Setup 1 Projects

This section teaches you to build your project in just a few steps with Ethna using command line.


Make sure once the Ethna is installed on your computer, you have made changes to your php.ini files. i.e. pear libraries are in the include path. On a Mac, you would do something like the following

$ emacs /etc/php.ini

And then add the appropriate path

; include_path = ".:/Users/YOUR-USER-NAME/pear/share/pear/"

Similarly, make the changes to your php.ini file on other Operating Systems.

Simple Blog Application

Here, we are going to create a simple blog application with Ethna and ethna’s command line tool.

In this tutorial, there are two important learnings

  1. Ethna flow of creating an application
  2. How to set up a url

1. Application information

Before developing an Application, there are two points to keep in mind.

  1. Application ID (must be letters) e.g. miniblog
  2. Application Directory. Usually on Linux, it is /var/www/. Although, you may change it your directory by modifying the /etc/apache/httpd.config file.

In this tutorial, we are going to use /var/www/.

To create a new project command ethna add-project AwesomeName

$ cd /var/www
$ ethna add-project miniblog

The above command will create a skeleton for the application. Following is the sample output.

$ ethna add-project miniblog
creating directory (/var/www/miniblog) [y/n]: y
project sub directory created [/var/www/miniblog/app]
project sub directory created [/var/www/miniblog/app/action]


file generated [/usr/share/php/Ethna/skel/skel.view_test.php -> /var/www/miniblog/skel/skel.view_test.php]

project skeleton for [miniblog] is successfully generated at [/var/www/miniblog]

Above application has been generated.

Verifying the Directory Structure

Let’s take a peek at the directory and the files generated.

| - App (directory of the application)
| | - Action (Action Script)
| | - plugin (filter script)
| | - test (test scripts)
| `- View (view script)
| - bin ( command line scripts)
| - etc (configuration files, etc.)
| - lib library) (application
| - locale
| `- ja_JP
| - log (log file)
| - schema (DB schema, etc.)
| - - skel (skeleton application file)
| - template
| `- ja_JP (template file)
| - tmp (temp files)
`- www (web publishing file)

Common use is in the following directory.

  • app/
  • app/action
  • app/view
  • template/ja_JP

2. Setting Application’s Url

Although you may see it on the localhost/miniblog/www. Also, in order to access the application from web browser, i.e. var/www/. We are going to set the Apache Virtual Host to http://miniblog.myhost/ like the following:

<VirtualHost *:80>
   ServerName miniblog.myhost
   DocumentRoot /var/www/miniblog/www

Set up is complete lets try to view in the browser


If the set up is done correctly, you may should be able to see the following output

alternate text

Next we are create action using ethna

Flow of creation & processing: Action, View, Template

Prior to creating a real application, we are going to add action, view and template to our miniblog.

Create action, view, template

Next we are going to create action hello, which will be accessible from the following url


There are 3 things to do

  • add-action hello
  • add-view hello
  • add-template hello

Let’s jump to the command line and do the above 3 steps.

$ ethna add-action hello
file generated [/var/www/miniblog/skel/skel.action.php -> /var/www/miniblog/app/action/Hello.php]
action script(s) successfully created [/var/www/miniblog/app/action/Hello.php]

$ ethna add-view hello
file generated [/var/www/miniblog/skel/skel.view.php -> /var/www/miniblog/app/view/Hello.php]
view script(s) successfully created [/var/www/miniblog/app/view/Hello.php]

$ ethna add-template hello
file generated [/var/www/miniblog/skel/skel.template.tpl -> /var/www/miniblog/template/ja_JP/hello.tpl]
template file(s) successfully created [/var/www/miniblog/template/ja_JP/hello.tpl]


You can add a view and template in one command by adding -t like this
add-view -t hello

Now, the view for the added action named hello can be viewed in the browser with the following url


The browser should display the following

alternate text

Flow of processing in Ethna

This diagram illustrates the flow of processing Ethna

alternate text


With the command ethna add-action hello, Hello.php is created in the directory app/action/Hello.php. In this php file there are two classes. As a courtesy, comments are also generated, but for this tutorial I am omitting the comments. The two classes follows next.

class Miniblog_Form_Hello extends Miniblog_ActionForm
     protected $form = array(

class Miniblog_Action_Hello extends Miniblog_ActionClass
    public function prepare()
        return null;

    public function perform()
        return 'hello';


This is the action form class, and inherits Ethna’s ActionForm class. In this class the form for POST and/or GET is defined. We will discuss more about forms later in this documentation.


This class implements the Hello action. Two functions prepare() and perform() are called before the implementation transit to view.


The, view class generated by the command ethna add-view hello, should be in the directory app/view/Hello.php.

class Miniblog_View_Hello extends Miniblog_ViewClass
    public function preforward()
        $message = "Hello World";

This is the View class inherits from ethna’s View class. View class is responsible for setting the variables that then be used in the HTML template. You may set your variables in the function preforward(), using setApp().


Last one is template which is created by the command ethna add-template hello in the directory template/ja_JP/hello.tpl

Lets, play with the helloVariable and try to print it in the template

<h2> New Template </h2>
<p> {$app.helloVariable} </p>

Implementation of Application

Lets start the implementation of creating a blog via learning following 3 things

  1. Add action to handle the post, defined in a form.
  2. Output the value from the form.
  3. Validate the values from input form.

Add action

First is to quickly add an action named commit by the command ethna add-action commit

$ ethna add-action commit
file generated [/var/www/miniblog/skel/skel.action.php -> /var/www/miniblog/app/action/Commit.php]
action script(s) successfully created [/var/www/miniblog/app/action/Commit.php]

As the message also shows, there should be a file generated in app/action/Commit.php Here, there are two classes,

  1. class Miniblog_Form_Commit extends Miniblog_ActionForm that handles the input fields for the form
  2. class Miniblog_Action_Commit extends Miniblog_ActionClass that performs actions upon input/submitting the form

Lets take a look at them one by one

Creating Form

And in app/action/Commit.php file.

class Miniblog_Form_Commit extends Miniblog_ActionForm
    protected  $form  =  array(
        'Comment'  =>  array(
            'type'  =>  VAR_TYPE_STRING,
            'form_type'  =>  FORM_TYPE_TEXTAREA,
            'name'  =>  'comment',
            'max'  =>  140,
            'required '  =>  true,


Which is:

  • Form named Comments
  • The value type is string
  • Form type is TEXTAREA
  • 140 Characters
  • Required Item

And the second class

class Miniblog_Action_Commit extends Miniblog_ActionClass
    public function prepare()
        return null;
    public function perform()
        return 'index';

We will talk about this second class Miniblog_ActionClass soon, but first lets create the form to be shown in the browser.

Display Form

Lets display the form in our template/ja_JP/index.tpl file


{form name="form_comment" ethna_action="commit"}
  Post Content:
  {form_input name="comment"}


ethna_action defines the action to be called. It is similar to doing action="commit.php" in plain html form. Similarity other values are self explanatory.

Upon visiting the browser, a page similar to following should appear.

alternate text

Showing the POST content


This way you should be able to see the post content after the submit button from the text area. $form is used to access the variables defined in the ActionForm class.

Display Validation and Error content of POST

Here we explain about the Miniblog_ActionClass where the validations to the form can be performed.

public function prepare()
   if ($this->af->validate() > 0) {
       return 'index';
   return null;

Firstly, prepare() is called, here the necessary preparations can be done, like assigning values to instances, performing checks etc.

$this->af is the action form object, while validate() executes the method that performs validations on the input value. The point here is that if there is a trouble with the validation, the next method prepare() will not be called and instead the index will be returned (rendered).

Displaying Errors

Error content for the form are handled by the variable $error.

<h2>Posting Comment</h2>
{if count($errors) > 0}
There was an error !

{form name="form_comment" ethna_action="commit"}

 Post Content:<br />
 {message name="comment"}<br />
 {form_input name="comment"}



Where the output of the above code would be the following, if the characters in the text area are more than 140 or 0.

alternate text

Connection to Database

In this section, we talk about the following things

  1. Setting Database
  2. SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE i.e. basic stuff

Setting Database

Setting database is pretty straight forward with ethna. Settings are defined in etc/miniblog-ini.php. To connect to the database uncomment the dsn like the following.


$config = array(
   // site
   'url' => '',

   // debug
   // (to enable ethna_info and ethna_unittest, turn this true)
   'debug' => true,

   // db
   // sample-1: single db
   // 'dsn' => 'mysql://user:password@server/database',
   // ...

Replace the

  • user with your DB username
  • password with your password
  • server with localhost or
  • database with your database_name

Save it and good to go

Connecting to Database in Action Class

The following connects to the database in app/action/Hello.php

function perform()
    $db = & $this->backend->getDB();



$sql = "SELECT * FROM users where id > ?";
$params = array("1");
$stmt = & $db->db->prepare($sql);
$res = & $db->db->execute($stmt,$params);

echo "<pre>";
$i = 0;
while ($data[$i] = $res->fetchRow()) {
   if ($i){
echo "</pre>";


$sql = "INSERT INTO users (username, email, password, osid, gameid,signup) VALUES (?,?,?,?,?,now())";
$params = array(
$stmt = & $db->db->prepare($sql);
$res = & $db->db->execute($stmt,$params);

//Note that this message only exists in case of DB error
if (method_exists($res, 'getMessage')){


$sql = "UPDATE puzzle SET playedby=?,solved=?,score=score +100 WHERE id=?";
$params = array("johny", '1',  "111");
$stmt = & $db->db->prepare($sql);
$stmt = & $db->db->execute($stmt,$params);


Check the other class methods quickly by var_dump(get_class_methods($res))