Tag: zend framework

Apigility: Using RPC with HAL

A few days ago, we released our first beta of Apigility. We've started our documentation effort now, and one question has arisen a few times that I want to address: How can you use Hypermedia Application Language (HAL) in RPC services?

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RESTful APIs with ZF2, Part 3

In my previous posts, I covered basics of JSON hypermedia APIs using Hypermedia Application Language (HAL), and methods for reporting errors, including API-Problem and vnd.error.

In this post, I'll be covering documenting your API -- techniques you can use to indicate what HTTP operations are allowed, as well as convey the full documentation on what endpoints are available, what they accept, and what you can expect them to return.

While I will continue covering general aspects of RESTful APIs in this post, I will also finally introduce several ZF2-specific techniques.

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RESTful APIs with ZF2, Part 2

In my last post, I covered some background on REST and the Richardson Maturity Model, and some emerging standards around hypermedia APIs in JSON; in particular, I outlined aspects of Hypermedia Application Language (HAL), and how it can be used to define a generic structure for JSON resources.

In this post, I cover an aspect of RESTful APIs that's often overlooked: reporting problems.

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RESTful APIs with ZF2, Part 1

RESTful APIs have been an interest of mine for a couple of years, but due to circumstances, I've not had much chance to work with them in any meaningful fashion until recently.

Rob Allen and I proposed a workshop for PHP Benelux 2013 covering RESTful APIs with ZF2. When it was accepted, it gave me the perfect opportunity to dive in and start putting the various pieces together.

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ZF2 Modules Quickstart (Screencast)

One of the exciting features of the newly released Zend Framework 2 is the new module system.

While ZF1 had modules, they were difficult to manage. All resources for all modules were initialized on each request, and bootstrapping modules was an onerous task. Due to the difficulties, modules were never truly "plug-and-play", and thus no ecosystem ever evolved for sharing modules.

In Zend Framework 2, we've architected the MVC from the ground up to make modular applications as easy as possible. Within ZF2, the MVC simply cares about events and services — and controllers are simply one kind of service. As such, modules are primarily about telling the MVC about services and wiring event listeners.

To give you an example, in this tutorial, I'll show you how to install the Zend Framework 2 skeleton application, and we'll then install a module and see how easy it is to add it to the application and then configure it.

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On Microframeworks

A number of months ago, Ed Finkler started a discussion in the PHP community about “MicroPHP”; to summarize, the movement is about:

  • Building small, single-purpose libraries.
  • Using small things that work together to solve larger problems.

I think there are some really good ideas that have come out of this, and also a number of questionable practices1.

One piece in particular I've focussed on is the concept of so-called “microframeworks”.

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ZF2's New Controller::init()

In Zend Framework 1, controller's had an init() method, which was called after the controller was instantiated. The reason for it was to encourage developers not to override the constructor, and thus potentially break some of the functionality (as a number of objects were injected via the constructor). init() was useful for doing additional object initialization.


class MyController extends Zend_Controller_Action
{
    public function init()
    {
        // do some stuff!
    }
}

But this feature is missing from ZF2; how can we accomplish this sort of pattern?

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ZF2 Forms in Beta5

Forms are a nightmare for web development. They break the concept of separation of concerns:

  • They have a display aspect (the actual HTML form)
  • They have a validation aspect
  • And the two mix, as you need to display validation error messages.

On top of that, the submitted data is often directly related to your domain models, causing more issues:

  • Not all elements will have a 1:1 mapping to the domain model -- buttons, CSRF protection, CAPTCHAs, etc. usually are application-level concerns, but not domain issues.
  • Names valid for your domain model may not be valid names for HTML entities.

Add to this that the validation logic may be re-usable outside of a forms context, and you've got a rather complex problem.

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Why Modules?

I've blogged about getting started with ZF2 modules, as well as about ZF2 modules you can already use. But after fielding some questions recently, I realized I should talk about why modules are important for the ZF2 ecosystem.

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Developing A ZF2 Blog

This post tells a story.

A long time ago, I set out to write my own blog platform. Yes, WordPress is a fine blogging platform, as is Serendipity (aka "s9y", and my previous platform). And yes, I know about Habari. And, for those of you skimming ahead, yes, I'm quite aware of Jekyll, thank you anyways.

Why write something of my own? Well, of course, there's the fact that I'm a developer, and have control issues. Then there's also the fact that a blog is both a simple enough domain to allow easily experimenting with new technology and paradigms, while simultaneously providing a complex enough domain to expose non-trivial issues.

When I started this project, it was a technology-centered endeavor; I wanted to play with document databases such as CouchDB and MongoDB, and with caching technologies like memcached and redis.

Not long after I started, I also realized it was a great playground for me to prototype ideas for ZF2; in fact, the original DI and MVC prototypes lived as branches of my blog. (My repository is still named "zf2sandbox" to this day, though it technically houses just my site.)

Over time, I had a few realizations. First, my actual blog was suffering. I wasn't taking the time to perform security updates, nor even normal upgrades, and was so far behind as to make the process non-trivial, particularly as I had a custom theme, and because I was proxying to my blog via a ZF app in order to facilitate a cohesive site look-and-feel. I needed to either sink time into upgrading, or finish my blog.

My second realization, however, was the more important one: I wanted a platform where I could write how I want to write. I am a keyboard-centric developer and computer user, and while I love the web, I hate typing in its forms. Additionally, my posts often take longer than a typical browser session -- which leaves me either losing my work in a GUI admin, or having to write first in my editor of choice, and then cut-and-paste it to the web forms. Finally, I want versions I can easily browse with standard diffing tools.

When it came down to it, my blog content is basically static. Occasionally, I'll update a post, but it's rare. Comments are really the only dynamic aspect of the blog... and what I had with s9y was not cutting it, as I was getting more spam than I could keep up with. New commenting platforms such as Livefyre and Disqus provide more features than most blogging platforms I know, and provide another side benefit: because they are javascript-based, you can simply drop in a small amount of markup into your post once -- meaning your pages can be fully static!

Add these thoughts to the rise of static blogging platforms such as the aforementioned Jekyll, and I had a kernel of an idea: take the work I'd done already, and create a static blog generator.

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