Simple ORM implementation for PHP

dev-master 2016-02-02 21:40 UTC

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Last update: 2021-02-19 23:12:16 UTC


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Simple ORM implementation for PHP

When working with SQL databases, there is always the same monkey work that has to be done, like selecting using the table parameters, putting the result back in to a class, ...

ORM (object-relational mapping) solves this problem, you can just call some methods on classes, using the properties defined in your classes.

This implementation is naive and very simple, but can spare you a lot of time and work.


Since writing queries is a task I don't always enjoy, this ORM packages depends on a query builder: Pixie (by Muhammad Usman).

Dependencies are installed through Composer:

$ composer install

You can of course also install this package using Composer:
Add "denbeke/orm": "dev-master" to your requirements and add the following code to the root of the composer.json file to add the Github repo:

"repositories": [
        "type": "vcs",
        "url": ""


Configuration & Initialization

Before you can do anything you must call the \DenBeke\ORM\ORM::init() function (you must do this once in your application). An exception will be thrown if you call a method on an uninitialized ORM class.
\DenBeke\ORM\ORM::init() takes an associative PHP array as argument. This array must contain some basic database configuration.

$db_config = [
    'driver'    => 'mysql', // Db driver
    'host'      => 'localhost',
    'database'  => 'my_database_name',
    'username'  => 'root',
    'password'  => 'root',

The $db_config array will be passed to Pixie query builder. This means you can use all Pixie configuration options.

ORM class

Creating an "ORM-ready" class is very simple, just inherit from \DenBeke\ORM\ORM.

class Person extends \DenBeke\ORM\ORM {
    public $id;
    public $name;
    public $city;

After writing the code, you must also add a table person to the database, with the fields id, name, city.
As you may have noticed, the table name is derived from the Class name (without namespaces and converted to lowercase!) and the column names are just the names of the PHP fields.

The ORM implements a default constructor which takes an associative array or an stdClass and assigns the values from the input to the fields of the new object.

$person = new Person(['name' => 'Bob', 'city' => 'Amsterdam']);

Get methods

Once the class inherits from \DenBeke\ORM\ORM you can access all the ORM methods. Starting with the get methods.


The predefined get() method fetches all records of the given type from the database.
If we have 3 records in the table person we can get all of them using the get() function:

$persons = Person::get();

In this example $persons is an array of size 3, containing objects of type Person.


Whenever a class has a field, the caller can get records from the database by those fields. In this example the class Person has the fields id, name, city. So you can call the following functions:

  • Person::getById($id);
  • Person::getByName($name);
  • Person::getByCity($city);

Those static functions will return an array of Person elements, where the input parameter matches the table column.


Work In Progress

You can supply options to the get() and getBy*() methods. The options parameter is an associative array.

$options = [
    'option1' => '...',
    'option2' => '...'
$persons = Person::get(['limit' => 4]);

You can order your results by supplying the orderBy option. orderBy should be an array, containing the the database column/field to order by, and an optional direction (ASC or DESC', default ASC`).

If you have e.g. Bob, John, Alice in your database, the following operation will return Alice, Bob, John.

$options = [
    'orderBy' => ['name', 'ASC'],

$persons = Person::get($options);

Adding AND clause to the getBy* method can be done using the andWhere option.

$options = [
    'andWhere' => [

Person::getByName($name, $options);

Adding OR clause to the getBy* method can be done using the orWhere option.

$options = [
    'orWhere' => [

Person::getByCity('Brussels', $options);


Adding records to the database is quite simple, just create an instance of the class and call the add() method on it.

$person = new Person;
$person->name = 'Alice';
$person->city = 'Brussels';



Updating a record is as easy as adding records.
Just alter a field and call the update() method.

$person = Person::getByName('Bob')[0];
$person->city = 'Brussels';



Deleting records can be done using the remove() method.

$person = Person::getById(3)[0];



This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see


Mathias Beke -