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Override a function in php


Ninja skills

Before you can monkey patch like a PHP Ninja we first have to understand PHPs namespaces.

Since PHP 5.3 we got introduced to namespaces which you might at first glance denote to be equivalent to something like java packages perhaps, but it's not quite the same. Namespaces, in PHP, is a way to encapsulate scope by creating a hierarchy of focus, especially for functions and constants. As this topic, fallback to global functions, aims to explain.

If you don't provide a namespace when calling a function, PHP first looks in the current namespace then moves down the hierarchy until it finds the first function declared within that prefixed namespace and executes that. For our example if you are calling print_r(); from namespace My\Awesome\Namespace; What PHP does is to first look for a function called My\Awesome\Namespace\print_r(); then My\Awesome\print_r(); then My\print_r(); until it finds the PHP built in function in the global namespace \print_r();.

You will not be able to define a function print_r($object) {} in the global namespace because this will cause a name collision since a function with that name already exists.

Expect a fatal error to the likes of:

Fatal error: Cannot redeclare print_r()

But nothing stops you, however, from doing just that within the scope of a namespace.