Basic usage

When a user loads a page of your website in their browser, it includes a number of <link ...>, <img ...>, <script ...> and other tags that tell their browser how to fetch these additional resources from the server.

When dealing with assets on the server, our application needs to address two problems:

  1. How do we locate a Sprinkle's assets, generate an appropriate URL, and inject the appropriate reference tags when rendering a template?
  2. When the client actually loads a page and requests an asset via the URL, how do we map the URL back to a file path on the server and return it to the client?

These questions are answered in this chapter.

Referencing assets

Since the client must issue a separate request to retrieve an asset after loading a page, we need a way to generate asset URLs in our templates. To automatically build a url for a single asset in a Twig template, you may use the assets.url() helper. This helper takes a file path to an asset, and generates an appropriate absolute url:

<img src="{{ assets.url('assets://userfrosting/images/barn-owl.jpg') }}">

You'll notice that we reference the file path using the assets:// stream wrapper. Stream wrappers allow UserFrosting to define a sort of virtual mini-filesystem for a particular type of resource (in this case, assets).

When we refer to an asset using the path assets://userfrosting/images/barn-owl.jpg, UserFrosting will search through each loaded Sprinkle's assets/ directory, starting with the most recently loaded Sprinkle, looking for a relative match to userfrosting/images/barn-owl.jpg. As with other sorts of entities, this allows us to override assets from previously loaded Sprinkles.

For example, suppose we have:

└── assets
    └── userfrosting
        └── images
            └── barn-owl.jpg

as well as:

└── assets
    └── userfrosting
        └── images
            └── barn-owl.jpg

Assuming we've loaded the account and site Sprinkles (in that order), we can now use the uri assets://userfrosting/images/barn-owl.jpg in our code, and UserFrosting will correctly resolve it to /site/assets/userfrosting/images/barn-owl.jpg.

Notice the directory pattern used to organise the assets. Generally speaking, the basic assets that come with UserFrosting go in a userfrosting/ subdirectory in each Sprinkle's main assets directory. You should put your own custom assets in a separate subdirectory at the same level, unless you actually need to override one of assets that ship with UserFrosting.

Public asset URLs

Custom stream uris like assets://userfrosting/images/barn-owl.jpg will be correctly interpreted in your server-side code, but cannot be understood by clients' browsers. To serve an asset like this to the client, UserFrosting must generate a public http(s) URL for use in HTML (e.g. for <img>, <link>, <script>, and other tags).

This is handled automatically by the assets.url() helper in Twig. For example, the call to assets.url('assets://userfrosting/images/barn-owl.jpg') might generate a URL

The question is, how does this URL get correctly resolved by the server when it is requested? After all, there is no assets-raw/ directory in our project's public root directory. By default, all requests made to URLs beginning with /assets-raw/ are sent to a special route defined in the core Sprinkle. This route then uses the assetLoader service to resolve the request to an asset in a Sprinkle.

For example, http://localhost/myUserFrostingProject/public/assets-raw/core/assets/vendor/bootstrap-3.3.6/css/bootstrap.css will be resolved to the core Sprinkle, and respond with the contents of vendor/bootstrap-3.3.6/css/bootstrap.css (if it exists).

The assetLoader service will automatically try to determine the MIME type of the asset based on the file extension, and set the appropriate Content-Type header in the response.