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File System Layout

It is important that files are well placed and named within Cacti's directory structure. The naming structure may contain a category token and/or an action.


Under each category directory, functions should be broken out into multiple files where applicable. All files must begin with the name of category (ie. its parent directory name). Valid token names are

  • auth
  • data_input (maybe rename to script)
  • data_query
  • data_source
  • data_template
  • device (rename from host)
  • device_template
  • event (if we have event management in core)
  • graph
  • graph_template
  • graph_tree
  • package
  • plugin
  • poller
  • preset (colors, cdefs, etc, better than data_preset)
  • rra
  • site
  • user


This part should reflect what type of actions the file contains. Specific examples are listed below.

  • info - reads information
  • update - writes (or changes) information
  • form - draws form-related information
  • execute - performs some action that does not modify or return information
  • utility - contains miscellaneous functions

Function Verbs

Functions in those PHP modules shall name their token and shall contain a verb to explain the purpose. Specific examples are listed below.

  • list
  • get
  • save
  • copy
  • clear
  • remove
  • update


Directly under the access/ directory are sub directories for ajax related calls and javascript includes for web interface functionality.




  • icons/ # 16×16, 32×32 icons
  • buttons/ # button images (save, cancel, etc)
  • tabs/ # tab images


Code that must be accessed globally but is not contained inside of a function should be stored in the include/ directory. The most common examples are to store globally accessible constants and arrays.

Directly under the include/ directory, the files beginning with 'global' are used to store information that is accessible everywhere in the code. Only store information in these files that are meaningful to the entire program. Also under the include/ directory is a directory for each category (graph, device, etc), where information specific to that category is to be stored.

Constants that are made available everyone in the program


Arrays that are only used with graphs

  js/                                   # javascript files
    jquery/                             # jquery dist
    jscalendar/                         # jscalendar dist
    jstree/                             # treeview control
  html/                                 # contains mostly html
    template/                           # base html template includes
    main.css                            # global css only
    form.css                            # css for drawing forms
    graph.css                           # css for graph viewing
  [token]/                              # token specific includes


Functions that must be accessed globally should be stored in the lib/ directory. This is where most of the heavy lifting in Cacti occurs.

Directly under the lib/ directory, the files beginning with 'api' are generic wrappers that are only to be used by third party developers. These files simply include the contents of the various subdirectories under lib/ to make developers' lives easier. Also under the lib/ directory is a directory for each category (graph, device, etc), where functions specific to that category are to be stored. The lib/sys/ directory is a special category that is meant to store Cacti internal functions that are not to be made available directly within the API.

API wrapper for graph-related functions


Functions that update information about devices


Functions that read information about data templates

  adodb/                                # adodb dist
  sys/                                  # internal libraries (snmp, database, etc)



Directly under the plugins/ directory are sub directories that contain plugins for Cacti.

Including and Requiring Files

To reduce bloat, each file and/or function should include any and all files which it relies on.

The following function directly relies the libraries related to sequences and reading graph information. The require_once directive is used instead of require to prevent PHP re-declaration errors.

function api_graph_item_save($graph_item_id, &$_fields_graph_item) {
	require_once(CACTI_BASE_PATH . '/lib/sys/sequence.php');
	require_once(CACTI_BASE_PATH . '/lib/graph/graph_info.php');

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