What is Spark?

Spark is a PSR-7 micro-framework that implements the Action Domain Responder pattern created by @pmjones. ADR can be summarized as a “clean code” version of MVC, with specific differences that help us achieve SOLID principles.

Install Spark

This assumes that you already have Composer installed.

$ composer create-project sparkphp/project demo

This will create a new Spark project in the demo directory.

Application Layout

Spark has a very simple filesystem structure:

  • src/ where your application code goes
  • web/ public web directory, including the front controller
  • vendor/ dependencies installed with composer

This layout provides a very clear separation between public and server code and follows standard conventions.


Since Spark is a web framework, it requires routing. By default, routes are defined in web/index.php and look something like:

$app->addRoutes(function(Spark\Router $r) {
    $r->get('/hello[/{name}]', 'Spark\Project\Domain\Hello');

The Spark application is represented by $app and the addRoutes method takes a closure that receives the Router when the application is ready to begin routing. The router is based on FastRoute with some convenience added by having separate methods for creating different HTTP requests.

The first parameter of get is the URL path that will be matched. Anything wrapped with [brackets] is optional and anything wrapped with {braces} is a variable parameter.

The second parameter of get is the name of the Domain class that will be used to handle the request.

Try It Out

First fire up the built in PHP web server:

$ php -S localhost:8000 web/index.php

Now you should be able to visit http://localhost:8000/hello and see a simple “hello, world” message as a JSON response by using the class in src/Domain/Hello.php. When a name is added, such as http://localhost:8000/hello/sally, it will be used instead of “world”.

Add another domain

Add a new route in web/index.php:

$r->get('/friends[/{name}]', 'Spark\Project\Domain\Friends');

And create the domain class in src/Domain/Friends.php:

namespace Spark\Project\Domain;

use Spark\Adr\DomainInterface;
use Spark\Payload;

class Friends implements DomainInterface
    public function __invoke(array $input)
        $friends = [];
        $mood    = 'sad';
        $name    = 'me';

        if (!empty($input['friends'])) {
            $friends = $input['friends'];
            $mood    = 'happy';

        if (!empty($input['name'])) {
            $name = $input['name'];

        return (new Payload)
                'who'     => $name,
                'mood'    => $mood,
                'friends' => $friends,

Spark merges all query parameters, post body, cookies, and attributes such as route parameters into $input before passing it to the domain. This allows us to pass the friends through the query string: http://localhost:8000/friends/jimmy?friends[]=amanda.


This is only a starting point but hopefully it gives a sense at how easy REST applications are to create with Spark.