An application skeleton based on the Elephfront tools
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Elephfront application skeleton

This repository is under development.

Elephfront is an open-source PHP front-end stack for templates creation.

This repository is an application skeleton based on the Elephfront tools. You can use it to quickly kickstart your new templates creation project.
This application skeleton will manage for you your SASS assets compilation, your CSS minification, your JS inclusion, your JS minification and comes bundled with a Live Reload server that will really ease your templates developments.



You can create a new elephfront project using composer:

composer create-project elephfront/application my-template-project

Starting the server

The main feature of the package is to provide a command that will start a PHP server to serve your pages.
It also will start a Live Reload server in the background to automatically refresh your browser when you make changes to one your assets file (as there is a watcher for changes in SASS files, JS files and pages / system files).

Once installed, you can use the following command to start both servers :

vendor/bin/robo serve

This will start a new server under the http://localhost:9876/ URL and launch your default browser to this URL.
From now on, every change you make in your assets files will trigger a "compilation" on those files and automatically refresh your browser in order to ease your development process.

Directory structure

By default, the project contains a src directory. This is where you put all your raw assets.
The expected structure is the following :



The assets/css folder is where you put your SASS files.
By default a main.scss file is expected and will be compiled and minified.


The assets/js folder is where you put your JS files.
By default a main.js file is expected and will be compiled and minified.


The pages folder is where you put the various templates you want to created. The files are expected to be .php files. The inner structure is left to you. Just be aware that if you create an index.php file, it will fetched by default by the router if you try to reach a sub-directory. You can use everything you would do in PHP in those files (like include, require, functions, etc.), they will be interpreted by a PHP server.


This folder is internal to Elephfront and contains the router used by the internal PHP server launched by the serve command and the error page if the page you try to reach does not exist when the server is launched. This is also were the robo-live-reload will put its JS file to make the browser listens for messages from the Web Socket server.
In most cases, you will never need to touch the files in this directory.


Compilation tasks

By default, the compilations tasks only process a main.scss and a main.js file.
If you wish to have the CSS compilation task or the JS compilation task to manage more files, you can add them by creating and using the elephfront-config.php configuration file at the root of the project.

This file is expected to return a single array. Its structure should be the same as the one from the loadDefaultConfig() method in the RoboFile.php file.
Let's say you have the following directory and file structure:

      home.scss // contains an `include('home/slider.scss')`

You could have the following elephfront-config.php file:

return [
    'compile' => [
        'css' => [
            $config['paths']['source'] . 'assets' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'css' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'home.scss' => $config['paths']['build'] . 'assets' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'css' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'home.css',

From now on, when the compile:scss task is called, it will not only manage your main.scss file, but also your home.scss file.
Note that the configuration from your elephfront-config.php file is merged with the default configuration, so you do not have to rewrite the basic configuration when defining an elephfront-config.php file.
Please also note that the current configuration is passed to the elephfront-config.php file through the variable $config so you can get access to the source and build directories path.

The exact same thing can be done for JS file : just change the css key under the compile key to js.

Directory copy task

As for assets compilation, you can add more directories to copy from the source to the build directory. By default, only the pages and system directories are copied. You can add more using the elephfront-bootstrap.php files:

return [
    'compile' => [
        'directories' => [
            $config['paths']['source'] . 'assets' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'fonts' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR => $config['paths']['build'] . 'assets' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . 'fonts' . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR,

This would also copy the directory under src/assets/fonts to build/assets/fonts.

Events and bootstrap

When compiling SASS et JS assets, Elephfront emits two events : one before the compilation and one after. When these events are emitted, they are given the current source map (the array containing the source and destination files to compile), the current configuration and more importantly, the current Robo instance, allowing you to run custom tasks before or after these tasks are done.

If you need to perform actions before or after (for instance, you might want to copy a folder from the vendor directory to your source directory before the compilation takes place if you are loading the Foundation CSS framework with composer) the compilation takes place, you can register handlers for those events using the elephfront-bootstrap.php files. It should be located on the same directory as the RoboFile.php file.

Let's say you are loading the Foundation CSS framework with composer, you could add the following to your elephfront-bootstrap.php to include it in your src directory :

use Cake\Event\EventManager;

EventManager::instance()->on('Elephfront.Scss.beforeCompile', function(\Cake\Event\Event $event) {
    $robo = $event->getSubject();
            'vendor/zurb/foundation/scss' => 'src/assets/css/libs/foundation',
            'vendor/zurb/foundation/_vendor/normalize-scss' => 'src/assets/css/libs/normalize-scss',
            'vendor/zurb/foundation/_vendor/sassy-lists' => 'src/assets/css/libs/sassy-lists',

For the SASS compilation, here are the events emitted :

  • Elephfront.Scss.beforeCompile
  • Elephfront.Scss.afterCompile

For the JS compilation, here are the events emitted :

  • Elephfront.Js.beforeCompile
  • Elephfront.Js.afterCompile


Aside from the serve command, this skeleton provides a few other useful methods if you need to perform specific tasks without using the servers.


This command will build the build directory from the src directory : it will copy all pages and system directories and compile all assets.


Compile all assets (SASS & JS).


Include all JS scripts included using the roboimport() method (from the robo-import-js task) and minify them (using the robo-js-minify task).


Compile the .scss files using the robo-sass task and minify them using the robo-css-minify task.


Copy the directories pages and system (and all the directories configured under the compile.directories configuration key) to the build directory.


If you find a bug or would like to ask for a feature, please use the GitHub issue tracker. If you would like to submit a fix or a feature, please fork the repository and submit a pull request.


Copyright (c) 2017, Yves Piquel and licensed under The MIT License. Please refer to the LICENSE.txt file.