1. PHP API Lab v1.1
  2. Creating the app structure

Creating the app structure

With our system now correctly configured to run Laravel PHP applications, we can start creating the application itself.

The key components of our app are as follows.

  • Our Laravel base application, created in the previous step
  • A Nutanix cluster, running Acropolis 5.5 or later
  • The Nutanix REST APIs. Note that this application reads local-cluster information and cluster statistics. This dictates that we will be using API v1 and v2.0.
  • A collection of third-party Javascripts and CSS that simplify front-end operations. For those already familiar, this is primarily done using jQuery.
  • An application-specific “master” Javascript that handles the communications between the front-end and the Nutanix REST APIs.

Adding required packages

  • From the command line, run the following commands. This will add 3 required packages to our application’s composer.json file.
composer require laravelcollective/html:^5.0
composer require laracasts/flash:^1.3
composer require guzzlehttp/guzzle:~5.3

Configuring new packages

With the new packages added, we need to tell Laravel how to use them.

  • Open the config/app.php file and navigate to the providers section.
  • Add the following lines just before the end of the providers section.

You may need to add a comma after the end of current last line.

  • Navigate to the aliases section.
  • Add the following lines just before the end of the aliases section.

You may need to add a comma after the end of the current last line.

'Form' => Collective\Html\FormFacade::class,
'Html' => Collective\Html\HtmlFacade::class,
'Flash' => Laracasts\Flash\Flash::class,

Publish the ‘Flash’ package files

This is a Laravel function that takes installed packages and moves files into place, if it is required.

The ‘Flash’ package, used to show pretty messages, requires that its files are moved to specific locations within the app.

php artisan vendor:publish

Creating the app controllers

  • Our app contains two main controllers; HomeController and AjaxController. For now, we can create shell controllers that don’t do anything (yet). To do this, run the following commands from the app’s directory.
php artisan make:controller HomeController --plain
php artisan make:controller AjaxController --plain

If you want to make sure this worked, check for the existence of files named AjaxController and HomeController in the app/Http/Controllers directory.

Disabling CSRF Protection

Don’t do this in production!

For our app, we don’t need CSRF protection for one specific route. CSRF protection is Laravel’s built-in way of making sure a POST request is what it says it is by sending a CSRF token with that request. If the token doesn’t match, the POST request is rejected.

  • Open the app/Http/Middleware/VerifyCsrfToken.php file
  • The default configuration looks like this:
protected $except = [
  • Change the configuration to this so that CSRF protection is disabled specifically for POST requests to /ajax/load-layout
protected $except = [

The first controller method

  • Open the app/Http/Controllers/HomeController.php file. It’s empty right now, with a single-line comment block (//). Replace the single-line comment block with the following method.
* Load the main view
* @return mixed
public function getIndex()

  $layout = '[{"col":1,"row":1,"size_x":1,"size_y":1},{"col":1,"row":2,"size_x":1,"size_y":1},{"col":1,"row":3,"size_x":1,"size_y":1},{"col":2,"row":1,"size_x":2,"size_y":1},{"col":2,"row":2,"size_x":2,"size_y":2},{"col":4,"row":1,"size_x":1,"size_y":1},{"col":4,"row":2,"size_x":2,"size_y":1},{"col":4,"row":3,"size_x":1,"size_y":1},{"col":5,"row":1,"size_x":1,"size_y":1},{"col":5,"row":3,"size_x":1,"size_y":1},{"col":6,"row":1,"size_x":1,"size_y":1},{"col":6,"row":2,"size_x":1,"size_y":2}]';

  $source_json = json_decode( file_get_contents( base_path() . '/config/dashboard.json', true ) );

  if( $source_json->version )
    $layout = base64_decode( $source_json->layout );
    $layout = null;

  return view( 'home.index' )->with( 'data', [ 'layout' => $layout ] );

/* getIndex */

This getIndex method is the function that will be called when someone browses to the app’s root URL (/). At a high level, it does the following things:

  1. Sets up a default grid layout. This layout is based on the jQuery Gridster plugin.
  2. Loads a default layout from a file provided with the app - we will create that file shortly.
  3. Using the layout information that has been created, it returns an HTML view to the user.

Default layouts

As mentioned above, a default layout is loaded when the user browses to /. Let’s now create that default layout.

  • Inside the config directory, create a file named dashboard.json. This file describes the application layout that will be loaded at first run. The contents of the file should be as follows:
  • Inside the resources directory, create a subdirectory named install.
  • Inside the new install directory, create a file named dashboard-default.json. This file describes the application layout when it is reverted to default. The contents of the file should be as follows.

The JSON in these files will be used and explained in more detail in a later step.

The main view

Because Laravel apps are based on the MVC (Model, View, Controller) design pattern, the next thing to do is create the main view for our app. A simple ‘Welcome’ view is provided with Laravel (we saw it when making sure the app works), but we are going to create one more.

Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all directory paths in this lab will be based on the root of your app.

  • Inside the resources/views directory, create a subdirectory named home
  • Inside the new home directory, create a file named index.blade.php. For now, the contents of index.blade.php should be as follows. These contents setup the base HTML5 page, a navigation bar and include directives for our scripts and stylesheets.
<!doctype html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge,chrome=1">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
    <title>Nutanix Dashboard</title>
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/css/vendor/reset.css" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/css/vendor/built-in.css" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/css/vendor/jquery-ui-custom.css" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/css/vendor/jq.dropdown.min.css" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/css/vendor/jq.gridster.css" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/css/vendor/jq.jqplot.css" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/css/ntnx.css" />

<nav class="navbar navbar-default navbar-fixed-top main-nav">
    <div class="container-fluid">
        <div class="collapse navbar-collapse">

            <ul class="nav navbar-nav">

                {!! Form::hidden( 'csrf_token', csrf_token(), [ 'id' => 'csrf_token' ] ) !!}
                <li><a href="#">Home</a></li>
                <li><a href="#" class="saveLayout">Save Layout</a></li>
                <li><a href="#" class="defaultLayout">Revert to Default Layout</a></li>


            {!! Form::open( [ 'class' => 'navbar-form navbar-left' ] ) !!}
                <div class="form-group">
                    {!! Form::text( 'cvmAddress', null, [ 'id' => 'cvmAddress', 'class' => 'form-control', 'placeholder' => 'Cluster/CVM IP' ] ) !!}
                    {!! Form::text( 'username', null, [ 'id' => 'username', 'class' => 'form-control', 'placeholder' => 'Cluster Username' ] ) !!}
                    {!! Form::password( 'password', [ 'id' => 'password', 'class' => 'form-control', 'placeholder' => 'Cluster Password' ] ) !!}
                    {!! Form::submit( 'Go!', [ 'id' => 'goButton', 'class' => 'btn btn-primary' ] ) !!}
            {!! Form::close() !!}


<div class="container" style="margin-top: 20px;">
    <div class="row">
        <div class="col-md-15">
            <div id="status_new" class="alert alert-warning">
                <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-time"></span>&nbsp;
                Your session has expired.&nbsp;&nbsp;Please <a href="{{ URL::to( '/signin' ) }}" title="Sign In">sign in</a> again to continue.
    <div class="row">
        <div class="col-md-15">
            @include( 'vendor.flash.message' )
            <div class="container">
                <div class="row">
                    <div class="col-md-15">

                        <div class="gridster">
                                {{-- The grid layout will end up here, once it is generated --}}


<div style="height: 70px; clear: both;">&nbsp;</div>

<script src="/js/vendor/jquery-2.1.3.min.js"></script>
<script src="/js/vendor/jq.dropdown.min.js"></script>
<script src="/js/vendor/classie.min.js"></script>
<script src="/js/vendor/ntnx-bootstrap.min.js"></script>
<script src="/js/vendor/modernizr.custom.min.js"></script>
<script src="/js/vendor/jquery.jqplot.min.js"></script>
<script src="/js/vendor/jqplot.logAxisRenderer.js"></script>
<script src="/js/vendor/jqplot.categoryAxisRenderer.js"></script>
<script src="/js/vendor/jqplot.canvasAxisLabelRenderer.js"></script>
<script src="/js/vendor/jqplot.canvasTextRenderer.js"></script>
<script src="/js/vendor/jqplot.barRenderer.js"></script>
<script src="/js/vendor/jquery.gridster.min.js"></script>
<script src="/js/ntnx.js"></script>



Connecting the main view

Right now, we can’t access the new home page - we need to tell Laravel how to display that page, based on the URL provided by the user.

  • Open the app/Http/routes.php file and replace everything below the comment block, as follows:
Route::get( '/', 'HomeController@getIndex' );
Route::controller( 'ajax', 'AjaxController' );

The first line instructs Laravel serve all requests / (the app’s root directory) by running the getIndex method from the HomeController controller. The second line instructs Laravel to serve all requests prefixed with /ajax/ by running the matching method from the AjaxController controller. We will create this controller later.

Initial app testing

At this point, your application doesn’t do anything useful. However, the basic structure has been completed and we’re ready to start wiring the important parts together.

For now, browse to the root of your application and make sure you can see a form prompting for the following items:

  1. Cluster/CVM IP
  2. Cluster username
  3. Cluster password

There should also be three links at the top of the screen - Home, Save Layout and Revert to Default Layout.


If you are wondering why it looks incredibly ugly right now, it’s because we haven’t added any styling or formatting, yet …

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