Maps sections into custom model classes, simplifying the process of creating, modifying, deleting and fetching entries in Symphony CMS. 2021-10-27 00:50 UTC


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Maps sections into custom model classes, simplifying the process of creating, modifying, deleting and fetching entries in Symphony CMS.


This library requires PHP 7.2 or later. For use with earlier version of PHP, use 1.0.x instead (composer require pointybeard/symphony-classmapper:\<2.0).


Symphony Class Mapper is installed via Composer. To install, use composer require pointybeard/symphony-classmapper or add "pointybeard/symphony-classmapper": "~2.0" to your composer.json file.


The most basic usage is to let Section Class Mapper create an annonomous class for you and map it on to your section by using Classmapper\create(). E.g. assuming you have a section called 'articles' and a field called 'title':


include 'vendor/autoload.php';

use pointybeard\Symphony\Classmapper;

    'Article', // Name of class to be created
    'articles' // Handle of section to map

Note that the second argument for create(), section handle, is optional. If ommitted, Classmapper will attempt to deduce your section handle from your class name (in this case, 'Article'). It does this by assuming that your section is a pluralised version of the class name.

In the above example, the class name of 'Article' would be used to deduce a corresponding section handle of articles. Should the class mapper not be able to locate a section, a ClassmapperException will be thrown.

Setting a section handle is useful if your section name doesn't stick to the pluralisation assumption or if it might return an ambiguous result (i.e, more than one matching section).

Once created, Articles can be created by instanciating the newly created Article class, setting field values, and calling save().

// Create a new article
$article = new Article;
$article->title('My Article');

// Classmapper also supports method chaining like so
(new Article)
    ->title('My New Article')

Existing articles can be accessed using two built-in methods: all() and loadFromId().

// Get article with id of 1
$article = Article::loadFromId(1);

// Iterate over all articles
foreach(Article::all() as $article) {
    printf("%d: %s\r\n", $article->id, $article->title);

Other useful methods include hasBeenModified(), toXml(), and delete():

# Check if it was modified

# Get the XML representation of your Article

# Remove the article

# Alternatively, you can delete entries like this

Creating Custom Model Classes

The auto-generated class produced by calling Classmapper::create() are useful but somewhat limited. The biggest limitation being that they cannot have custom field mappings to accomodate non-standard fields. They are useful for basic sections without complex relationships to other sections. To get around this limitation, we need reate your a concrete class. This gives you all the same built-in methods, but, allows you to expand it's API and, most importantly, define fields.

To create a custom Classmapper model, extend AbstractModel and use the HasModelTrait trait. E.g. Using the same Articles example:


    namespace Your\Project\Namespace;

    use pointybeard\Symphony\Classmapper;

    final class Article extends Classmapper\AbstractModel
        use Classmapper\Traits\HasModelTrait;

The trait HasModelTrait provides three static member variables: $sectionFields, $fieldMapping and $section. They are used internally and hold a mapping to the Symphony section and the fields from that section; all are auto-populated by the parent object at run-time.

If the section has a non-standard handle, it can set manually by overloading AbstractModel::getSectionHandle() to return the section handle. e.g.

public function getSectionHandle(): string
    return 'articles';

At this stage, the custom Article class is identical to that produced by Classmapper::create('Article'), however, we have a framework for adding additional features, logic, and defining fields.

Accessing Values

The class mapper takes all the fields in a section and creates class member names for them automatically. These names are generated using the field handle and converting them to camelCase. E.g. "published-date" becomes publishedDate and "my-awesome-field" is myAwesomeField.

Creating A Custom Field Mapping

The class mapper assumes all fields have a value field in the database and that value is always a string, however, this is not true for every field. For example, a Select Box Link field has a field called relation_id which is an integer. In this situation you must tell the class mapper how the field should be mapped and its type. This is done by overloading the AbstractModel::getCustomFieldMapping() method.

Using the Article example from above, lets assume there is now a field called "Author" which is a Select Box Link field pointing to the "Authors" section. We'll tell the Class Mapper that the Author field is an integer and has a database field relation_id (instead of the default value). Finally, we'll remap the field name to be authorId instead of author.

# Create a mapping for the Author field, mapping the id to 'authorId'
protected static function getCustomFieldMapping() {
    return [
        'author' => [
            'databaseFieldName' => 'relation_id',
            'classMemberName' => 'authorId',
            'flags' => self::FLAG_INT

# Create a method that allows easy retrieval of an Author object.
# Note, this assumes an Author class model exists.
public function author() {
    return Author::fetchFromId($this->authorId);

You can see how we quickly wired up the Articles model to know about Authors and how to retrieve them.

Using Flags

You can specify a flag property for custom field mappings (briefly covered in 'Creating A Custom Field Mapping' above) to trigger different behaviours when retrieving and saving data.

Flags can be combined using the bitwise OR (|) operator. Note, some flags cannot, or don't make sense to, combine with other flags.

Here is an example showing a more fully fleshed out Model's custom field mapping:

protected static function getCustomFieldMapping() {
    return [
        'related-entries' => [
            'databaseFieldName' => 'relation_id',
            'classMemberName' => 'relatedEntryIDs',
            'flags' => self::FLAG_ARRAY | self::FLAG_INT | self::FLAG_NULL
        'published' => [
            'flags' => self::FLAG_BOOL
        'date' => [
            'classMemberName' => 'dateCreatedAt',
            'flags' => self::FLAG_SORTBY | self::FLAG_SORTDESC | self::FLAG_REQUIRED
        'title' => [
            'flags' => self::FLAG_STR | self::FLAG_REQUIRED
        'author' => [
            'databaseFieldName' => 'relation_id',
            'classMemberName' => 'authorId',
            'flags' => self::FLAG_INT | self::FLAG_REQUIRED
        'subtitle' => [
            'flags' => self::FLAG_STR | self::FLAG_NULL


Type flags signal to the Class Mapper, when data is retrieved or saved, that it should be cast


These flags are used to type cast data being pulled out and map directly to the native PHP methods intval(), floatval(), and strval() respectivly. They can be combined with FLAG_ARRAY, in which case all items in the array will be cast to that type.


Similar to FLAG_FLOAT, however, will limit the result to 2 decimal places.


Converts the data coming out of the database from Yes|No string value into true|false. When saving, it is converted back in to a Yes|No string value. Can be combined with FLAG_ARRAY



Use this when the field has multiple rows of data, like a multi-select. The data returned will be an array of values. Can combine with FLAG_INT, FLAG_STR, FLAG_FLOAT, FLAG_BOOL, FLAG_CURRENCY, and FLAG_NULL


Will set the field value to an array containing file, size, mimetype, and meta. Note, when saving only file is used since the other fields can be re-built by examining the file if needed. Can only combine with FLAG_NULL


Converts empty values, i.e. int(0), string(""), (array)[] etc, into NULL. Can be combined with all other flags. When the Class mapper build data for the model, if the field's value is empty, it will instead set it to NULL.


Sorting flags are used when retrieving data. The Class Mapper will look for these flags when building the SQL used to pull put data from the database.

To enable sorting for your model, be sure to implement SortableModelInterface and also use the Traits\HasSortableModelTrait trait. E.g.

use pointybeard\Symphony\Classmapper;

class Articles extends Classmapper\AbstractModel implements Classmapper\Interfaces\SortableModelInterface {
    use Classmapper\Traits\HasSortableModelTrait;


When set, the result set will be sorted by this field. Note, the specific table column used to sort is either value, e.g. [field].value or databaseFieldName if it is set.


Denotes the sorting direction; ASC or DESC. Cannot combine both FLAG_SORTASC and FLAG_SORTDESC. Default is FLAG_SORTASC.


These flags are applied when saving.


Signifies that this field must have a non-empty value, otherwise saving will fail. Note that FLAG_NULL is NOT the opposite of FLAG_REQUIRED. It is possible that a field might have a null value, however, FLAG_REQUIRED would ensure it has a value before allowing you to save.

Validation when Saving

When saving an entry, you can tell the Class Mapper how strict you would like it to be. e.g. $articles->save(self::FLAG_ON_SAVE_ENFORCE_MODIFIED). Flags can be combined using the bitwise OR (|) operator (as is the case with all FLAG_* constants).

The following flags are supported:


When saving, all fields will be validated according to any custom field flags mapping. Currently the only related flag is FLAG_REQUIRED which will ensure the field has a non-empty value. If validation fails, a ModelValidationFailedException exception will be thrown. This flag is enabled by default. Pass NULL, 0, or another flag to prevent valdiation when saving. e.g. $article->save(null)


This will trigger a ModelHasNotBeenModifiedException exception if you attempt to save an entry that has not been modified. Check hasBeenModified()

Providing Custom SQL when fetching

It might be necessary to provide custom SQL to use when the class mapper loads an object. To do this, overload the AbstractModel::fetchSQL() method. It should return an SQL string. You can use self::$sectionFields to easily access the ID values of fields in your section. E.g.

protected static function fetchSQL($where = 1)
    return sprintf('
            t.entry_id as `id`,
            t.value as `title`,
            f.file as `file`,
            a.value as `available`
        FROM `tbl_entries_data_%d` AS `t`
        INNER JOIN `tbl_entries_data_%d` AS `f` ON f.entry_id = t.entry_id
        LEFT JOIN `tbl_entries_data_%d` AS `a` ON a.entry_id = f.entry_id
        WHERE %s
        ORDER BY t.entry_id ASC',

Note that overloading the fetchSQL() method will mean you need to handle using the correct field mappings, filtering and sorting rather than letting AbstractModel handle it for you.

Modifying data before saving

There are times when you might need to change data on the fly before it is saved into the entry. You can do this by overloading the AbstractModel::getData() method. For example, you might have a "modified date" field in your section. By overloading the getData method, you can ensure it is updated automatically.

protected function getData()
    $data = parent::getData();

    // Check if anything has changed and, if so, set the new modified date
    if($this->hasBeenModified()) {
      $data['modified'] = 'now';

    return $data;

Filtering Results

The class mapper gives you the fetchById(), and all() methods out of the box. However, you'll quickly need a more powerful way of filtering down results. This is where using Filter classes come in to play.

To enable Filtering of results on your model, implement the FilterableModelInterface interface and use the HasFilterableModelTrait trait. e.g.

use pointybeard\Symphony\Classmapper;

class Articles extends Classmapper\AbstractModel implements Classmapper\Interfaces\FilterableModelInterface {
    use Classmapper\Traits\HasFilterableModelTrait;

This will give you access to 5 new methods: fetch(), filter(), appendFilter(), clearFilters(), and getFilters() as well as an outlet to use the 5 included Filter classes: Basic, FindInSet, IsNotNull, IsNull, and Now


The simplest way to filter results is to call fetch(). It expects to get a objects that extend AbstractFilter (note that calling fetch() without any filters is the same as calling all()).

Filter objects can be instanciated direct, e.g. new Filter\Basic(...), however, Class Mapper includes a factory class to make the process more consistent.

Here is a simple example:

## Find all articles that are published and have a creation date less than now
    Classmapper\FilterFactory::build('Basic', 'published', 'Yes'),
    Classmapper\FilterFactory::build('Now', 'dateCreatedAt', Classmapper\Filters\Basic::COMPARISON_OPERATOR_LT),

The result of calling fetch() will be a SymphonyPDO ResultIterator object. The results can be accessed using a foreach loop or the each() method with a custom function. e.g.

Article::fetch(...)->each(function ($article) {
  // do something with $article here

foreach(Article::fetch(...) as $article) {
  // do something with $article here

Each Filter has slightly different requirements for instanciation, however, they will always following this ordering (where values in square brackets may or may not be required):


You can check each Filter class's specific requirements by looking at their constructor.


This is the name of the Filter class to use. Built-in Filters include Basic, FindInSet, IsNotNull, IsNull, and Now.


This is the name of the field in the section as defined by the Class Mapper. It will either be the value specified by classMemberName in your field mappings, or the camelCase version of the field handle.


This is one of the PDO's Predefined Constants. The default is PDO::PARAM_STR.


This is the comparison operator used when comparing value to the value in fieldName. These are provided by Filter\Basic:



This tells the Class Mapper how to join the filters. This operator is applied between the current filter and the previous filter. Available options are OPERATOR_OR, and OPERATOR_AND. The default is OPERATOR_AND.

Filter Classes

The 5 built-in Filters are Basic, FindInSet, IsNotNull, IsNull, and Now


This is useful for simple a COMPARED TO b type comparisons. It provides the operators =, !=, >, >=, <, <=, LIKE, and NOT LIKE which are available as class constants (see COMPARISON above).

Basic expects up to 5 arguments when instanciated

public function __construct(
    string $field,
    int $type = \PDO::PARAM_STR,
    string $comparisonOperator = self::COMPARISON_OPERATOR_EQ,
    string $operator = self::OPERATOR_AND


This filter expects to get an array of values. It will check if the field value is the same as any of the values provided.

Basic expects up to 3 arguments when instanciated

public function __construct(
    array $values,
    string $operator = self::OPERATOR_AND

Filters\IsNull and Filters\IsNotNull

These filters will check if a value is or is not null.

Basic expects 2 arguments when instanciated.

public function __construct(
    string $operator = self::OPERATOR_AND


This filter extends Filters\Basic, giving access to the NOW() feature of SQL.

Basic expects up to 3 arguments when instanciated.

public function __construct(
    string $field,
    string $comparisonOperator = self::COMPARISON_OPERATOR_EQ,
    string $operator = self::OPERATOR_AND

Using filter()

Instead of calling fetch() and providing Filters on the fly, you can create an instance of the model class and then append filters with appendFilter(). Once you have built up the set of filters you want, call filter() to return a result set. For example:

## Create an instance of the Article model
$article = new Article;

## Append filters with appendFilter(). Note method chaining is supported
    ->appendFilter(Classmapper\FilterFactory::build('Basic', 'published', 'Yes'))
    ->appendFilter(Classmapper\FilterFactory::build('Now', 'dateCreatedAt', Classmapper\Filters\Basic::COMPARISON_OPERATOR_LT))

## Returns the results
$result = $article->filter();

## Optionally clear the filters from this instance

The main benefit of using appendFilter() and filter() is that you can pass the model around, allowing other sections of code to add/remove filters before finally calling filter(). Additionally, the result is cached in that instance so you can call filter() multiple times without any performance hit.

To get a result with different filters, either call clearFilters() or create a new instance of your model.


If you believe you have found a bug, please report it using the GitHub issue tracker, or better yet, fork the library and submit a pull request.


We encourage you to contribute to this project. Please check out the Contributing documentation for guidelines about how to get involved.


"Symphony CMS: Section Class Mapper" is released under the MIT License.