Creating Re-Usable Zend_Application Resource Plugins

In my last article, I wrote about how to get started with Zend_Application, including some information about how to write resource methods, as well as listing available resource plugins. What happens when you need a re-usable resource for which there is no existing plugin shipped? Why, write your own, of course!

All plugins in Zend Framework follow a common pattern. Basically, you group plugins under a common directory, with a common class prefix, and then notify the pluggable class of their location.

For this post, let's consider that you may want a resource plugin to do the following:

  • Set the view doctype
  • Set the default page title and title separator

Getting Started

First, let's determine the class prefix we want to use. If we follow Zend Framework Coding Standards, we can leverage autoloading, while simultaneously ensuring a common class prefix for our resources.

For the purposes of this exercise, we'll use the class prefix Phly_Resource, located in Phly/Resource/ on our include_path.

We'll call our particular resource "Layouthelpers", with a full class name of Phly_Resource_Layouthelpers, and place it in Phly/Resource/Layouthelpers.php. It needs to implement Zend_Application_Resource_Resource, but it's often even easier to extend Zend_Application_Resource_ResourceAbstract. In both cases, you need to define an init() method. Let's set up our skeleton accordingly:


<?php
// Phly/Resource/Layouthelpers.php
//
class Phly_Resource_Layouthelpers 
    extends Zend_Application_Resource_ResourceAbstract
{
    public function init()
    {
    }
}

On Dependency Tracking

In my previous article, I showed an example of dependency tracking in Zend_Application. We will need it in this exercise as well, as both of our tasks operate on the view object, which we will retrieve via the View resource.

When creating resource methods directly in your bootstrap, you can simply call $this->getResource($name). However, within a plugin resource class, you need to first get access to the bootstrap object itself -- which you can do with the getBootstrap() method.

Let's ensure the View resource is initialized, and retrieve it.


<?php
// Phly/Resource/Layouthelpers.php
//
class Phly_Resource_Layouthelpers 
    extends Zend_Application_Resource_ResourceAbstract
{
    public function init()
    {
        $bootstrap = $this->getBootstrap();
        $bootstrap->bootstrap('View');
        $view = $bootstrap->getResource('View');

        // ...
    }
}

Configuring the resource

Now that we've got our view object, we can do some work. Since we want the resource to be re-usable, we should likely allow some configuration options. Zend_Application_Resource_ResourceAbstract provides some boilerplate functionality for doing so.

First, we'll provide some default options via the $_options property.


<?php
// Phly/Resource/Layouthelpers.php
//
class Phly_Resource_Layouthelpers 
    extends Zend_Application_Resource_ResourceAbstract
{
    protected $_options = array(
        'doctype'         => 'XHTML1_STRICT',
        'title'           => 'Site Title',
        'title_separator' => ' :: ',
    );

    public function init()
    {
        $bootstrap = $this->getBootstrap();
        $bootstrap->bootstrap('View');
        $view = $bootstrap->getResource('View');

        // ...
    }
}

We can then grab options using the getOptions() method.


<?php
// Phly/Resource/Layouthelpers.php
//
class Phly_Resource_Layouthelpers 
    extends Zend_Application_Resource_ResourceAbstract
{
    protected $_options = array(
        'doctype'         => 'XHTML1_STRICT',
        'title'           => 'Site Title',
        'title_separator' => ' :: ',
    );

    public function init()
    {
        $bootstrap = $this->getBootstrap();
        $bootstrap->bootstrap('View');
        $view = $bootstrap->getResource('View');

        $options = $this->getOptions();
        // ...
    }
}

Now, in configuration files, developers can override the defaults:


[production]
; ...
resources.layouthelpers.doctype = \"HTML5\"
resources.layouthelpers.title = \"My Snazzy New Website\"
resources.layouthelpers.title_separator = \" &emdash; \"

Doing some work

Now that we have the bits and pieces of naming and configuration out of the way, let's do some work:


<?php
// Phly/Resource/Layouthelpers.php
//
class Phly_Resource_Layouthelpers 
    extends Zend_Application_Resource_ResourceAbstract
{
    protected $_options = array(
        'doctype'         => 'XHTML1_STRICT',
        'title'           => 'Site Title',
        'title_separator' => ' :: ',
    );

    public function init()
    {
        $bootstrap = $this->getBootstrap();
        $bootstrap->bootstrap('View');
        $view = $bootstrap->getResource('View');

        $options = $this->getOptions();
        
        $view->doctype($options['doctype']);
        $view->headTitle()->setSeparator($options['title_separator'])
                          ->append($options['title']);
    }
}

And that's it!

Telling the Bootstrap about us

Well, that's it for the plugin resource, that is. But how do we tell our bootstrap class about it? Via our configuration file, using the "pluginPaths" key. This is an array, with the keys being plugin class prefixes, and the values the path that corresponds to that prefix.


[production]
; ...
pluginPaths.Phly_Resource = \"Phly/Resource\"
resources.layouthelpers.doctype = \"HTML5\"
resources.layouthelpers.title = \"My Snazzy New Website\"
resources.layouthelpers.title_separator = \" &emdash; \"

You can register as many plugin paths as you desire. As this key is processed before any resources are processed, it can also be defined at any time in your configuration.

Further Considerations

The example in this post was admittedly trivial. One aspect not discussed was creating a resource that would be reused throughout your application. As an example, you might want to create a resource you'll use at different times in your application. If you return a value in your init() method, the bootstrap object will store this for later retrieval. A good example of this we saw earlier: the View resource registers a Zend_View object with the bootstrap simply by returning the instance from its resource plugin.

Conclusions

Hopefully this post and the post prior have helped shed some light on Zend_Application, and in particular, how to write and bootstrap resources.

If you have further questions, you can find me on the ZF mailing lists, on IRC via the Freenode servers, or on twitter. Good luck!

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