Request Processing Overview

Rhubarb answers requests from a client with a response. Determining which response and how that response is formatted is the job of the Rhubarb processing pipeline. Understanding the pipeline is an important step to understanding how Rhubarb's behaviour can be modified for your needs.

Step 1: Application is booted

In the vendor/rhubarbphp/rhubarb/platform folder there are a number of PHP scripts used to boot Rhubarb. These files are the entry point of all requests to the Rhubarb engine. Sometimes called 'Front Controllers' the script called depends upon the context of the request:

Called by a webserver serving an HttpRequest to Rhubarb. The webserver must be instructed to route all requests to this PHP script with the exception of static files that can be served directly.
Called when executing a script from a terminal.
Called as a bootstrap for PHP Unit when running unit tests for your application.

All three will boot the application by setting up the environment and then loading your main application configuration.

Stage 2: Application and Module registration

execute-http.php and execute-cli.php will try and load a Rhubarb Application object. The most common way to support this is by creating an app.config.php file in the settings folder which will define a Module for the application and register it in a new Application instance. A module can return a list of dependant modules which will also be registered.

All modules are resolved and registered before further execution as the registration order of the modules can be important.

Stage 3: Module initialisation

All modules will now be asked to initialise. Modules are initialised in reverse depth order - that is the module loaded furthest down the dependency chain is initialised first and then Rhubarb works backwards right up to the initial application module. This order allows modules to replace sections of its functionality e.g. changing UrlHandlers or database schemas.

Stage 4: Url Handler resolution (http requests only)

Modules can register a collection of UrlHandlers. One by one the UrlHandlers are compared with the incoming request and if suitable for that URL then the matching UrlHandler is asked to return a response for the request.

Stage 5: Response generation (http requests only)

UrlHandlers rarely (but occasionally) generate responses directly. Their primary function is to understand the URL and then configure a response generating class using whatever settings might be appropriate for the URL.

Stage 6: Response filtering (http requests only)

Modules can also register response filters which each in turn have an opportunity to process the response before it is returned to the client. Surrounding generated HTML using the LayoutFilter is the most common example of response filtering.