Definition of a Class

A class is user defined data type that contains attributes or data members; and methods which work on the data members. (You will learn more about data members and methods in following tutorials. This tutorial focuses only on learning how to create a Class in PHP5) To create a class, you need to use the keyword class followed by the name of the class. The name of the class should be meaningful to exist within the system (See note on naming a class towards the end of the article). The body of the class is placed between two curly brackets within which you declare class data members/variables and class methods. Example of a Class:
class Customer { private $first_name, $last_name; public function setData($first_name, $last_name) { $this->first_name = $first_name; $this->last_name = $last_name; } public function printData() { echo $this->first_name . " : " . $this->last_name; } }

In the above program, Customer is the name of the class and $first_name/$last_name are attributes or data members. setData() and printData() are methods of a class. We will discuss more about attributes and members in the upcoming articles on PHP5 OOPS Tutorials series.

Definition of an Object An object is a living instance of a class. This means that an object is created from the definition of the class and is loaded in memory. A good analogy to understand this is to compare objects with humans - and understand that all of us (you and I) are objects. If God wants to send a human to earth, what is easy for Him to do? Create and define properties and attributes of each human separately or create a one time template and generate objects out if it. Therefore, this onetime template is a Class and you, I & everyone in this world is an object - that is a living instance of class Human. Creating Objects in PHP5 Class To create an object of a PHP5 class we use the keyword new. Below is the syntax style of how to create objects in PHP5:

$obj_name = new ClassName();

In the above syntax style, $obj_name is a variable in PHP. ‘new’ is the keyword which is responsible for creating a new instance of ClassName.

class Customer { private $first_name, $last_name; public function getData($first_name, $last_name) { $this->first_name = $first_name; $this->last_name = $last_name; } public function printData() { echo $this->first_name . " : " . $this->last_name; } } $c1 = new Customer(); $c2 = new Customer();

In the above example $c1 and $c2 are two objects of the Customer Class. Both these objects are allocated different blocks in the memory. Look at the diagram below:

Therefore, an object is a living instance of a class. Each object / living instance has its own memory space that can hold independent data values. Definition of an class attribute An attribute is also know as data members and is used to hold data of a class. The data that it holds are specific to the nature of the class in which it has been defined. For example, a Customer class would hold data related to a customer, an Order class would hold data related a an order.

Attributes can either be public, private or protected - the default being public. These are called Access Specifiers.

Example Code:
class Customer { private $first_name, $last_name; private $outstanding_amount = 0; //example of default value public function getData($first_name, $last_name) { $this->first_name = $first_name; $this->last_name = $last_name; } public function printData() { echo $this->first_name . " : " . $this->last_name; } } $c1 = new Customer();

Objects as Attributes In addition to declaring attributes as intrinsic data types (int, string, etc), you can also declare data members as objects of another class. This is called aggregation in Object Oriented Analysis and Design (OOAD). Lets look at an example below:
class Customer { private $first_name, $last_name; private $outstanding_amount = 0; //example of default value public function getData($first_name, $last_name) { $this->first_name = $first_name; $this->last_name = $last_name; } public function printData() { echo $this->first_name . " : " . $this->last_name; }

}

class Order { private $order_id; private $customer; public setCust(Customer $c) { $this->customer = $c; } }

$c1 = new Customer(); $o1 = new Order(); $o1->setCust($c1); //storing $c1 object in $o1 order object

In the above example setCust() method accepts a Customer type of parameter which is stored internally in the $customer data member. The advantage of the above method is that it allows you to change the customer object independently of the order object. Imagine having to add 3 - 4 new data members to the Customer object. You only have to modify the Customer object without having the need to modify the Order Object.

Definition of Access Specifiers Access specifiers specify the level of access that the outside world (i.e. other class objects, external functions and global level code) have on the class methods and class data members. Access specifiers can either be public, private or protected. Why do we need Access specifiers Access specifiers are used as a key component of Encapsulation and Data Hiding. By using either of the access specifiers mentioned above i.e. public, private or protected you can hide or show the internals of your class to the outside world. Explanation of each access specifier 1. Private 2. Protected 3. Public 1. Private A private access specifier is used to hide the data member or member function to the outside world. This means that only the class that defines such data member and member functions have access them. Look at the example below: Example:
class Customer { private $name; public function setName($name) { $this->name = $name; } public function getName() { return $this->name; } }

// this does not give an error. $c->setName("Sunil Bhatia"). rest of the script). public function setName($name) { $this->name = $name. // this will work as it is public.e.$c = new Customer(). $name cannot be accessed from outside the class //$name can only be accessed from within the class echo $c->getName(). $c->name = "New Name" . //error. echo $c->name. Therefore. We can also say that a protected data member is public for the class . A public access specifier allows the outside world to access/modify the data members directly unlike the private access specifier. } } $c = new Customer(). A data member or member function declared as protected will be accessed by its class and its base class but not from the outside world (i. 3. //this works. the following line echo $c->getName() will display the name. } public function getName() { return $this->name. 2. as the methods of the class have access //to the private data members or methods In the above example. echo $c->name. $c->setName("Sunil Bhatia"). In the above example. Look at the example below: Example: class Customer { public $name. echo $c->name will work as it has been declared as public and hence can be accessed by class member functions and the rest of the script. echo $c->name will give you an error as $name in class Customer has been declared private and hence only be accessed by its member functions internally. Public A public access specifier provides the least protection to the internal data members and member functions. Protected A protected access specifier is mainly used with inheritance.

//this is storing $name to the Customer //class $name variable. public function setData($name. $dc->setData("Sunil Bhatia".that declares it and it’s child class. This means that if you don’t specify an access specifier for a data member or method then the default ‘public’ is applicable Definition of an class method A class method/functions is the behavior/functionality of a class i. echo $dc->name. public function setName($name) { $this->name = $name. Look at the example below: class Customer { protected $name. // this does not work as $name is protected and hence // only available in Customer and DiscountCustomer class In the above example. } } class DiscountCustomer extends Customer { private $discount. Examples could be a saveCustomer() method in the class Customer or a printDocument() in the Document class.e. . they provide the necessary code for the class in which it is defined. This works // as it is a protected variable $this->discount = $discount. but is private for the rest of the program (outside world).10). Important Note of Access Specifier in PHP5 In PHP5. } public function getName() { return $this->name. echo $dc->name will not work work $name has been defined as a protected variable and hence it is only available in Customer and DiscountCustomer class. access specifiers are public by default. } } $dc = new DiscountCustomer(). $discount) { $this->name = $name.

Methods act (perform operations) on the data members of the class and can be declared as private or public. $name. Methods can also be declared as either public. return true. protected or private. public function setName($name) { if(trim($name) != "") { $this->name = $name. } } } $c1 = new Customer(). it’s just that class functions are declared inside classes and accessed using the -> (arrow operator / dereferencing operator).e. $c1->setName("Sunil Bhatia"). . $c1->setName("Sunil Bhatia"). class Customer { private $name. } } $c1 = new Customer(). otherwise it stores the $name in the $this->name of the class and returns true. In the above example setName() is the class method of the Customer class. A class method is exactly similar to PHP functions. The setName() class method is responsible for accepting the name of the customer and storing it in the internal data member i. } else { return false. Example Code: class Customer { private $name. In the above example the setName() method accepts a customer’s name and validates to check if $name is blank. public functionsetName($name) { $this->name = $name. If $name is blank the setName() function returns false.

PHP5 will first search for __construct() method and execute it if available.Definition of a Constructor A constructor is a special function of a class that is automatically executed whenever an object of a class gets instantiated. $outstanding_amount = 0. public function __construct() { $first_name = "". } . PHP5 searches for __construct() first. if you define both. private $last_name. opening database connections or socket connections. This naming style has been introduced in PHP5. $last_name = "". private $outstanding_amount. class Customer { public function __construct() { //code } } Example class Customer { private $first_name. However. In PHP4. In PHP5 a constructor is defined by implementing the __construct() method. If __construct() is not defined it then searches for a method with the same that of the class. otherwise it will execute the same class name function. the name of the constructor was the same name as that of the class. It’s special because it is automatically executed or called when an object of a class is created. When an object is created. In simple terms. Why do we need a Constructor? It is needed as it provides an opportunity for doing necessary setup operations like initializing class variables. it is needed to setup the object before it can be used. etc. PHP5 to be backward complaint also supports the PHP4 rule.

Example: class Customer { private $first_name. the ‘new’ operator is responsible for creating the Customer class. echo "Outstanding Amount : " . $this->last_name ."Bhatia". $outstanding_amount) $this->first_name = $first_name. "\n". it calls the constructor method i. $this->last_name = $last_name. } public function printData() { . } public function printData() { echo "Name : " . $outstanding_amount). in PHP5 you cannot overload constructors. $this->outstanding_amount . $this->last_name = $last_name. Therefore. $last_name. } { public function setData($first_name. "\n". $first_name . At this point PHP5 searches the Customer class to see if a constructor has been defined. " " . we create a new object of the Customer class. private $last_name. The __construct() method sets the $first_name and $last_name to blank and sets the $outstanding_amount to zero. $outstanding_amount) { $this->setData($first_name. public function __construct($first_name. } $c1 = new Customer(). private $outstanding_amount.0).e. } Parameterized Constructor or Argument Constructor A parameterized or argument constructor is a constructor which accepts values in the form of arguments in the constructor. $last_name. $outstanding_amount) $this->first_name = $first_name. $last_name. In the above example on line number 26. $this->outstanding_amount = $outstanding_amount.{ public function setData($first_name. $last_name. $this->outstanding_amount = $outstanding_amount. Unlike other programming languages where overloaded argument constructors is possible. $c1->setData("Sunil". __construct() defined starting from line no 7.

$last_name and $outstanding_amount respectively. } An object of a class is destroyed Means 1. echo "Outstanding Amount : " . 2. "\n"."Bhatia". the concept of a destructor did not exist. $last_name = "". "\n". The constructor now takes 3 arguments and stores them in the internal private variable $first_name. when you specifically set it to null. 3. when you unset it or when the program execution is over. " " . public function __construct() { $first_name = "". A PHP5 destructor is defined by implementing the __destruct() method.0). Definition of a Destructor A destructor is a special function of a class that is automatically executed whenever an object of a class is destroyed. In the above example on line number 24. we create a new object $c1 and pass values “Sunil”. private $outstanding_amount.echo "Name : " . it goes out of scope. $first_name . In PHP4 however. $this->outstanding_amount . private $last_name. $this->last_name . “Bhatia” and zero to the constructor defined on line number starting 7. } $c1 = new Customer("Sunil". Important Note: A destructor cannot take any arguments. . class Customer { public function __destructor() { //code } } Example: class Customer { private $first_name.

private $customer. } public function __destruct() { unset($this->order_id). In the above example on line number 45. $c1->setData("Sunil". $c1). $this->customer = $customer. $this->last_name = $last_name.e. unset($this->customer). } } $order_id = "L0001". $outstanding_amount) $this->first_name = $first_name. public function setData($first_name. the object goes out of scope because the program stops execution after line 45 and hence the destructor is automatically called. After the program completes its execution. $first_name . "\n". $this->outstanding_amount = $outstanding_amount. $order_id and $customer object. $c1 = new Customer(). Accessor Methods: Accessor methods are also know as getter methods. $last_name.} { $outstanding_amount = 0. $last_name . $o = new Order($order_id. public function __construct($order_id. $outstanding_amount . } public function printData() { echo "Name : " ."Bhatia". The argument constructor of the Order class takes two parameters i.0). " " . $customer) { $this->order_id = $order_id. In real OOAD practice most of the data members that you define would either be private or protected (more on this will be covered in the tutorial on Access specifiers). The reason why we need an accessor method is to be able to read the value of a property/attribute in a class object. "\n". } } class Order { private $order_id. echo "Outstanding Amount : " . we create a new object of the Order class. therefore to access data of such data members .

The getName() returns the name stored in the $name data member of the $c1 object. Output: Sunil Bhatia In the above example the setName() method accepts a customer’s name and validates to check if $name is blank. you should not provide a getter or accessor method. return true. Mutator methods provides a mechanism to store data in data members that have either been declared as private or protected. } else { return false. The reason why you should provide a mutator method is to provide necessary validation on the data that is to be stored in the data member of the class. Mutator Methods: Mutator methods are opposite to accessor methods. } } //accessor method public getName() { return $this->name. otherwise it stores the $name in the $this->name of the class and returns true. $c1->setName("Sunil Bhatia"). Note: To make a property or data member as read only. Note: To make a property or data member as non-read only. Lets look at an example of accessor and mutator methods below: class Customer { private $name. . If $name is blank the setName() function returns false. //mutator method public function setName($name) { if(trim($name) != "") { $this->name = $name.that have been defined as either private or protected will require an implementation of accessor or getter methods. echo $c1->getName(). you should not provide a setter or mutator method. } } $c1 = new Customer().

if($p1 instanceof Person) echo "True". Behaviour of instanceOf operator in inheritance class Customer extends Person { . which has been replaced by the instanceOf operator in PHP5. look at the example below: class Person { . class Person { . .e. In the above example. if($p1 instanceof $p2) echo "True". we are comparing to check if $p1 and $p2 belong to the same class i. In this case $p1 and $p2 both belong to the same class Person and hence the output is True. $c1 = new Customer(). } $p1 = new Person(). Please note that line number 8 can also be written as if($p2 instanceof $p1) and will yield the same output.. You can also use instanceOf operator to compare an object with the name of the class..PHP5 introduces a new operator by the name of instanceOf. In PHP4 a similar functionality existed with a method is_a(). instanceOf is used to check if two objects passed as operands belong to the same class. } $p1 = new Person(). } $p1 = new Person().... else echo "False". In this case $p1 is a Person type of object and hence the output is True.. else echo "False". on line number 7 $p1 object is being compared to check if its a Person type of object. $p2 = new Person(). In the above example. This check can also happen when an object is compared with a class name. Person.

Outside the class definition we echo the value of the constant by using the scope resolution operator (::) like this Customer::TYPES. In the above example. else echo "False". However the reverse is not possible.if($c1 instanceof $p1) echo "True". Output: Echo from showConstant() : Anything . look at the example below: class Customer { const TYPES = "Anything". Constants To declare a constant in a class. we cannot compare if($p1 instanceof $c1) and will result in an error. $c->showConstant(). public function showConstant() { echo "Echo from showConstant() : " . reason . Customer::TYPES. The answer is no. PHP5 provides developers with a new keyword i. } echo "Types are : " . } } $c = new Customer().because a constant belongs to the class definition scope and not to an object. Customer::TYPES. const is a keyword and TYPES is the name of the constant. just that the Customer class is a specialized form of the Person class and therefore this becomes possible. Observe that we don’t need to create an object of the class to make use of the constant. The next logical question is if we can create an object of the Customer class and using the scope resolution operator access the constant. const. In the above example. on line number 8 $c1 child class object is being compared with $p1 which is a parent class object.e. Example of accessing Constants within a function class Customer { const TYPES = "Anything". This is possible because Customer class is a child of the Person Class.

Some observations on Constants 1. Arrays. 2. Only a string or numeric value can be assigned to a constant. private $record_date. Variables defined as constants cannot be changed. Look at the example below: class Person { private $name. Objects & Expressions cannot be assigned to a constant. public function getName() { return $this->name. A class constant can only be accessed via the scope resolution operator (::) executed on the class name. 4. In PHP5 only single inheritance is allowed. 5.// getName() is in Person } } In the above example. class Customer extends from the Person class. } } class Customer extends Person { private $customer_id. public getCustomerId() { return $this->customer_id. 3. private $address. public & protected) Definition of Inheritance: Inheritance is the mechanism of deriving a new class from an existing class. The child class Customer extends the method getName() and calls it in the getCustomerName() method of the Customer class. . } public getCustomerName() { return $this->getName(). you should use the keyword ‘extends’ in the class definition. This means that Customer class is the child class and the Person base class. These inherited attributes and behaviors are usually modified by means of extension. PHP5 Inheritance To inherit in PHP5. It allows a subclass / child class to share/inherit the attributes and behaviors of a base-class or parent class. A class constant cannot have <a>access specifiers</a> assigned to it (private.

A method or data member declared as private can only be accessed by the class itself and neither the outside program nor the derived class can have access to it. Let’s understand the use of Access Specifiers with context to Inheritance. causes an error as we are trying to access $name that has been declared as a private member variable. echo “Name : ” . 2. //causes an error In the above example. public function __construct($name. Lets look at an example below: class Customer { private $name. $c->name. Lets look at how three access specifiers viz. } } $c = new Customer("Sunil". public $age. $this->age = $age. $age) { $this->name = $name. public A public access specifier allows the data members and methods to be access from anywhere in the script. $age) { . private A private access specifier is used to hide data and member functions. the statement. Please note that all data members and member functions are public by default. We can however access the $age data member without any limitation as its public."28"). Note: When you define a method as private that method can only be called from within that class and not from outside that is the global level script. Lets look at an example below: class Customer { private $name. public and protected behave in Inheritance: 1. public function __construct($name. Access specifiers specify the level of access that the outside world (other objects and functions) have on the data members / member functions of the class. $c->name. echo "Name : " . public $age. private.Inheritance and Access Specifiers You can refer to the Access specifiers tutorial to understand what it means.

//this causes error as $name is protected and not public In the above example. the statement. prints 28 on the screen as $age is a public variable and hence can be accessed from anywhere in the script. the above statement would have raised an error. the statement. Had this been private. //prints 28 In the above example. in the setName() function is referring to the $name data member of the Person class. $c1->name = "Sunil". class Person { protected $name. echo "Age : " . $c1->name = “Sunil”. $c1->setName("Sunil"). . $c->. } } $c1 = new Customer(). $this->age = $age. Please note that if you declare any data member or method without a access specifier it is considered as ‘public’. This access is only possible because the $name variable has been declared as protected.age. raises an error as $name in the Person class has been declared as protected and not public. protected A protected access specifier allows the derived class to access the data member or member functions of the base class. whereas disallows global access to other objects and functions. echo “Age : ” . in the statement towards the end. Further. 3."28"). } } $c = new Customer("Sunil". } class Customer extends Person { function setName($name) { //this works as $name is protected in Person $this->name = $name. $this->name = $name.$this->name = $name. $c->age.

Each of these classes have overridden the method fly() and have provided their own implementation of the fly() method that has been extended from the Bird class. . The Bird class has methods defined to eat. Definition of Method Overriding: Method overriding is when the function of base class is re-defined with the same name. function signature and access specifier (either public or protected) of the derived class. Imagine that you have a class by the name of Bird from which you derive two child classes viz. } } $e = new Eagle(). Output: Fly method of the Eagle Class called Fly method of the Swift Class called In the above example.PHP5 Inheritance . etc. Eagle and Swift. lets define method overriding. fly. $e->fly(). The reason to override method is to provide additional functionality over and above what has been defined in the base class. $s->fly(). but each of the specialized classes viz Eagle and Swift will have its own style of flying and hence would need to override the flying functionality. but before we understand how to override methods in PHP5. $s = new Swift(). } } class Eagle extends Bird { public function fly() { echo "Fly method of the Eagle Class called". } } class Swift extends Bird { public function fly() { echo "Fly method of the Swift Class called". echo "\n". The manner in which they have been extended the Bird class fly() method is not called as both these classes have provided a new functionality for the fly() method.Method Overriding Lets learn how to override methods in PHP5. we create two objects of class Eagle and Swift. Lets look at an example with Bird: class Bird { public function fly() { echo "Fly method of Bird Class called".

To invoke a parent class method you should use the keyword parent followed by the scope resolution operator followed by the name of the method as mentioned below: parent::function_name(). . $c1->calculateAge("something"). $p1->calculateAge("something More"). } } class Customer extends Person{ public function showData() { parent::showData(). echo "This is Customer's showData()\n". Look at the example below: class Person { public function showData() { echo "This is Person's showData()\n". it’s functionality is completely hidden unless it has been explicitly invoked from the child class. $c->showData(). $p1 = new Person(). } } class Customer extends Person { function calculateAge($dob) { echo "calculateAge called of Customer Class\n". } } $c1 = new Customer().Another example of function overriding in Inheritance class Person { function calculateAge($dob) { echo "calculateAge called of Person Class\n". } } $c = new Customer().Invoking parent methods When you override a method of the base class. Output: calculateAge called of Customer Class calculateAge called of Person Class PHP5 Inheritance .

Output: This is Person’s __construct() This is Customer’s __construct() This is Person’s __destruct() This is Customer’s __destruct() What is an exception? . } public function __destruct() { parent::__destruct(). echo "This is Customer's __destruct()\n". After the parent class’s showData() function complets its execution the remaining code in showData() function of the Customer class is executed.Invoking parent Constructor and Destructor We can get the parent PHP5 constructor and PHP5 Destructor to be invoked in the same way as invoking the parent method. echo "This is Customer's __construct()\n". PHP5 Inheritance .Output: This is Person’s showData() This is Customer’s showData() In the above example. When the program executes the showData() method if the Customer class is called which inturn calls the showData() function of the parent class. } } $c = new Customer(). look at the way in which the showData() function in the Customer child class is invoking the the Person parent class’s showData() function. refer to the example below: class Person{ public function __construct() { echo "This is Person's __construct()\n". } public function __destruct() { echo "This is Person's __destruct()\n". } } class Customer extends Person{ public function __construct() { parent::__construct().

The exception could either be raised by the system or the program itself it the exception cannot be handled and the caller script/function needs to be informed about the same. the method check() is called between the try {} block. The catch block expects the Exception type of object as a parameter. public function __construct($message = null. echo "Code : " . The exception class accepts two parameters. The use of a try…catch block PHP5 introduces the try…catch block to trap exceptions. private $string. Anatomy of PHP5 Exception class class Exception { protected protected protected protected $message. private $trace. } catch(Exception $e) { echo "Message : " . $file.Error Code). Look at the example below. The try{} block is the area where you will place your code that could raise an exception. The statement following ‘throw’ is the syntax of creating a new object of Exception type. try { check(). . } } In the above example. we raise an Exception using the ‘throw’ keyword. $code = 0). $e->getCode(). public function __toString().An exception is a logical/system error that occurs during the normal execution of a script. In the function check(). $line. $code. } function check() { if(some error condition) { throw new Exception("Error String". final public function getCode(). Within the catch() {} block you will place your logic to either fix the issue or log the error. Below the try{} block is the catch() {} block. $e->getMessage(). The left parameter is a string that is the error message and the right parameter is the integer error code that you wish to assign to that error.

} Output: Error Message : CustomerException has been raised Error Code : 101 What is an Abstract Class? . $code = 0) { $t_message = "Exception raised in CustomerException ". $code).= "with message : " . } } function testException() { throw new CustomerException("CustomerException has been raised". public function getFile(). parent::__construct($t_message. $message. In the above example. public function getTraceAsString(). public function getTrace(). public function getLine().101).final final final final final final } public function getMessage(). $t_message . Extending the Exception class You can also extend the exception class as follows: class CustomerException extends Exception { public function __construct($message = null. echo "Error Code : " $e->getCode(). except for __construct and __toString(). no other method can be overridden as all other methods are ‘final’. } catch(CustomerException $e) { echo "Error Message : " $e->getMessage(). private __clone(). } try { testException().

the method getPrice() in class Furniture has been declared as Abstract. Objects of an abstract and interface class cannot be created i. $l) { $this->height = $h.g. $this->price = $p. } //this function is declared as abstract and hence the function //body will have to be provided in the child class public abstract function getPrice(). $p) { parent::setData($h. $this->width = $w. public setData($h. the keyword abstract is to be used e. $w. This means that its the responsibility of the child class to provide the functionality of getPrice(). Private methods cannot be abstract . only objects of concrete class can be created To define a class as Abstract. width. $l. $w. abstract class ClassName {} Example of Abstract Class abstract class Furniture { private $height. } //this is the function body of the parent abstract method public function getPrice() { return $this->price. The child class must provide the functionality not provided by the abstract class or else the child class also becomes abstract. } } In the above example. $w. The BookShelf class is a child of the Furniture class and hence provides the function body for getPrice(). public function setData($h.An abstract class is a class with or without data members that provides some functionality and leaves the remaining functionality for its child class to implement. length. } class BookShelf extends Furniture { private $price. $this->length = $l. $l).e.

If a method is defined as abstract then it cannot be declared as private (it can only be public or protected). This is because a private method cannot be inherited. } } $p = new Document(). } } class Indexer { public function readAndIndex(Storable $s) { $textData = $s->getContentsAsText(). } class Document implements Storable { public function getContentsAsText() { return "This is Text of the Document\n". keyword implements is used. //do necessary logic to index echo $textData. . To extend from an Interface. An interface enables you to specify that an object is capable of performing a certain function. abstract class BaseClass { private abstract function myFun(). this means that it leaves for classes implementing an interface to define its behaviour. $i->readAndIndex($p). } class DerivedClass extends BaseClass { public function myFun() { //logic here } } $d = new DerivedClass(). but it does not necessarily tell you how the object does so. $i = new Indexer(). We can have a class extend from more than one Interface. //will cause error What is an Interface? An interface is a contract between unrelated objects to perform a common function. interface Storable { function getContentsAsText().

With Object Oriented language polymorphism happens: When the decision to invoke a function call is made by inspecting the object at runtime it is called Polymorphism Why method polymorphism cannot be achieved The reason why polymorphism for methods is not possible in PHP is because you can have a method that accepts two parameters and call it by passing three parameters. An abstract class can provide some functionality and leave the rest for derived class 2. An interface cannot contain any functionality. In C you have two methods with the same name that have different function signatures and hence by passing the correct function signature you can invoke the correct method. float). we declare a method getContentsAsText() in the Document class. Using the Storable interface above. Document and the Indexer class are two independant classes. . The Indexer class is designed to index the contents of any text. The derived class may or may not override the concrete functions defined in base class 3. hence we can call getContentsAsText() method on the object of Document. The meaning with Object Oriented languages changes.In the above example. Polymorphism means many forms. The derived class must provide code for all the methods defined in the interface 3. This way any class if it implements the method getContentsAsText() can get indexed Difference between Abstract Class and Interface Abstract Classes 1. This is how polymorphism is achieved in languages like C where in a function sum(int. Completely different and non-related classes can be logically be grouped together using an interface Meaning of Polymorphism Polymorphism is derived from two Greek words. The child class extended from an abstract class should logically be related Interface 1. Poly (meaning many) and morph (meaning forms). int) differs from sum(float. It only contains definitions of the methods 2. This is because PHP is not strict and contains methods like func_num_args() and func_get_arg() to find the number of arguments passed and get a particular parameter. Therefore the method sum() has many forms depending on the parameters being passed to it. Because the Indexer class is only concerned with the TEXT.

Lets look at an example: class BaseClass { public function myMethod() { echo "BaseClass method called". as per the definition “When the decision to invoke a function call is made by inspecting the object at runtime it is called Polymorphism”. The basis of polymorphism is Inheritance and overridden methods. In the above example. This is because PHP is not strict and contains methods like func_num_args() and func_get_arg() to find the number of arguments passed and get a particular parameter. PHP 5 Polymorphism Since PHP 5 introduces the concept of Type Hinting. this is why method polymorphism is not possible. } } class DerivedClass extends BaseClass { public function myMethod() { echo "DerivedClass method called". processClass($c). The parameter accepted in processClass() is that of BassClass. . it would not be wrong to assume that myMethod() of class BaseClass will be called. myMethod() will be called on object DerievedClass. object $c of class DerievedClass is executed and passed to the processClass() method. The reason why this happens is because the object of DerievedClass is being passed and hence the method myMethod() of DerievedClass will be called. Why method polymorphism cannot be achieved The reason why polymorphism for methods is not possible in PHP is because you can have a method that accepts two parameters and call it by passing three parameters. polymorphism is possible with class methods. Within the processClass() the method myMethod() is being called. Since the method is being called on the class variable of BaseClass.Because PHP is not type strict and allows variable arguments. } } function processClass(BaseClass $c) { $c->myMethod(). But. } $c = new DerivedClass().

But. this is why method polymorphism is not possible. PHP 5 Polymorphism Since PHP 5 introduces the concept of Type Hinting. In the above example. polymorphism is possible with class methods. } $c = new DerivedClass(). object $c of class DerievedClass is executed and passed to the processClass() method. Lets look at an example: class BaseClass { public function myMethod() { echo "BaseClass method called". The parameter accepted in processClass() is that of BassClass. Within the processClass() the method myMethod() is being called. as per the definition “When the decision to invoke a function call is made by inspecting the object at runtime it is called Polymorphism”. processClass($c). } } function processClass(BaseClass $c) { $c->myMethod(). Since the method is being called on the class variable of BaseClass. myMethod() will be called on object DerievedClass. it would not be wrong to assume that myMethod() of class BaseClass will be called.Because PHP is not type strict and allows variable arguments. } } class DerivedClass extends BaseClass { public function myMethod() { echo "DerivedClass method called". The basis of polymorphism is Inheritance and overridden methods. The reason why this happens is because the object of DerievedClass is being passed and hence the method myMethod() of DerievedClass will be called. PHP magic methods .

$c.”Bhatia”. public function __construct($firstName. $this->email = $email. Email = ” . Last Name = Bhatia. $email) { $this->firstName = $firstName. } } $c = new Customer(”Sunil”. $lastName. $email. $this->lastName = $lastName. The __toString() method is automatically called when an object in PHP5 is converted into a string for the purpose of display or concatenation Following is the example of the __toString() method: <?php class Customer { private $firstName. In the background the magic method __toString() is automatically called when such a conversion happens. } public function __toString() { return “Debug message from Customer Class : First Name = ” . $lastName. $this->lastName . $this->firstName . ?> Output: Customer Object is >> Debug message from Customer Class : First Name = Sunil. Email = email@domain.”email@domain.com See how in this example $c Customer Object got converted into a string type when used with the dot (. etc is not made available through the magic method __toString() .com”). therefore you should ensure that sensitive information like Credit Card information. Many applications are written to write object states in a log file.) concatenation operator. $this->email. Last Name = ” .PHP5 provides a magic method by the name of __toString() (double underscore followed by toString()) which is useful for debugging purposes. “. Security Tip: Be careful not to include sensitive data as part of the output as you could compromise security by leaking secure information. “. echo “Customer Object is >>” .

$c->name = “Sunil”.By default PHP is a Loosely typed language and therefore it is not necessary to declare variables before using them.com”. This also holds true for using class members. Look at an example below.com to the $email variable. } } $c = new Customer(). } public function __get($dt) { return $this->data[$dt]. $vl) { $this->data[$dt] = $vl. $c->name = “Sunil”. . See example below: <?php class Customer { public $name. Because of the above limitation. <?php class Customer { public $name. ?> Ideally in a strict language this would have been an error. __get() is used when value from an undefined variable is to be read and __set() is used when a value is to be assigned to a undefined variable of a class. } $c = new Customer(). // $name is set because its public $c->email = “email@domain. But. //assigning email@domain. __set() allows you to provide functionality to validate data being stored. // $name is set because its public $c->email = “email@domain.com to the $email variable. //assigning email@domain. private $data = array(). public function __set($dt. with PHP this works perfectly well as you can assign values to an undefined variable.com”. PHP engine provides two magic methods __get() and __set().

the value of which is the name of the variable that the program wants to test if the variable is set or not. $c->email = “email@domain. the magic method __set() is called.com”. The next step is to store these values into the $data array so that you could retrieve it later. The solution is that you raise an exception from within __set() method. public function __set($dt. When you echo $c->email. } } $c = new Customer(). The magic method __isset() method receives an argument .com is passed to $vl variable of the __set() method.the value of which is the name of the variable that the program wants to unset. The magic method __unset() method receives an argument . Look at the code below: <? class Customer { private $name. Tip: It is possible to stop this behavior of PHP to assign values to undefined issues.1). //this will cause an exception to be raised ?> magic methods __isset() and __unset() These methods are automatically called internally when isset() and unset() is called on undeclared data members. To this __set() method the name of the variable is passed into $dt variable of __set() method and the value i. ?> In the above example when email@domain.echo $c->email. $vl) { throw new Exception(”Cannot assign values to undefined variables”. .com is assigned to the undefined variable $email. __get() method is called and the name email is passed in the $dt of the __get() method.e. email@domain. The __get() method works in the similar fashion.

”\n”. The program assigns a string value to an undeclared variable i.Look at the example below: class Customer { private $data = array().e. } public function __get($dt) { return $this->data[$dt]. ‘name’ and unsets the internal array $data[’name’]. $c->name has been set or not using the PHP method isset(). Similarly.e. } public function __isset($dt) { return isset($this->data[$dt]). the PHP5 magic method __unset() is invoked that takes the name of the undeclared variable i. } public function __unset($dt) { return unset($this->data[dt]).e. $c->name. The undeclared variable is handled by the magic method __set(). public function __set($dt. $c->name. The program ties to check if the undeclared variable i. echo unset($c->name). In the example above the script creates a new Customer Object. ‘name’ and checks if the internal array $data[’name’] is set or not. $c->name = “Sunil Bhatia”. echo isset($c->name). } } $c = new Customer(). .. $vl) { $this->data[$dt] = $vl. when the program calls unset() on the undeclared variable i. These methods are automatically called internally when the program tires to execute a method that has not been defined within the class at the time of development.e.e. The magic method __call() is to undeclared methods what __get() and __set() are to undeclared data member. Since $c->name is an undeclared variable the PHP5 magic method __isset() is invoked that takes the name of the undeclared variable i.

e. The first parameter ‘$name’ contains the name of the method i. } } . } } $c = new Customer(). an object of the Customer class is created and an undeclared method viz. $c->setName is called. echo "\n". ’setName’ and the second parameter ‘$args’ contains the arguments passed to the ’setName’ method i. Look at the example below: class Customer { public function __call($name.e ‘Sunil’ & ‘Bhatia’. The magic method __call() is internally executed which accepts two parameters.The magic method __call() takes two arguments. echo "\n"."Bhatia"). Output: string(7) “setName” array(2) { [0]=> string(5) “Sunil” [1]=> string(6) “Bhatia” } In the example above. The first argument is the name of the undeclared method invoked by the program and the second is an array that contains a list of parameters passed to the undeclared array. Look at the example below: class Customer { public function __call($name. $args) { throw new Exception("Undeclared method execution not allowed". $args) { var_dump($name). $c->setName("Sunil". var_dump($args). you should raise an exception from within __call() magic method. you can provide code to handle calls to undeclared method.10). Using this method. To disallow programs to call an undeclared method.

php:6 Stack trace: #0 [internal function]: Customer->__call(’setName’. Therefore you need to include both the files i.php But this causes performance issues."Bhatia"). Therefore. Using the magic method __autoload has the beneficial side effect of requiring strict naming conventions for files that hold class definitions. an instance of class Orders would have to be created.php is not needed..$c = new Customer(). Output: Fatal error: Uncaught exception ‘Exception’ with message ‘Undeclared method execution not allowed’ in D:sunilbwebsiteprogsmagic_call. There is no performance penalty to pay.catch statements) Many people debate that the magic method __autoload() causes a performance overhead. The file orders. ‘Bhatia’) #2 {main} thrown in D:sunilbwebsiteprogsmagic_call.php file.php and orders. This is the reason why magic method __autoload() should be used.php is included. that is not the case. an exception is raised and the execution of the program stops there (unless we use the try.php is loaded only when needed. $c = new Customer(). This means that we should only have included the customer. $c->setName("Sunil". we would have to do additional programming to ensure that the file orders. there may be performance improvements if not all classes are used all the time. Look at the example below: . In the example displayed above. when the script calls an undeclared variable $c->setName(). Each time the above script is executed.php on line 6 In the above program. On executing the magic method __call(). we only need the customers. what if during execution on the basis of a condition.php(11): Customer->setName(’Sunil’. customer. But. To avoid this performance hit. In fact.php file. Look at the example below: include “customer. include “orders. the magic method __call() is executed. an instance of class Customer is created. Well.php”.e. orders. This is explained below.php”. Array) #1 D:sunilbwebsiteprogsmagic_call.

php file. } public function getName() { return $this->name. When an instance of the customer class is to be created. on the line when an instance of the customer class is created i.php has not been loaded. as stated earlier. It does not raise an warning on finding that Customer.e. Look at the example below: class Customer { private $name. .php'.php. unless the class is needed . } public function setCC($cc) { $this->credit_card_number = $cc. This magic method __sleep() does not accept any parameter and returns an array.php (with capital 'C') } $c = new Customer(). the PHP engine does not have to parse and compile an unnecessary file. Therefore. this offers performance improvements in your scripts because. private $credit_card_number. Working with the magic method __sleep() __sleep() magic method is called when the object of a class is about to be serialized. Therefore. it in turn calls the magic method __autoload(). you should not include it in the array. In the above program. object $c.function __autoload($class) { require $class . The array should contain a list of class members that should be serialized. Within the __autoload() method we call the ‘require’ method.’php’ file i. Therefore. public function setName($name) { $this->name = $name. magic method __autoload() is called with the parameter $class containing value ‘Customer’. '. we don’t explicitly include customer. The __autoload() magic method accepts a parameter which is the name of the class that needs to be loaded Therefore. This means that if you don’t wish to serialize a particular class member. the PHP engine checks to see if the file Customer. Customer. //is substituted as require Customer. The require method tries to load $class. Subsequent instantiation of the Customer class object will not call the __autoload() method again.php is loaded.e.files are not loaded.php and orders. the __autoload() method has its beneficial side effect of requiring strict file naming convention. The __autoload() method is called only once for each new class that needs to be loaded.

} public function __sleep() { return array("name")."\n". $c->setName("Sunil").} public function getCC() { return $this->credit_card_number. This magic method __wakeup() does not accept any parameter nor returns anything. Working with the magic method __wakeup() __wakeup() magic method is the opposite of the __sleep() method. you can see that the serialized string data only contains the name of the Customer Object. This is because the __sleep() magic method returned an array containing only the ‘name’ data member. only name is serialized } } $c = new Customer(). } public function setCC($cc) { $this->credit_card_number = $cc. } public function getName() { return $this->name. The __wakeup() method is responsible for setup operations after an object has been unserialized.s:5:”Sunil”. Look at the example below: class Customer { private $name. private $credit_card_number. $data = serialize($c). } public function getCC() { return $this->credit_card_number. public function setName($name) { $this->name = $name.} In the above example. $c->setCC("1234567890123456"). Output: O:8:”Customer”:1:{s:14:” Customer name”. It is called when the object of a class is about to be unserialized."\n". echo $data. } . //because of this.

Look at the diagram below. var_dump(unserialize($data)).e. With objects $obj2 = $obj1 does not mean that a new object i. With regular variables $a = $b means that a new variable $a gets created that contains the value of $b. $data = serialize($c). you can see that after the $c object has been serialized and the output stored in $data variable. } } } $c = new Customer(). Output: object(Customer)#2 (2) { [”name:private”]=> string(5) “Sunil” [”credit_card_number:private”]=> string(16) “1234567890123456″ } In the above example. Before the object is unserizlied and object created. This means that $obj1 and $obj2 point to the same memory space.public function __sleep() { return array("name"). This means that 2 variables get created. $c->setCC("1234567890123456")."\n". To clone an object means to create a duplicate of an object. $c->setName("Sunil"). In the __wakeup() method you should ideally make a database call to fetch data of the missing member variable. we use the $data variable and pass it to the unserialize(). } public function __wakeup() { if($this->name == "Sunil") { //you would ideally fetch CC data from Database $this->credit_card_number = "1234567890123456". the reference of $obj1 is assigned to $obj2. the __wakeup() method is called. $obj2 gets created. When we execute $obj2 = $obj1. .

//only reference or memory assigned to $c2 $c2->setName("Vishal")."\n". when you set a new name in the $c2 object . to create a new $obj2 object we must clone an object to create a new one. therefore."\n". Example below: $obj2 = clone $obj1. Therefore. Therefore. To clone an PHP5 Object a special keyword i. Output: Vishal Vishal In the above example. . $c2 = $c1. changes made to one object are also reflected in the other. $c1->setName("Sunil"). echo $c1->getName(). public function setName($name) { $this->name = $name. echo $c2->getName().Lets look at an example where only references are assigned to another object: class Customer { private $name. } } $c1 = new Customer(). $c2 has the reference of $c1.e. After the above line is executed $obj2 with a new memory space is created with the data members having the same value as that of $obj1. when an object is assigned as a reference.$c1 object changes as well. clone is used. This is also referred to as shallow copy. } public function getName() { return $this->name.

the cloned object continues to share the reference of the data member object of the class that was cloned.. this technique will not work with a class that has a data member which is an object of another class. This is internally represented as $c2 = $c1. $c->setName($this->name).e. However. You could also provide the implementation of __clone() magic method even when you don’t have an aggregated object. Lets explore a very simple example of cloning intrinsic data types: class Customer { private $name. To implement a ‘deep copy‘ you should implement the magic method __clone().The above technique works with a class having data members that are of intrinsic type i. boolean. observe the line where the statement $c2 = clone $c1 is executed. } public function __clone() { $c = new Customer(). } } $c1 = new Customer(). } public function getName() { return $this->name. string. $c2 = clone $c1. Output: Sunil Vishal In the above example. int. $c1->setName("Sunil"). you cannot explicitly call the __clone() . However. To allow aggregated objects (i."\n". You would want to do this for providing necessary clean up operations. return $c.__clone()."\n". //new object $c2 created $c2->setName("Vishal"). data members that are objects of another class) to also get cloned properly we need to use the concept of ‘deep copy‘ as opposed to ‘shallow copy‘. So. etc.e. how do we resolve this issue? Doing a regular shallow copy won’t help us. echo $c1->getName(). conversions or validations. In such a scenario. float. echo $c2->getName(). public function setName($name) { $this->name = $name.

} } class Customer { private $name. Now that $c1 and $c2 are two individual objects.e. data members that are objects of another class) To clone a class having aggregated objects. } public function getName() { return $this->name. } public function __clone() { . } public function setCustomer(Customer $customer) { $this->customer = clone $customer. Cloning aggregate objects (i. Please refer to the example below: class Order { private $order_id. $o->setCustomer($this->customer). changes made to one object is not reflected in the other. public function setName($name) { $this->name = $name. private $customer. Seems like a bug to me $this->customer = clone $this->customer. } public function getCustomer() { return $this->customer. } public function getOrderId() { return $this->order_id. //force a copy of the same object to itself. you should perform ‘deep copy‘. } public function __clone() { $o = new Order(). return $o. otherwise //it takes the same instance.method on an object as the __clone() is automatically called. public function setOrderId($order_id) { $this->order_id = $order_id. $o->setOrderId($this->order_id).

therefore changes made to one object is not reflected in another. $c->setName("Sunil"). $c = new Customer(). This example implements the concepts of ‘deep copy‘. var_dump($o2). var_dump($o1). var_dump($c). $c->setName($this->name). return $c. $o2->getCustomer()->setName("Vishal"). $o1->setCustomer($c). $o1->setOrderId("OD0001"). . $o1 = new Order(). Output: object(Customer)#1 (1) { [”name:private”]=> string(5) “Sunil” } object(Order)#2 (2) { [”order_id:private”]=> string(6) “OD0001″ [”customer:private”]=> object(Customer)#3 (1) { [”name:private”]=> string(5) “Sunil” } } object(Order)#4 (2) { [”order_id:private”]=> string(6) “OD0001″ [”customer:private”]=> object(Customer)#6 (1) { [”name:private”]=> string(6) “Vishal” } } In the above example both $o1 and $o2 have their own set of customer objects.} } $c = new Customer(). $o2 = clone $o1.

. For some reason it is necessary to do this for proper working of aggregated cloning.A special note on $this->customer = clone $this->customer.