Main Configuration

Dispersion has 2 configuration files by default. More configuration files can be added either by creating new libraries that might require them, or by customizing the behavior of the framework. The files can be found in the 'application/config' folder of your application. 'config.php' deals with the main configuration of the framework, while 'errors.php' deal with errors and exception handling. This section covers 'config.php' file.

Database Settings

After installation the database settings are the only ones required in order for the framework to work. They are 5 in total:

Config::db( 'driver', 'mysql' );

The database driver to be used. Currently the framework supports only mysql, other options will be available soon.

Config::db( 'database', '' );

The database you will be using for your application.

Config::db( 'host', '' );

Name of the host for the database. In most cases, this is usually localhost.

Config::db( 'user', '' );
Config::db( 'password', '' );

The user who will be using the database, and the password. Leave the password field empty if no password is required.


The url where your application is located. This will become useful when you will need to migrate your site to another domain and won't have to replace every link. To retrieve the baseurl from your application you can use either the global constant BASEPATH, or the Url::base method from the Url class. The Url class has other methods that use the baseurl as well.

// Example
// In your application
echo BASEURL; // http://localhost/
echo $this->url->base(); // http://localhost/
echo $this->url->linkTo('apples', 'green'); // http://localhost/apples/green

Custom urls can be added as well in the configuration file. They are saved by their id. You can access them in your application by using the Url class. Here's an example :

// Example
Config::url( 'images', 'http://localhost/images' );
Config::url( 'script', 'http://localhost/script' );
// In your application
echo $this->url->custom['images'] // http://localhost/images
echo $this->url->custom['script'] // http://localhost/script


In recent versions of php, setting the timezone is required when working with the date and time. If the timezone isn't set, php will signal a warning. It's why we added this feature to the configuration. A list of available timezones can be found here.

Default Controller

Config::autoload( 'defaultcontroller', 'home' );

The default controller is the controller which will be triggered when only the base url is given. In the above example, going to 'http://localhost/' will trigger the index() method from the HomeController.


Config::autoload( 'viewfiles', array( 0 ) );

View files are the files that display information received from the controller. They are located in the 'application/views' directory. Each controller can specify which view files to load. In most applications, some view files are used globally in order to create a layout ( header, sidebar, footer or other components ). To not load these files manually in each method of the controller, the layout created in the configuration file can be used globally throughout the website. Layouts are created by specifying the view files that will be autoloaded throughout the application and the locations which custom view files will be added. These locations are represented by consecutive numbers, and view files are represented by their relative path to 'application/views' directory. The numbers must be consecutive, starting from zero, otherwise you might receive an IndexOutOfBoundsException in your application. You can add more numbers if you think they will be needed, if you don't use them the framework will ignore them. For the example below, 3 numbers were added in case more view files will be required in that position.

// Autoload header, sidebar and footer
Config::autoload( 'viewfiles', array( 'header', 0, 1, 2, 'sidebar', 3, 'footer' );
// In your application, you can add content to the template:
$this->insertView( 'mainsection' ); // will load 'mainsection.php' in the zero position, after 'header.php'
$this->insertView( 'newssection' ); // will load 'newssection.php' in the '1' position, after 'mainsection.php'
// We can add the position the file will be loaded to, in this case, it will load it after 'sidebar.php'
$this->insertView( 'ads', 3 );

The above example will load header.php, mainsection.php, newssection.php, sidebar.php, ads.php, footer.php. If you work with a lot of view files for one page, it's a good practice to use the index constant. The layout can also be disabled for custom pages.


Optional libraries that are used throughout the framework can be autoloaded as well. Some of the libraries work better this way, like the Session class, or the Flash class which make use of their initialization in order to keep track of data.

// Example
Config::autoload('libraries', array('session', 'flash') );


By default, each controller requires a model with the same name, and each model must have the same name as the table it's representing in the database. To map a controller to another model, or to disable a model for the controller, the following settings can be used :

// Map the HomeController to the Global model.
Config::models( 'home', 'glob' );
// Disable the model
Config::disablemodels( array('home') );
// Another way to disable models
Config::models( 'home', '' );

Controllers don't require separate models in order to connect to the database. If a model is disabled for a controller, the controller can use the default model provided by the framework.


The standard way the framework handles a route is '/controller/action/parameter1/parameter2/parameter3'. You can change that by adding new routes to the config class. A route is added by specifying a string to match the url in the browser, and an array of strings containing the controller, action, and parameters to activate when the matched url is found. You can use the symbol '[*]' to match any number of parameters in the url.

The code below will match routes like 'home/photos/albums', 'home/music/categories' and send it to 'mycollections' controller, 'get' method, with parameters 'photos', 'albums' or 'music', 'categories'

Config::addRoute( 'home/[*]', array('mycollections', 'get', '[*] ) );

The number of parameters can also be limited :

// Minimum 2
Config::addRoute( 'home/[*>2]', array('mycollections', 'get', '[*] ) );
// Maximum 2
Config::addRoute( 'home/[*<2]', array('mycollections', 'get', '[*] ) );
//Exactly 2
Config::addRoute( 'home/[*2]', array('mycollections', 'get', '[*] ) );
//Between 2 and 5
Config::addRoute( 'home/[*>2]/[*<5]', array('mycollections', 'get', '[*] ) );