Classes and Objects

Functions
November 14, 2018
Properties
November 14, 2018

The class name can be any valid label, provided it is not a PHP reserved word. A valid class name starts with a letter or underscore, followed by any number of letters, numbers, or underscores. As a regular expression, it would be expressed thus: ^[a-zA-Z_\x7f-\xff][a-zA-Z0-9_\x7f-\xff]*$.

A class may contain its own constantsvariables (called “properties”), and functions (called “methods”).

Example #1 Simple Class definition

<?php
class SimpleClass
{
// property declaration
public $var = 'a default value';
// method declaration
public function displayVar() {
echo $this->var;
}
}
?>

The pseudo-variable $this is available when a method is called from within an object context. $this is a reference to the calling object (usually the object to which the method belongs, but possibly another object, if the method is called statically from the context of a secondary object). As of PHP 7.0.0 calling a non-static method statically from an incompatible context results in $this being undefined inside the method. Calling a non-static method statically from an incompatible context has been deprecated as of PHP 5.6.0. As of PHP 7.0.0 calling a non-static method statically has been generally deprecated (even if called from a compatible context). Before PHP 5.6.0 such calls already triggered a strict notice.

Example #2 Some examples of the $this pseudo-variable

We’re assuming that error_reporting is disabled for this example; otherwise the following code would trigger deprecated and strict notices, respectively, depending on the PHP version.

<?php
class A
{
function foo()
{
if (isset($this)) {
echo '$this is defined (';
echo get_class($this);
echo ")\n";
} else {
echo "\$this is not defined.\n";
}
}
}
class B
{
function bar()
{
A::foo();
}
}$a = new A();
$a->foo();A::foo();$b = new B();
$b->bar();B::bar();
?>

Output of the above example in PHP 5:

$this is defined (A)
$this is not defined.
$this is defined (B)
$this is not defined.

Output of the above example in PHP 7:

$this is defined (A)
$this is not defined.
$this is not defined.
$this is not defined.

new

To create an instance of a class, the new keyword must be used. An object will always be created unless the object has a constructor defined that throws an exception on error. Classes should be defined before instantiation (and in some cases this is a requirement).

If a string containing the name of a class is used with new, a new instance of that class will be created. If the class is in a namespace, its fully qualified name must be used when doing this.

Example #3 Creating an instance


In the class context, it is possible to create a new object by new self and new parent.

When assigning an already created instance of a class to a new variable, the new variable will access the same instance as the object that was assigned. This behaviour is the same when passing instances to a function. A copy of an already created object can be made by cloning it.

Example #4 Object Assignment

var_dump($reference);
var_dump($assigned);
?>
The above example will output:

NULL
NULL
object(SimpleClass)#1 (1) {
[“var”]=>
string(30) “$assigned will have this value”
}
PHP 5.3.0 introduced a couple of new ways to create instances of an object:

Example #5 Creating new objects


The above example will output:

bool(true)
bool(true)
bool(true)

Example #6 Access member of newly created object

<?php
echo (new DateTime())->format('Y');
?>

The above example will output something similar to:

2016

Properties and methods

Class properties and methods live in separate “namespaces”, so it is possible to have a property and a method with the same name. Referring to both a property and a method has the same notation, and whether a property will be accessed or a method will be called, solely depends on the context, i.e. whether the usage is a variable access or a function call.

Example #7 Property access vs. method call

<?php
class Foo
{
public $bar = 'property';
public function bar() {
return ‘method’;
}
}$obj = new Foo();
echo $obj->bar, PHP_EOL, $obj->bar(), PHP_EOL;

The above example will output:

property
method

That means that calling an anonymous function which has been assigned to a property is not directly possible. Instead the property has to be assigned to a variable first, for instance. As of PHP 7.0.0 it is possible to call such a property directly by enclosing it in parentheses.

Example #8 Calling an anonymous function stored in a property

<?php
class Foo
{
public $bar;
public function __construct() {
$this->bar = function() {
return 42;
};
}
}$obj = new Foo();// as of PHP 5.3.0:
$func = $obj->bar;
echo $func(), PHP_EOL;// alternatively, as of PHP 7.0.0:
echo ($obj->bar)(), PHP_EOL;

The above example will output:

42

extends

A class can inherit the methods and properties of another class by using the keyword extends in the class declaration. It is not possible to extend multiple classes; a class can only inherit from one base class.

The inherited methods and properties can be overridden by redeclaring them with the same name defined in the parent class. However, if the parent class has defined a method as final, that method may not be overridden. It is possible to access the overridden methods or static properties by referencing them with parent::.

When overriding methods, the parameter signature should remain the same or PHP will generate an E_STRICT level error. This does not apply to the constructor, which allows overriding with different parameters.

Example #9 Simple Class Inheritance

?>
The above example will output:

Extending class
a default value

::class

Since PHP 5.5, the class keyword is also used for class name resolution. You can get a string containing the fully qualified name of the ClassName class by using ClassName::class. This is particularly useful with namespaced classes.

Example #10 Class name resolution


The above example will output:

NS\ClassName
Note:

The class name resolution using ::class is a compile time transformation. That means at the time the class name string is created no autoloading has happened yet. As a consequence, class names are expanded even if the class does not exist. No error is issued in that case.

Sondiva Technologies
Sondiva Technologies
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