Method filtering system

4.0.0 2016-02-15 14:47 UTC


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Method filtering is an alternative to event-driven architectures. It provide a way to inject/override some logic in the program flow without polluting too much the original source code.

There's a couple of different existing approches which try to bring the AOP concepts in PHP:

All this approaches aims to provide the following control on methods:

        │                ▲
        │                │
 │      │    Filter 1    │      │
 │      │                │      │
 │ ┌────┼────────────────┼────┐ │
 │ │    │    Filter 2    │    │ │
 │ │    │                │    │ │
 │ │┌───┼────────────────┼───┐│ │
 │ ││   │ Implementation │   ││ │
 │ ││   ▼                │   ││ │
 │ ││                        ││ │
 │ │└────────────────────────┘│ │
 │ └──────────────────────────┘ │

The goal of this AOP library is to bring the simplicity of li3 filtering system with a Just In Time code patching technique so any kind of method will be filterable (even vendor's one).

The example

So let's take the following code example:

class Home
    public static function version()
        return '1.0.0';

    public function enter($name)
        return "Welcome {$name}!";

At this point it's not possible to change method's behavior like in JavaScript or any other more permissive language. At this point we can make the above method in two ways. First by manually adding some boilerplate code to make your methods filterable or by simply enabling some Just In Time patching which will do the rewriting on the fly.

The manually way

To show how AOP works under the hood, I'll first show how to make a method filterable manually (i.e. without the Just In Time patching).

So to make a method filterable, some boilerplate code is required:

namespace City;

use Lead\Filter\Filters;

class Home {

    public static function version()
        Filters::run(get_called_class(), __FUNCTION__, [], function($next) {
            return '1.0.0'; // Your inchanged code here

    public function enter($name)
        Filters::run($this, __FUNCTION__, [$name], function($next, $name) {
            return "Welcome {$name}!"; // Your inchanged code here

The idea is to wrap the method logic in a closure and prepend a mandatory $next parameter in the parameter list. $next represents the chain of filters to apply and will be used in filters to execute the next appliable filter.

Once the code rewrited, it's now possible to setup filters:

use Lead\Filter\Filters;

Filters::apply('city\Home', 'version', function($next) {
    $version = $next();
    return "Version: {$version}";

$home = new Home();
Filters::apply($home, 'enter', function($next, $name) {
    $name = "Mister {$name}";
    return $next($name);

echo "You are using the Home " . Home::version();
echo $home->enter('Bob');

And it will produce:

You are using the Home Version 1.0.0
Welcome Mister Bob

The automatic way

For the automatic way, we are going to use a JIT code patcher to make this rewriting step automatic and transparent for the user.

This is done using Filters::patch(). The patcher must be initialized as soon as possible for example just after the composer autoloader include:

include __DIR__ . '/../vendor/autoload.php';

use Lead\Filter\Filters;


Note: patching works for classes loaded by the composer autoloader. If a class is included using require or include or has already been loaded before the Filters::patch(true) call, it won't be patched.

Using Filters::patch(true) is the no brainer way to setup the patcher but you should keep in mind that all your code as well as your vendor code will be patched. Even if patched classes are cached once patched, having all methods wrapped inside a filter closure can be time consuming.

So the prefered approach is to only patch needed files:

 'A\Second\Example\ClassName' => ['foo', 'bar'],

It's therefore possible to makes your own methods filterable as well as vendor methods.

It's also possible to configure the cached path like the following:

 'A\Second\Example\ClassName' => ['foo', 'bar'],
], [
    'cachePath' => __DIR__ . '/../cache/jit',

Note: make sure apache will be able to write in your cache folder.


Make a method filterable

Either manually with:

Filters::run($context, $method, $args, $closure);

Or automatically:


Apply a filter to a class or an instance

$id = Filters::apply($context, $method, $closure);

Detach a filter from a class or an instance

Detach all filters associated to a callable:

Filters::detach($context, $method);

Detach a specific filter only:


Export/Restore the filtering system.


$filters = Filters::get();



Clearing the registred closure & applied filters.


Note: It also detaches all filters attached statically (i.e it doesn't affect filters on intance's methods).

Enable/Disable the filter system globaly

Filters::enable(); // Enable
Filters::enable(false); // Disable

Note: It doesn't detach any filters but simply bypasses filters on Filters::run().


  • Is it possible to apply a filter for all instances ? Yes, for such behavior, you need to set your filter using the class name string as context.

  • If sub class inherit from filters setted at a parent class level ? Yes.