Bulk name lookup for database relations in CodeIgniter 4

v1.0.0 2021-09-28 14:06 UTC

This package is auto-updated.

Last update: 2021-10-25 14:14:39 UTC


Bulk name lookup for database relations in CodeIgniter 4

Coverage Status

Quick Start

  1. Install with Composer: > composer require tatter/roster
  2. Create a Roster class
  3. Load high-performance names: <?= service('roster')->user(1) ?>


Roster solves a common, niche problem in an elegant way: quick access to display names for entity relations without requiring database lookup. An example... Your e-commerce app allows users to list their own products along with their username. To display the full product page, traditionally you would either need a database JOIN to fetch the usernames along with each product, or rely on a third-party solution like Object Relation Mapping (ORM) to load the related information. Roster simplifies and optimizes this by preloading batches of object names and caching them for convenient on-the-fly access.


Install easily via Composer to take advantage of CodeIgniter 4's autoloading capabilities and always be up-to-date:

  • > composer require tatter/roster

Or, install manually by downloading the source files and adding the directory to app/Config/Autoload.php.


The Roster service handles locating and interacting with your Roster classes, so all you need to do is create some Rosters. All Rosters must meet a few criteria to be discovered:

  • Rosters must extend the Base Roster (Tatter\Roster\BaseRoster)
  • Rosters must be located in a Rosters folder within a namespace (e.g. App\Rosters)
  • Rosters must be named by their lookup followed "Roster" (e.g. "CarRoster")


BaseRoster defines the three methods that your class must implement:

  • protected function key(): string;
  • protected function fetchAll(): array;
  • protected function fetch($id): ?string;

See the BaseRoster file for more details.


Most of the time Rosters will be fetching information from the database. In order to make this more convenient and reduce repetitive code this library comes with an intermediate support class, ModelRoster. If your Roster aligns with an existing Model then simply extend the ModelRoster class and supply these required fields:

  • protected $modelName;
  • protected $field;


Once your Rosters are configured, use the service with the Roster name as the method and the ID of the item as the sole parameter:

$userName = service('roster')->user($userId);


You are developing a blog. At the bottom of every post is a comments section where logged in users may post replies. Being the bright developer you are, you decide to use Tatter\Roster to handle the display and save on expensive database joins for every page.

First let's handle displaying the username next to each commet. You already have UserModel so we can use the ModelRoster to make it easier. Create app/Rosters/UserRoster.php:

namespace App\Rosters;

use App\Models\UserModel;
use Tatter\Roster\ModelRoster;

class UserRoster extends ModelRoster
	protected $modelName = UserModel::class;
	protected $field     = 'username';

That's it! ModelRoster handles retrieving the values based those properties. Now in our comment HTML block we can use the Roster service to display each username:

<?php foreach ($comments as $comment): ?>
<div class="comment">
    <blockquote><?= $comment->content ?></blockquote>
    <div class="comment-footer">
        Commented by <?= service('roster')->user($comment->user_id) ?>
<?php endforeach; ?>

Let's do our blog tags next: under the post title we want to display each tag for this post. Unfortunately tags are in the format "[General] Specific" so no single field will work for the display. We can still use the ModelRoster but instead specifying the field we will provide our own determining method. Create app/Rosters/TagRoster.php:

namespace App\Rosters;

use App\Models\TagModel;
use Tatter\Roster\ModelRoster;

class TagRoster extends ModelRoster
    protected $modelName = TagModel::class;

    protected function getFieldValue(array $row): string
        // Convert the database row from TagModel into its displayable form
        $general  = $row['general'];
        $specific = $row['specific'];

        return "[$general] $specific";

Now our blog post header looks much cleaner:

<h1><?= $post->title ?></h1>
<div class="tags">
    <?php foreach ($post->tags as $tagId): ?>
    <span class="tag"><?= service('roster')->tag($tagId) ?></span>
    <?php endforeach; ?>

Finally, our blog is going to display a sidebar menu with post-relevant links to partners. This data will come from a third-party API, which would be an expensive call to make on every page load so we create a Roster for it. Because the data source is not a Model we need to make our own extension of the Base Roster. Create app/Rosters/LinkRoster.php:

namespace App\Rosters;

use App\Libraries\LinkApi;
use Tatter\Roster\BaseRoster;

class LinkRoster extends BaseRoster
     * Returns the handler-specific identifier used for caching
    protected function key(): string
        return 'roster-links';

     * Loads all IDs and their names from the data source.
    protected function fetchAll(): array
        $results = [];
        $links   = new LinkApi();

        foreach ($links->list() as $link) {
            $results[$link->uid] = $link->href;

        return $results;

     * Loads a single ID and name from the data source.
    protected function fetch($id): ?string
        $links = new LinkApi();

        if ($link = $links->get($id)) {
            return $link->href;

        return null;

A little bit more code, but using BaseRoster gives a lot more control about where the data comes from and how it is formatted. You've probably already figure this part out, but let's finish off our links with their HTML menu:

<nav class="links-menu">
    <h3>Visit our partner blogs!</h3>
        <?php foreach ($post->partnerLinks as $uid): ?>
        <span class="tag"><?= service('roster')->link($uid) ?></span>
        <?php endforeach; ?>