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; } }

2. 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. // this does not give an error. // this will work as it is public. public function setName($name) { $this->name = $name. $c->setName("Sunil Bhatia"). $name cannot be accessed from outside the class //$name can only be accessed from within the class echo $c->getName(). 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.e. In the above example. } public function getName() { return $this->name. 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. Therefore. rest of the script). the following line echo $c->getName() will display the name. echo $c->name. 3. echo $c->name. } } $c = new Customer(). $c->name = "New Name" . Protected A protected access specifier is mainly used with inheritance.$c = new Customer(). as the methods of the class have access //to the private data members or methods In the above example. //this works. //error. $c->setName("Sunil Bhatia"). Look at the example below: Example: class Customer { public $name. Public A public access specifier provides the least protection to the internal data members and member functions. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please note that all data members and member functions are public by default. 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. public and protected behave in Inheritance: 1. $c->name. echo "Name : " . Lets look at an example below: class Customer { private $name. $age) { $this->name = $name. Lets look at an example below: class Customer { private $name. 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. Lets look at how three access specifiers viz. private. public A public access specifier allows the data members and methods to be access from anywhere in the script. Let’s understand the use of Access Specifiers with context to Inheritance. We can however access the $age data member without any limitation as its public. echo “Name : ” . public function __construct($name. causes an error as we are trying to access $name that has been declared as a private member variable. private A private access specifier is used to hide data and member functions."28"). public function __construct($name. $c->name.Inheritance and Access Specifiers You can refer to the Access specifiers tutorial to understand what it means. $this->age = $age. public $age. } } $c = new Customer("Sunil". $age) { . //causes an error In the above example. 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. the statement. public $age. 2.

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

$s->fly(). we create two objects of class Eagle and Swift. The Bird class has methods defined to eat. } } $e = new Eagle(). The reason to override method is to provide additional functionality over and above what has been defined in the base class. 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.Method Overriding Lets learn how to override methods in PHP5. Output: Fly method of the Eagle Class called Fly method of the Swift Class called In the above example. Definition of Method Overriding: Method overriding is when the function of base class is re-defined with the same name. 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. fly. $e->fly(). $s = new Swift(). lets define method overriding. Eagle and Swift. Lets look at an example with Bird: class Bird { public function fly() { echo "Fly method of Bird Class called".PHP5 Inheritance . echo "\n". Imagine that you have a class by the name of Bird from which you derive two child classes viz. . 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. but before we understand how to override methods in PHP5. function signature and access specifier (either public or protected) of the derived class. } } class Swift extends Bird { public function fly() { echo "Fly method of the Swift Class called". } } class Eagle extends Bird { public function fly() { echo "Fly method of the Eagle Class called". etc.

$c->showData(). } } class Customer extends Person{ public function showData() { parent::showData(). } } $c = new Customer(). $c1->calculateAge("something").Another example of function overriding in Inheritance class Person { function calculateAge($dob) { echo "calculateAge called of Person Class\n". Look at the example below: class Person { public function showData() { echo "This is Person's showData()\n". $p1->calculateAge("something More"). 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(). echo "This is Customer's showData()\n". $p1 = new Person(). } } $c1 = new Customer(). } } class Customer extends Person { function calculateAge($dob) { echo "calculateAge called of Customer Class\n".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 . . it’s functionality is completely hidden unless it has been explicitly invoked from the child class.

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

private $trace. Below the try{} block is the catch() {} block. } function check() { if(some error condition) { throw new Exception("Error String". 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. . we raise an Exception using the ‘throw’ keyword.Error Code). In the function check(). $code = 0). The try{} block is the area where you will place your code that could raise an exception. $e->getMessage(). } catch(Exception $e) { echo "Message : " . The statement following ‘throw’ is the syntax of creating a new object of Exception type. 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. private $string. Anatomy of PHP5 Exception class class Exception { protected protected protected protected $message. $line. try { check(). public function __toString(). public function __construct($message = null. echo "Code : " . The use of a try…catch block PHP5 introduces the try…catch block to trap exceptions. the method check() is called between the try {} block. final public function getCode(). $code. The catch block expects the Exception type of object as a parameter. $file. } } In the above example. Look at the example below. $e->getCode(). Within the catch() {} block you will place your logic to either fix the issue or log the error. The exception class accepts two parameters.An exception is a logical/system error that occurs during the normal execution of a script.

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

} } In the above example. abstract class ClassName {} Example of Abstract Class abstract class Furniture { private $height. width. public setData($h. $this->length = $l. $w. The child class must provide the functionality not provided by the abstract class or else the child class also becomes abstract. $this->price = $p. Private methods cannot be abstract . $w. public function setData($h. the method getPrice() in class Furniture has been declared as Abstract. The BookShelf class is a child of the Furniture class and hence provides the function body for getPrice(). $p) { parent::setData($h. $l) { $this->height = $h. length. $this->width = $w. only objects of concrete class can be created To define a class as Abstract.e. the keyword abstract is to be used e. This means that its the responsibility of the child class to provide the functionality of getPrice(). } class BookShelf extends Furniture { private $price. } //this is the function body of the parent abstract method public function getPrice() { return $this->price. $l. $l).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. } //this function is declared as abstract and hence the function //body will have to be provided in the child class public abstract function getPrice(). $w. Objects of an abstract and interface class cannot be created i.g.

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

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. int) differs from sum(float. float). Using the Storable interface above.In the above example. The Indexer class is designed to index the contents of any text. The meaning with Object Oriented languages changes. Therefore the method sum() has many forms depending on the parameters being passed to it. Document and the Indexer class are two independant classes. 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. An interface cannot contain any functionality. An abstract class can provide some functionality and leave the rest for derived class 2. Polymorphism means many forms. hence we can call getContentsAsText() method on the object of Document. The child class extended from an abstract class should logically be related Interface 1. The derived class must provide code for all the methods defined in the interface 3. 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. It only contains definitions of the methods 2. The derived class may or may not override the concrete functions defined in base class 3. we declare a method getContentsAsText() in the Document class. 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. Poly (meaning many) and morph (meaning forms). Because the Indexer class is only concerned with the TEXT. . This way any class if it implements the method getContentsAsText() can get indexed Difference between Abstract Class and Interface Abstract Classes 1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look at the diagram below."\n". $obj2 gets created. the __wakeup() method is called. $c->setName("Sunil"). In the __wakeup() method you should ideally make a database call to fetch data of the missing member variable. This means that 2 variables get created. $data = serialize($c). Before the object is unserizlied and object created. Output: object(Customer)#2 (2) { [”name:private”]=> string(5) “Sunil” [”credit_card_number:private”]=> string(16) “1234567890123456″ } In the above example. $c->setCC("1234567890123456"). To clone an object means to create a duplicate of an object. } } } $c = new Customer(). 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. When we execute $obj2 = $obj1. This means that $obj1 and $obj2 point to the same memory space. .e. you can see that after the $c object has been serialized and the output stored in $data variable. we use the $data variable and pass it to the unserialize(). the reference of $obj1 is assigned to $obj2.public function __sleep() { return array("name"). var_dump(unserialize($data)). } public function __wakeup() { if($this->name == "Sunil") { //you would ideally fetch CC data from Database $this->credit_card_number = "1234567890123456".

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

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

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

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. therefore changes made to one object is not reflected in another. This example implements the concepts of ‘deep copy‘. $o1->setOrderId("OD0001"). $o1->setCustomer($c). $c->setName($this->name). $o2 = clone $o1. . var_dump($o2). var_dump($o1). $o1 = new Order(). $c->setName("Sunil").} } $c = new Customer(). return $c. $o2->getCustomer()->setName("Vishal"). $c = new Customer(). var_dump($c).

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

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