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Introduction.

The Akelos Framework is an open-source port of Ruby on Rails to the PHP programming language.

The main goal of the Akelos Framework its to help programmers to build multilingual database-backed web applications according to the Model-View-Control pattern. It lets you write less code by favoring conventions over configuration.

You can find more information at the Akelos Framework website at http://www.akelos.org

The tutorial

Perhaps the easiest way to lear about Akelos is to get your hands on the tutorials you can find on the docs folder.

Setting up the framework.

Once you checkout the code you'll need to make available the folder ./public to your webserver with a command like:

ln -s  /home/bermi/akelos_framework/public /usr/htdocs/akelos

Then just point your browser to that url and follow the steps.

You will also need to make sure that mod_rewrite is loaded into Apache, and that it can be controlled from .htaccess files, to do this make sure that the Apache configuration directive AllowOverride is set to 'All' (you may allow only the specific directives for mod_rewrite), for the directory your project will be accessed from.

If you have problems with the web setup you can copy and edit config/DEFAULT-config.php and config/DEFAULT-routes.php. You might also need to edit the .htaccess files in ./ and ./public/ and un-comment/edit the "# RewriteBase" directive so it matches to your url path.

All the configuration params are on /lib/constants.php If you define any of them in your /config/config.php, /config/development.php, /config/production.php or /config/testing.php the default setting will be overwritten.

Accessing the Command Line interface

In order to access the command line interface run

./script/console

Then you can run any PHP code interactively.

Example:

>>> generate

// Will show a list of available generators

>>> test app/models/post.php

// Will run the unit tests for the framework the Post model

You can also use the commands generate, migrate, setup ... by calling directly

 ./script/generate

Differences from Ruby on Rails.

I've tried to adhere as much as I could to the original interfaces, but some general changes apply:

  • PHP doesn't have name spaces so on the controller you must access to $this->params, $this->ModelName, $this->Request, $this->Response

  • Templates are ended in .tpl (there is only one render on the framework, but more can be added)

  • Views work using PHP, but some like file functions, static method calls, object instantiation.... will be disallowed for helping in keeping in the view just presentation logic. If you need extra logic for your views you can always create a helper "./app/helpers" so your views will be easier to maintain.

  • Helpers are made available automatically for your views under the naming convention $name_helper were "name" is the name of the desired helper.

    $url_helper->url_for(array('action'=>'add'));

  • All the methods (but helpers) use PEAR like naming conventions so instead of AkActionController::url_for() you need to call AkActionController::urlFor()

  • Helpers are located at /lib/AkActionView/helpers (it's worth having a look at them)

  • In order to expose data from your controllers to the views, you'll simply need to assign them as attributes of the controller that is handling the action so:

    class PostController extends ApplicationController { function index() { $this->message = 'Hello World'; } }

Will expose into ./app/views/post/index.tpl $message variable so you can use it like:

<?php echo $message; ?>

or the same using SinTags

{message}

i18n and l10n the Akelos way

Locale files are located at:

./config/locales/  # Akelos Framework locales
./app/locales/NAMESPACE/ # Your application locales where NAMESPACE is
 replaced by your model/controller/view name

In order to change the language of your application can prefix your request with the locale name so:

http://example.com/es/post/add # will load ./config/locales/es.php

and http://example.com/en/post/add # will load ./config/locales/en.php

All the functions for writing multilingual code rely on the Ak::t() method. Based on the Ak::t() function you can find:

$PostController->t() # controller
$Post->t() # model
$text_helper->translate() # for the view
_{ hello world }  # for the view (SinTags)

All these four will save new locales onto their corresponding namespace in the example above "./app/locales/post/en.php"

If you want to use your own namespace for storing locales you can do it like:

translate('Hello world', null, 'shared_posts');

In this case it will store it at "./app/locales/shared_posts/en.php"

Deal with Compound Messages

As you can see the Framework has been designed with l10n and i18n in mind. One nice and flexible feature common to all these functions but the sintags one is the ability to add compounded messages, you might already realized this but here is a small example:

Ak::t('Hello %title %last_name,', array('%title'=>$title,'%last_name'=>$last_name,'%first_name'=>$first_name));

Ak::t('Today is %date', array('%date'=>Ak::getDate()));
// You can use Ak::t or any of its derived methods

The SinTags way to deal with compounded messages is

_{Today is %date}
// which will be converted to
// <?=$text_helper->translate('Today is %date', array('%date'=>$date));?>
// note that $date is selected by replacing the % from the needle

Internationalizing Models.

You can have multilingual database columns by adding the locale prefix plus and underscore to the column name. This way when you do

$Article->get('title')

you'll get the information on the "en_title" column if "en" is your current locale.

The same way you can set posted attributes like

$_POST = array('title'=>array('en'=>'Tech details',
 'es'=>'Detalles técnicos'));
$Article->setAttributes($_POST);

and the attributes will be mapped to their corresponding columns.

In order to make this work you need to add to your config/config.php

define('AK_ACTIVE_RECORD_DEFAULT_LOCALES', 'en,es');

In order to convert between charsets you can use Ak::recode() and Ak::utf8('My ISO Text', 'ISO-8859-1').

Autocompletion on bash prompts

You can add bash autocompletion support to Makelos

First you'll need to have installed bash-completion

Mac OS: sudo port install bash-completion
Debian: apt-get install bash-completion

Add to the very bottom of your bash profile (Nice post by Todd Werth http://blog.infinitered.com/entries/show/4 on the subject)

Mac OS ~/.profile:


if [ -f /opt/local/etc/bash_completion ]; then
    . /opt/local/etc/bash_completion
fi

Debian ~/.bashrc:


if [ -f /etc/bash_completion ]; then
    . /etc/bash_completion
fi

Create the file

Mac OS: /opt/local/etc/bash_completion.d/makelos
Debian: /etc/bash_completion.d/makelos

with the following code

_makelos()
{
   local cur colonprefixes arguments
   COMPREPLY=()
   cur=${COMP_WORDS[COMP_CWORD]}
   # Work-around bash_completion issue where bash
   # interprets a colon
   # as a separator.
   # Work-around borrowed from the darcs/Maven2
   # work-around for the same issue.
   colonprefixes=${cur%"${cur##*:}"}
   arguments=("${COMP_WORDS[@]:1}")
   COMPREPLY=( $(compgen -W '$(./makelos makelos:autocomplete \
   ${arguments[@]})'  -- $cur))
   local i=${#COMPREPLY[*]}
   while [ $((--i)) -ge 0 ]; do
      COMPREPLY[$i]=${COMPREPLY[$i]#"$colonprefixes"}
   done
   return 0
} &&

complete -o bashdefault -o default -F _makelos ./makelos 2>/dev/null \ || complete -o default -F _makelos ./makelos

cd to your app dir in a new prompt and enjoy makelos autocompletion.

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