An object document mapper for Doctrine ORM using JSON types of modern RDBMS.

0.1.3 2018-11-16 10:07 UTC


An Object-Document Mapper (ODM) for Doctrine ORM leveraging new JSON types of modern RDBMS.

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Did you ever dreamed of a tool creating powerful data models mixing traditional efficient relational mappings with modern schema-less and NoSQL-like ones?

With Doctrine JSON ODM, it's now possible to create and query such hybrid data models with ease. Thanks to modern JSON types of RDBMS, querying schema-less documents is easy, powerful and fast as hell (similar in performance to a MongoDB database)! You can even define indexes for those documents.

Doctrine JSON ODM allows to store PHP objects as JSON documents in modern dynamic columns of RDBMS. It works with JSON and JSONB columns of PostgreSQL (>= 9.4) and the JSON column of MySQL (>= 5.7.8).

For more information about concepts behind Doctrine JSON ODM, take a look at the presentation given by Benjamin Eberlei at Symfony Catalunya 2016.


To install the library, use Composer, the PHP package manager:

composer require dunglas/doctrine-json-odm

If you are using Symfony 4+ or API Platform, you have nothing more to do! If you use Doctrine directly, use a bootstrap code similar to the following:


require_once __DIR__.'/../vendor/autoload.php'; // Adapt to your path

use Doctrine\DBAL\Types\Type;
use Doctrine\ORM\EntityManager;
use Doctrine\ORM\Tools\Setup;
use Dunglas\DoctrineJsonOdm\Normalizer\ObjectNormalizer;
use Dunglas\DoctrineJsonOdm\Type\JsonDocumentType;
use Symfony\Component\Serializer\Encoder\JsonEncoder;
use Symfony\Component\Serializer\Serializer;
use Symfony\Component\Serializer\Normalizer\ObjectNormalizer as BaseObjectNormalizer;

if (!Type::hasType('json_document')) {
    Type::addType('json_document', JsonDocumentType::class);
        new Serializer([new ObjectNormalizer(new BaseObjectNormalizer())], [new JsonEncoder()])

// Sample bootstrapping code here, adapt to fit your needs
$isDevMode = true;
$config = Setup::createAnnotationMetadataConfiguration([__DIR__ . '/../src'], $_ENV['DEBUG'] ?? false); // Adapt to your path

$conn = [
    'dbname' => $_ENV['DATABASE_NAME'],
    'user' => $_ENV['DATABASE_USER'],
    'password' => $_ENV['DATABASE_PASSWORD'],
    'host' => $_ENV['DATABASE_HOST'],
    'driver' => 'pdo_mysql' // or pdo_pgsql

return EntityManager::create($conn, $config);

Install with Symfony 2 and 3

The library comes with a bundle for the Symfony framework. If you use Symfony 4+, it is automatically registered. For Symfony 2 and 3, you must register it yourself:

// ...

use Doctrine\Bundle\DoctrineBundle\DoctrineBundle;
use Dunglas\DoctrineJsonOdm\Bundle\DunglasDoctrineJsonOdmBundle;
use Symfony\Bundle\FrameworkBundle\FrameworkBundle;
use Symfony\Component\HttpKernel\Kernel;

class AppKernel extends Kernel
    public function registerBundles()
        return [
            new FrameworkBundle(),
            new DoctrineBundle(),
            new DunglasDoctrineJsonOdmBundle(),

            // ...

    // ...


Doctrine JSON ODM provides a json_document column type for properties of Doctrine entities.

The content of properties mapped with this type is serialized in JSON using the Symfony Serializer then, it is stored in a dynamic JSON column in the database.

When the object will be hydrated, the JSON content of this column is transformed back to its original values, thanks again to the Symfony Serializer. All PHP objects and structures will be preserved (if you use Symfony >= 3.1, see the FAQ).

You can store any type of (serializable) PHP data structures in properties mapped using the json_document type.


namespace AppBundle\Entity;

use Doctrine\ORM\Mapping as ORM;

 * This is a typical Doctrine ORM entity.
 * @ORM\Entity
class Foo
   * @ORM\Column(type="integer")
   * @ORM\Id
   * @ORM\GeneratedValue(strategy="AUTO")
  public $id;

   * @ORM\Column(type="string")
  public $name;

   * Can contain anything (array, objects, nested objects...).
   * @ORM\Column(type="json_document", options={"jsonb": true})
  public $misc;

  // Works with private and protected methods with getters and setters too.
namespace AppBundle\Entity;

 * This is NOT an entity! It's a POPO (Plain Old PHP Object). It can contain anything.
class Bar
    public $title;
    public $weight;
namespace AppBundle\Entity;

 * This is NOT an entity. It's another POPO and it can contain anything.
class Baz
    public $name;
    public $size;

Store a graph of random object in the JSON type of the database:

// $entityManager = $this->get('doctrine')->getManagerForClass(AppBundle\Entity\Foo::class);

$bar = new Bar();
$bar->title = 'Bar';
$bar->weight = 12;

$baz = new Baz();
$baz->name = 'Baz';
$baz->size = 7;

$foo = new Foo();
$foo->name = 'Foo';
$foo->misc = [$bar, $baz]


Retrieve the object graph back:

$foo = $entityManager->find(Foo::class, $foo->getId());
var_dump($foo->misc); // Same as what we set earlier

You can execute complex queries using native queries. Checkout the PostgreSQL documentation or the MySQL one to learn how to query the stored JSON document.

Limitations when updating nested properties

Due to how Doctrine works, it will not detect changes to nested objects or properties. The reason for this is that Doctrine compares objects by reference to optimize UPDATE queries. If you experience problems where no UPDATE queries are executed, you might need to clone the object before you set it. That way Doctrine will notice the change. See https://github.com/dunglas/doctrine-json-odm/issues/21 for more information.


What DBMS are supported?

PostgreSQL 9.4+ and MySQL 5.7+ are supported.

Which versions of Doctrine are supported?

Doctrine ORM 2.6+ and DBAL 2.6+ are supported.

How to use the JSONB type of PostgreSQL?

Then, you need to set an option of in the column mapping:

// ...

     * @ORM\Column(type="json_document", options={"jsonb": true})
    public $foo;

// ...

Does the ODM support nested objects and object graphs?


How can I add additional normalizers?

The Symfony Serializer is easily extensible. This bundle registers and uses a service with ID dunglas_doctrine_json_odm.serializer as the serializer for the JSON type. This means we can easily override it in our services.yaml to use additional normalizers. As an example we use the Symfony DateTimeNormalizer service so we do have support for any property that is an instance of \DateTimeInterface. Be aware that the order of the normalizers might be relevant depending on the normalizers you use.

    # Add DateTime Normalizer to Dunglas' Doctrine JSON ODM Bundle
        class: Symfony\Component\Serializer\Serializer
          - ['@serializer.normalizer.datetime', '@dunglas_doctrine_json_odm.normalizer.object']
          - ['@serializer.encoder.json']
        public: true

As a side note: If you happen to use Autowiring in your services.yaml you might need to set autowire: false too.

When the namespace of an entity used changes

Because we store the #type along with the data in the database, you have to migrate the already existing data in your database to reflect the new namespace.

Example: If we have a project that we migrate from AppBundle to App, we have the namespace AppBundle/Entity/Bar in our database which has to become App/Entity/Bar instead.

When you use MySQL, you can use this query to migrate the data:

UPDATE Baz SET misc = JSON_REPLACE(misc, '$."#type"', 'App\\\Entity\\\Bar') WHERE 'AppBundle\\\Entity\\\Bar' = JSON_EXTRACT(misc, '$."#type"');

Run tests

To execute the test suite, you need running PostgreSQL and MySQL servers. Run the following commands in your shell to set mandatory environment variables:

export POSTGRESQL_USER=dunglas
export POSTGRESQL_DBNAME=my_test_db

export MYSQL_HOST=
export MYSQL_USER=dunglas
export MYSQL_DBNAME="my_test_db

Databases must exist. Be careful, its content may be deleted.

Run the test suite, execute PHPUnit:



This bundle is brought to you by Kévin Dunglas, Yanick Witschi and awesome contributors. Sponsored by Les-Tilleuls.coop.