Controller Filters

Controller Filters allow you to perform actions either before or after the controllers execute. Unlike events, you can very simply choose which URI’s in your application have the filters applied to them. Incoming filters may modify the Request, while after filters can act on and even modify the Response, allowing for a lot of flexibility and power. Some common examples of tasks that might be performed with filters are:

  • Performing CSRF protection on the incoming requests
  • Restricting areas of your site based upon their Role
  • Perform rate limiting on certain endpoints
  • Display a “Down for Maintenance” page
  • Perform automatic content negotiation
  • and more..

Creating a Filter

Filters are simple classes that implement CodeIgniter\Filters\FilterInterface. They contain two methods: before() and after(), which contain the code that will be ran before and after the controller, respectively. Your class must contain both methods, but may leave the methods empty if they are not needed. A skeleton filter class looks like:

<?php namespace App\Filters;

use CodeIgniter\HTTP\RequestInterface;
use CodeIgniter\HTTP\ResponseInterface;
use CodeIgniter\Filters\FilterInterface;

class MyFilter implements FilterInterface
{
    public function before(RequestInterface $request)
    {
        // Do something here
    }

    //--------------------------------------------------------------------

    public function after(RequestInterface $request, ResponseInterface $response)
    {
        // Do something here
    }
}

Before Filters

From any filter, you can return the $request object and it will replace the current Request, allowing you to make changes that will still be present when the controller executes.

Since before filters are executed prior to your controller being executed, you may at times want to stop the actions in the controller from happening. You can do this by passing back anything that is not the request object. This is typically used to peform redirects, like in this example:

public function before(RequestInterface $request)
{
    $auth = service('auth');

    if (! $auth->isLoggedIn())
    {
        return redirect('login');
    }
}

If a Response instance is returned, the Response will be sent back to the client and script execution will stop. This can be useful for implementing rate limiting for API’s. See application/Filters/Throttle.php for an example.

After Filters

After filters are nearly identical to before filters, except that you can only return the $response object, and you cannot stop script execution. This does allow you to modify the final output, or simply do something with the final output. This could be used to ensure certain security headers were set the correct way, or to cache the final output, or even to filter the final output with a bad words filter.

Configuring Filters

Once you’ve created your filters, you need to configure when they get run. This is done in application/Config/Filters.php. This file contains four properties that allow you to configure exactly when the filters run.

$aliases

The $aliases array is used to associate a simple name with one or more fully-qualified class names that are the filters to run:

public $aliases = [
    'csrf' => \App\Filters\CSRF::class
];

Aliases are mandatory and if you try to use a full class name later, the system will throw an error. Defining them in this way makes it simple to switch out the class used. Great for when you decided you need to change to a different authentication system since you only change the filter’s class and you’re done.

You can combine multiple filters into one alias, making complex sets of filters simple to apply:

public $aliases = [
    'apiPrep' => [
        \App\Filters\Negotiate::class,
        \App\Filters\ApiAuth::class
    ]
];

You should define as many aliases as you need.

$globals

The second section allows you to define any filters that should be applied to every request made by the framework. You should take care with how many you use here, since it could have performance implications to have too many run on every request. Filters can be specified by adding their alias to either the before or after array:

public $globals = [
        'before' => [
                'csrf'
        ],
        'after'  => []
];

There are times where you want to apply a filter to almost every request, but have a few that should be left alone. One common example is if you need to exclude a few URI’s from the CSRF protection filter to allow requests from third-party websites to hit one or two specific URI’s, while keeping the rest of them protected. To do this, add an array with the ‘except’ key and a uri to match as the value alongside the alias:

public $globals = [
        'before' => [
                'csrf' => ['except' => 'api/*']
        ],
        'after'  => []
];

Any place you can use a URI in the filter settings, you can use a regular expression or, like in this example, use an asterisk for a wildcard that will match all characters after that. In this example, any URL’s starting with api/ would be exempted from CSRF protection, but the site’s forms would all be protected. If you need to specify multiple URI’s you can use an array of URI patterns:

public $globals = [
        'before' => [
                'csrf' => ['except' => ['foo/*', 'bar/*']]
        ],
        'after'  => []
];

$methods

You can apply filters to all requests of a certain HTTP method, like POST, GET, PUT, etc. In this array, you would specify the method name in lowercase. It’s value would be an array of filters to run. Unlike the $globals or the $filters properties, these will only run as before filters:

public $methods = [
    'post' => ['foo', 'bar'],
    'get'  => ['baz']
]

In addition to the standard HTTP methods, this also supports two special cases: ‘cli’, and ‘ajax’. The names are self-explanatory here, but ‘cli’ would apply to all requests that were run from the command line, while ‘ajax’ would apply to every AJAX request.

$filters

This property is an array of filter aliases. For each alias you can specify before and after arrays that contain a list of URI patterns that filter should apply to:

public filters = [
    'foo' => ['before' => ['admin/*'], 'after' => ['users/*']],
    'bar' => ['before' => ['api/*', 'admin/*']]
];

Provided Filters

To be determined.