By Loïc d'Anterroches,, 25th of February, 2011

Configuration of a Project

The goal of the configuration is just to provide runtime information to the system in form of an associative array.

The configuration of an application with Photon is extremely simple, at the top of your PHP code, you load the configuration container class. By convention, you should load it as Conf. You can then get the configuration value with a simple call:

use photon\config\Container as Conf;
$foo = Conf::f('myapp_key', array('Sane default value'));

What is really important to keep in mind:

  • Set sane and consistent default values for your application. The minimum number of configuration key, the easier it will be for the end users to install your application and reuse it.
  • Prefix the keys to avoid conflict with the core Photon configuration variables and other applications. For example use the key myapp_admin if you have created the myapp application.
  • Reuse as much as possible the core configuration keys, for example the admin email address, from_email, debug settings, etc. This will ensure consistent behaviour of the applications and ease of configuration.
  • If you change a configuration key in a request, you need to set it back just after, to handle correctly the next request.

Some Default Configuration Keys

  • debug: is the application running in debug mode.

  • from_email: default source email whent sending an email.

  • template_folders: array of folders from where the templates can be loaded.

  • urls: array of the URL mapping.

  • base_urls: the base for the URL mapping, you would put '/foobar' if your project is accessible as http://yourdomain.tld/foobar/.

  • installed_apps: array of installed apps in the project, for example array('photonweb', 'myapp').

  • installed_tasks: associative array of installed tasks, for example:

      array('photon_timeserver' => '\photon\task\TimeServer',
             'photon_logger' => '\photon\task\Logger').
  • tmp_folder: temp folder for the compiled templates.

  • secret_key: your unique to the project secret key to hmac validation of the cookies and more. This is critical to have a unique key per project installation.

  • pid_file: where the master server pid is written ('./').

The Configuration File

The configuration file is a simple PHP file but you can use anything you want which can then produce a simple PHP array and return it.

Each method has pros/contras, but basically, the goal is simply to provide the application server with an array of key/value pairs at startup time. Nothing more.

For examples:

$myconf = include 'path/to/config.php';
$myconf = parse_ini_file('path/to/config.ini');
$myconf = YourYAMLParser::load('path/to/config.yaml');
$myconf = array('debug' => true, 'photon_rocks' => true);
return $myconf;
// The configuration is then simply loaded by Photon this way:

What is interesting is that the process of getting the information can be as complex as needed, for example, you could have a configuration file which is going in fact to ask a central service its configuration based on the machine hostname.

$zoo = \myapp\config\Loader::getService('zookeeper');
$config = $zoo->giveMeMyConfig(gethostname()));
return $config;

If this takes a second or two to run, this is fine as this is done only once at the startup of the Photon process.