Operations

API Platform Core relies on the concept of operations. Operations can be applied to a resource exposed by the API. From an implementation point of view, an operation is a link between a resource, a route and its related controller.

API Platform automatically registers typical CRUD operations and describes them in the exposed documentation (Hydra and Swagger). It also creates and registers routes corresponding to these operations in the Symfony routing system (if it is available).

The behavior of built-in operations is briefly presented in the Getting started guide.

The list of enabled operations can be configured on a per-resource basis. Creating custom operations on specific routes is also possible.

There are two types of operations: collection operations and item operations.

Collection operations act on a collection of resources. By default two routes are implemented: POST and GET. Item operations act on an individual resource. Three default routes are defined: GET, PUT and DELETE (PATCH is also supported when using the JSON API format, as required by the specification).

When the ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource annotation is applied to an entity class, the following built-in CRUD operations are automatically enabled:

Collection operations

Method Mandatory Description
GET yes Retrieve the (paginated) list of elements
POST no Create a new element

Item operations

Method Mandatory Description
GET yes Retrieve an element
PUT no Update an element
DELETE no Delete an element

Enabling and Disabling Operations

If no operation is specified, all default CRUD operations are automatically registered. It is also possible - and recommended for large projects - to define operations explicitly.

Keep in mind that collectionOperations and itemOperations behave independently. For instance, if you don't explicitly configure operations for collectionOperations, GET and POST operations will be automatically registered, even if you explicitly configure itemOperations. The reverse is also true.

Operations can be configured using annotations, XML or YAML. In the following examples, we enable only the built-in operation for the GET method for both collectionOperations and itemOperations to create a readonly endpoint.

itemOperations and collectionOperations are arrays containing a list of operation. Each operation is defined by a key corresponding to the name of the operation that can be anything you want and an array of properties as value. If an empty list of operations is provided, all operations are disabled.

If the operation's name match a supported HTTP methods (GET, POST, PUT or DELETE), the corresponding method property will be automatically added.

<?php
// api/src/Entity/Book.php

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;

/**
 * ...
 * @ApiResource(
 *     collectionOperations={"get"},
 *     itemOperations={"get"}
 * )
 */
class Book
{
    // ...
}

The previous example can also be written with an explicit method definition:

<?php
// api/src/Entity/Book.php

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;

/**
 * ...
 * @ApiResource(
 *     collectionOperations={"get"={"method"="GET"}},
 *     itemOperations={"get"={"method"="GET"}}
 * )
 */
class Book
{
    // ...
}

Alternatively, you can use the YAML configuration format:

# api/config/api_platform/resources.yaml
App\Entity\Book:
    collectionOperations:
        get: ~ # nothing more to add if we want to keep the default controller
    itemOperations:
        get: ~

Or the XML configuration format:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<!-- api/config/api_platform/resources.xml -->

<resources xmlns="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata"
           xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
           xsi:schemaLocation="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata
           https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata/metadata-2.0.xsd">
    <resource class="App\Entity\Book">
        <itemOperations>
            <itemOperation name="get" />
        </itemOperations>
        <collectionOperations>
            <collectionOperation name="get" />
        </collectionOperations>
    </resource>
</resources>

API Platform Core is smart enough to automatically register the applicable Symfony route referencing a built-in CRUD action just by specifying the method name as key, or by checking the explicitly configured HTTP method.

Configuring Operations

The URL, the HTTP method and the Hydra context passed to documentation generators of operations are easy to configure.

In the next example, both GET and PUT operations are registered with custom URLs. Those will override the URLs generated by default. In addition to that, we replace the Hydra context for the PUT operation, and require the id parameter to be an integer.

<?php
// api/src/Entity/Book.php

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;

/**
 * ...
 * @ApiResource(itemOperations={
 *     "get"={"method"="GET", "path"="/grimoire/{id}", "requirements"={"id"="\d+"}, "defaults"={"color"="brown"}, "options"={"my_option"="my_option_value"}, "schemes"={"https"}, "host"="{subdomain}.api-platform.com"},
 *     "put"={"method"="PUT", "path"="/grimoire/{id}/update", "hydra_context"={"foo"="bar"}},
 * })
 */
class Book
{
    //...
}

Or in YAML:

# api/config/api_platform/resources.yaml
App\Entity\Book:
    itemOperations:
        get:
            method: 'GET'
            path: '/grimoire/{id}'
            requirements:
                id: '\d+'
            defaults:
                color: 'brown'
            host: '{subdomain}.api-platform.com'
            schemes: ['https']
            options:
                my_option: 'my_option_value'
            status: 200 # customize the HTTP status code to send
        put:
            method: 'PUT'
            path: '/grimoire/{id}/update'
            hydra_context: { foo: 'bar' }
            requirements:
                id: '\d+'

Or in XML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<!-- api/config/api_platform/resources.xml -->

<resources xmlns="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata"
           xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
           xsi:schemaLocation="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata
           https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata/metadata-2.0.xsd">
    <resource class="App\Entity\Book">
        <itemOperations>
            <itemOperation name="get">
                <attribute name="method">GET</attribute>
                <attribute name="path">/grimoire/{id}</attribute>
                <attribute name="requirements">
                    <attribute name="id">\d+</attribute>
                </attribute>
                <attribute name="defaults">
                    <attribute name="color">brown</attribute>
                </attribute>
                <attribute name="host">{subdomain}.api-platform.com</attribute>
                <attribute name="schemes">
                    <attribute>https</attribute>
                </attribute>
                <attribute name="options">
                    <attribute name="color">brown</attribute>
                </attribute>
                <attribute name="status">200</attribute>
            </itemOperation>
            <itemOperation name="put">
                <attribute name="method">PUT</attribute>
                <attribute name="path">/grimoire/{id}/update</attribute>
                <attribute name="hydra_context">
                    <attribute name="foo">bar</attribute>
                </attribute>
                <attribute name="requirements">
                    <attribute name="id">\d+</attribute>
                </attribute>
            </itemOperation>
        </itemOperations>
    </resource>
</resources>

In all the previous examples, you can safely remove the method because the method name always matches the operation name.

Prefixing All Routes of All Operations

Sometimes it's also useful to put a whole resource into its own "namespace" regarding the URI. Let's say you want to put everything that's related to a Book into the library so that URIs become library/book/{id}. In that case you don't need to override all the operations to set the path but configure the route_prefix attribute for the whole entity instead:

<?php
// api/src/Entity/Book.php

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;

/**
 * @ApiResource(routePrefix="/library")
 */
class Book
{
    //...
}

Alternatively, the more verbose attribute syntax can be used @ApiResource(attributes={"route_prefix"="/library"})

Subresources

Since ApiPlatform 2.1, you can declare subresources (only for GET operation at the moment). A subresource is a collection or an item that belongs to another resource. The starting point of a subresource must be a relation on an existing resource.

For example, let's create two entities (Question, Answer) and set up a subresource so that /question/42/answer gives us the answer to the question 42:

<?php
// api/src/Entity/Answer.php

namespace App\Entity;

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;
use Doctrine\ORM\Mapping as ORM;

/**
 * @ORM\Entity
 * @ApiResource
 */
class Answer
{
    /**
     * @ORM\Column(type="integer")
     * @ORM\Id
     * @ORM\GeneratedValue(strategy="AUTO")
     */
    private $id;

    /**
     * @ORM\Column
     */
    public $content;

    /**
     * @ORM\OneToOne(targetEntity="Question", mappedBy="answer")
     */
    public $question;

    public function getId(): ?int
    {
        return $this->id;
    }

    // ...
}
<?php
// api/src/Entity/Question.php

namespace App\Entity;

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;
use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiSubresource;
use Doctrine\ORM\Mapping as ORM;

/**
 * @ORM\Entity
 * @ApiResource
 */
class Question
{
    /**
     * @ORM\Column(type="integer")
     * @ORM\Id
     * @ORM\GeneratedValue(strategy="AUTO")
     */
    private $id;

    /**
     * @ORM\Column
     */
    public $content;

    /**
     * @ORM\OneToOne(targetEntity="Answer", inversedBy="question")
     * @ORM\JoinColumn(referencedColumnName="id", unique=true)
     * @ApiSubresource
     */
    public $answer;

    public function getId(): ?int
    {
        return $this->id;
    }

    // ...
}

Alternatively, you can use the YAML configuration format:

# api/config/api_platform/resources.yaml
App\Entity\Answer: ~
App\Entity\Question:
    properties:
        answer:
            subresource:
                resourceClass: 'App\Entity\Answer'
                collection: false

Note that all we had to do is to set up @ApiSubresource on the Question::answer relation. Because the answer is a to-one relation, we know that this subresource is an item. Therefore the response will look like this:

{
  "@context": "/contexts/Answer",
  "@id": "/answers/42",
  "@type": "Answer",
  "id": 42,
  "content": "Life, the Universe, and Everything",
  "question": "/questions/42"
}

If you put the subresource on a relation that is to-many, you will retrieve a collection.

Last but not least, subresources can be nested, such that /questions/42/answer/comments will get the collection of comments for the answer to question 42.

You may want custom groups on subresources, you can set normalization_context or denormalization_context on that operation. To do so, add a subresourceOperations node. For example:

<?php
// api/src/Entity/Answer.php

namespace App\Entity;

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;

/**
 * @ApiResource(subresourceOperations={
 *     "api_questions_answer_get_subresource"={
 *         "method"="GET",
 *         "normalization_context"={"groups"={"foobar"}}
 *     }
 * })
 */
class Answer
{
    // ...
}

Or using YAML:

# api/config/api_platform/resources.yaml
App\Entity\Answer:
    subresourceOperations:
        api_questions_answer_get_subresource:
            normalization_context: {groups: ['foobar']}

Or in XML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<!-- api/config/api_platform/resources.xml -->

<resources xmlns="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata"
           xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
           xsi:schemaLocation="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata
           https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata/metadata-2.0.xsd">
    <resource class="App\Entity\Answer">
        <subresourceOperations>
            <subresourceOperation name="api_questions_answer_get_subresource">
                <attribute name="method">GET</attribute>
                <attribute name="normalization_context">
                  <attribute name="groups">
                    <attribute>foobar</attribute>
                  </attribute>
                </attribute>
            </subresourceOperation>
        </subresourceOperations>
    </resource>
</resources>

In the previous examples, the method attribute is mandatory, because the operation name doesn't match a supported HTTP method.

Note that the operation name, here api_questions_answer_get_subresource, is the important keyword. It'll be automatically set to $resources_$subresource(s)_get_subresource. To find the correct operation name you may use bin/console debug:router.

Control the Path of Subresources

You can control the path of subresources with the path option of the subresourceOperations parameter:

<?php
// api/src/Entity/Question.php

/**
 * ...
 * @ApiResource(
 *      subresourceOperations={
 *          "answer_get_subresource"={
 *              "method"="GET",
 *              "path"="/questions/{id}/all-answers"
 *          },
 *      },
 * )
 */
class Question
{
}

Access Control of Subresources

The subresourceOperations attribute also allows you to add an access control on each path with the attribute access_control.

<?php
// api/src/Entity/Answer.php

/**
 * ...
 * @ApiResource(
 *     subresourceOperations={
 *          "api_questions_answer_get_subresource"= {
 *              "access_control"="has_role('ROLE_AUTHENTICATED')"
 *          }
 *      }
 * )
 */
 class Answer
 {
 }

Control the Depth of Subresources

You can control depth of subresources with the parameter maxDepth. For example, if the Answer entity also has a subresource such as commentsand you don't want the route api/questions/{id}/answers/{id}/comments to be generated. You can do this by adding the parameter maxDepth in the ApiSubresource annotation or YAML/XML file configuration.

<?php
// api/src/Entity/Question.php

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiProperty;
use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;
use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiSubresource;

/**
 * ...
 * @ApiResource
 */
class Question
{
    /**
     * ...
     * @ApiSubresource(maxDepth=1)
     */
    public $answer;

    // ...
}

Creating Custom Operations and Controllers

API Platform can leverage the Symfony routing system to register custom operations related to custom controllers. Such custom controllers can be any valid Symfony controller, including standard Symfony controllers extending the Symfony\Bundle\FrameworkBundle\Controller\AbstractController helper class.

However, API Platform recommends to use action classes instead of typical Symfony controllers. Internally, API Platform implements the Action-Domain-Responder pattern (ADR), a web-specific refinement of MVC.

Note: the event system should be preferred over custom controllers when applicable.

The distribution of API Platform also eases the implementation of the ADR pattern: it automatically registers action classes stored in api/src/App/Controller as autowired services.

Thanks to the autowiring feature of the Symfony Dependency Injection container, services required by an action can be type-hinted in its constructor, it will be automatically instantiated and injected, without having to declare it explicitly.

In the following examples, the built-in GET operation is registered as well as a custom operation called post_publication.

By default, API Platform uses the first GET operation defined in itemOperations to generate the IRI of an item and the first GET operation defined in collectionOperations to generate the IRI of a collection.

If you create a custom operation, you will probably want to properly document it. See the swagger part of the documentation to do so.

First, let's create your custom operation:

<?php
// api/src/Controller/CreateBookPublication.php

namespace App\Controller;

use App\Entity\Book;

class CreateBookPublication
{
    private $bookPublishingHandler;

    public function __construct(BookPublishingHandler $bookPublishingHandler)
    {
        $this->bookPublishingHandler = $bookPublishingHandler;
    }

    public function __invoke(Book $data): Book
    {
        $this->bookPublishingHandler->handle($data);

        return $data;
    }
}

This custom operation behaves exactly like the built-in operation: it returns a JSON-LD document corresponding to the id passed in the URL.

Here we consider that autowiring is enabled for controller classes (the default when using the API Platform distribution). This action will be automatically registered as a service (the service name is the same as the class name: App\Controller\CreateBookPublication).

API Platform automatically retrieves the appropriate PHP entity using the data provider then deserializes user data in it, and for POST and PUT requests updates the entity with data provided by the user.

Warning: the __invoke() method parameter MUST be called $data, otherwise, it will not be filled correctly!

Services ($myService here) are automatically injected thanks to the autowiring feature. You can type-hint any service you need and it will be autowired too.

The __invoke method of the action is called when the matching route is hit. It can return either an instance of Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Response (that will be displayed to the client immediately by the Symfony kernel) or, like in this example, an instance of an entity mapped as a resource (or a collection of instances for collection operations). In this case, the entity will pass through all built-in event listeners of API Platform. It will be automatically validated, persisted and serialized in JSON-LD. Then the Symfony kernel will send the resulting document to the client.

The routing has not been configured yet because we will add it at the resource configuration level:

<?php
// api/src/Entity/Book.php

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;
use App\Controller\CreateBookPublication;

/**
 * @ApiResource(itemOperations={
 *     "get",
 *     "post_publication"={
 *         "method"="POST",
 *         "path"="/books/{id}/publication",
 *         "controller"=CreateBookPublication::class,
 *     }
 * })
 */
class Book
{
    //...
}

Or in YAML:

# api/config/api_platform/resources.yaml
App\Entity\Book:
    itemOperations:
        get: ~
        post_publication:
            method: POST
            path: /books/{id}/publication
            controller: App\Controller\CreateBookPublication

Or in XML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<!-- api/config/api_platform/resources.xml -->

<resources xmlns="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata"
           xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
           xsi:schemaLocation="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata
           https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata/metadata-2.0.xsd">
    <resource class="App\Entity\Book">
        <itemOperations>
            <itemOperation name="get" />
            <itemOperation name="post_publication">
                <attribute name="method">POST</attribute>
                <attribute name="path">/books/{id}/publication</attribute>
                <attribute name="controller">App\Controller\CreateBookPublication</attribute>
            </itemOperation>
        </itemOperations>
    </resource>
</resources>

It is mandatory to set the method, path and controller attributes. They allow API platform to configure the routing path and the associated controller respectively.

Serialization Groups

You may want different serialization groups for your custom operations. Just configure the proper normalization_context and/or denormalization_contextin your operation:

<?php
// api/src/Entity/Book.php

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;
use App\Controller\CreateBookPublication;
use Symfony\Component\Serializer\Annotation\Groups;

/**
 * @ApiResource(itemOperations={
 *     "get",
 *     "post_publication"={
 *         "method"="POST",
 *         "path"="/books/{id}/publication",
 *         "controller"=CreateBookPublication::class,
 *         "normalization_context"={"groups"={"publication"}},
 *     }
 * })
 */
class Book
{
    //...

    /**
     * @Groups("publication")
     */
    public $isbn;

    // ...
}

Or in YAML:

# api/config/api_platform/resources.yaml
App\Entity\Book:
    itemOperations:
        get: ~
        post_publication:
            method: POST
            path: /books/{id}/publication
            controller: App\Controller\CreateBookPublication
            normalization_context:
                groups: ['publication']

Or in XML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<!-- api/config/api_platform/resources.xml -->

<resources xmlns="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata"
           xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
           xsi:schemaLocation="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata
           https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata/metadata-2.0.xsd">
    <resource class="App\Entity\Book">
        <itemOperations>
            <itemOperation name="get" />
            <itemOperation name="post_publication">
                <attribute name="method">POST</attribute>
                <attribute name="path">/books/{id}/publication</attribute>
                <attribute name="controller">App\Controller\CreateBookPublication</attribute>
                <attribute name="normalization_context">
                  <attribute name="groups">
                    <attribute>publication</attribute>
                  </attribute>
                </attribute>
            </itemOperation>
        </itemOperations>
    </resource>
</resources>

Entity Retrieval

If you want to bypass the automatic retrieval of the entity in your custom operation, you can set the parameter _api_receive to false in the defaults attribute:

<?php
// api/src/Entity/Book.php

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;
use App\Controller\CreateBookPublication;

/**
 * @ApiResource(itemOperations={
 *     "get",
 *     "post_publication"={
 *         "method"="POST",
 *         "path"="/books/{id}/publication",
 *         "controller"=CreateBookPublication::class,
 *         "defaults"={"_api_receive"=false},
 *     }
 * })
 */
class Book
{
    //...
}

Or in YAML:

# api/config/api_platform/resources.yaml
App\Entity\Book:
    itemOperations:
        get: ~
        post_publication:
            method: POST
            path: /books/{id}/publication
            controller: App\Controller\CreateBookPublication
            defaults:
                _api_receive: false

Or in XML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<!-- api/config/api_platform/resources.xml -->

<resources xmlns="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata"
           xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
           xsi:schemaLocation="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata
           https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata/metadata-2.0.xsd">
    <resource class="App\Entity\Book">
        <itemOperations>
            <itemOperation name="get" />
            <itemOperation name="post_publication">
                <attribute name="method">POST</attribute>
                <attribute name="path">/books/{id}/publication</attribute>
                <attribute name="controller">App\Controller\CreateBookPublication</attribute>
                <attribute name="defaults">
                    <attribute name="_api_receive">false</attribute>
                </attribute>
            </itemOperation>
        </itemOperations>
    </resource>
</resources>

This way, it will skip the Read, Deserialize and Validate listeners (see the event system for more information).

Alternative Method

There is another way to create a custom operation. However, we do not encourage its use. Indeed, this one disperses the configuration at the same time in the routing and the resource configuration.

The post_publication operation references the Symfony route named book_post_publication.

Since version 2.3, you can also use the route name as operation name by convention, as shown in the following example for book_post_discontinuation when neither method nor route_name attributes are specified.

First, let's create your resource configuration:

<?php
// api/src/Entity/Book.php

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;

/**
 * @ApiResource(itemOperations={
 *     "get",
 *     "post_publication"={"route_name"="book_post_publication"},
*      "book_post_discontinuation",
 * })
 */
class Book
{
    //...
}

Or in YAML:

# api/config/api_platform/resources.yaml
App\Entity\Book:
    itemOperations:
        get: ~
        post_publication:
            route_name: book_post_publication
        book_post_discontinuation: ~

Or in XML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<!-- api/config/api_platform/resources.xml -->

<resources xmlns="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata"
           xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
           xsi:schemaLocation="https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata
           https://api-platform.com/schema/metadata/metadata-2.0.xsd">
    <resource class="App\Entity\Book">
        <itemOperations>
            <itemOperation name="get" />
            <itemOperation name="post_publication">
                <attribute name="route_name">book_post_publication</attribute>
            </itemOperation>
            <itemOperation name="book_post_discontinuation" />
        </itemOperations>
    </resource>
</resources>

API Platform will automatically map this post_publication operation to the route book_post_publication. Let's create a custom action and its related route using annotations:

<?php
// api/src/Controller/CreateBookPublication.php

namespace App\Controller;

use App\Entity\Book;
use Symfony\Component\Routing\Annotation\Route;

class CreateBookPublication
{
    private $bookPublishingHandler;

    public function __construct(BookPublishingHandler $bookPublishingHandler)
    {
        $this->bookPublishingHandler = $bookPublishingHandler;
    }

    /**
     * @Route(
     *     name="book_post_publication",
     *     path="/books/{id}/publication",
     *     methods={"POST"},
     *     defaults={
     *         "_api_resource_class"=Book::class,
     *         "_api_item_operation_name"="post_publication"
     *     }
     * )
     */
    public function __invoke(Book $data): Book
    {
        $this->bookPublishingHandler->handle($data);

        return $data;
    }
}

It is mandatory to set _api_resource_class and _api_item_operation_name (or _api_collection_operation_name for a collection operation) in the parameters of the route (defaults key). It allows API Platform to work with the Symfony routing system.

Alternatively, you can also use a traditional Symfony controller and YAML or XML route declarations. The following example does the exact same thing as the previous example:

<?php
// api/src/Controller/BookController.php

namespace App\Controller;

use App\Entity\Book;
use Symfony\Bundle\FrameworkBundle\Controller\AbstractController;

class BookController extends AbstractController
{
    public function createPublication(Book $data, BookPublishingHandler $bookPublishingHandler): Book
    {
        return $bookPublishingHandler->handle($data);
    }
}
# api/config/routes.yaml
book_post_publication:
    path: /books/{id}/publication
    methods: ['POST']
    defaults:
        _controller: App\Controller\BookController::createPublication
        _api_resource_class: App\Entity\Book
        _api_item_operation_name: post_publication