Routing

Routing
     Creating routes
         Name
         URI
         Regex
         Default values
         Directory
     Examples
     Request parameters
     Where should routes be defined?
     A deeper look at how routes work
     Creating URLs and links using routes
     Testing routes

Kohana provides a very powerful routing system. In essence, routes provide an interface between the urls and your controllers and actions. With the correct routes you could make almost any url scheme correspond to almost any arrangement of controllers, and you could change one without impacting the other.

As mentioned in the Request Flow section, a request is handled by the Request class, which will look for a matching Route and load the appropriate controller to handle that request.

It is important to understand that routes are matched in the order they are added, and as soon as a URL matches a route, routing is essentially "stopped" and the remaining routes are never tried. Because the default route matches almost anything, including an empty url, new routes must be place before it.

Creating routes

If you look in APPPATH/bootstrap.php you will see the "default" route as follows:

Route::set('default', '(<controller>(/<action>(/<id>)))')
->defaults(array(
    'controller' => 'welcome',
    'action'     => 'index',
));

The default route is simply provided as a sample, you can remove it and replace it with your own routes.

So this creates a route with the name default that will match urls in the format of (<controller>(/<action>(/<id>))).

Let's take a closer look at each of the parameters of Route::set, which are name, uri, and an optional array regex.

Name

The name of the route must be a unique string. If it is not it will overwrite the older route with the same name. The name is used for creating urls by reverse routing, or checking which route was matched.

URI

The uri is a string that represents the format of urls that should be matched. The tokens surrounded with <> are keys and anything surrounded with () are optional parts of the uri. In Kohana routes, any character is allowed and treated literally aside from ()<>. The / has no meaning besides being a character that must match in the uri. Usually the / is used as a static seperator but as long as the regex makes sense, there are no restrictions to how you can format your routes.

Lets look at the default route again, the uri is (<controller>(/<action>(/<id>))). We have three keys or params: controller, action, and id. In this case, the entire uri is optional, so a blank uri would match and the default controller and action (set by defaults(), covered below) would be assumed resulting in the Controller_Welcome class being loaded and the action_index method being called to handle the request.

You can use any name you want for your keys, but the following keys have special meaning to the Request object, and will influence which controller and action are called:

  • Directory - The sub-directory of classes/controller to look for the controller ([covered below](#directory))
  • Controller - The controller that the request should execute.
  • Action - The action method to call.

Regex

The Kohana route system uses perl compatible regular expressions in its matching process. By default each key (surrounded by <>) will match [^/.,;?\n]++ (or in english: anything that is not a slash, period, comma, semicolon, question mark, or newline). You can define your own patterns for each key by passing an associative array of keys and patterns as an additional third argument to Route::set.

In this example, we have controllers in two directories, admin and affiliate. Because this route will only match urls that begin with admin or affiliate, the default route would still work for controllers in classes/controller.

Route::set('sections', '<directory>(/<controller>(/<action>(/<id>)))',
    array(
        'directory' => '(admin|affiliate)'
    ))
    ->defaults(array(
        'controller' => 'home',
        'action'     => 'index',
    ));

You can also use a less restrictive regex to match unlimited parameters, or to ignore overflow in a route. In this example, the url foobar/baz/and-anything/else_that/is-on-the/url would be routed to Controller_Foobar::action_baz() and the "stuff" parameter would be "and-anything/else_that/is-on-the/url". If you wanted to use this for unlimited parameters, you could explode it, or you just ignore the overflow.

Route::set('default', '(<controller>(/<action>(/<stuff>)))', array('stuff' => '.*'))
    ->defaults(array(
        'controller' => 'welcome',
        'action' => 'index',
  ));

Default values

If a key in a route is optional (or not present in the route), you can provide a default value for that key by passing an associated array of keys and default values to Route::defaults, chained after your Route::set. This can be useful to provide a default controller or action for your site, among other things.

The controller and action key must always have a value, so they either need to be required in your route (not inside of parentheses) or have a default value provided.

In the default route, all the keys are optional, and the controller and action are given a default. If we called an empty url, the defaults would fill in and Controller_Welcome::action_index() would be called. If we called foobar then only the default for action would be used, so it would call Controller_Foobar::action_index() and finally, if we called foobar/baz then neither default would be used and Controller_Foobar::action_baz() would be called.

TODO: need an example here

You can also use defaults to set a key that isn't in the route at all.

TODO: example of either using directory or controller where it isn't in the route, but set by defaults

Directory

Examples

TODO: a million billion examples, you can use the following as a guide for some routes to include:

http://kerkness.ca/wiki/doku.php?id=routing:routing_basics
http://kerkness.ca/wiki/doku.php?id=routing:ignoring_overflow_in_a_route
http://kerkness.ca/wiki/doku.php?id=routing:building_routes_with_subdirectories

There are countless other possibilities for routes. Here are some more examples:

/*
 * Authentication shortcuts
 */
Route::set('auth', '<action>',
  array(
    'action' => '(login|logout)'
  ))
  ->defaults(array(
    'controller' => 'auth'
  ));

/*
 * Multi-format feeds
 *   452346/comments.rss
 *   5373.json
 */
Route::set('feeds', '<user_id>(/<action>).<format>',
  array(
    'user_id' => '\d+',
    'format' => '(rss|atom|json)',
  ))
  ->defaults(array(
    'controller' => 'feeds',
    'action' => 'status',
  ));

/*
 * Static pages
 */
Route::set('static', '<path>.html',
  array(
    'path' => '[a-zA-Z0-9_/]+',
  ))
  ->defaults(array(
    'controller' => 'static',
    'action' => 'index',
  ));

/*
 * You don't like slashes?
 *   EditGallery:bahamas
 *   Watch:wakeboarding
 */
Route::set('gallery', '<action>(<controller>):<id>',
  array(
    'controller' => '[A-Z][a-z]++',
    'action'     => '[A-Z][a-z]++',
  ))
  ->defaults(array(
    'controller' => 'Slideshow',
  ));

/*
 * Quick search
 */
Route::set('search', ':<query>', array('query' => '.*'))
  ->defaults(array(
    'controller' => 'search',
    'action' => 'index',
  ));

Request parameters

The directory, controller and action can be accessed from the Request as public properties like so:

// From within a controller:
$this->request->action;
$this->request->controller;
$this->request->directory;

// Can be used anywhere:
Request::instance()->action;
Request::instance()->controller;
Request::instance()->directory;

All other keys specified in a route can be accessed via Request::param():

// From within a controller:
$this->request->param('key_name');

// Can be used anywhere:
Request::instance()->param('key_name');

The Request::param method takes an optional second argument to specify a default return value in case the key is not set by the route. If no arguments are given, all keys are returned as an associative array. In addition, action, controller and directory are not accessible via Request::param().

For example, with the following route:

Route::set('ads','ad/<ad>(/<affiliate>)')
->defaults(array(
    'controller' => 'ads',
    'action'     => 'index',
));

If a url matches the route, then Controller_Ads::index() will be called. You could access the parameters in two ways:

First, any non-special parameters (parameters other than controller, action, and directory) in a route are passed as parameters to the action method in the order they appear in the route. Be sure to define a default value for optional parameters if you don't define them in the route's ->defaults().

class Controller_Ads extends Controller {
    public function action_index($ad, $affiliate = NULL)
    {

    }

Secondly, you can access the parameters using the param() method of the Request class. Again, remember to define a default value (via the second, optional parameter of Request::param) if you didn't in ->defaults().

class Controller_Ads extends Controller {
    public function action_index()
    {
        $ad = $this->request->param('ad');
        $affiliate = $this->request->param('affiliate',NULL);
    }

Where should routes be defined?

The established convention is to either place your custom routes in the MODPATH/<module>/init.php file of your module if the routes belong to a module, or simply insert them into the APPPATH/bootstrap.php file (be sure to put them above the default route) if they are specific to the application. Of course, nothing stops you from including them from an external file, or even generating them dynamically.

A deeper look at how routes work

TODO: talk about how routes are compiled

Along with Kohana's powerful routing capabilities are included some methods for generating URLs for your routes' uris. You can always specify your uris as a string using URL::site to create a full URL like so:

URL::site('admin/edit/user/'.$user_id);

However, Kohana also provides a method to generate the uri from the route's definition. This is extremely useful if your routing could ever change since it would relieve you from having to go back through your code and change everywhere that you specified a uri as a string. Here is an example of dynamic generation that corresponds to the feeds route example from above:

Route::get('feeds')->uri(array(
  'user_id' => $user_id,
  'action' => 'comments',
  'format' => 'rss'
));

Let's say you decided later to make that route definition more verbose by changing it to feeds/<user_id>(/<action>).<format>. If you wrote your code with the above uri generation method you wouldn't have to change a single line! When a part of the uri is enclosed in parentheses and specifies a key for which there in no value provided for uri generation and no default value specified in the route, then that part will be removed from the uri. An example of this is the (/<id>) part of the default route; this will not be included in the generated uri if an id is not provided.

One method you might use frequently is the shortcut Request::uri which is the same as the above except it assumes the current route, directory, controller and action. If our current route is the default and the uri was users/list, we can do the following to generate uris in the format users/view/$id:

$this->request->uri(array('action' => 'view', 'id' => $user_id));

Or if within a view, the preferable method is:

Request::instance()->uri(array('action' => 'view', 'id' => $user_id));

TODO: examples of using html::anchor in addition to the above examples

Testing routes

TODO: mention bluehawk's devtools module