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Tutorial 7: Creating a Simple REST API

In this tutorial, we will explain how to create a simple application that provides a RESTful API using the different HTTP methods:

  • GET to retrieve and search data
  • POST to add data
  • PUT to update data
  • DELETE to delete data

Defining the API

The API consists of the following methods:

Method URL Action
GET /api/robots Retrieves all robots
GET /api/robots/search/Astro Searches for robots with ‘Astro’ in their name
GET /api/robots/2 Retrieves robots based on primary key
POST /api/robots Adds a new robot
PUT /api/robots/2 Updates robots based on primary key
DELETE /api/robots/2 Deletes robots based on primary key

Creating the Application

As the application is so simple, we will not implement any full MVC environment to develop it. In this case, we will use a micro application to meet our goal.

The following file structure is more than enough:

my-rest-api/
    models/
        Robots.php
    index.php
    .htaccess

First, we need an .htaccess file that contains all the rules to rewrite the URIs to the index.php file, that is our application:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteRule ^((?s).*)$ index.php?_url=/$1 [QSA,L]
</IfModule>

Then, in the index.php file we create the following:

<?php

use Phalcon\Mvc\Micro;

$app = new Micro();

// Define the routes here

$app->handle();

Now we will create the routes as we defined above:

<?php

use Phalcon\Mvc\Micro;

$app = new Micro();

// Retrieves all robots
$app->get(
    "/api/robots",
    function () {

    }
);

// Searches for robots with $name in their name
$app->get(
    "/api/robots/search/{name}",
    function ($name) {

    }
);

// Retrieves robots based on primary key
$app->get(
    "/api/robots/{id:[0-9]+}",
    function ($id) {

    }
);

// Adds a new robot
$app->post(
    "/api/robots",
    function () {

    }
);

// Updates robots based on primary key
$app->put(
    "/api/robots/{id:[0-9]+}",
    function () {

    }
);

// Deletes robots based on primary key
$app->delete(
    "/api/robots/{id:[0-9]+}",
    function () {

    }
);

$app->handle();

Each route is defined with a method with the same name as the HTTP method, as first parameter we pass a route pattern, followed by a handler. In this case, the handler is an anonymous function. The following route: '/api/robots/{id:[0-9]+}', by example, explicitly sets that the “id” parameter must have a numeric format.

When a defined route matches the requested URI then the application executes the corresponding handler.

Creating a Model

Our API provides information about ‘robots’, these data are stored in a database. The following model allows us to access that table in an object-oriented way. We have implemented some business rules using built-in validators and simple validations. Doing this will give us the peace of mind that saved data meet the requirements of our application:

<?php

namespace Store\Toys;

use Phalcon\Mvc\Model;
use Phalcon\Mvc\Model\Message;
use Phalcon\Mvc\Model\Validator\Uniqueness;
use Phalcon\Mvc\Model\Validator\InclusionIn;

class Robots extends Model
{
    public function validation()
    {
        // Type must be: droid, mechanical or virtual
        $this->validate(
            new InclusionIn(
                [
                    "field"  => "type",
                    "domain" => [
                        "droid",
                        "mechanical",
                        "virtual",
                    ]
                )
            )
        );

        // Robot name must be unique
        $this->validate(
            new Uniqueness(
                [
                    "field"   => "name",
                    "message" => "The robot name must be unique",
                ]
            )
        );

        // Year cannot be less than zero
        if ($this->year < 0) {
            $this->appendMessage(
                new Message("The year cannot be less than zero")
            );
        }

        // Check if any messages have been produced
        if ($this->validationHasFailed() === true) {
            return false;
        }
    }
}

Now, we must set up a connection to be used by this model and load it within our app:

<?php

use Phalcon\Loader;
use Phalcon\Mvc\Micro;
use Phalcon\Di\FactoryDefault;
use Phalcon\Db\Adapter\Pdo\Mysql as PdoMysql;

// Use Loader() to autoload our model
$loader = new Loader();

$loader->registerNamespaces(
    [
        "Store\\Toys" => __DIR__ . "/models/",
    ]
);

$loader->register();

$di = new FactoryDefault();

// Set up the database service
$di->set(
    "db",
    function () {
        return new PdoMysql(
            [
                "host"     => "localhost",
                "username" => "asimov",
                "password" => "zeroth",
                "dbname"   => "robotics",
            ]
        );
    }
);

// Create and bind the DI to the application
$app = new Micro($di);

Retrieving Data

The first “handler” that we will implement is which by method GET returns all available robots. Let’s use PHQL to perform this simple query returning the results as JSON:

<?php

// Retrieves all robots
$app->get(
    "/api/robots",
    function () use ($app) {
        $phql = "SELECT * FROM Store\\Toys\\Robots ORDER BY name";

        $robots = $app->modelsManager->executeQuery($phql);

        $data = [];

        foreach ($robots as $robot) {
            $data[] = [
                "id"   => $robot->id,
                "name" => $robot->name,
            ];
        }

        echo json_encode($data);
    }
);

PHQL, allow us to write queries using a high-level, object-oriented SQL dialect that internally translates to the right SQL statements depending on the database system we are using. The clause “use” in the anonymous function allows us to pass some variables from the global to local scope easily.

The searching by name handler would look like:

<?php

// Searches for robots with $name in their name
$app->get(
    "/api/robots/search/{name}",
    function ($name) use ($app) {
        $phql = "SELECT * FROM Store\\Toys\\Robots WHERE name LIKE :name: ORDER BY name";

        $robots = $app->modelsManager->executeQuery(
            $phql,
            [
                "name" => "%" . $name . "%"
            ]
        );

        $data = [];

        foreach ($robots as $robot) {
            $data[] = [
                "id"   => $robot->id,
                "name" => $robot->name,
            ];
        }

        echo json_encode($data);
    }
);

Searching by the field “id” it’s quite similar, in this case, we’re also notifying if the robot was found or not:

<?php

use Phalcon\Http\Response;

// Retrieves robots based on primary key
$app->get(
    "/api/robots/{id:[0-9]+}",
    function ($id) use ($app) {
        $phql = "SELECT * FROM Store\\Toys\\Robots WHERE id = :id:";

        $robot = $app->modelsManager->executeQuery(
            $phql,
            [
                "id" => $id,
            ]
        )->getFirst();



        // Create a response
        $response = new Response();

        if ($robot === false) {
            $response->setJsonContent(
                [
                    "status" => "NOT-FOUND"
                ]
            );
        } else {
            $response->setJsonContent(
                [
                    "status" => "FOUND",
                    "data"   => [
                        "id"   => $robot->id,
                        "name" => $robot->name
                    ]
                ]
            );
        }

        return $response;
    }
);

Inserting Data

Taking the data as a JSON string inserted in the body of the request, we also use PHQL for insertion:

<?php

use Phalcon\Http\Response;

// Adds a new robot
$app->post(
    "/api/robots",
    function () use ($app) {
        $robot = $app->request->getJsonRawBody();

        $phql = "INSERT INTO Store\\Toys\\Robots (name, type, year) VALUES (:name:, :type:, :year:)";

        $status = $app->modelsManager->executeQuery(
            $phql,
            [
                "name" => $robot->name,
                "type" => $robot->type,
                "year" => $robot->year,
            ]
        );

        // Create a response
        $response = new Response();

        // Check if the insertion was successful
        if ($status->success() === true) {
            // Change the HTTP status
            $response->setStatusCode(201, "Created");

            $robot->id = $status->getModel()->id;

            $response->setJsonContent(
                [
                    "status" => "OK",
                    "data"   => $robot,
                ]
            );
        } else {
            // Change the HTTP status
            $response->setStatusCode(409, "Conflict");

            // Send errors to the client
            $errors = [];

            foreach ($status->getMessages() as $message) {
                $errors[] = $message->getMessage();
            }

            $response->setJsonContent(
                [
                    "status"   => "ERROR",
                    "messages" => $errors,
                ]
            );
        }

        return $response;
    }
);

Updating Data

The data update is similar to insertion. The “id” passed as parameter indicates what robot must be updated:

<?php

use Phalcon\Http\Response;

// Updates robots based on primary key
$app->put(
    "/api/robots/{id:[0-9]+}",
    function ($id) use ($app) {
        $robot = $app->request->getJsonRawBody();

        $phql = "UPDATE Store\\Toys\\Robots SET name = :name:, type = :type:, year = :year: WHERE id = :id:";

        $status = $app->modelsManager->executeQuery(
            $phql,
            [
                "id"   => $id,
                "name" => $robot->name,
                "type" => $robot->type,
                "year" => $robot->year,
            ]
        );

        // Create a response
        $response = new Response();

        // Check if the insertion was successful
        if ($status->success() === true) {
            $response->setJsonContent(
                [
                    "status" => "OK"
                ]
            );
        } else {
            // Change the HTTP status
            $response->setStatusCode(409, "Conflict");

            $errors = [];

            foreach ($status->getMessages() as $message) {
                $errors[] = $message->getMessage();
            }

            $response->setJsonContent(
                [
                    "status"   => "ERROR",
                    "messages" => $errors,
                ]
            );
        }

        return $response;
    }
);

Deleting Data

The data delete is similar to update. The “id” passed as parameter indicates what robot must be deleted:

<?php

use Phalcon\Http\Response;

// Deletes robots based on primary key
$app->delete(
    "/api/robots/{id:[0-9]+}",
    function ($id) use ($app) {
        $phql = "DELETE FROM Store\\Toys\\Robots WHERE id = :id:";

        $status = $app->modelsManager->executeQuery(
            $phql,
            [
                "id" => $id,
            ]
        );

        // Create a response
        $response = new Response();

        if ($status->success() === true) {
            $response->setJsonContent(
                [
                    "status" => "OK"
                ]
            );
        } else {
            // Change the HTTP status
            $response->setStatusCode(409, "Conflict");

            $errors = [];

            foreach ($status->getMessages() as $message) {
                $errors[] = $message->getMessage();
            }

            $response->setJsonContent(
                [
                    "status"   => "ERROR",
                    "messages" => $errors,
                ]
            );
        }

        return $response;
    }
);

Testing our Application

Using curl we’ll test every route in our application verifying its proper operation.

Obtain all the robots:

curl -i -X GET http://localhost/my-rest-api/api/robots

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 07:05:13 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Unix) DAV/2
Content-Length: 117
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

[{"id":"1","name":"Robotina"},{"id":"2","name":"Astro Boy"},{"id":"3","name":"Terminator"}]

Search a robot by its name:

curl -i -X GET http://localhost/my-rest-api/api/robots/search/Astro

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 07:09:23 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Unix) DAV/2
Content-Length: 31
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

[{"id":"2","name":"Astro Boy"}]

Obtain a robot by its id:

curl -i -X GET http://localhost/my-rest-api/api/robots/3

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 07:12:18 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Unix) DAV/2
Content-Length: 56
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

{"status":"FOUND","data":{"id":"3","name":"Terminator"}}

Insert a new robot:

curl -i -X POST -d '{"name":"C-3PO","type":"droid","year":1977}'
    http://localhost/my-rest-api/api/robots

HTTP/1.1 201 Created
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 07:15:09 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Unix) DAV/2
Content-Length: 75
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

{"status":"OK","data":{"name":"C-3PO","type":"droid","year":1977,"id":"4"}}

Try to insert a new robot with the name of an existing robot:

curl -i -X POST -d '{"name":"C-3PO","type":"droid","year":1977}'
    http://localhost/my-rest-api/api/robots

HTTP/1.1 409 Conflict
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 07:18:28 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Unix) DAV/2
Content-Length: 63
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

{"status":"ERROR","messages":["The robot name must be unique"]}

Or update a robot with an unknown type:

curl -i -X PUT -d '{"name":"ASIMO","type":"humanoid","year":2000}'
    http://localhost/my-rest-api/api/robots/4

HTTP/1.1 409 Conflict
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 08:48:01 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Unix) DAV/2
Content-Length: 104
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

{"status":"ERROR","messages":["Value of field 'type' must be part of
    list: droid, mechanical, virtual"]}

Finally, delete a robot:

curl -i -X DELETE http://localhost/my-rest-api/api/robots/4

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 08:49:29 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Unix) DAV/2
Content-Length: 15
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

{"status":"OK"}

Conclusion

As we have seen, develop a RESTful API with Phalcon is easy. Later in the documentation we’ll explain in detail how to use micro applications and the PHQL language.

Follow along: