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Headless Magento - Using Frontend URLs in Emails

rain2o profile image Joel Rainwater Originally published at blog.rainwater.io ・11 min read

Original article: https://blog.rainwater.io/2021/03/26/headless-magento-using-frontend-urls-in-emails

Quick Overview

Magento sends a lot of emails, and most of these emails have pertinent information like the list of products purchased or being shipped, order details, etc... Usually these emails provide a number of links to Magento so that the customer can view their account, order, a product, and so on.

But what can we do if we are using Magento as headless? It will send the customer the Magento URL instead of our frontend URL.

This is the solution I came up with. It might not be the best, but it's working for us.

If you would like to see the final code, I created a sample module to go with this article.


Create a new module

Following Magento's modular approach, let's create a new module to contain this functionality. Throughout this article I'll be using Rain2o_Frontend as the module name in the examples. Remember to replace these with your own module name when following along.

I won't cover how to create a module, this is covered in great detail by many articles as well as the Magento documentation.


Add some configurations

This step might not be necessary for your setup, but I like to keep environment details, like a URL for example, flexible instead of coded so it can be changed per environment easily. To do this, I added a new field in the Stores Configuration section to manage the Frontend URL.

Creating the new field

Create a new file if you haven't already at app/code/Rain2o/Frontend/etc/adminhtml/system.xml.

I decided to add a new group entirely for the Frontend URL field. This is because our setup actually contains multiple fields in this group, but that's just a unique need for our project. Having this separate group allows us to have a separate section that's easy to find and ready to grow as additional requirements are introduced.

This is what I have in system.xml:

<!-- app/code/Rain2o/Frontend/etc/adminhtml/system.xml -->
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<config xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="urn:magento:module:Magento_Config:etc/system_file.xs">
    <system>
        <section id="web">
            <group id="frontend" translate="label comment" type="text" sortOrder="25" showInDefault="1" showInWebsite="1" showInStore="1">
                <label>Frontend URLs</label>
                <field id="base_url" translate="label comment" type="text" sortOrder="10" showInDefault="1" showInWebsite="1" showInStore="1">
                    <label>Frontend Base URL</label>
                    <comment><![CDATA[Specify full URL for frontend.]]></comment>
                </field>
            </group>
        </section>
    </system>
</config>
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This is fairly straight-forward if you're familiar with Magento's system.xml file, but I'll break it down a little.

We are adding one new field called base_url inside a new group we created called frontend. This is all inside Magento's existing section web, which can be found in the admin at Stores -> Configuration -> General -> Web.

This field is set to be editable in all scopes - Global, Website, and Store. This is up to you and your needs. Just note that I handle multi-store functionality later, so there is no need to set this per store here. But you can do so if that fits your needs.

Setting default value

Let's set a default value too, just so there's something to start with.

Create the file app/code/Rain2o/Frontend/etc/config.xml. Here I set the production URL as the default. This can be changed in Magento per environment, but this guarantees production will start with the right value.

<!-- app/code/Rain2o/Frontend/etc/config.xml -->
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<config xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="urn:magento:module:Magento_Store:etc/config.xsd">
    <default>
        <web>
            <frontend>
                <base_url>https://shop.example.com/</base_url>
            </frontend>
        </web>
    </default>
</config>

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Now, install the module if you haven't already:

bin/magento setup:upgrade
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Or, if the module is already installed, clean the cache:

bin/magento cache:clean
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Once you do that, you should see this in the Web configuration section:
The new Frontend URL field displayed in Magento's Configuration page, under the General Web section.


How are URLs created in Emails?

Alright, now that the groundwork is done, let's figure out how to override the URLs generated in emails.

Feel free to skip this part. I prefer to understand what I'm changing and why it is done in a certain way, so I wanted to help provide these details. If you just want to do the work, go to the next step.

After some digging, I discovered Magento's email templates use the model \Magento\Email\Model\Template for building the emails, which extends \Magento\Email\Model\AbstractTemplate.

In AbstractTemplate you will see the function getUrl, which is what is used in the email templates. This uses the private property $urlModel, which is passed to the __construct as a dependency. The model that is used by default is \Magento\Framework\Url.

Digging around in \Magento\Framework\Url, we can see that there are two main functions that could be useful in generating the correct frontend URLs - getRouteUrl and getBaseUrl. Both of these functions are ultimately called from the getUrl function which is initially called in the template. getBaseUrl is where we can use the new field we just created for the base. But our frontend might not follow the same routing structure as Magento, so getRouteUrl is where we can handle those route changes.

But how do we do that without hacking core? Both of those functions are public, so we could use Plugins. But I chose instead to use dependency inject to inject a new URL model for email templates. This avoids having multiple plugins on a model which is probably used a lot throughout Magento, and instead gives us a single Model to handle all frontend URL logic. We can then use this model later as we discover new parts of Magento that might need this functionality.


Overriding email URLs

Let's use Magento's Dependency Inject file to change the model which is passed to the email template for urlModel.

Inject our own URL model

Create the file app/code/Rain2o/Frontend/etc/di.xml. Here we will tell Magento to use our own URL Model in the __construct of \Magento\Email\Model\Template.

<!-- app/code/Rain2o/Frontend/etc/di.xml -->
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<config xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="urn:magento:framework:ObjectManager/etc/config.xsd">
    <type name="Magento\Email\Model\Template">
        <arguments>
            <argument name="urlModel" xsi:type="object" shared="false">Rain2o\Frontend\Model\Url</argument>
        </arguments>
    </type>
</config>
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We told Magento that the urlModel argument for the class \Magento\Email\Model\Template should use our own model (we haven't created it yet) instead of the default model.

Create our new URL Model

Now let's create the model we just referenced. This is where the good stuff will happen.

Create your model app/code/Rain2o/Frontend/Model/Url.php. If you look again at the Email Template model, you'll see that urlModel is passed as \Magento\Framework\UrlInterface $urlModel. Since we are changing the model for this, we need to be sure our model also implements that interface.

First let's create the class skeleton, then we'll add in the pieces.

NOTE - I am leaving out DocBlocks and comments to keep the sample code slim. Don't forget to document your code thoroughly!

<?php /** app/code/Rain2o/Frontend/Model/Url */
declare(strict_types=1);

namespace Rain2o\Frontend\Model;

use Magento\Framework\UrlInterface;

class Url extends \Magento\Framework\Url implements UrlInterface
{
    // ...
}
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As you can see I extended the model we are replacing - Magento\Framework\Url. This will allow us to use existing functionality without rewriting it, and only replace the pieces we need to modify.

Get Frontend URL from config

The first thing we know we're going to need to do is get the value of the new field we added in system.xml. Fortunately, the model we are extending already has a protected function _getConfig to get config values.

At the top of the class, let's add a constant to contain the path to our new field:

const FE_URL_PATH = "web/frontend/base_url";
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We also want to make sure that our frontend URL logic is only executed if the current scope is for frontend. So let's go ahead and add a flag to indicate if we're in admin scope or not. We'll use this later.

/**
 * @var bool
 */
private $isAdmin = false;
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The base model is rather large, and this next part can be daunting. So let's start from the bottom and work our way up. The first thing we need to modify is the base url. So let's copy the public function getBaseUrl($params = []) {} function to our new model from the original in Magento\Framework\Url. We will add a few pieces into the existing code. Here's the final version of the function, we'll break it down next.

public function getBaseUrl($params = [])
{
    /**
     *  Original Scope
     */
    $this->origScope = $this->_getScope();

    if (isset($params['_scope'])) {
        $this->setScope($params['_scope']);
    }

    // CUSTOM CODE
    // we only want to override if we're in frontend
    if ($this->_getScope()->getCode() === 'admin') {
        $this->isAdmin = true;
        return parent::getBaseUrl($params);
    } else {
        $this->isAdmin = false;
    }
    // END CUSTOM CODE

    if (isset($params['_type'])) {
        $this->getRouteParamsResolver()->setType($params['_type']);
    }

    if (isset($params['_secure'])) {
        $this->getRouteParamsResolver()->setSecure($params['_secure']);
    }

    /**
     * Add availability support urls without scope code
     */
    if ($this->_getType() == UrlInterface::URL_TYPE_LINK
        && $this->_getRequest()->isDirectAccessFrontendName(
            $this->_getRouteFrontName()
        )
    ) {
        $this->getRouteParamsResolver()->setType(UrlInterface::URL_TYPE_DIRECT_LINK);
    }

    // CUSTOM CODE
    // remove slash so we can add one and know it's only one
    $result = rtrim($this->_getConfig(self::FE_URL_PATH), "/") . "/";
    // add store code
    $result .= $this->_getScope()->getCode() . "/";
    // END CUSTOM CODE

    // setting back the original scope
    $this->setScope($this->origScope);
    $this->getRouteParamsResolver()->setType(self::DEFAULT_URL_TYPE);

    return $result;
}
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I surrounded any additions or changes in comments to make it easier to see what we modified.

The first thing we did was check the current scope. If it's admin we set our $this->isAdmin flag to true (we will check this in other functions later), and then return the execution of the parent function. This way we don't modify the behavior for admin URLs, and we stop any further execution of our custom logic.

The second change was how we create $result. Instead of using Magento's built in function (previously it was $this->_getScope()->getBaseUrl(...), we want to use our new value.

So we modified it to be

$result = rtrim($this->_getConfig(self::FE_URL_PATH), "/") . "/";
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The rtrim is just an extra precaution to ensure there is always one, and only one slash at the end. Since this is a field in Magento configuration, we can't always control that, so we force it this way.

The next line we add the store code to the URL. Of course this is optional according to your setup. We actually use locales in our frontend URLs, so I have additional logic to convert the store code to the appropriate local, but that's not necessary for this article.

$result .= $this->_getScope()->getCode() . "/";
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You can modify this to fit your store's needs.

And that's it for that function. We now should be retrieving the frontend base URL with store code.

Handling routes

The other function I mentioned earlier is getRouteUrl. This is where we need to handle our route patterns for the frontend. The parent model we are extending uses Magento code for generating routes which we want to bypass. The actual logic for that is in a couple of protected functions we'll look at next. The code for this function is pretty slim.

public function getRouteUrl($routePath = null, $routeParams = null)
{
    // get our new base URL for frontend
    $base = $this->getBaseUrl($routeParams);

    // use parent if we're in admin scope
    if ($this->isAdmin) {
        return parent::getRouteUrl($routePath, $routeParams);
    }

    // route mapping happens here
    $this->_setRoutePath($routePath);

    // use our base url and the mapped route path
    $frontUrl = $base . $this->_getRoutePath($routeParams);

    return $frontUrl;
}
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First we get the new base url we just created. Next we check if we're in admin scope, and if so then just execute the parent function again. Otherwise we call $this->_setRoutePath(), which is where the actual mapping of routes happens.

And finally we combine all of the above work to create our full frontend URL with route.

Mapping the routes

Now we need to handle the mapping of routes. First we'll create our own _setRoutePath function to handle this. If you look at the parent class, this function uses a lot of Magento code like $this->_getRequest()->getControllerName(); and similar. We don't want any of this for our frontend. This function actually gets a bit smaller, depending on your mapping needs.

For our setup, we actually have pretty straightforward routes, so we don't have any mapping logic. Instead we just use the route path as-is, because that matches our frontend routes.

protected function _setRoutePath($data)
{
    // kept from original
    if ($this->_getData('route_path') == $data) {
        return $this;
    }

    $this->unsetData('route_path');
    $routePieces = explode('/', $data);

    // additional logic here if needed to map route path to frontend routes
    $pieces = $this->yourFunctionForMappingRoutes($routePieces);

    $this->setData('route_path', implode("/", $pieces));
    return $this;
}
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Most of the code we have is kept from the original function, but we removed a lot of unused code. I placed a comment where you could implement custom logic for mapping routes according to your needs. This will be different for everyone.

We set the data after handling the mapping, and we're done.

Getting the mapped routes

We also need to remove some logic from the _getRoutePath function, because it uses some additional Magento logic for rewrites that we don't need.

protected function _getRoutePath($routeParams = [])
{
    // use parent function if we're in admin scope
    if ($this->isAdmin) {
        return parent::_getRoutePath($routeParams);
    }
    return $this->_getData('route_path');
}
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We first check if we're in admin, and if so execute the parent function again. After that we only return the previously set route_path data.

And that does it. Now if you clean the cache - bin/magento cache:clean, you should be able to test your emails and find the new frontend URLs.

Final Look

Here is the final version of our URL model

<?php
declare(strict_types=1);
namespace Rain2o\Frontend\Model;

use Magento\Framework\UrlInterface;

class Url extends \Magento\Framework\Url implements UrlInterface
{
    const FE_URL_PATH = "web/frontend/base_url";

    /**
     * @var bool
     */
    private $isAdmin = false;

    public function getBaseUrl($params = [])
    {
        /**
         *  Original Scope
         */
        $this->origScope = $this->_getScope();

        if (isset($params['_scope'])) {
            $this->setScope($params['_scope']);
        }

        // CUSTOM CODE
        // we only want to override if we're in frontend
        if ($this->_getScope()->getCode() === 'admin') {
            $this->isAdmin = true;
            return parent::getBaseUrl($params);
        } else {
            $this->isAdmin = false;
        }
        // END CUSTOM CODE

        if (isset($params['_type'])) {
            $this->getRouteParamsResolver()->setType($params['_type']);
        }

        if (isset($params['_secure'])) {
            $this->getRouteParamsResolver()->setSecure($params['_secure']);
        }

        /**
         * Add availability support urls without scope code
         */
        if ($this->_getType() == UrlInterface::URL_TYPE_LINK
            && $this->_getRequest()->isDirectAccessFrontendName(
                $this->_getRouteFrontName()
            )
        ) {
            $this->getRouteParamsResolver()->setType(UrlInterface::URL_TYPE_DIRECT_LINK);
        }

        // CUSTOM CODE
        // remove slash so we can add one and know it's only one
        $result = rtrim($this->_getConfig(self::FE_URL_PATH), "/") . "/";
        // add store code
        $result .= $this->_getScope()->getCode() . "/";
        // END CUSTOM CODE

        // setting back the original scope
        $this->setScope($this->origScope);
        $this->getRouteParamsResolver()->setType(self::DEFAULT_URL_TYPE);

        return $result;
    }

    public function getRouteUrl($routePath = null, $routeParams = null)
    {
        // get our new base URL for frontend
        $base = $this->getBaseUrl($routeParams);

        // use parent if we're in admin scope
        if ($this->isAdmin) {
            return parent::getRouteUrl($routePath, $routeParams);
        }

        // route mapping happens here
        $this->_setRoutePath($routePath);

        // use our base url and the mapped route path
        $frontUrl = $base . $this->_getRoutePath($routeParams);

        return $frontUrl;
    }

    protected function _setRoutePath($data)
    {
        // kept from original
        if ($this->_getData('route_path') == $data) {
            return $this;
        }

        $this->unsetData('route_path');
        $routePieces = explode('/', $data);

        // additional logic here if needed to map route path to frontend routes
        $pieces = $this->yourFunctionForMappingRoutes($routePieces);

        $this->setData('route_path', implode("/", $pieces));
        return $this;
    }

    protected function _getRoutePath($routeParams = [])
    {
        // use parent function if we're in admin scope
        if ($this->isAdmin) {
            return parent::_getRoutePath($routeParams);
        }
        return $this->_getData('route_path');
    }
}
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Closing remarks

There will be plenty of edge-cases and unique needs in something like this, so your implementation will probably vary and grow over time. This is a simplified version of what we have implemented, as some of our needs were unique and not valuable to this tutorial.

I am hoping one day Magento implements a built-in solution for these types of issues, especially with the PWA Studio being a thing now. Until then, we will continue to help each other find our own solutions.

Do you have a better solution? Did this work for you? Let me know, I'd love to check out better solutions if possible!

Discussion (5)

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lukecollymore profile image
Luke Collymore

Hi, I found a no code solution for this on a Vue Storefront site recently, the headless sites usually interact with a specific store and don’t operate on the default admin store level.
So it’s possible to set a specific frontend url in the standard system config. So the backend admin url can be set differently to the store urls.
So any emails, xml sitemaps etc will use the frontend PWA stores store view level base_url config values.
If you have a single store setup you need to modify the config value directly in the database, as Magento seems to tie the admin url to this and even if you modify the store view level url the admin will use that and be updated to this.

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rain2o profile image
Joel Rainwater Author

So, you're saying I can set the BASE_URL of each store in the Magento config to a different URL than where Magento is at, and that will solve this problem? If so, that's so much easier! I'll have to try that out.

Of course that still doesn't solve the problem if you have to map the routes to a different pattern than what Magento generates, but that should only be some situations.

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lukecollymore profile image
Luke Collymore

Yes set a 'stores' scope and the store-view scope_id config values and that should fix the basic issue.

Your solution would be a great start to implementing custom routing when getting more complicated.

Thread Thread
rain2o profile image
Joel Rainwater Author

Wow, that’s so much easier. I’ll have to test that out this week. Thanks for the tip!

Thread Thread
rain2o profile image
Joel Rainwater Author

@lukecollymore I just did some brief testing, and it does seem to work for the most part, though it is limited.
I'm a little curious how you have it working with Vue Storefront? The default routes that come with VSF default theme as well as Capybara don't directly align with what Magento generates for URLs with this approach. Did you implement your own VSF routes that matches all of the Magento generated ones?

If you have any media in emails templates, the media path would need to use the Vue Storefront /img/ processor, unless you have added a proxy to directly access media from Magento instead of using the img processor. I tried setting the base_media_url to something like {{secure_base_url}}/img/1200/1200/resize just to see if that would work and it didn't seem to use that value at all. Maybe I'm missing something there.

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