sfWebBrowserPlugin - 1.0.1

Standalone HTTP client

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sfWebBrowser plugin

The sfWebBrowserPlugin proposes an HTTP client capable of making web requests. The interface is similar to that of sfTestBrowser.

Possible uses

  • Querying a Web service
  • Monitoring a Website
  • Mashup of content from several websites
  • Aggregation of RSS feeds
  • Proxy to another server
  • Cross-domain AJAX interactions
  • API to foreign websites
  • ...


This plugin contains four classes: sfWebBrowser, sfFopenAdapter, sfCurlAdapter, and sfSocketsAdapter. Unit tests are available in the SVN repository, to be placed in a symfony application's test/ directory.


The sfWebBrowser class makes web requests based on a URI:

$b = new sfWebBrowser();
$res = $b->getResponseText();

The usual methods of the sfTestBrowser also work there, with the fluid interface.

// Inline
// More readable




The browser accepts absolute and relative URIs


The get() method accepts parameters either as a query string, or as an array.

$b->get('http://www.example.com/test.php', array('foo', 'bar'));

POST, PUT and DELETE requests are also supported.

$b->post('http://www.example.com/test.php', array('foo', 'bar'));
$b->put('http://www.example.com/test.php', array('foo', 'bar'));
$b->delete('http://www.example.com/test.php', array('foo', 'bar'));

You can access the response in various formats, at your convenience:

$myString         = $b->getResponseText();
$myString         = $b->getResponseBody(); // drop the <head> part
$myDomDocument    = $b->getResponseDom();
$myDomCssSelector = $b->getResponseDomCssSelector();
$mySimpleXml      = $b->getResponseXml();

You can also interact with the response with the setFields() and click() methods.


  *>setField('user', 'foobar')

  *>setField('password', 'barbaz')


The browser supports HTTP and HTTPS requests, proxies, redirects, and timeouts.

Gzip and deflate content-encoded response bodies are also supported, provided that you have the zlib extention enabled.


The browser can use various adapters to perform the requests:

  • sfFopenAdapter (default): Uses fopen() to fetch pages. fopen() can take an URL as a parameter provided that PHP is compiled with sockets support, and allow_url_fopen is defined to true in php.ini. This is the case in most PHP distributions, so the default adapter should work in almost every platform. On the other hand, the compatibility has a cost: this adapter is slow.

  • sfCurlAdapter: Uses Curl to fetch pages. This adapter is a lot faster than sfFopenAdapter, however PHP must be compiled with the with-curl option, and the curl extension must be enabled in php.ini (which is rarely the case by default) for it to work.

  • sfSocketsAdapter: Uses fsockopen() to fetch pages.

You can specify an adapter when you create a new browser object, as follows:

// use default adapter, i.e. sfFopenAdapter
$b = new sfWebBrowser(array());
// use sfCurlAdapter
$b = new sfWebBrowser(array(), 'sfCurlAdapter');


sfWebBrowser distiguishes to types of error: adapter errors and response errors. Thus, sfWebBrowser calls should be run this way :

$b = new sfWebBrowser();
  if (!$b->get($url)->responseIsError())
    // Successful response (eg. 200, 201, etc)
    // Error response (eg. 404, 500, etc)
catch (Exception $e)
  // Adapter error (eg. Host not found)

Besides, you should always remember that the response contents may contain incorrect code. Consider it as 'tainted', and therefore always use the escaping when outputting it to a template.

// In the action
$this->title = (string) $b->getResponseXml()->body->h1

// In the template
<?php echo $title // dangerous ?>
<?php echo $sf_data->get('title') // correct ?>


  • Install the plugin

    $ symfony plugin-install http://plugins.symfony-project.com/sfWebBrowserPlugin

  • Clear the cache to enable the autoloading to find the new class

    $ symfony cc

Known limitations

If allow_url_fopen is not defined to true and if the curl extension cannot be activated in the php.ini file, the browser can't fetch pages. Workaround (todo): use a sockets adapter.

Cookies are not handled yet.

Caching is not supported yet.



2007-03-27 | 1.0.1 stable

  • bmeynell: Fixed a bug with sfCurlAdapter causing 'Bad Request' error responses
  • francois: Fixed a bug with get() when arg_separator.output is not set to '&' in php.ini (patch from river.bright)
  • francois: Fixed a bug with get() when query string is already present in the url (based on a patch from Jeff Merlet)
  • francois: Fixed auto-adapter decision in sfWebBrowser::__construct()

2007-03-08 | 1.0.0 stable

  • francois: Added auto-adapter decision in sfWebBrowser::__construct()
  • francois: Changed tested URLs a bit to avoid redirection issues with google
  • bmeynell: Added sfSocketsAdapter
  • bmeynell: sfCurlAdapter: more detailed error messages & leaner request setup

2007-02-22 | 0.9.6 Beta

  • bmeynell, tristan: Allowed for requests with any method in sfCurlAdapter
  • tristan: Added sfWebBrowser::responseIsError()
  • tristan: Added sfWebBrowser::getResponseMessage()
  • tristan: Refactored error management in sfFopenAdapter

2007-02-21 | 0.9.5 Beta

  • bmeynell: Fixed bug with relative uri's attempting to use a port other than 80 (sfWebBrowser, 132 - 146)
  • bmeynell: Fixed small bug not printing hostname on exception (sfFopenAdapter, 61-62)
  • bmeynell: Created sfCurlAdapter and passes all unit tests
  • bmeynell: Removed '$changeStack = true' from call() prototype in sfCurlAdapter, sfFopenAdapter, and moved changestack check to sfWebBrowser
  • bmeynell: Added $askeet_url to sfWebBrowserTest
  • bmeynell: Added easy toggling between adapters in sfWebBrowserTest
  • tristan: Added put() and delete() public methods
  • tristan: Added unit tests to validate request HTTP method

2007-02-16 | 0.9.4 Beta

  • francois: Refactored the browser to make it multi-adapter
  • francois: BC break constructor signature changed : new sfWebBrowser(array $headers, string $adapter_class, array $adapter_options)
  • francois: Fixed notice when trying to retrieve inexistent header
  • francois: Fixed header case normalization
  • francois: Transformed setResponseXXX() methods to public
  • francois: Fixed caps in initializeRequestHeaders()
  • francois: Fixed unit test #40

2007-02-16 | 0.9.3 Beta

  • tristan: Added support for gzip and deflate.
  • tristan: Possibility to pass default request headers to sfWebBrowser's constructor
  • tristan: "Accept-Encoding" header is automatically set depending on PHP capabilities
  • tristan: Fixed problems with request and response headers case
  • tristan: Renamed "browser options" to "adapter options" (http://www.symfony-project.com/forum/index.php/m/21635/)
  • tristan: BC break constructor signature changed : new sfWebBrowser(array $headers, array $adapter_options)
  • tristan: Unit tested POST requests
  • tristan: Changed way httpd headers are stored internally
  • tristan: Fixed small bug in getResponseBody()
  • francois: Fixed unit test for malformed headers

2007-02-09 | 0.9.2 Beta

  • francois: Fixed notice with getResponseXML()

2007-02-08 | 0.9.1 Beta

  • francois: Fixed notice with some headers
  • francois: Added license and copyright

2007-02-08 | 0.9.0 Beta

  • francois: Initial release