Create your own framework... on top of the Symfony2 Components (part 7)

Fabien Potencier

January 15, 2012

This article is part of a series of articles that explains how to create a framework with the Symfony Components. It is OBSOLETE but an up-to-date version can be found in the Symfony documentation.

One down-side of our framework right now is that we need to copy and paste the code in front.php each time we create a new website. 40 lines of code is not that much, but it would be nice if we could wrap this code into a proper class. It would bring us better reusability and easier testing to name just a few benefits.

If you have a closer look at the code, front.php has one input, the Request, and one output, the Response. Our framework class will follow this simple principle: the logic is about creating the Response associated with a Request.

As the Symfony2 components requires PHP 5.3, let's create our very own namespace for our framework: Simplex.

Move the request handling logic into its own Simplex\Framework class:

matcher = $matcher;
        $this->resolver = $resolver;

    public function handle(Request $request)
        try {

            $controller = $this->resolver->getController($request);
            $arguments = $this->resolver->getArguments($request, $controller);

            return call_user_func_array($controller, $arguments);
        } catch (ResourceNotFoundException $e) {
            return new Response('Not Found', 404);
        } catch (\Exception $e) {
            return new Response('An error occurred', 500);

And update accordingly:

$matcher = new Routing\Matcher\UrlMatcher($routes, $context);
$resolver = new HttpKernel\Controller\ControllerResolver();

$framework = new Simplex\Framework($matcher, $resolver);
$response = $framework->handle($request);


To wrap up the refactoring, let's move everything but routes definition from into yet another namespace: Calendar.

For the classes defined under the Simplex and Calendar namespaces to be autoloaded, update the composer.json file:

    "require": {
        "symfony/class-loader": "2.1.*",
        "symfony/http-foundation": "2.1.*",
        "symfony/routing": "2.1.*",
        "symfony/http-kernel": "2.1.*"
    "autoload": {
        "psr-0": { "Simplex": "src/", "Calendar": "src/" }

For the autoloader to be updated, run php composer.phar update.

Move the controller to Calendar\Controller\LeapYearController:

isLeapYear($year)) {
            return new Response('Yep, this is a leap year!');

        return new Response('Nope, this is not a leap year.');

And move the is_leap_year() function to its own class too:

Don't forget to update the file accordingly:

$routes->add('leap_year', new Routing\Route('/is_leap_year/{year}', array(
    'year' => null,
    '_controller' => 'Calendar\\Controller\\LeapYearController::indexAction',

To sum up, here is the new file layout:
??? composer.json
?   src
?   ??? app.php
?   ??? Simplex
?       ??? Framework.php
?   ??? Calendar
?       ??? Controller
?       ?   ??? LeapYearController.php
?       ??? Model
?           ??? LeapYear.php
??? vendor
??? web
    ??? front.php

That's it! Our application has now four different layers and each of them has a well defined goal:

  • web/front.php: The front controller; the only exposed PHP code that makes the interface with the client (it gets the Request and sends the Response) and provides the boiler-plate code to initialize the framework and our application;

  • src/Simplex: The reusable framework code that abstracts the handling of incoming Requests (by the way, it makes your controllers/templates easily testable -- more about that later on);

  • src/Calendar: Our application specific code (the controllers and the model);

  • src/app.php: The application configuration/framework customization.