Verification: a143cc29221c9be0

Php class var or public

Содержание

What is an object?

In PHP object is one of the primitive types. It describes a value that is a bundle of data and often also logic to work on that data.

An object lets you handle complex data structures as single values. Let's take an address for example. It consists of several pieces of data:

  • street
  • house number
  • city
  • postal code
  • country

With the simpler primitive types, we can't store an address in a meaningful way so we need a data structure to store an address in one single value to make sure, we keep track of every piece of data that belongs to it.

We also need to make sure that all addresses have the same structure, so that the parts of our application that handle addresses can rely on. For example, the postal_code property of an address should always have the same name. If it's called zip_code sometimes, it leads to inconsistency and potentially dangerous bugs.

To ensure a certain object structure, we use "class", a kind of blueprint for an object.

Classes

This is a class definition. It introduces a class called Address and defines that all objects of this class have the same five properties that we need to store an address.

Class names are written in a style called StudlyCaps: like MyAwesomeClass.

To make an address object from this class, we use the new operator:

$my_address = new Address();

var_dump($my_address);

Output:

object(Address)#1 (5) {
  ["street"]=>
  NULL
  ["house_number"]=>
  NULL
  ["city"]=>
  NULL
  ["postal_code"]=>
  NULL
  ["country"]=>
  NULL
}

The output tells us, it is an object of the class Address and it has 5 properties. The #1 is an internal ID that PHP assigns to every object to keep track of them.

Properties

Now, every property of our object is NULL which is PHP's special value for "there's nothing here". To fill this address value with actual data, we could set every single property individually:

$my_address->street = "Main Street";
$my_address->house_number = 42;
$my_address->city = "Some Town";
$my_address->postal_code = "12345";
$my_address->country = "Far Far Away";

Output:

object(Address)#1 (5) {
  ["street"]=>
  string(11) "Main Street"
  ["house_number"]=>
  int(42)
  ["city"]=>
  string(9) "Some Town"
  ["postal_code"]=>
  int(12345)
  ["country"]=>
  string(7) "Far Far Away"
}

To access a property of an object, PHP uses the -> operator, so $my_address->street means "the street property of the object in the variable $my_address".

Methods

But setting every single property is tedious and not very easy to read. What if we could set it all at once? We'll need to add something to the class to do that.

street = $street;
        $this->house_number = $house_number;
        $this->city = $city;
        $this->postal_code = $postal_code;
        $this->country = $country;
    }
}

$my_address = new Address();

$my_address->set("Main Street", 42, "Some Town", 12345, "Far Far Away");

var_dump($my_address);

Output:

object(Address)#1 (5) {
  ["street"]=>
  string(11) "Main Street"
  ["house_number"]=>
  int(42)
  ["city"]=>
  string(9) "Some Town"
  ["postal_code"]=>
  int(12345)
  ["country"]=>
  string(7) "Far Far Away"
}

What we added, is a method. A function that is added to every object of our class. Inside a method, there's a special variable called $this, it refers to the object that the method was called on, in this case, the address object.

The set method just copies the values that it got via its arguments to the corresponding object properties.

Constructors

Making an address object without any data in the first place doesn't really make sense. It would be useful, and simpler to use, if we could set the data right when we create the object. There's a special method that does that, it's called a "constructor".

street = $street;
        $this->house_number = $house_number;
        $this->city = $city;
        $this->postal_code = $postal_code;
        $this->country = $country;
    }
}

$my_address = new Address("Main Street", 42, "Some Town", 12345, "Far Far Away");

var_dump($my_address);

The output will remain the same again. But this time, we didn't need to call an extra method to initialize our object. If a class has a method with the exact name __construct, it will be called when the object is created with the new operator. All arguments from the newcall will also be passed to the constructor.

Visibility

Right now everything in our Address objects is accessible from the outside. A piece of code that doesn't behave well could do this:

function does_bad_things($address)
{
    $address->city = "Gotham City";

    return $address;
}

That function would modify an address after it has been created and filled with data. That doesn't make sense, a place doesn't change its address, streets don't magically move to a different city. People can move to a new address but the address itself can't change. We need to prevent the address from being changed after it's created. That's where the concept of "visibility" comes in. You might have wondered, what all the public keywords were for until now:

street = $street;
        $this->house_number = $house_number;
        $this->city = $city;
        $this->postal_code = $postal_code;
        $this->country = $country;
    }
}

Now we changed the visibility of our address' properties to protected. The do_bad_things function from before will now fail:

Fatal error: Cannot access protected property Address::$city in address.php on line 27

There are three levels of visibility in PHP: public, protected and private. For now, public means "is accessible from outside the object and protected means "is not accessible from the outside". We'll go into more detail on this and what private means when we talk about inheritance later.

Now we have a nice immutable (not changeable) Address object but it can't do anything. We can't even read the data from it. Let's say we need these addresses in plain text form, maybe to send them in an email or to send them to the shipping company for our shop website.

We'll add a method that gives us the address data in a nicely formatted piece of text:

street = $street;
        $this->house_number = $house_number;
        $this->city = $city;
        $this->postal_code = $postal_code;
        $this->country = $country;
    }

    public function getAsText()
    {
        return $this->street . PHP_EOL . $this->postal_code . ', ' . $this->city . PHP_EOL . $this->country;
    }
}

Now we can create an address and get the formatted text representation of it:

$my_address = new Address("Main Street", 42, "Some Town", 12345, "Far Far Away");

echo $my_address->getAsText() . PHP_EOL;

And the output will be:

Main Street
12345, Some Town
Far Far Away

We can make this more convenient by using another "magic method". PHP classes have a bunch of special methods that all start with __ and are executed automatically at certain points, __construct() is also one of them.

This time we will make a __toString() method from our getAsText(). It is called every time when our object is used as if it were a string, for example when we try echo $my_address;.

street = $street;
        $this->house_number = $house_number;
        $this->city = $city;
        $this->postal_code = $postal_code;
        $this->country = $country;
    }

    public function __toString()
    {
        /*
         * Here, we break a long statement into multiple lines to make it more readable.
         * PHP will ignore the additional line breaks.
         */
        return
            $this->street . PHP_EOL .
            $this->postal_code . ', ' .
            $this->city . PHP_EOL .
            $this->country;
    }
}

Now we can just use the address as if it were already a string:

$my_address = new Address("Main Street", 42, "Some Town", 12345, "Far Far Away");

echo $my_address . PHP_EOL;

This will produce the same output as before.


We now have a class for address objects that bundles data (the properties) and some logic (the constructor and toString method) and is protected from outside modification.