Domain Objects

The domain object represents an object that can be persisted in Pheasant.


A domain object has a Schema instance that defines everything about it including:

  • Properties
  • Relationships
  • Custom getter/setters
  • Events

The top-level Pheasant instance stores a mapping of class names to Schema instances. Whenever a domain object is instantiated or a static-method is called on one, the schema instance is checked. If one doesn’t exist, it’s initialized.

The initialization happens in DomainObject::initialize, for which the default implementation is to look for several template methods in the object.

A map of column names to Type objects (see mapping/types)
A map of keys to RelationType objects representing 1-n or 1-1 relationships (see mapping/relationships)
The database table name to map to, defaults to the name of the class
The mapper instance to use, defaults to the mapping/rowmapper.

Property Access

Once properties have been defined in an objects schema, they are available via property access for read and write.


$post = new Post();
$post->title = 'Test Post';

echo $post->title; // shows 'Test Post'

$post->title = 'Updated Title';


You can see which properties have been changed on a domain object in-between saves using the changes() method.

Calling save on an unchanged object won’t do anything.


A domain object has some sort of primary key. This is exposed within the domain object as an Identity. This object can be easily converted into a Criteria object for locating the object.

Any property that is either a Sequence or is defined with the primary option is considered part of the Identity. Composite keys are supported.


The default constructor for a domain object allows for an array of key/values to be passed in:


$post = new Post(array('title'=>'Test Post'));

If you want to have a different constructor for your domain object, you must override the construct() method, as the actual __construct() method is final to ensure it’s always available.


class Post extends DomainObject
    public function construct($title)
      $this->set('title', $title);

$post = new Post('Test Post');
echo $post->title; // shows 'Test Post'


Inheritance and extending domain objects isn’t something that has any explicit support, although it would certainly be possible to override the properties method and extend it.