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The Definitive Guide to Yii

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Web Service

Web service is a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network. In the context of Web applications, it usually refers to a set of APIs that can be accessed over the Internet and executed on a remote system hosting the requested service. For example, a Flex-based client may invoke a function implemented on the server side running a PHP-based Web application. Web service relies on SOAP as its foundation layer of the communication protocol stack.

Yii provides CWebService and CWebServiceAction to simplify the work of implementing Web service in a Web application. The APIs are grouped into classes, called service providers. Yii will generate for each class a WSDL specification which describes what APIs are available and how they should be invoked by client. When an API is invoked by a client, Yii will instantiate the corresponding service provider and call the requested API to fulfill the request.

Note: CWebService relies on the PHP SOAP extension. Make sure you have enabled it before trying the examples displayed in this section.

Defining Service Provider

As we mentioned above, a service provider is a class defining the methods that can be remotely invoked. Yii relies on doc comment and class reflection to identify which methods can be remotely invoked and what are their parameters and return value.

Let's start with a simple stock quoting service. This service allows a client to request for the quote of the specified stock. We define the service provider as follows. Note that we define the provider class StockController by extending CController. This is not required.

class StockController extends CController
{
    /**
     * @param string the symbol of the stock
     * @return float the stock price
     * @soap
     */
    public function getPrice($symbol)
    {
        $prices=array('IBM'=>100, 'GOOGLE'=>350);
        return isset($prices[$symbol])?$prices[$symbol]:0;
        //...return stock price for $symbol
    }
}

In the above, we declare the method getPrice to be a Web service API by marking it with the tag @soap in its doc comment. We rely on doc comment to specify the data type of the input parameters and return value. Additional APIs can be declared in the similar way.

Declaring Web Service Action

Having defined the service provider, we need to make it available to clients. In particular, we want to create a controller action to expose the service. This can be done easily by declaring a CWebServiceAction action in a controller class. For our example, we will just put it in StockController.

class StockController extends CController
{
    public function actions()
    {
        return array(
            'quote'=>array(
                'class'=>'CWebServiceAction',
            ),
        );
    }
 
    /**
     * @param string the symbol of the stock
     * @return float the stock price
     * @soap
     */
    public function getPrice($symbol)
    {
        //...return stock price for $symbol
    }
}

That is all we need to create a Web service! If we try to access the action by URL http://hostname/path/to/index.php?r=stock/quote, we will see a lot of XML content which is actually the WSDL for the Web service we defined.

Tip: By default, CWebServiceAction assumes the current controller is the service provider. That is why we define the getPrice method inside the StockController class.

Consuming Web Service

To complete the example, let's create a client to consume the Web service we just created. The example client is written in PHP, but it could be in other languages, such as Java, C#, Flex, etc.

$client=new SoapClient('http://hostname/path/to/index.php?r=stock/quote');
echo $client->getPrice('GOOGLE');

Run the above script in either Web or console mode, and we shall see 350 which is the price for GOOGLE.

Data Types

When declaring class methods and properties to be remotely accessible, we need to specify the data types of the input and output parameters. The following primitive data types can be used:

  • str/string: maps to xsd:string;
  • int/integer: maps to xsd:int;
  • float/double: maps to xsd:float;
  • bool/boolean: maps to xsd:boolean;
  • date: maps to xsd:date;
  • time: maps to xsd:time;
  • datetime: maps to xsd:dateTime;
  • array: maps to xsd:string;
  • object: maps to xsd:struct;
  • mixed: maps to xsd:anyType.

If a type is not any of the above primitive types, it is considered as a composite type consisting of properties. A composite type is represented in terms of a class, and its properties are the class' public member variables marked with @soap in their doc comments.

We can also use array type by appending [] to the end of a primitive or composite type. This would specify an array of the specified type.

Below is an example defining the getPosts Web API which returns an array of Post objects.

class PostController extends CController
{
    /**
     * @return Post[] a list of posts
     * @soap
     */
    public function getPosts()
    {
        return Post::model()->findAll();
    }
}
 
class Post extends CActiveRecord
{
    /**
     * @var integer post ID
     * @soap
     */
    public $id;
    /**
     * @var string post title
     * @soap
     */
    public $title;
 
    public static function model($className=__CLASS__)
    {
        return parent::model($className);
    }
}

Class Mapping

In order to receive parameters of composite type from client, an application needs to declare the mapping from WSDL types to the corresponding PHP classes. This is done by configuring the classMap property of CWebServiceAction.

class PostController extends CController
{
    public function actions()
    {
        return array(
            'service'=>array(
                'class'=>'CWebServiceAction',
                'classMap'=>array(
                    'Post'=>'Post',  // or simply 'Post'
                ),
            ),
        );
    }
    ......
}

Intercepting Remote Method Invocation

By implementing the IWebServiceProvider interface, a service provider can intercept remote method invocations. In IWebServiceProvider::beforeWebMethod, the provider may retrieve the current CWebService instance and obtain the name of the method currently being requested via CWebService::methodName. It can return false if the remote method should not be invoked for some reason (e.g. unauthorized access).

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