Opinionated RESTful, HATEOAS compliant extension for Yii

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v0.0.4 2013-07-22 20:16 UTC


A RESTful HATEOAS compliant extension for Yii. Allows your application to serve and accept JSON, JSONP, XML, CSV or HTML using the same code. The JSON and XML variants are based on the HAL media type.

WARNING: Pre-alpha software, use at your own risk.


Install using composer. Requires php 5.3 or later.

Restyii makes use of a custom WebApplication that replaces the Yii default. For this reason it's necessary to replace existing calls to



Yii::createApplication('Restyii\\Web\\Application', $config)

in your index.php file.

Server Configuration.

Example Restyii server application config

Yii::setPathOfAlias('vendor', __DIR__.'/../../vendor'); // the path to the composer vendors dir
return array(
  'name' => 'Restyii Demo',
  'description' => 'This is a description of the application!',
  'import' => array(
  'modules' => array(
          // If removed, Gii defaults to localhost only. Edit carefully to taste.
  'components' => array(
        'urlManager' => array(
            'rules' => array(
                '' => array('/default/index'),
                array('class' => 'Restyii\\Web\\UrlRule'),

Restyii comes with a Gii code generator that makes generating resources easy.

Client Configuration.

Example Restyii client application config

return array(
  'name' => 'Restyii Client Demo',
  'import' => array(
  'components' => array(
        'api' => array(
            'class' => 'Restyii\\Client\\Connection',
            'baseUrl' => 'http://yourapihostname/',


Restyii follows the RAVE application architecture. RAVE is quite similar to MVC, but there are some important differences, RAVE stands for:

  • Resources
  • Actions
  • Views
  • Events

Importantly, Resources, Actions, Views and Events all describe themselves. This allows the RAVE application to be self-documenting.


Resources are analogous to the Model in MVC, but they have some key differences.

  • Individual resources are explicitly tied to particular URLs.
  • Resources know how to link to themselves and to related resources.
  • Resources know how to describe themselves and their attributes.
  • Resources know how to format their own attributes.

In RAVE, the bulk of your business logic should be placed in resources, RAVE embraces the fat model approach.


Actions are analogous to the operations performed by a Controller in MVC.

  • Actions should accept any kind of resource. This promotes code reuse and is made possible by the rich meta data resources provide.
  • Actions know which http headers and query string parameters to expect and how to describe them.
  • Actions are associated with a specific HTTP verb that is used to perform an action, e.g. DELETE for delete actions.
  • Actions return a HTTP status code along with their data.

Actions usually operate either on individual resources or collections of resources.


RAVE Views are effectively identical to views in MVC. In Restyii they are used to decorate data (usually as HTML) when the client requests something other than XML, JSON etc.


Events are triggered by resources when they change state in some way, such as when a particular model is created or updated. RAVE events are usually published to a message bus or a pub/sub channel to allow communication with other processes in the application, for example, to allow 'realtime' notifications in the browser.

Differences from standard Yii applications

In order to implement RAVE, Restyii applications require several changes to the standard Yii way of doing things.

Some important ones:

  • The web application must be an instance of Restyii\Web\Application.

  • The default controller for all modules, including the main application, should be called DefaultController. This means the normal SiteController should be renamed. DefaultController should extend the Restyii\Controller\Root class.

  • The request (Yii::app()->request) now has a getResponse() method that returns a Restyii\Web\Response instance. This response instance is responsible for formatting and sending the data to the client.

  • Controllers always use class based actions, and controllers are explicitly tied to resource types. Resource controllers extend Restyii\Controller\Model

  • Actions always extend the Restyii\Action\Base class

  • Rather than implementing run(), actions should implement present() and perform() methods.

  • Rather than calling $this->render(...), actions should return the data for the response from within the present() and perform() methods, along with the appropriate HTTP status code.

  • Application has a schema component that introspects the application and determines the available resources, actions etc.

  • Resources extend Restyii\Model\ActiveRecord.

  • Resources have a links() method that returns the appropriate links for the current resource.

  • Resources have classLabel() and instanceLabel() methods that return the appropriate labels for the resource type and a particular resource instance.