[SymfonyCon] API Platform and Symfony: a Framework for API-driven Projects

Here are the slides of my talk during the Symfony Con Cluj. You can rate this talk on joind.in.

Install API Platform. Design the API data model as a set of tiny plain old PHP classes. Instantly get:

  • Fully featured dev environment with Symfony Flex and React containers, HTTP/2 and HTTPS support and a cache proxy
  • Pagination, data validation, access control, relation embedding, filters and error handling
  • Support for modern REST API formats: JSON-LD/Hydra, OpenAPI/Swagger, JSONAPI, HAL, JSON…
  • GraphQL support
  • An API responding in a just few milliseconds thanks to the builtin invalidation based cache mechanism
  • A dynamically created Material Design admini interface (a la Sonata / EasyAdmin – but 100% client-side) built with React.
  • Client apps skeletons: React/Redux, React Native, Vue.js, Angular…
  • Finally, deploy in 1 command on Google Container Engine or any cloud with a Kubernetes instance with the provided Helm chart.

Yes, you just need is describing a data model, just a few line of codes to get all of that!

API Platform Admin 0.2: an admin in 1 minute for your API (React Progressive Web App)

The version 0.2 of the API Platform‘s admin component has just been released!

This nice tool allows to automatically and dynamically build a fully featured administration interface (CRUD, pagination, relations…) for any API supporting the Hydra hypermedia vocabulary (more formats supported soon, see at the end of this article). 0 line of code required!

API Platform Admin is built with React on top of the famous Admin On Rest library as a Progressive Web App.

Let’s discover the bunch of new features that this version brings.

Getting Started

Assuming that you have an API exposing a Hydra documentation, you just have to initialize the following React component to get your admin:

For instance, create a new app with Facebook’s create-react-app, replace the content of src/App.js with the previous snippet and run yarn add @api-platform/admin. You’re done!

If you get an error related to multiple versions of React being loaded, just remove the react and react-dom packages from your project’s package.json and run yarn install again.

If you don’t have a JSON-LD / Hydra API yet, here is the code of the one I’ll use in the following examples. This API has been created using the API Platform’s distribution:

Yes, you just need those two tiny PHP classes to get a hypermedia API. Learn more about the API component by reading the getting started guide. But, really, any API with a Hydra documentation will do the job regardless of the server-side programming language.

Native Support for to-Many Relations

API Platform Admin supports to-one relations since its very first release. However it was mandatory to customize the component used for to-many relations. This isn’t the case anymore. Our API documentation parser gained support for cardinalities and can now extract them if the API documentation includes OWL’s maxCardinality properties.

If no cardinality is provided, the admin will use a to-many widget by default.

Thanks to this new feature, here is how the edition screen of the Person resource looks like this:

The admin is able to guess that the Person resource is related to many Greeting ones and use the appropriate Admin On Rest component.

Detection of More Schema.org’s Types (name, url and email)

API Platform Admin is able to guess the widget to use depending of the type of a resource’s property. It supports:

  • Numbers (http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#float and http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#integer ranges)
  • Dates (http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#date and http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#dateTime ranges)
  • Booleans (http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#boolean range)
  • And of course text fields

In this new release, Admin also supports some types of the popular Schema.org vocabulary:

  • As shown in the previous screenshots (e.g. Greetings select box), if a property has the type http://schema.org/name, this property will be used instead of the ID when displaying this relation
  • If a property has the type http://schema.org/url, the URL will be clickable when displayed in the admin
  • If a property has the type http://schema.org/email, the HTML input will be of type email and a basic validation will occur (this was already working in v0.1)

Support for Read-only Resources

The version 0.1 wasn’t able to deal with read-only resource (no POST nor PUT operation). We have improved the API doc parser to support owl:equivalentClass properties. Now, if the API documentation provide those properties, the admin will be builded even if the resource is read-only (of course in this case you will only be able to browse resources, and not to edit them).

Easier and Deeper Customization

Morgan Auchedé did an excellent work to make the Admin fully and easily customizable. You can now override any generated React component by a custom one, or one from Admin On Rest, or from MUI React. You can just replace (or ad, or remove) a specific input or field. But you can also replace a whole list, a show view, a creation or edition form or a remove button.

Here is an example of full customization, courtesy of Morgan:

Ability to Support Other Formats Such as GraphQL

The parser has been designed to be able to be parse other formats such as a GraphQL schema or Swagger/Open API. The api-doc-parser library provides an intermediate representation that is populated by the specific format parser. It’s this representation that is used by the parser as well as by our React and Vue.js Progressive Web App generator.

It means that when converters from other formats than Hydra to this intermediate representation will be available (Pull Requests welcome), both tools we’ll support those formats. As you may know, the server part of API Platform now supports GraphQL. You can guess which format we’ll implement next in the api-doc-parser!

API Platform 2.1 Feature Walkthrough: Create Blazing Fast Hypermedia APIs, Generate JS Apps

Update September 18: API Platform 2.1 has now been released. This blog post has been updated according to the syntax used in the stable version.

 

The new UI of API Platform 2.1

API Platform is a framework designed to make the creation of API-based information systems easier. It provides server-side tooling to create modern hypermedia and Linked Data APIs in just a few minutes. This new version introduces client-side tools to bootstrap Single-Page Applications using ReactJS by consuming the autogenerated documentation of the API.

Six months after the release of API Platform 2, I’m very excited to announce the immediate availability of the first beta of API Platform 2.1!

The changelog is huge, more than 200 commits by dozens of developers have been merged. I think we can say that this release will be great!

Let’s review the most interesting new features. If you just want to try it, the demo has been upgraded to use this new version and you can download it on GitHub.

A ReactJS-based Admin System

API Platform automatically exposes API documentations respecting the Hydra (W3C) and Swagger/Open API open standards. We created a dynamic administration system built on top of the awesome Admin On Rest library that takes advantage of the Hydra format.

Just with this line of code <HydraAdmin entrypoint="https://demo.api-platform.com"/>, you will get the following result:

Replace https://demo.api-platform.com by the URL of any API documented with Hydra and you will get a beautiful material design admin for it with:

  • list, create, show, edit screens as well as a delete button
  • suitable inputs and fields according to the API doc (e.g. number HTML input for numbers, checkbox for booleans, selectbox for relationships…)
  • suitable inputs and fields according to Schema.org types if available (e.g. email field for http://schema.org/email)
  • relationships
  • pagination
  • client-side validation for mandatory fields
  • server-side errors displaying (e.g. advanced validation)

It means that any API Platform API can now have an admin for free! The admin is fully customizable, a follow up post will come.

A React/Redux Webapp Generator

The admin is dynamic, no code generation happens. But sometimes it’s interesting to be able to generate some code to bootstrap a project. It’s exactly what the new api-platform-generate-crud tool does. It parses the Hydra documentation and generates a basic ReactJS webapp with the following features:

  • generation of high-quality ES6 components and files built with React, Redux, React Router and Redux Form including:
    • a list view
    • a show view
    • a creation form
    • an edition form
    • a deletion button
  • generation of the suitable HTML5 input type (number, date…) according to the type of the API property
  • display of the server-side validation errors under the related input (if using API Platform Core)
  • client-side validation (required attributes)
  • the generated HTML is compatible with Bootstrap and includes mandatory classes
  • the generated HTML code is accessible to people with disabilities (ARIA support)
  • the Redux and the React Router configuration is also generated

Thanks to Piotr Synowiec for his contributions and fixes to those frontend tools!

Builtin HTTP Cache Invalidation System

Exposing a hypermedia API has many advantages. One of them is the ability to know exactly which resources are included in HTTP responses created by the API. We used this specificity to make API Platform apps blazing fast.

When the new cache mechanism is enabled, API Platform collects identifiers of every resources included in a given HTTP response (including lists, embedded documents and subresources) and returns them in a special HTTP header called Cache-Tags.

cache reverse proxy supporting cache tags (Varnish, CloudFlare, Fastly…) must be put in front of the web server and store all responses returned by the API with a high TTL. When a resource is modified, API Platform takes care of purging all responses containing it in the proxy’s cache. It means that after the first request, all subsequent requests will not touch the web server, and will be served instantly from the cache. It also means that the content served will always be fresh, because the cache is purged in real time.

The support for most specific cases such as the invalidation of collections when a document is added or removed or for relationships and inverse relations is built-in.

We also included Varnish in the Docker setup provided with the distribution of API Platform, so this new feature works out of the box.

Integration with Varnish and the Doctrine ORM is shipped with the core library. You can easily implement the support for any other proxy or persistence system.

A big thanks to Jérémy DerusséTeoh Han HuiFabien Bourigault, Antoine Bluchet and all other involved contributors for their in-depth reviews and good advices.

A detailed blogpost about this feature will follow.

Per Resource Authorization Mechanism

Thanks to the API Platform’s events and the extension system, it was already easy to configure basic authorization rules. In the version 2.1, we introduced an easy way to configure fine grained authorization rules directly from resource classes.

In the following example, only the logged in admins can access all operations related to the SecuredResource. However, regular users owning a specific resource can also access it:

Under the hood, this new feature uses Symfony’s access control expressions. The object variable value is the current resource (or collection of resources) while the user variable contains an instance of the Symfony’s user currently logged in.

Subresources Support

Having the ability to expose subresources was one of the most requested features. It was already possible to use such URL patterns thanks to custom operations, but it was a bit complicated to do.

Fortunately Antoine Bluchet rolled up this sleeves and did an excellent job! As of API Platform 2.1, subresources are a first class citizen:

The previous snippet is enough to expose through http://example.com/products/1/reviews  the list of RelatedDummies resources related to the Dummy #1.

The documentations will also reflect the availability of this new URL.

New Filters

API Platform comes with 3 new useful filters that you will love.

property_filter

Baptiste Meyer contributed 2 of them. The first one, api_platform.serializer.property_filter, lets the client specify which properties the API must return.

When a resource is configured to use it, you can use the URL  /products/1?properties[]=price&properties[]=currency to only serialize the properties “foo” and “bar” of this entity (all other properties will be ignored).

It’s also possible to list the properties of embedded resources with the following format:  /products/1?properties[]=price&properties[brand][]=name.

group_filter

The second one, api_platform.serializer.group_filter is similar, but instead of choosing properties one by one, you can pass a list of serialization groups to apply using a URL like:  /products/1?groups[]=detailed.

Those two filters allow to easily reduce the size of the returned resources to only include relevant data.

exists_filter

The last new filter, api_platform.doctrine.orm.exists_filter, was contributed by Teoh Han Hui. It allows to filter a collection on the existence of a specified value:  /products?brand[exists]=0.

A Revamped API Doc UI

API Platform has a nice UI built with Swagger UI that is available for every URL of the API when requesting it from a browser (or any client sending a Accept: text/html HTTP header). In API Platform 2.1, we upgraded Swagger UI to its new major version (3.0), a full rewrite in ReactJS (API Platform + React = ❤️) including a bunch of UX improvements.

Laury Sorriaux took this opportunity to propose a great custom stylesheet improving the overall user experience and respecting our color scheme. It also contains an animation featuring our cute spider (he will get a name soon, stay tuned)!

Last but not least, Daniel Kiesel contributed to improve the integration with OAuth (and FOSOAuthBundle): it’s now possible to login with OAuth from the UI by just adding a few lines of config.

Brand New Docker Setup

One of the coolest features of API Platform 2 was the ability to run the app locally by just typing  docker-compose up  and to deploy apps in a breath with Kubernetes or Docker Swarm.

In API Platform 2.1, we dramatically improved the Docker support:

  • All images are now using Alpine Linux (reduce the size, improve the security)
  • Nginx and PHP-FPM are now used instead of Apache and mod_php
  • Varnish has been added (see the section about the cache invalidation mechanism)
  • The Docker Compose file has been upgraded to the format v3
  • Many compatibility problems with Windows have been fixed
  • The performance when using Docker for Mac or Docker for Windows has been dramatically improved

This Docker setup supports any Symfony-based application. Just copy/paste it in your Symfony project.

Improving the Docker configuration was a hard and collaborative work. I want to especially thanks Jacques LefebvreTeoh Han Hui and Antoine Bluchet for the large numbers of hours they spent to make this possible.

Integration in Symfony Flex

You can’t have missed it, Symfony 4 will come with an exciting tool to install and manage your projects: Symfony Flex. API Platform is already officially supported by Flex and can’t be easier to install: just type  composer req api

Fabien Potencier (the creator of Symfony) recorded a screencast showing how API Platform and Flex fit well together:

Impressive isn’t it? Flex only works with API Platform 2.1+. Older versions aren’t supported.

Of course, many other new features, fixes and improvements (especially regarding performance) have been merged, you can read the full changelog to learn more.

Next steps before the stable release:

  • Testing, testing and testing again. Please try the new features, upgrade your existing projects and run your tests suites against this new version! Report any problem on GitHub. It’s very very helpful to us!
  • Update the documentation and write new articles for the new features. They are already many pull requests opened, reviewing and improving them is much appreciated.

A last and big thanks to all the API Platform Core Team and especially to Teoh Han HuiAntoine Bluchet, Baptiste Meyer and Hamza Amrouche for their detailed work reviewing all contributions and getting this beta out!

P.S.: Spread the word, please give us a star on GitHub or tweet about the release of this new version!

Upcoming conferences and meetups: Web2Day, ChtiJS and sfPot Lille

I’ll speak at some conferences in June:

Here is the abstract of the API Platform talk (in french but slides will be in english):

Au cours de ce talk, je présenterai comment créer très facilement une API web de qualité, une webapp (SPA) et une app mobile à l’aide du framework Open Source API Platform (PHP).

API Platform permet d’exposer une API REST (niveau 3) 100% fonctionnelle juste en décrivant son modèle de données ou en l’important depuis Schema.org.

Nous découvrirons réaliserons sans effort une API supportant :

  • les opérations REST (lecture et écriture)
  • la validation de données
  • la pagination
  • les tris et les filtres
  • une documentation Swagger générée automatiquement et une interface graphique d’administration
  • un système de gestion de droit utilisateur
  • un mécanisme de cache HTTP par invalidation
  • la négociation de contenu
  • l’imbrication de documents

De plus, notre API supportera directement les formats hypermedia modernes tels que JSON-LD, Hydra et HAL qui facilitent l’intéropérabilité des systèmes (Linked Data, web sémantique).

Grâce à Docker, notre API se lance en un instant et peut être déployée en un instant dans les “clouds”.

Une fois notre API construite, nous utiliserons les outils fournis par API Platform pour générer une interface d’administration complète, une SPA et une app mobile basés sur React JS grâce à la description hypermedia de l’API.

API Platform 2.1: when Symfony meets ReactJS (Symfony Live 2017)

Slides and videos of my talk during the Symfony Live Paris 2017. Rate this talk on joind.in!

Learn how to use API Platform and Symfony to create super easily rich web and mobile applications relying on React (JS) for their presentational layer.

In just a few minutes, we will create a hypermedia API thanks to API Platform, Symfony and Doctrine. We will do it step by step, and the API will be 100% functional with support for pagination, validation, filters, resources embedding. The API will be automatically documented using Swagger and Hydra and beautiful user interface for developers will be available. HTTP cache, authorization and authentication can then be added in a breath.

Then, we will introduce all new client-side tools for API Platform:

  • A fully featured JavaScript (Single Page App) administration system with a modern user interface (Material Design) ; built on top of Admin On Rest (React and Redux). This admin is builded dynamically thanks to the API discoverability (Hydra).
  • A raw React, Redux and React Router code generator to bootstrap fully-featured Single Page Applications and native mobile apps thanks to the API documentation exposed by API Platform (client-side and server-side validation, on fields error, Twitter Bootstrap compatibility, a11y support…)

TodoMVCBundle is now compatible with Symfony 2.3

I’ve just updated my Symfony 2 implementation of TodoMVC using Backbone.js and Chaplin.js for the UI.

Screenshot Symfony Todomvc

It is now compatible with Symfony 2.3 (the current version and first LTS of Symfony 2). I’ve moved the decoder which converts JSON data to application/x-www-form-urlencoded directly in FOSRest.

Take a look at this bundle if you want to use Backbone and Chaplin with Symfony. The demo is still online.

Diaporama diffusé lors du workshop sur le référencement avec HTML5

Voici le diaporama qui a servi de support au workshop sur le référencement avec HTML5 que j’ai animé jeudi 31 janvier pour La Coopérative des Tilleuls :

Ce sont le thème Prestashop HTML5 optimisé pour le référencement et l’implémentation de TodoMVC avec Symfony et Backbone.js qui ont servi de support.

Le prochain workshop de cette série sera justement dédié à la programmation JavaScript avancée avec Chaplin.js et Backbone.js. Il se déroulera début mars, toujours à Co-Factory.

Workshop HTML5

Symfony 2, Backbone.js et Chaplin.js : une implémentation de TodoMVC

Je viens de publier une implémentation du célèbre TodoMVC sous forme de  bundle Symfony 2. Cela fait suite à mon précèdent article sur l’utilisation de Symfony avec les bibliothèques JavaScript Chaplin.js et Backbone.js.

Screenshot Symfony Todomvc

TodoMVC est un projet présentant de nombreuses implémentations de la même application de gestion de tâches (todo) à l’aide des frameworks JavaScript MV* les plus populaires (Backbone.js, AngularJS, Ember.js, KnockoutJS…). Il permet ainsi de découvrir ces frameworks et de choisir celui qui nous semble le plus adapté.

L’ implémentation que je propose contient le code du frontend, mais aussi le backend réalisé à l’aide de Symfony.

Le bundle fourni un example d’intégration complète de Backbone, Chaplin et Symfony. Il inclus une API REST JSON réalisée à l’aide de FOSRestBundle et du framework de formulaire de Symfony, l’entité Doctrine représentant un Todo, le code CoffeeScript de l’application cliente, la vue chargeant la SPA et quelques tests fonctionnels.

Essayez la démo et consultez le code sur GitHub.
Version anglaise de cet article.

A Symfony 2 TodoMVC implementation using Backbone.js and Chaplin.js

I have just released an implementation of TodoMVC using Symfony 2 (the best PHP framework), Chaplin.js and Backbone.js. It follows my previous article on the use of these technologies (in french).

TodoMVC is a project which offers the same Todo application implemented using MV* concepts in most of the popular JavaScript MV* frameworks of today.

This a backend and frontend implementation of this project. It is a demo of Chaplin and Backbone working with Symfony.
Screenshot Symfony Todomvc

 

My bundle includes a JSON REST API built with FOSRestBundle and the Symfony’s form framework, the Doctrine entitiy, the view to load the SPA, the CoffeeScript code and some functional tests.

Try the demo and download it on GitHub.

French version of this article.

 

Workshop gratuit sur le référencement naturel avec HTML5 jeudi 31 janvier à Lille

Worskhop sur le référencement naturel avec HTML5

Jeudi prochain, j’animerais pour La Coopérative des Tilleuls, un atelier gratuit sur l’utilisation des propriétés sémantiques de HTML5 pour améliorer le référencement naturel des sites internet. C’est chez nos amis de Co-Factory que ça se passe (677 avenue de la République, Lille).

Au programme :

  • Introduction au référencement
  • Présentation des balises sémantiques de HTML5
  • Comprendre l’algorithme de « outline » HTML5 pour mettre en valeur l’information pertinente
  • Mettre en avant ses pages dans les moteurs de recherche avec les microdata, Schema.org et les extraits enrichis
  • Allez plus loin, jouer avec Javascript pour référencer des SPA (Single Page Application)

Ce workshop est gratuit et ouvert à tous mais il est impératif de réserver au préalable. Venez !