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.

Operations screencast
Watch the Operations screencast

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 Replace an element
PATCH no Apply a partial modification to an element
DELETE no Delete an element

Note: the PATCH method must be enabled explicitly in the configuration, refer to the Content Negotiation section for more information.

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 operations. 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 matches a supported HTTP methods (GET, POST, PUT, PATCH or DELETE), the corresponding method property will be automatically added.

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

namespace App\Entity;

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

namespace App\Entity;

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;

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

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.

If you do not want to allow access to the resource item (i.e. you don't want a GET item operation), instead of omitting it altogether, you should instead declare a GET item operation which returns HTTP 404 (Not Found), so that the resource item can still be identified by an IRI. For example:

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

namespace App\Entity;

use ApiPlatform\Core\Action\NotFoundAction;
use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;

/**
 * @ApiResource(
 *     collectionOperations={
 *         "get",
 *     },
 *     itemOperations={
 *         "get"={
 *             "controller"=NotFoundAction::class,
 *             "read"=false,
 *             "output"=false,
 *         },
 *     },
 * )
 */
 class Book
 {
 }

Configuring Operations

The URL, the method and the default status code (among other options) can be configured per operation.

In the next example, both GET and POST operations are registered with custom URLs. Those will override the URLs generated by default. In addition to that, we require the id parameter in the URL of the GET operation to be an integer, and we configure the status code generated after successful POST request to be 301:

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

namespace App\Entity;

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;

/**
 * ...
 * @ApiResource(
 *     collectionOperations={
 *         "post"={"path"="/grimoire", "status"=301}
 *     },
 *     itemOperations={
 *         "get"={
 *             "path"="/grimoire/{id}",
 *             "requirements"={"id"="\d+"},
 *             "defaults"={"color"="brown"},
 *             "options"={"my_option"="my_option_value"},
 *             "schemes"={"https"},
 *             "host"="{subdomain}.api-platform.com"
 *         }
 *     }
 * )
 */
class Book
{
    //...
}

In all these examples, the method attribute is omitted because it 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

namespace App\Entity;

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;

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

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

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

Expose a model without any routes

Sometimes, you may want to expose a model, but want it to be used through subrequests only, and never through item or collection operations. Because the OpenAPI standard requires at least one route to be exposed to make your models consumable, let's see how you can manage this kind of issue.

Let's say you have the following entities in your project:

<?php
// src/Entity/Place.php

namespace App\Entity;

use Doctrine\ORM\Mapping as ORM;

/**
 * @ORM\Entity
 */
class Place
{
    /**
      * @var int
      * 
      * @ORM\Id
      * @ORM\GeneratedValue
      * @ORM\Column(type="integer")
      */
    private $id;

    /**
      * @var string
      * 
      * @ORM\Column
      */
    private $name;

    /**
      * @var float
      * 
      * @ORM\Column(type="float")
      */
    private $latitude;

    /**
      * @var float
      * 
      * @ORM\Column(type="float")
      */
    private $longitude;

    // ...
}
<?php
// src/Entity/Weather.php

namespace App\Entity;

class Weather
{
    /**
      * @var float
      */
    private $temperature;

    /**
      * @var float
      */
    private $pressure;

    // ...
}

We don't save the Weather entity in the database, since we want to return the weather in real time when it is queried. Because we want to get the weather for a known place, it is more reasonable to query it through a subresource of the Place entity, so let's do this:

<?php
// src/Entity/Place.php

namespace App\Entity;

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;
use App\Controller\GetWeather;
use Doctrine\ORM\Mapping as ORM;

/**
 * @ORM\Entity
 *
 * @ApiResource(
 *     itemOperations={
 *         "get",
 *         "put",
 *         "delete",
 *         "get_weather": {
 *             "method": "GET",
 *             "path": "/places/{id}/weather",
 *             "controller": GetWeather::class
 *         }
 * }, collectionOperations={"get", "post"})
 */
class Place
{
    // ...

The GetWeather controller fetches the weather for the given city and returns an instance of the Weather entity. This implies that API Platform has to know about this entity, so we will need to make it an API resource too:

<?php
// src/Entity/Weather.php

namespace App\Entity;

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;

/**
 * @ApiResource
 */
class Weather
{
    // ...

This will expose the Weather model, but also all the default CRUD routes: GET, PUT, DELETE and POST, which is a non-sense in our context. Since we are required to expose at least one route, let's expose just one:

<?php
// src/Entity/Weather.php

namespace App\Entity;

use ApiPlatform\Core\Annotation\ApiResource;

/**
 * @ApiResource(itemOperations={
 *     "get": {
 *         "method": "GET",
 *         "controller": SomeRandomController::class
 *     }
 * })
 */
class Weather
{
    // ...

This way, we expose a route that will do… nothing. Note that the controller does not even need to exist.

It's almost done, we have just one final issue: our fake item operation is visible in the API docs. To remove it, we will need to decorate the Swagger documentation. Then, remove the route from the decorator:

<?php
// src/Swagger/SwaggerDecorator.php

namespace App\Swagger;

use Symfony\Component\Serializer\Normalizer\NormalizerInterface;

final class SwaggerDecorator implements NormalizerInterface
{
    private $decorated;

    public function __construct(NormalizerInterface $decorated)
    {
        $this->decorated = $decorated;
    }

    public function normalize($object, string $format = null, array $context = [])
    {
        $docs = $this->decorated->normalize($object, $format, $context);

        // If a prefix is configured on API Platform's routes, it must appear here.
        unset($docs['paths']['/weathers/{id}']);

        return $docs;
    }

    // ...

That's it: your route is gone!