Controlling the PHP HTTP server via a PHP API

Overview of a class I wrote for starting and stopping the built-in PHP HTTP server in PHP 5.4 via an object-oriented API.

The 5.4 release of PHP included a light-weight HTTP server built into the core release. You can find the official documentation here.

The main use case I have for this server is to use it in PHPUnit1 test cases, when I want to host a controller and then make a request to it as part of a unit test. Afterwards, I want to be able to shutdown the HTTP server.

Unfortunately however, the HTTP server in PHP only comes with a CLI API, so there is no neat way to control it from a PHPUnit test case (or any other PHP script for that matter). There is no PHP API for the server, therefore I decided to write my own class to wrap the CLI API and include it in the Alpha Framework as a utility class.2

The wrapper class

The class contains three methods for starting, stopping, and doing a status check based on process ID of a running server. I have tested this class on Windows and Linux. Here is the code:

<?php
 
/**
 * A utility class controlling the build-in HTTP server in PHP
 *
 * @package alpha::util
 * @since 1.2.2
 * @author John Collins <dev@alphaframework.org>
 * @version $Id: AlphaPHPServerUtils.inc 1671 2013-09-22 21:10:24Z alphadevx $
 * @license http://www.opensource.org/licenses/bsd-license.php The BSD License
 * @copyright Copyright (c) 2013, John Collins (founder of Alpha Framework).
 * All rights reserved.
 *
 * <pre>
 * Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or
 * without modification, are permitted provided that the
 * following conditions are met:
 *
 * * Redistributions of source code must retain the above
 *   copyright notice, this list of conditions and the
 *   following disclaimer.
 * * Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above
 *   copyright notice, this list of conditions and the
 *   following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other
 *   materials provided with the distribution.
 * * Neither the name of the Alpha Framework nor the names
 *   of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote
 *   products derived from this software without specific
 *   prior written permission.
 *
 * THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND
 * CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES,
 * INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
 * MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE
 * DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER OR
 * CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL,
 * SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT
 * NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES;
 * LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION)
 * HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN
 * CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE
 * OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS
 * SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.
 * </pre>
 *
 */
class AlphaPHPServerUtils {
 
    /**
     * Starts a new HTTP server at the hostname and port provided, and returns the process ID (PID) of
     * the service if it was started successfully.
     *
     * @param string $host The hostname or IP address
     * @param int $port The port number to use
     * @param string $docRoot The file path to directory containing the documents we want to serve
     * @return int The PID of the new server
     * @throws AlphaException
     */
    public static function start($host, $port, $docRoot) {
        // we are on Windows
        if (strtoupper(substr(PHP_OS, 0, 3)) === 'WIN') {
            // Command that starts the built-in web server
            $command = sprintf(
                'php -S %s:%d -t %s',
                $host,
                $port,
                $docRoot
            );
 
            $descriptorspec = array (
                0 => array("pipe", "r"),
                1 => array("pipe", "w"),
            );
 
            // Execute the command and store the process ID of the parent
            $prog = proc_open($command, $descriptorspec, $pipes, '.', NULL);
            $ppid = proc_get_status($prog)['pid'];
 
            // this gets us the process ID of the child (i.e. the server we just started)
            $output = array_filter(explode(" ", shell_exec("wmic process get parentprocessid,processid | find \"$ppid\"")));
            array_pop($output);
            $pid = end($output);
        }else{ // we are on Linux
            // Command that starts the built-in web server
            $command = sprintf(
                'php -S %s:%d -t %s >/dev/null 2>&1 & echo $!',
                $host,
                $port,
                $docRoot
            );
 
            // Execute the command and store the process ID
            $output = array();
            exec($command, $output);
            $pid = (int) $output[0];
        }
 
        if(!isset($pid))
            throw new AlphaException("Could not start the build-in PHP server [$host:$port] using the doc root [$docRoot]");
        else
            return $pid;
    }
 
    /**
     * Stops the server running locally under the process ID (PID) provided.
     *
     * @param int $PID The PID of the running server we want to stop
     */
    public static function stop($PID) {
        // we are on Windows
        if (strtoupper(substr(PHP_OS, 0, 3)) === 'WIN') {
            exec("taskkill /F /pid $PID");
        }else{ // we are on Linux
            exec("kill -9 $PID");
        }
    }
 
    /**
     * Checks to see if there is a server running locally under the process ID (PID) provided.
     *
     * @param int $PID The PID of the running server we want to check
     * @return bool True if there is a server process running under the PID, false otherwise
     */
    public static function status($PID) {
        $output = array();
        // we are on Windows
        if (strtoupper(substr(PHP_OS, 0, 3)) === 'WIN') {
            exec("tasklist /fi \"PID eq $PID\"", $output);
 
            if(isset($output[0]) && $output[0] == 'INFO: No tasks are running which match the specified criteria.')
                return false;
            else
                return true;
        }else{ // we are on Linux
            exec("ps -ef | grep $PID | grep -v grep", $output);
 
            if(count($output) == 0)
                return false;
            else
                return true;
        }
    }
}
 
?>

Unit tests

Here are some sample calls to this class, in the form of some unit tests:

<?php
 
/**
 * Test cases for the PHP HTTP server util class.
 *
 * @package alpha::tests
 * @since 1.2.2
 * @author John Collins <dev@alphaframework.org>
 * @version $Id: AlphaPHPServerUtils_Test.php 1671 2013-09-22 21:10:24Z alphadevx $
 * @license http://www.opensource.org/licenses/bsd-license.php The BSD License
 * @copyright Copyright (c) 2013, John Collins (founder of Alpha Framework).
 * All rights reserved.
 *
 * <pre>
 * Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or
 * without modification, are permitted provided that the
 * following conditions are met:
 *
 * * Redistributions of source code must retain the above
 *   copyright notice, this list of conditions and the
 *   following disclaimer.
 * * Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above
 *   copyright notice, this list of conditions and the
 *   following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other
 *   materials provided with the distribution.
 * * Neither the name of the Alpha Framework nor the names
 *   of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote
 *   products derived from this software without specific
 *   prior written permission.
 *
 * THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND
 * CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES,
 * INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
 * MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE
 * DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER OR
 * CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL,
 * SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT
 * NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES;
 * LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION)
 * HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN
 * CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE
 * OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS
 * SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.
 * </pre>
 *
 */
class AlphaPHPServerUtils_Test extends PHPUnit_Framework_TestCase {
 
    /**
     * Called before the test functions will be executed
     * this function is defined in PHPUnit_TestCase and overwritten
     * here
     *
     * @since 1.2.2
     */
    protected function setUp() {}
 
    /**
     * Called after the test functions are executed
     * this function is defined in PHPUnit_TestCase and overwritten
     * here
     *
     * @since 1.2.2
     */
    protected function tearDown() {}
 
    /**
     * Testing that we can start the server and hit it with a curl request
     *
     * @since 1.2.2
     */
    public function testStart() {
        $pid = AlphaPHPServerUtils::start('127.0.0.1','8081','.');
        sleep(1); // wait a second to give the server time to start...
 
        $this->assertTrue($pid > 0, 'Testing that a PID was returned after starting the server');
 
        $ch = curl_init();
        curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, 'http://127.0.0.1:8081/');
        $result = curl_exec($ch);
 
        $this->assertEquals(404, curl_getinfo($ch, CURLINFO_HTTP_CODE), 'Testing that the server returns a 404 not found');
 
        if(!empty($pid))
            AlphaPHPServerUtils::stop($pid);
    }
 
    /**
     * Testing that we can stop the server and hit it with a curl request
     *
     * @since 1.2.2
     */
    public function testStop() {
        $pid = AlphaPHPServerUtils::start('127.0.0.1','8081','.');
        sleep(1); // wait a second to give the server time to start...
 
        $this->assertTrue($pid > 0, 'Testing that a PID was returned after starting the server');
 
        $ch = curl_init();
        curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, 'http://127.0.0.1:8081/');
        curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_TIMEOUT, 3);
        $result = curl_exec($ch);
 
        $this->assertEquals(404, curl_getinfo($ch, CURLINFO_HTTP_CODE), 'Testing that the server returns a 404 not found');
 
        if(!empty($pid)) {
            AlphaPHPServerUtils::stop($pid);
            sleep(1); // wait a second to give the server time to stop...
        }
 
        $result = curl_exec($ch);
 
        $this->assertEquals(7, curl_errno($ch), 'Testing that second request after the server shutdown failed due being unable to connect');
    }
 
    /**
     * Testing that we can check the status of the server when stopped or running
     *
     * @since 1.2.2
     */
    public function testStatus() {
        $pid = AlphaPHPServerUtils::start('127.0.0.1','8081','.');
 
        $this->assertTrue(AlphaPHPServerUtils::status($pid), 'Testing that the status of the server is true when it is running');
 
        if(!empty($pid))
            AlphaPHPServerUtils::stop($pid);
 
        $this->assertFalse(AlphaPHPServerUtils::status($pid), 'Testing that the status of the server is false when it is stopped');
    }
}
 
?>

Conclusion

The above classes, being part of the Alpha Framework, make use of the auto-loader from that framework to load any dependencies. The code is largely standalone however, so you might find it useful to use outside of the Alpha Framework. As for the HTTP server itself, it is a very useful tool for testing and may have some other use cases that I have not thought of yet.

References

John Collins

I have been writing about web technology and software development since 2001. I am the developer of the Alpha Framework for PHP, and the five.today personal productivity app. I love open source, technology, and economics.