Jobeet Day 4: The Controller and the View

Today, we are going to create the basic job controller. It will has the code we need for Jobeet: - A page to list all jobs - A page to view job details

The MVC Architecture

For web development, the most common solution for organizing your code nowadays is the MVC design pattern. In short, the MVC design pattern defines a way to organize your code according to its nature. This pattern separates the code into three layers:

  • The Model layer defines the business logic (the database belongs to this layer). You already know that Symfony stores all the classes and files related to the Model in the src/Entity/ directory of your bundles.
  • The View is what the user interacts with (a template engine is part of this layer). In Symfony, the View layer is mainly made of Twig templates. They are stored in various templates/ directories as we will see later.
  • The Controller is a piece of code that calls the Model to get some data that it passes to the View for rendering to the client. When we installed Symfony at the beginning of this tutorial, we saw that all requests are managed by front controller (public/index.php). This front controller delegate the real work to actions (class methods).

Controller

Let’s create our first controller. Create file JobController.php in src/Controller folder and put there next code:

namespace App\Controller;

use Symfony\Bundle\FrameworkBundle\Controller\AbstractController;
use Symfony\Component\Routing\Annotation\Route;

/**
 * @Route("job")
 */
class JobController extends AbstractController
{

}

For now it has no actions, but not for long.

The Layout

If you have a closer look at the mockups, you will notice that most pages look the same. You already know that code duplication is bad, whether we are talking about HTML or PHP code, so we need to find a way to prevent these common view elements from resulting in code duplication.

One way to solve the problem is to define a header and a footer and include them in each template. A better way is to use another design pattern to solve this problem: the decorator design pattern. The decorator design pattern resolves the problem the other way around: the template is decorated after the content is rendered by a global template, called a layout.

If you take a look in the templates folder, you will find there base.html.twig template. That is the default layout that decorates our job pages right now. Open it and replace it’s content with the following:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <title>{% block title %}Jobeet - Your best job board{% endblock %}</title>

    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"/>

    {% block stylesheets %}{% endblock %}

    {% block javascripts %}{% endblock %}

    <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/3.3.7/css/bootstrap.min.css">
</head>
<body>
<nav class="navbar navbar-default">
    <div class="container-fluid">
        <div class="navbar-header">
            <a class="navbar-brand" href="#">Jobeet</a>
        </div>

        <div class="collapse navbar-collapse">
            <ul class="nav navbar-nav navbar-right">
                <li>
                    <div>
                        <a href="#" class="btn btn-default navbar-btn">Post a Job</a>
                    </div>
                </li>
            </ul>
        </div>
    </div>
</nav>

<div class="container">
    {% block body %}{% endblock %}
</div>
</body>
</html>

The style sheets

As this tutorial is not about web design, we will use bootstrap. Bootstrap is one of the most popular frontend library. It provides styles for frequently used elements, such as: grid, tables, forms, buttons and etc. We already connected it from CDN in layout from previous step:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/3.3.7/css/bootstrap.min.css">

The Job Homepage Action

Each action is represented by a method of a class. For the jobs list, the class is JobController and the method will be list(). Let’s create this action:

use App\Entity\Job;
use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Response;

class JobController extends AbstractController
{
    /**
     * Lists all job entities.
     *
     * @Route("/", name="job.list")
     *
     * @return Response
     */
    public function list() : Response
    {
        $jobs = $this->getDoctrine()->getRepository(Job::class)->findAll();

        return $this->render('job/list.html.twig', [
            'jobs' => $jobs,
        ]);
    }
}

Let’s have a closer look at the code: the list() method gets the Doctrine object, which is responsible for working with database. Doctrine object is able to retrieve repository object that has lots of built-in methods to query database. At last Repository will retrieve all the jobs in the form of ArrayCollection of Job objects that are passed to the template (the View).

Probably you have already noticed line starting with @Route in comment block above method. This line is not a simple comment. This line is related to theRouting component. It tells Symfony which URL path is related to which action in controller. We will learn more about that in next lesson.

The Job Homepage Template

In list we passed jobs to job/list.html.twig but we don’t have this file yet. Let’s create it in templates/job folder:

{% extends 'base.html.twig' %}

{% block body %}
    <table class="table text-center">
        <tr>
            <th class="active text-center">City</th>
            <th class="active text-center">Position</th>
            <th class="active text-center">Company</th>
        </tr>

        {% for job in jobs %}
            <tr>
                <td>{{ job.location }}</td>
                <td>
                    <a href="#">
                        {{ job.position }}
                    </a>
                </td>
                <td>{{ job.company }}</td>
            </tr>
        {% endfor %}
    </table>
{% endblock %}

Twig Blocks

In Twig, the default Symfony template engine, you can define blocks as we did above. A twig block can have a default content (look at the title block for example) that can be replaced or extended in the child template as you will see in a moment.

extends tag used in list.html.twig means that this template extends base template base.html.twig and can redefine blocks from it. In our case we define content for body block.

The Job Page Action

We have action to list all jobs, now let’s create action to see one job:

class JobController extends AbstractController
{
    ...

    /**
     * Finds and displays a job entity.
     *
     * @Route("/{id}", name="job.show")
     *
     * @param Job $job
     *
     * @return Response
     */
    public function show(Job $job) : Response
    {
        return $this->render('job/show.html.twig', [
            'job' => $job,
        ]);
    }
}

Here you may notice a bit of a Symfony’s magic that happens behind the scenes - there is a type hinted $job parameter in the method signature, but how Symfony loads that Job object you may ask yourself? It uses id from the URL, automatically queries table by this id and returns fully fledged Job object for you. Nice!

The Job Page Template

Now let’s create show.html.twig file in templates/job folder:

{% extends 'base.html.twig' %}

{% block body %}
    <h1>Job</h1>

    <div class="media" style="margin-top: 60px;">
        <div class="media-body">
            <div class="row">
                <div class="col-sm-10">
                    <h3 class="media-heading"><strong>{{ job.company }}</strong> <i>({{ job.location }})</i></h3>
                </div>

                <div class="col-sm-2">
                    <i class="pull-right">posted on {{ job.createdat|date('m/d/Y') }}</i>
                </div>
            </div>

            <p>
                <strong>{{ job.position }}</strong>
                <small> - <i>{{ job.type }}</i></small>
            </p>

            <p>{{ job.description|nl2br }}</p>

            <p style="margin-top: 40px;">
                <strong>How to apply?</strong>
            </p>

            <p>{{ job.howToApply }}</p>

            <div class="row">
                <div class="col-sm-12 text-right">
                    <a class="btn btn-default" href="#">
                        <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-menu-left" aria-hidden="true"></span>
                        Back to list
                    </a>

                    <a class="btn btn-primary" href="#">
                        <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-pencil" aria-hidden="true"></span>
                        Edit
                    </a>
                </div>
            </div>
        </div>
    </div>
{% endblock %}

Twig comes with a long list of filters and functions that are available by default. In this template we used date. This function is used to format a date.

You can find the code from day 4 here: https://github.com/gregurco/jobeet/tree/day4.

Additional information

Next Steps

Continue this tutorial here: Jobeet Day 5: The Routing

Previous post is available here: Jobeet Day 3: The Data Model

Main page is available here: Symfony 4.2 Jobeet Tutorial