UserFrosting is built to follow the Model-View-Controller (MVC) design paradigm. If you come from a "traditional" PHP background, you may be used to seeing code that looks like this:


if (isset($_POST)) {
    $stmt = $db->prepare("INSERT INTO users (:username, :email)");
        ':username' => $_POST['username'],
        ':email' => $_POST['email']
} else {
    echo "<table><tr><th>Username</th><th>Email</th></tr>";

    $stmt = $db->prepare("SELECT * FROM users");

    while ($r = $stmt->fetch(PDO::FETCH_ASSOC)) {
        echo "<tr><td>$r['user_name']</td><td>$r['email']</td></tr>";

    echo "</table>"

This is what is commonly referred to as spaghetti code. All of the logic and presentation for a feature is mixed up into a single file. There is little or no object-oriented design, and probably a lot of repetitive code from one feature to the next. It's also really difficult to write clean HTML when we're building it with echo statements and interpolating all sorts of PHP statements with the HTML content.

MVC organizes our application into three main domains - the model, which represents our database entities and other types of encapsulated logic, the view, which generates the final output (often HTML) that the user receives, and the controller, which controls the flow of interaction between the model and the view (and may contain some logic of its own as well).

UserFrosting uses a templating engine called Twig to handle the rendering of HTML output in the view. UserFrosting's model consists of a set of Eloquent models for handling interactions with the database, as well as a number of other accessory classes that perform most of heavy lifting for your application. We'll talk about both of these in later chapters.

In this chapter, we discuss UserFrosting's controller, which is based around the Slim microframework. Whenever you are looking to add a new page or feature to your application, you probably want to start with the controller.