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Quite possibly the smallest MVC framework you'll ever use.

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Octocat-spinner-32 Swiftlet
Octocat-spinner-32 tests
Octocat-spinner-32 views
Octocat-spinner-32 .htaccess
Octocat-spinner-32 COPYING
Octocat-spinner-32 config.php
Octocat-spinner-32 index.php
Octocat-spinner-32 robots.txt


Swiftlet is quite possibly the smallest MVC framework you'll ever use. And it's swift.

Licensed under the MIT license.

Buzzword compliance

✔ Micro-Framework
✔ Loosely coupled
✔ Namespaced
✔ Unit tested
✔ Pluggable
✔ PHP5


Installation in three easy steps

  • Step 1: Clone (or download and extract) Swiftlet into a directory on your PHP supported web server.
  • Step 2: Congratulations, Swiftlet is now up and running.
  • Step 3: There is no step 3.

Getting started: controllers and views

Let's create a page. Each page consists of a controller and at least one view.

Controllers house the business logic of the page while views should be limited to simple UI logic (loops and switches).

Controller Swiftlet/Controllers/Foo.php

namespace Swiftlet\Controllers;

class Foo extends \Swiftlet\Controller
    protected $title = 'Foo'; // Optional but usually desired 

    public function index()
        // Pass a variable to the view
        $this->view->set('helloWorld', 'Hello world!');

Important: class names are written in CamelCase and match their filename.

View views/foo.html.php

<h1><?php echo $this->get('pageTitle') ?></h1>

    <?php echo $this->get('helloWorld') ?>

Variables can be passed from controller to view using the views set and get methods. Values are automatically made safe for use in HTML, use $this->htmlDecode() on values that should be treated as code.

You can now view the page by navigating to http://<swiftlet>/foo in your web browser!


Notice how we can access the page at /foo by simply creating a controller named Foo. The application (Swiftlet) maps URLs to controllers, actions and arguments.

Consider this URL: /foo/bar/baz/qux

In this case foo is the name of the controller and view, bar the name of the action and baz and qux are arguments. If the controller or action is missing from the URL they will default to index (/ will call index() on Swiftlet\Controller\Index).

Underscores in the controller name are translated to directory separators, so /foo_bar will point to Swiftlet/Controllers/Foo/Bar.php.

Actions and arguments

Actions are methods of the controller. A common example might be edit or delete:


This will call the function edit() on Blog with 1 as the argument (the id of the blog post to edit).

If the action doesn't exist notImplemented() will be called instead. This will throw an exception by default but can be overridden.

The action name and arguments can be accessed through $this->app->getAction() and $this->app->getArgs() respectively.

Note: to use a different view for each action you may change the value of $this->view->name. The view name is a filename relative to the view directory, without the .html.php suffix.


Let's throw a model into the mix and update the controller.

Model Swiftlet/Models/Foo.php

namespace Swiftlet\Models;

class Foo extends \Swiftlet\Model
    public function getHelloWorld()
        return 'Hello world!';

Controller Swiftlet/Controllers/Foo.php

namespace Swiftlet\Controllers;

class Foo extends \Swiftlet\Controller
    protected $title = 'Foo';

    public function index()
        // Get an instance of the Example class (Swiftlet/Models/Example.php)
        $exampleModel = $this->app->getModel('example');

        $helloWorld = $exampleModel->getHelloWorld();

        $this->view->set('helloWorld', $helloWorld);

Controllers get their data from models. Code for querying a database, reading/writing files and parsing data all belongs in a model. You can create as many models as you like; they aren't tied to specific controllers.

A model can instantiated using $this->app->getModel($modelName). To allow re-use, use $this->app->getSingleton($modelName) instead as this will only create a single instance when called multiple times (useful for database connections and session management).

Plugins and hooks

Plugins implement hooks. Hooks are entry points for code that extends the application. Swiftlet has a few core hooks but they can be registered pretty much anywhere using $this->app->registerHook($hookName).

Plugin Swiftlet/Plugins/Foo.php

namespace Swiftlet\Plugins;

class Foo extends \Swiftlet\Plugin
    public function actionAfter()
        // Overwrite our previously set "helloWorld" variable
        if ( get_class($this->controller) === 'Swiftlet\Controllers\Foo' ) {
            $this->view->set('helloWorld', 'Hi world!');

This plugin implements the core actionAfter hook and changes the view variable helloWorld from our previous example to Hi world!.

Plugins don't need to be installed or activated, all files in the Swiftlet/Plugins/ directory are automatically included and their classes instantiated. They are hooked in alphabetical order.

The core hooks are:

  • actionBefore
    Called before each action

  • actionAfter Called after each action


No configuration is needed to run Swiftlet. If you're writing a model that does require configuration, e.g. credentials to establish a database connection, you may use the applications setConfig and getConfig methods:

$this->app->setConfig('variable', 'value');

$value = $this->app->getConfig('variable');

Values can be set in config.php or a custom file.

Abstract Public methods

Application Swiftlet\App

  • serve()
    Render the view

  • mixed getConfig(string $variable)
    Get a configuration value

  • setConfig(string $variable, mixed $value)
    Set a configuration value

  • string getAction()
    Name of the action

  • array getArgs()
    List of arguments passed in the URL

  • object getModel(string $modelName)
    Create a new model instance

  • object getSingleton(string $modelName)
    Create or return an existing model instance

  • string getRootPath()
    Absolute client-side path to website root

  • registerHook(string $hookName, array $params)
    Register a hook

View Swiftlet\View

  • mixed get(string $variable [, bool $htmlEncode = true ])
    Get a view variable, encoded for safe use in HTML by default

  • set(string $variable [, mixed $value ])
    Set a view variable

  • htmlEncode(mixed $value)
    Recursively make a value safe for HTML

  • htmlDecode(mixed $value)
    Recursively decode a previously encoded value to be rendered as HTML

Controller Swiftlet\Controller

  • index()
    Default action

  • notImplemented()
    Fallback action in case the called action doesn't exist

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