Library with use-at-will architecture that extends the functionality of Zend Framework 1. Main features: Improved bootstrapping with lazy loading of resources, declaration of request parameters as argument in controller actions, advanced form creation and validation, mail templates, lightweight controller testing.

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Language: PHP

1.4.6-alpha1 2013-04-11 22:18 UTC


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Library that extends the capabilities of Zend Framework 1.


MolComponents requires Zend Framework 1 (>=1.11.0 recommended, older versions should work as well) and at least PHP 5.3.


MolComponents is installable via Composer.

Just require matthimatiker/molcomponents in your composer config :

    "require": {
        "matthimatiker/molcomponents": ">=1.4.2"

Install MolComponents via

php composer.phar install


Here are some examples of the functionality that is provided by the library. The components follow a use-at-will design: All features are completely optional.

Please refer to the documentation of the classes for more details.

Parameter support in controller actions

By extending Mol_Controller_ActionParameter you are able to declare required parameters as action method arguments:

 * Example action.
 * @param integer $page
public function myAction($page = 1) 
   // my code

The component uses the parameter documentation to determine the expected data type. Validation is performed automatically. On success the value is casted to the expected type and passed to the action as argument.

Lazy Loading of resources

Usually, Zend Framework 1 initializes all configured resources for each request. Mol_Components offers a mechanism to delay resource initialization until the resource is really requested.

To be able to use Lazy Loading, the application bootstrapper must inherit from Mol_Application_Bootstrap:

class My_Bootstrap extends Mol_Application_Bootstrap

Bootstrapping works exactly like before, but now it is possible to activate Lazy Loading for any resource in the application.ini:          = "Stream" = APPLICATION_PATH "/logs/application.log"   = "a"
resources.log.lazyLoad                   = On

In this example, the log resource is not bootstrapped for each request anymore. Instead, it is only initialized when explicitly requested from the bootstrapper, for example in a controller action:

public function myAction() 
    $bootstrap = $this->getInvokeArg('bootstrap');
    $logger = $bootstrap->getResource('log');

Keep in mind that some resources must be executed early, as they modify the global state of the application and will not be retrieved explicitly via getResource().

Configurable mail templates

MolComponents provides a flexible mail configuration system. Instead of creating Zend_Mail objects manually, it is possible to pre-configure mail properties (default recipients, templates, ...) and retrieve mail objects by an alias.

To use this system, the mailer resource must be activated and configured via application.ini. A path to the mail configuration file as well as a view script path for the mail templates should be defined:

resources.mailer.templates[] = APPLICATION_PATH "/mails/mail-templates.ini"
resources.mailer.scripts[]   = APPLICATION_PATH "/mails/views"

Any number of template configurations and script paths can be added. In case of conflict, the later defined template configurations will overwrite the settings of their predecessors.

The mail-templates.ini contains a section for each mail template. Each template defines several mail properties:

charset     = "UTF-8"
subject     = "Registration successful"
bcc[]       = ""
replyTo     = ""
from        = ""
script.text = "registration.txt.phtml"
script.html = "registration.html.phtml"

The translator of the view is used to automatically translate the subject. The named view templates are used to generate the text and html part of the mail.

Hint: Section inheritance can be used to easily define default mail properties.

Now the create() method of the bootstrapped mail factory can be used to create Zend_Mail objects from a template:

public function myAction()
    $factory    = $this->getInvokeArg('bootstrap')->getResource('mailer');
    $parameters = array('userName', $name);
    $mail       = $factory->create('registration', $parameters);

The create() method receives a template name and (optionally) a list of parameters that is passed to the configured content view scripts.

After creation it is possible to modify and send mails as usual:


Advanced form creation

Many forms share the same functionality. For example CSRF tokens are often required for security reasons. Although necessary, these additional elements make testing difficult as they often depend on global state and therefore need a special treatment in unit tests.

To overcome these problems, MolComponents provides a configurable form factory combined with a simple plugin system. The factory takes care of creating Zend_Form instances and plugins are used to deal with cross-cutting concerns.

A simple use case is the creation of aliases for form classes:

resources.form.aliases.login        = "My_Login_Form"
resources.form.aliases.registration = "My_Registration_Form"

Now it is possible to retrieve form instances by their alias:

public function myAction()
    $factory = $this->getInvokeArg('bootstrap')->getResource('form');
    // Creates an instance of My_Login_Form
    $loginForm = $factory->create('login');

From now on changing the type of a form is just a matter of configuration. But the real advantage of the form factory is the ability to use plugins. Plugins receive every created form and have the ability to enhance these form instances.

Plugins are simply added via configuration:

resources.form.plugins.autoComplete.class = "Mol_Form_Factory_Plugin_AutoCompleteOff"

The AutoCompleteOff plugin adds autocomplete="off" attributes to each form and prevents browsers from caching input data.

More complex plugins require additional options. The following plugin adds CSRF tokens to all forms:

resources.form.plugins.csrf.class = "Mol_Form_Factory_Plugin_Csrf"    = "my_csrf_token"
resources.form.plugins.csrf.options.element.salt    = "secret-salt"
resources.form.plugins.csrf.options.element.timeout = 1800

Hint: If the creation of a form instance is too complex to be handled by the factory, then it is still possible to benefit from the plugin system. The create() method of the factory also accepts Zend_Form objects and applies all plugins to this instances:

$form = new Zend_Form();
$enhancedForm = $factory->create($form);

Validation of form element dependencies

It is often necessary to validate relations between different form values: The password verification value must be equal to the original password, an end date must be greater than the start date, and so on.

MolComponents offers a mechanism that simplifies the validation of relations. Additionally, it provides some often needed relation validators.

To validate a relation the Mol_Validate_Form_ElementRelation must be added to a form element:

$from = new Zend_Form_Element_Text('from);
$to = new Zend_Form_Element_Text('to');
// Ensure that the provided "to" date is only valid if it is
// beyond the "from" date:
$relation = new Mol_Validate_Form_Relation_GreaterThan();
$to->addValidator(new Mol_Validate_Form_ElementRelation($relation, $from));

The relation above reads as follows: $to must be greater than $from.

The ElementRelation expects an inner validator of type Zend_Validate_Interface that is able to check the validity of two related values:

public function isValid($value, $other = null)

Any validator that provides such an interface can be used to validate a relation. Therefore, extending the relation validation with custom logic is very easy.

To make the creation of the relation validators even more readable, the built-in validators can be addressed via string identifiers:

$to->addValidator(new Mol_Validate_Form_ElementRelation('>', $from));

This creates the same validator as in the first example.

Currently, the library provides the following relation validators (the corresponding identifiers are shown in braces):

  • Equals (==)
  • NotEquals (!=)
  • LessThan (<)
  • GreaterThan (>)
  • LessThanOrEqual (<=)
  • GreaterThanOrEqual (>=)
  • Contains
  • NotContains

Simplified url generation

The view helper Mol_View_Helper_To may be used as an alternative to Zend_View_Helper_Url to generate urls in view scripts:

<?= $this->to('my-action', 'my-controller', 'my-module')->withParam('confirm', 1); ?>

It avoids passing the required information as array and provides a fluent interface to make url generation more readable.

Per default all url parameters must be provided explicitly, the parameters of the incoming request are not automatically included.