The Controller is part of the Model-View-Controller software design pattern.

The Controller acts as the gateway for taking in a user’s request, collecting the data from a Model, and passing it along to the appropriate View.

Example: User Controller

A request to view the UserDetails page would first hit the UserController, which might look something like this:

* Route to view the userDetailsPage.
* @Route("/{_semester}/{_course}/show_user_details", methods={"GET"})
* @AccessControl(role="INSTRUCTOR")

public function userDetailsPage($user_id) {
   $user = $this->core->getQueries()->getUserFromId($user_id);
   if ($user) {
       return new WebResponse(
   } else {
       // render an error

From the website, they can now make a request which routes to the userDetails page. Something like f20/sample/show_user_details?user_id="aphacker"

Because we added @AccessControl(role="INSTRUCTOR"), only instructor level users can access this page.

The $user_id parameter to our function is populated from the parameters of the GET request ?user_id="aphacker.

When we call $this->core->getQueries()->getUserFromId($user_id); a database query is run which loads information for the user with a matching id into a UserModel. See also the Model documentation.

Returning a MultiResponse / WebResponse

If $user was successfully loaded (it’s not null), we can render the page by returning a new MultiResponse object which contains a WebResponse.

  1. The first parameter of the WebResponse is the path to UserView. In this case it is site/app/views/user/UserView. Submitty automatically preppends site/app/views and adds the word View to the end of the last element in this array.

  2. The second parameter is the name of the function that we want to call in the UserView. In this case showUserDetails.

  3. Subsequent parameters are the inputs to the showUserDetails function.

  4. If $user didn’t load correctly (it is null), we have to return some error page. This is omitted.

See more information in the View documentation.

Disabling a Controller

There are certain circumstances where a controller should be disabled completely depending on if a feature is enabled or not within the Config. To do this, you can utilize the Enabled annotation in the docstring for the controller class, like so:

use app\libraries\routers\Enabled;

 * @Enabled("forum")
class ForumController {}

With this annotation in-place, the router will take the string value passed to the annotation, run ucfirst for it, and then use that to call the is{$Feature}Enabled() function in the Config modal. For the above example, it would be calling isForumEnabled() method. If that method returns false, we show an access denied error screen to the user, directing them to contact their instructor if they think it is an error, and then provide a link back to the course home page.