empty page template type.

  5. (Optional) Add a thumbnail beneath /conf/wknd/settings/wcm/template-types/empty-page

    Thumbnails are great! This thumbnail will show up for users in the AEM author environment in order to easily identify the Template Type. Recommended dimensions are 460 x 460.

  6. Deploy ui.content to AEM

    The next part of the tutorial will take place within AEM.

Create Article and Landing Page Templates

The AEM project archetype pre-created a sample Content Template. The next few steps will detail creating 2 new templates:

  1. Article Page Template
  2. Landing Page Template

This will take place in AEM. The short video below details the steps.

*Note the role of creating a template being done as a development task. However once the implementation reaches a level of maturity, additional templates may be created by a select group of "power-users". 

Landing Page Template Thumbnail
Landing Page Template Thumbnail

Use the above video to complete the following tasks:

  1. Create Article Page Template and Landing Page Template

    Each of these templates include a fixed Header component and an unlocked Layout Container. The Layout Container is configured with the following allowed components:

    • Breadcrumb
    • Image
    • List
    • Text
    • Title
    • Layout Container

    Reuse the Layout Container Policy from the Article Page Template on the Landing Page Template.

  2. Create the Home Page

    The Home page should be created at /content/wknd/en (or the language locale of your choice). It should be created using the Landing Page Template.

  3. Create a First Article Page

    The First Article page should be created beneath the Home Page at /content/wknd/en/first-article. It should be created using the Article Page Template

  4. Sync Templates from AEM to File System

    In order to re-deploy these templates to other environments it is possible to make them part of source control. Use the Eclipse Dev Tools, as outlined in the video, to import the templates created in AEM into the ui.content module.

Inspect Content Root

The AEM project archetype created a content root for the WKND site automatically at /content/wknd. The content root defines the allowed templates for the site and is used to set other global configurations. By convention the content root is not intended to be the Home page for the site and instead will redirect to the true home page. It is a good idea to understand the properties on the content root.

  1. Open CRXDE Lite http://localhost:4502/crx/de/index.jsp and navigate to /content/wknd/jcr:content

  2. View the following properties on the jcr:content node:




    Tutorial Description
    (don't copy, info only)




    Will allow any templates created under the WKND folder to be used




    defines the device groups used in Layout Mode. Will use the default settings.



    WKND Site





    primary node type




    redirect target












    will use the Foundation Redirect component to perform the redirect.

    As you can see some of the properties such as allowedTemplates on the Content Root are critical to the behavior of the site. In many implementations root configurations such as this are saved into scm to provide some baseline content structure. In other cases offline content packages are created and provide a similar role.

  3. (Optional) Sync Content Root from AEM to File System

    Using Eclipse Dev Tools, in the ui.content module Right + Click /content/wknd page and Import from server...


If you get stuck or have additional questions make sure to check out the Experience League forums for AEM or view existing GitHub issues

Didn't find what you were looking for? Think you found an error? Please file a GitHub issue for the WKND project

Next Steps

Next part in the tutorial: 



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