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Asset and Class Management


class PathFinder

PathFinder is responsible for locating resources in Agile Toolkit. One of the most significant principles it implements is ability for any resource (PHP, JS, HTML, IMG) to be located under several locations. Pathfinder will look for the location containing the resource you ask for and will provide you with either a relative path, URL or absolute path to a file.

To make this possible, PathFinder relies on a class PathFinder_Location, which describes each individual location and it’s contents.

You may add additional locations in your application, add-on or elsewhere. Some locations may be activated only in certain circumstances, for example add-on will be able to add it’s location if add-on was added to a page.

Pathfinder is accessible inside your application through $this->app->pathfinder however some methods are duplicated in the API class for easier access:

Here is an example how you can locate path of a certain mail template:

$mail_template = $this->app->locate('mail','welcome.mail');
// returns templates/mail/welcome.mail - relative path to your project root

Default Folder Structure for Agile Toolkit project

No doubt you are familiar with “INCLUDE_PATH” which have been used in PHP for locating include files. Pathfinder applies similar approach to other type of resources. Below you will see the commonly used resource types. You can easily extend by registering your own types of resources.

Type Default Location Description
php lib ../shared/lib ../vendor/atk4/atk4/lib Contains class files from the default namespace. A file location is determined based on PSR-1 rules, however classes in those folders would have no namespace.
page page Location for “page” files, which can be directly accessible through standard routing (See routing)
template template ../shared/tempalte ../shared/lib Contains Template files with extension .html. Agile Toolkit templates actually originate from .jade files, but both the .jade and resulting .html will be found nearby.
public public Contains directly acessible resources such as images, fonts etc
js public/js public/js/atk4/js JavaScript include files. Use {js}myjs.js{/} inside tempaltes or $this->js()->_load(‘myjs’) in class
css public/css public/css/atk4/css Stylesheets, use {css}mycss.css{/} inside tempaltes.
mail template/mail TMail template location
addons shared/addons vendor/me/myaddon/... Addons (namespaces), see description below

Agile Toolkit-based application comes with a predefined resource structure. For new users it’s easier if they use a consistest structure, for example having all the PHP classes inside “lib” folder.

A more advanced developer might be willing to add additional locations of resources to suit your own preferences. You might want to do this if you are integrating with your existing application or another framework or building multi-tiered project with extensive structure.

To extend the default structure which this method defines - you should look into App_CLI::addDefaultLocations and App_CLI::addSharedLocations

Add-ons would typically be added during init() so their added locations would have low precedence. In other words, if you would have a class, public file or js include with the same name as in add-on, Agile Toolkit will automatically use your. For this reason add-on authors are asked to use prefixes on their resources where possible.

As each location must know both physical path and URL, for custom configuration you will need to define both - base path and base url.

Adding Locations

Each location in Agile Toolkit must be able to come up with a physical path OR a URL to the location. PathFinder relies on Controller_PageManager and it’s properties:

  • Controller_PageManager::base_url
  • Controller_PageManager::base_path

Location is defined as a separate object of class PathFinder_Location. To add a new location you must call addLocation or PathFinder_Location::addRelativeLocation:


Cretes new PathFinder_Location object and specifies it’s contents. You can subsequentially add more contents by calling: PathFinder_Location::defineContents


$my_location = $this->app->addLocation([
    'php' => 'my-lib',
    'template' = 'my-template'

Paths, URLs and CDN

PathFinder operates with and distinguishes a physical locations versus URLs. For example even through a physical file is located in vendor/atk4/atk4/public/atk4/js/file.js the relative URL would be public/atk4/js/file.js. In some cases the URL would be absolute, for example if you store your files on CDN:

You can asociate your location with Path and URL using PathFinder_Location::setBaseURL and PathFinder_Location::setBasePath. Alternatively you can use PathFinder_Location::setCDN and

Locating Resources


Search for a $filename inside multiple locations, associated with resource $type. By default will return relative path, but 3rd argument can change that.

The third argument can also be ‘location’, in which case a PathFinder_Location object will be returned.

If file is not found anywhere, then Exception_PathFinder is thrown unless you set $throws_exception to false, and then method would return null.


Search is similar to locate, but will return array of all matching files.


Specify type and directory and it will return array of all files of a matching type inside that directory. This will work even if specified directory exists inside multiple locations.

Using searchDir is very handy if you want user to select an appropriate controller:

$form = $this->add('Form');

    ->setValueList($this->app->pathfinder->searchDir('php', 'Menu'));

// Will list classes like:
//   Menu_Basic
//   Menu_Vertical
//   Menu_Horizontal
//   etc

AutoLoading classes


Provided with a class name, this will attempt to find and load it

Agile Toolkit Pathfinder registers two loader functions. The first function will take precedence and will be used to locate include files before Composer. Here is the typical call order:

  • Agile Toolkit PathFinder autoloader: will take advantage of location definition to locate your class.
  • Composer’s autoloader: will be used to load non-agile toolkit extensions
  • Agile Toolkit fallback: this loader will simply display error and list attempted locations.

This loader order helps you understand which file is missing and where it was requested.


PathFinder object instance is accessible through app->pathfinder and contains references to some useful locations.

property PathFinder::$base_location

Base location is where your interface files are located. Normally this location is added first and all the requests are checked here before elsewhere. Example: /my/path/agiletoolkit/admin/

property PathFinder::$public_location

This is location where images, javascript files and some other public resources are located. Ex: /my/path/agiletoolkit/public

property PathFinder::$atk_location

Agile Toolkit comes with some assets: lib, template. This location describes those resources. It’s not publicly available

property PathFinder::$atk_public

There are also some public files in ATK folder. Normally this folder would be symlinked like this:

public/atk4 -> /vendor/atk4/atk4/public/atk4

If that folder is not there, PathFinder will point directly to vendor folder (such as if on development environment), if that is also unavailable, this can fall back to Agile Toolkit CDN.

PathFinder Location

class PathFinder_Location

Represents a location, which contains number of sub-locations. Each of which may contain certain type of data

Relative Locations


Adds a new location object which is relative to $this location.

If you place a certain location inside another location, you can use method addRelativeLocation. This will re-use the URL and Path of the parent location and apply it to your new location. For example you will find that on some projects you want to create shared folder which contains the resources you share between different applications within your project. Here is how you can do it:

    'shared', array(

If you are building an “admin” system located under a sub-folder but you still want to access some of the classes from your frontend, you can use the following inside your admin:

    '..', array(

Bundling locations inside add-ons

If you are building an add-on, you can add locations from within the add-ons initializer (See Controller_Addon):

$this->app->addAddonLocation(__NAMESPACE__, array(

For more information, please see add-on documentation.

There are two aspects of add-on installation you might need at this point (for more info read about automated add-on installation)

  • create class myaddon\Controler extends \Abstract_Controller, then use $api->add(‘myaddon/Controller’); to activate your add-on. Define location inside this class.
  • create public subfolder inside your add-on. it will be sym-linked as public/__NAMESPACE by installer. addAddonLocation will automatically replace public/css with public/__NAMESPACE__/css for you if necessary.

CDN Usage

Agile Toolkit allows you to define locations which are located on a CDN. Unfortunatelly such a location will not be able to verify and see if file is physicaly present before including URL, so CDN will assume that all files are always present in there.

CDN usage example:

    'public' => '.'

Depending on the precedence of defined location, this could divert links to all static resources to the URL you have specified here.

Possible Structure Configuration

Historically Agile Toolkit have been operating from inside web-root. The root of Agile Toolkit project would need to be installed inside your web-root. As a result, the classes of your project were technically inside web-root and a bad configuration of a web server could expose some of your templates or classes introducing mild security threat.

Starting in 4.3 Agile Toolkit have adopted a new structure. Your web-root must point inside “public” folder of your project which will contain only one PHP file: index.php. This file will change a working directory to parent (cd ..) and then proceed to work normally.

Agile Toolkit 4.3 has also introduced separation of public and private repositories.

Dispite the new default structure, PathFinder is still compatible with the old structure too. For compatibiltiy it relies on folder names.

Another consequence is that Agile Toolkit itself, previously available inside atk4 of your web-root is no longer available. The ZIP file you download does not have symlinks for compatibilit with Windows, so folder public/atk4 would be a copy of vendor/atk4/atk4/public/atk4. If you prefer a symlink, you can replace a copy with a symlink.