Symbiotic Controller: Nette Presenter with Freedom

Symfony and Laravel allow decoupled controllers by default thanks to simple principle: controller/presenter = callback. No base class or interface is needed.

People around me are already using single action presenters, but still depend on Nette. Why? Coupling of IPresenter in Application and Router.

I think framework should help you and not limit you in a way how you write your code. Today we look how to make that happen even for Nette presenters and how to set them free.

3 Misconceptions First

When I talked about single action or rather invokable presenters in Nette on 87. Posobota meetup in Prague, people were talking about 3 missconceptions. I'd like clarify them first.

1. Nette needs IPresenter

My first attempt decouple presenter from Nette failed on PresenterFactory:

// ...
if (!$reflection->implementsInterface(IPresenter::class)) {
    throw new InvalidPresenterException("Cannot load presenter '$name', class '$class' is not Nette\\Application\\IPresenter implementor.");

This took me few weeks to figure out because of coupling to latte, providers and layout autodiscovery. I needed to modify PresenterFactory, Application->run() and create own PresneterRoute.

So yes, when you modify few places, you can use it without IPresenter interface.

2. What about ajax? What about Components?

If you use ajax and components, this approach is not probably for you application.

I thought it's impossible to use Nette without components as well, but Ondrej Mirtes from Slevomat take me out of my misery: "We don't use components in Slevomat, just presenters." So feel free to ask him how they do it.

You'll appreciate this approach in applications, where:

3. There should be an Interface for that

Even when some people agreed with invokable/single action approach, they still missed some interface that would enforce a method. I must say __invoke() method seemed weird to me at first too.

Give invoke() a try, it's Fine

But I've learned what __invoke() is and that Symfony and Laravel use it for years.

Also, using an interface would only create a new dependency for something that is already used in specific way. Moreover for controller which every framework bend to its own needs.

__invoke() is normal method, just like __constructor() is normal for passing dependencies nowadays.

Inspiration from Symfony Community - Matthias Noback & Keving Dunglas

Why Decouple Controller From Framework?

If you look for reasons to decouple from framework, read this 3 parts series: Framework Independent Controllers by Matthias Noback about independent controllers in Symfony.

Why are Single Action Presenters Great for Growing Projects?

Similar package and post was made by Kevin Dunglas exactly 1,5 year ago. You'll find your answers there.

No more questions, right to the code.

How Single Action Controller looks like?

The goal was:

Ideal code for Nette-agnostic presenter would look like this:

namespace App\Presenter;

use Symplify\SymbioticController\Adapter\Nette\Template\TemplateRenderer;

final class StandalonePresenter
     * @var TemplateRenderer
    private $templateRenderer;

    public function __construct(TemplateRenderer $templateRenderer)
        $this->templateRenderer = $templateRenderer;

    public function __invoke(): string
        return $this->templateRenderer->renderFileWithParameters(
            __DIR__ . '/templates/Contact.latte'

Or if you use API and json:

namespace App\Presenter;

use Nette\Application\Responses\JsonResponse;

final class ApiPresenter
    public function __invoke(): JsonResponse
        return new JsonResponse('Hi!');

Clickable template paths as Positive Side-Effect

Module:Presenter:template => __DIR__ . '/templates/template.latte

Instead of using magic notation, you can go right with absolute path for templates.

If this would be used by every controller and framework, there would be much lower entry barrier for front-end developers. Another new way to use your IDE the right-way:

And Router?

But how to register this presenter in router? Since the called action is now not a method in a class but a class, we cannot use common way to add route:

# this won't work
$routes[] = new Route('/contact', 'Contact:default');
$routes[] = new Route('/contact', 'Contact:__invoke');

We need to use presenter as target:

use App\Presenter\ContactPresenter; 

$routes[] = new Route('/contact', ContactPresenter::class);

But that won't work either as Route class requires <presenter>:<method> format for target.

Presenter Route

To solve this, we'll use custom Route that accepts Presenter class as argument.

# app/Router/RouterFactory.php

use App\Presenter\ContactPresenter;
use Symplify\SymbioticController\Adapter\Nette\Routing;

final class RouterFactory
    public function create(): RouteList
        $routes = new RouteList;
        $routes[] = new PresenterRoute('/contact', ContactPresenter::class);
        $routes[] = new Route('<presenter>/<action>', 'Homepage:default');

        return $routes;

It has 2 important tasks:

From Stringly Route to Strongly Route

Same way you can use your IDE to open the template, you can use it to open presenter target.

From magic Homepage:default to clickable class:

Do you want to try this?

You have 2 options: check nette/sandbox based demo on Github or install to your application yourself:

3 Steps To Your First Framework Agnostic Presenter in Nette

1. Install Symplify\SymbioticController package

composer require symplify/symbiotic-controller

2. Register Needed Extensions

# app/config/config.neon

    - Symplify\SymbioticController\Adapter\Nette\DI\SymbioticControllerExtension
    - Contributte\EventDispatcher\DI\EventDispatcherExtension

3. Create Your Presenter and Use It

That's all :)


How do YOU approach using controller (in Nette)?

Let me know in the comments. I always like to hear different opinions.

What do you think?