Restler is a simple and effective multi-format Web API Server written in PHP.

Just deal with your business logic in php, restler will take care of the REST!

Code Quality Rank: L1
Programming language: JavaScript
License: GNU Lesser General Public License v3.0 only
Tags: API     Framework     REST     Server    
Latest version: v3.0.0

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[Restler](public/examples/resources/Restler.png) Luracast Restler

Gitter Latest Stable Version Total Downloads Latest Unstable Version License

Version 3.0 Release Candidate 5

Restler is a simple and effective multi-format Web API Server written in PHP.

Just deal with your business logic in php, restler will take care of the REST!

if you do not have PHP >= 5.3.2 on your server and wont be able to upgrade you may use Restler 2 instead

Restler 3 - Better APIs by Design


  • No Learning Curve
  • Light weight
  • Flexible
  • Highly Customizable
  • Many Examples that can be tried on your localhost to get started
  • Supports HTTP request methods HEAD, GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, OPTIONS and PATCH via header or request parameter (method)
  • Supports both RESTful and Pragmatic REST API Design
  • Clients can use X-HTTP-Method-Override header, supports Cross Origin Resource Sharing and JSONP
  • Two way format(media type) conversion both send and receive
    • Pluggable content Formatter framework and api
    • Comes with JSON, XML, Yaml, Amf, and Plist(both XML and Binary) format support
  • Pluggable Authentication schemes
    • OAuth 2 Server
  • Pluggable Filters to effectively manage API usage
    • API Rate Limiting Filter
  • Routing
    • Manual Routing (Annotation)
      • Using @url GET my/custom/url/{param} PHPDoc comments
    • Auto Routing (Reflection)
      • URL to Method mapping
      • URL part to Method parameter mapping
      • Query parameters to Method parameter mapping
      • Request body to Method parameter mapping
      • [planned] Header to Method parameter mapping
  • Cache built-in
    • Client Side Caching support
    • Proxy Caching support
    • Server Side Caching
      • [planned] ETag, If-None-Match support
      • [planned] Last-Modified, If-Modified-Since support
  • API Features
    • Always supports URLEncoded format for simplified input (POST vars)
    • Automatic parameter validation and type conversion
    • API versioning support by URL and/or vendor specific MIME
    • API documentation and discovery using Restler API Explorer
    • Throttling and Performance tuning
  • Management

Git Repository and the Branches

  1. Most stable and recent version is maintained at the master branch, previous versions are kept in the branches such as v1 and v2

  2. Version branch with the current version such as v3 is used for building up the next release. It's documentation may not be updated frequently and thus reserved for the daring ones.

  3. Feature branches such as features/html and features/router are purely for experimentation purpose to try out a feature


Make sure PHP 5.3.2 or above (at least 5.3.4 recommended to avoid potential bugs) is available on your server

1. Install Composer

Restler uses Composer to manage its dependencies. First, download a copy of composer.phar. It can be kept in your project folder or ideally in usr/local/bin to use it globally for all your projects. If you are on Windows, you can use the composer windows installer instead.

2. Install Restler

Option 1. Using composer create-project

You may install Restler by running the create project command in your terminal. Replace {projectName} with your actual project name. It will create a folder with that name and install Restler.

php composer.phar create-project luracast/restler {projectName}


  1. If you do not want the additional formats and BDD tools you can include --no-dev to enforce exclusion of dev packages.

  2. If you want to try the bleading edge v3 branch or any of the feature branches include 3.x-dev or dev-features/html in the above command

Option 2. Downloading from github

Once Composer is installed, download the latest version of the Restler framework and extract its contents into a directory on your server. Next, in the root of your Restler project, run the php composer.phar install (or composer install) command to install all of the framework's dependencies. This process requires Git to be installed on the server to successfully complete the installation.

If you want to update the Restler framework, you may issue the php composer.phar update command.

Note:- If are not allowed to install composer and git on your server, you can install and run them on your development machine. The resulting files and folders can be uploaded and used on the server.

3. Configure

Ideally public folder should be mapped as your web root, It is optional, but recommended to avoid exposing unneeded files and folders.

4. Try it out

Try the live examples in your localhost

5. Run some test

Update the base_url specified in behat.yml and then try the following command


This will test the examples against the behaviors expected, for example

Feature: Testing CRUD Example
    Scenario: Creating new Author with JSON
        Given that I want to make a new "Author"
        And his "name" is "Chris"
        And his "email" is "[email protected]"
        And the request is sent as JSON
        When I request "/examples/_007_crud/authors"
        Then the response status code should be 200
        And the response should be JSON
        And the response has a "id" property

All set, Happy Restling! :)

Quick Start Guide

Once you have got restler installed with the above steps, you can quickly create your application by following these steps

1. Write API

Create your API classes with all needed public and protected methods

2. Open the Gateway

Create the gateway (index.php) as follows

require_once '../../../vendor/restler.php';
use Luracast\Restler\Restler;

$r = new Restler();
$r->addAPIClass('YourApiClassNameHere'); // repeat for more
$r->handle(); //serve the response

3. Prettify URLs

Enable URL Rewriting

Make sure all the requests are routed to index.php by enabling URL Rewriting for your website

For example:-

If you are on Apache, you can use an .htaccess file such as

DirectoryIndex index.php
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteRule ^$ index.php [QSA,L]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php [QSA,L]
<IfModule mod_php5.c>
    php_flag display_errors On

Note:- This requires AllowOverride to be set to All instead of None in the httpd.conf file, and might require some tweaking on some server configurations. Refer to mod_rewrite documentation for more info.

If you are on Nginx, you have to make sure you set the server_name and pass the PHP scripts to fast cgi (PHP-FPM) listening on

server {
        listen        80;
        server_name   api.luracast.com; //change it to match your server name

        //... other stuff

        location ~ \.php$ {
            root           /var/www/html;
            fastcgi_index  index.php;
            fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME  /var/www/html/$fastcgi_script_name;
            include        fastcgi_params;

        //... other stuff


Note:- This requires PHP, PHP-FPM to be properly installed and configured. Refer to PHP FastCGI example for more info.

4. Customise

Fine tune to suit your needs

require_once '../../../vendor/restler.php';
use Luracast\Restler\Restler;
use Luracast\Restler\Defaults;
//set the defaults to match your requirements
Defaults::$throttle = 20; //time in milliseconds for bandwidth throttling
//setup restler
$r = new Restler();
$r->addAPIClass('YourApiClassNameHere'); // repeat for more
$r->addAPIClass('Resources'); //from restler framework for API Explorer
$r->addFilterClass('RateLimit'); //Add Filters as needed
$r->handle(); //serve the response

If you have successfully completed Installation Step 2, you should have Restler API Explorer installed in vendor/Luracast/explorer folder. Create a symbolic link of vendor/Luracast/explorer/dist or copy the folder and name it as explorer

Place the explorer in the same folder as the index.php

Explore the api and try it out by openings explorer/index.html from the web root on your browser

Happy Exploring! :)

Note:- Using eAccelerator can make restler to fail as it removes the comments. More info can be found here

5. Annotate

Restler supports annotations in the form of PHPDoc comments for API fine tuning

They are documented in detail under [Annotations](ANNOTATIONS.md)

6. Authorize

In order to protect your api, authenticate and allow valid users

require_once '../../../vendor/restler.php';
use Luracast\Restler\Restler;
$r = new Restler();
$r->addAPIClass('YourApiClassNameHere'); // repeat for more
$r->addAuthenticationClass('CustomAuth'); //Add Authentication classes as needed
$r->handle(); //serve the response

7. Start Production

By default Restler runs in debug mode more fine tuned for API developer, by showing detailed error messages and prettifying the api result to human readbale form

By turning on production mode you will gain some performance boost as it will cache the routes (comment parsing happens only once instead of every api call), few other files and avoid giving out debug information

require_once '../../../vendor/restler.php';
use Luracast\Restler\Restler;

//setup restler

$r = new Restler(true); //turn on production mode by passing true.
//If you are using file based cache (the default) make sure cache folder is
//writable. when you make changes to your code make sure you delete the
// routes.php inside the cache folder

Change Log

Restler 3.0 RC5

  • Scope (an dependency injection container) is added. It's register method allows adding api classes that has some dependencies.
  • Improves HtmlFormat to support blade templates and makes it easily extendable to add your own templates.
  • HtmlFormat::$format has been renamed as HtmlFormat::$template for better clarrity
  • HtmlFormat now supports auto templating to load relevant template for an API method based on the mapped url.
  • Tag, a utility class for generating html tags in object oriented way.
  • Emmet class that extends a subset of emmet to create a a template engine.
  • Forms class to auto generate forms for any API method prebuilt in HTML5, Twitter Bootstrap 3, Zurb Foundation formats.
  • Validator improved to allow suppressing validation errors from throwing exceptions immediatly, so that API call can reach the API method
  • Validator improved to be form validation friendly.
  • Nav class creating html navigation interface.
  • OAuth examles updgrated to use version 1.0 of OAuth2 library.
  • Many bug fixes and improvements.

Restler 3.0 RC4

  • $reques_data in api method parameters and getRequestData() on restler instance now excludes $_GET parameters.
  • Returning null from api method now excludes the response body. This behaviour can be changed by setting Defaults::$emptyBodyForNullResponse to false.
  • Added many api examples under tests folder for testing feature by feature using BDD
  • Support for custom class parameters and array of custom class parameters
  • Ability to pass the parameter directly as the body of the request when it is the only parameter
  • Fixes to composer.json and publish stable release as composer package on packagist.
  • New Routes class with improved routing, including wild card routes and smart routing based on paramter type.
  • Possibility to use any autoloader including composer's autoloader for maximum interoperability
  • Moved to using the rodneyrehm/plist package for CFPropertyList.
  • Removed required packages as they are not technically "required" per se, Restler works out of the box.
  • Created supported packages as require-dev instead which will be installed via composer install --dev
  • Added suggested section for all the supported packages.
  • Added keywords to package descriptor
  • Added branch alias to indicate that v3 is the snapshot for v3.0.x-dev
  • Released Restler as package on packagist.

Restler 3.0 RC3

  • Added Defaults::$cacheDirectory to set cache directory in one central place
  • Added JSONP support with JsFormat class by extending JsonFormat.
  • Fixes fatal error when the JSON sent in the request body is not an object or array
  • Improves inline comment parsing by array conversion when delimiter is found and tag is not @pattern
  • RateLimit class re-written to support all range of time units second|minute|hour|day|week|month to have fine grained control
  • Resources class improved to include description for body parameters
  • Fixes Resources not to include namespace when the return type is array of custom class
  • Fixed Resource not to include the API of another class when the current api name is a begins with part of the other API
  • Added two more ways to exclude API's from explorer/documentation
    • Resources::$excludedHttpMethods (array)
    • Resources::$excludedPaths (array)
  • Fixes unescaped unicode bug in PHP < 5.4
  • Fixes a bug with ValidationInfo parsing @choice inline comment
  • Added Charset support
  • Added Language (basic) support
  • Updated the BDD tests to include new features
  • Fixes a bug in Restler class which affects $_GET overriding Defaults
  • Fixes a bug in XmlFormat parsing XML content to array
  • Added support for JSONP via jsFormat extension of JsonFormat
  • Fixes a bug in unicode un-escaping for JsonFormat in PHP < 5.4
  • Fixes the order so that responseFormat->setCharset is called before encoding the response
  • Documentation improvements and minor bug fixes

Restler 3.0 RC2

  • Filter classes can use authentication status and respond differently for authenticated users by implementing iUseAuthentication interface
  • RateLimit class added to rate limit the api usage
  • Fixed a bug with setCompatibilityMode
  • Resources updated to use only paths for resource identification instead of class name
    • Enabled Access Control for Documentation
  • Fixed CommentParser to ignore repeated white space so that it parses comments correctly
  • Fixed comment parsing for @status and @expires tags
  • Added the following Examples
    • Documentation
    • Rate Limit
    • Access Control
  • CRUD example updated to include PATCH support

Restler 3.0

Restler 3.0 is completely rewritten from Restler 2.0 with best practices in mind for

  • PHP Coding
  • RESTfulness and/or Pragmatic REST
  • API Design

Restler 3.0

  • uses namespaces, Late Static Bindings, and Closures and thus it is PHP 5.3+ only (if you need PHP 5.0+ support use Restler 2)
  • provides backward compatibility for Restler 1 and 2. Use $r->setCompatibilityMode($version);
  • supports hybrid api which provides extended data to authenticated users Use @access hybrid PHPDoc comment
  • uses smart auto routing by default where API method parameters that have default values are no longer mapped to the URL, instead they are mapped to query strings to reduce ambiguity in the url.
  • supports suppress_response_codes as query string, when set to true; all http responses will be returned with HTTP OK with the errors in the body to accommodate mobile and less privileged clients.
  • has improved CommentParser which adds support for embedded data in multiple formats
    • inline doc comments {@name value}
    • query string params ``` param1=value&param2=value2```
    • json ``` {"param1": value, "param2": value2}``` which can be placed in multi-lines
  • has Defaults class with static properties that can be changed to suit the needs
  • iAuthenticate is now using __isAllowed method instead of __isAuthenticated so that same class can be used for Authentication or Filtering
  • iUseAuthentication interface added to help hybrid access api methods and filters to find out about user authentication status
  • iFilter interface updated to provide charset support
  • ...(more to follow)

Restler 2.0

Restler 2.0 is a major rewrite to use convention over configuration and it is optimized for performance. Here are some of the major changes and improvements

  • PHPDoc comments to map a method to URI are now optional.
  • All public methods that does not begin with an underscore are mapped automatically to the method name (gateway\classname\methodname\param1\...)
  • If we do not specify the second parameter for $restler->addAPIClass it will be mapped to the class name instead of mapping it to the root
  • Restler 2 is written for PHP 5.3 and above but it make use of compat.php and work on any version of PHP starting from PHP 5.0

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the Restler README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.