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SFINV: Inventory Formspec


Simple Fast Inventory (SFINV) is a mod found in Minetest Game that is used to create the player’s inventory formspec. SFINV comes with an API that allows you to add and otherwise manage the pages shown.

Whilst SFINV by default shows pages as tabs, pages are called pages because it is entirely possible that a mod or game decides to show them in some other format instead. For example, multiple pages could be shown in one formspec.

Registering a Page

SFINV provides the aptly named sfinv.register_page function to create pages. Simply call the function with the page’s name and its definition:

sfinv.register_page("mymod:hello", {
    title = "Hello!",
    get = function(self, player, context)
        return sfinv.make_formspec(player, context,
                "label[0.1,0.1;Hello world!]", true)

The make_formspec function surrounds your formspec with SFINV’s formspec code. The fourth parameter, currently set as true, determines whether the player’s inventory is shown.

Let’s make things more exciting; here is the code for the formspec generation part of a player admin tab. This tab will allow admins to kick or ban players by selecting them in a list and clicking a button.

sfinv.register_page("myadmin:myadmin", {
    title = "Tab",
    get = function(self, player, context)
        local players = {}
        context.myadmin_players = players

        -- Using an array to build a formspec is considerably faster
        local formspec = {

        -- Add all players to the text list, and to the players list
        local is_first = true
        for _ , player in pairs(minetest.get_connected_players()) do
            local player_name = player:get_player_name()
            players[#players + 1] = player_name
            if not is_first then
                formspec[#formspec + 1] = ","
            formspec[#formspec + 1] =
            is_first = false
        formspec[#formspec + 1] = "]"

        -- Add buttons
        formspec[#formspec + 1] = "button[0.1,3.3;2,1;kick;Kick]"
        formspec[#formspec + 1] = "button[2.1,3.3;2,1;ban;Kick + Ban]"

        -- Wrap the formspec in sfinv's layout
        -- (ie: adds the tabs and background)
        return sfinv.make_formspec(player, context,
                table.concat(formspec, ""), false)

There’s nothing new about the above code; all the concepts are covered above and in previous chapters.

Player Admin Page

Receiving events

You can receive formspec events by adding a on_player_receive_fields function to a sfinv definition.

on_player_receive_fields = function(self, player, context, fields)
    -- TODO: implement this

on_player_receive_fields works the same as minetest.register_on_player_receive_fields, except that context is given instead of formname. Please note that SFINV will consume events relevant to itself, such as navigation tab events, so you won’t receive them in this callback.

Now let’s implement the on_player_receive_fields for our admin mod:

on_player_receive_fields = function(self, player, context, fields)
    -- text list event,  check event type and set index if selection changed
    if fields.playerlist then
        local event = minetest.explode_textlist_event(fields.playerlist)
        if event.type == "CHG" then
            context.myadmin_selected_idx = event.index

    -- Kick button was pressed
    elseif fields.kick then
        local player_name =
        if player_name then
                    "Kicked " .. player_name)

    -- Ban button was pressed
    elseif fields.ban then
        local player_name =
        if player_name then
                    "Banned " .. player_name)
            minetest.kick_player(player_name, "Banned")

There’s a rather large problem with this, however. Anyone can kick or ban players! You need a way to only show this to players with the kick or ban privileges. Luckily SFINV allows you to do this!

Conditionally showing to players

You can add an is_in_nav function to your page’s definition if you’d like to control when the page is shown:

is_in_nav = function(self, player, context)
    local privs = minetest.get_player_privs(player:get_player_name())
    return privs.kick or privs.ban

If you only need to check one priv or want to perform an ‘and’, you should use minetest.check_player_privs() instead of get_player_privs.

Note that the is_in_nav is only called when the player’s inventory formspec is generated. This happens when a player joins the game, switches tabs, or a mod requests for SFINV to regenerate.

This means that you need to manually request that SFINV regenerates the inventory formspec on any events that may change is_in_nav’s result. In our case, we need to do that whenever kick or ban is granted or revoked to a player:

local function on_grant_revoke(grantee, granter, priv)
    if priv ~= "kick" and priv ~= "ban" then

    local player = minetest.get_player_by_name(grantee)
    if not player then

    local context = sfinv.get_or_create_context(player)
    if ~= "myadmin:myadmin" then

    sfinv.set_player_inventory_formspec(player, context)


on_enter and on_leave callbacks

A player enters a tab when the tab is selected and leaves a tab when another tab is about to be selected. It’s possible for multiple pages to be selected if a custom theme is used.

Note that these events may not be triggered by the player. The player may not even have the formspec open at that time. For example, on_enter is called for the home page when a player joins the game even before they open their inventory.

It’s not possible to cancel a page change, as that would potentially confuse the player.

on_enter = function(self, player, context)


on_leave = function(self, player, context)


Adding to an existing page

To add content to an existing page, you will need to override the page and modify the returned formspec.

local old_func = sfinv.registered_pages["sfinv:crafting"].get
sfinv.override_page("sfinv:crafting", {
    get = function(self, player, context, ...)
        local ret = old_func(self, player, context, ...)

        if type(ret) == "table" then
            ret.formspec = ret.formspec .. "label[0,0;Hello]"
            -- Backwards compatibility
            ret = ret .. "label[0,0;Hello]"

        return ret