"nested or inner class in php" Answer’s

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Intro:

Nested classes relate to other classes a little differently than outer classes. Taking Java as an example:

Non-static nested classes have access to other members of the enclosing class, even if they are declared private. Also, non-static nested classes require an instance of the parent class to be instantiated.

OuterClass outerObj = new OuterClass(arguments);
outerObj.InnerClass innerObj = outerObj.new InnerClass(arguments);

There are several compelling reasons for using them:

  • It is a way of logically grouping classes that are only used in one place.

If a class is useful to only one other class, then it is logical to relate and embed it in that class and keep the two together.

  • It increases encapsulation.

Consider two top-level classes, A and B, where B needs access to members of A that would otherwise be declared private. By hiding class B within class A, A's members can be declared private and B can access them. In addition, B itself can be hidden from the outside world.

  • Nested classes can lead to more readable and maintainable code.

A nested class usually relates to it's parent class and together form a "package"

In PHP

You can have similar behavior in PHP without nested classes.

If all you want to achieve is structure/organization, as Package.OuterClass.InnerClass, PHP namespaces might sufice. You can even declare more than one namespace in the same file (although, due to standard autoloading features, that might not be advisable).

namespace;
class OuterClass {}

namespace OuterClass;
class InnerClass {}

If you desire to emulate other characteristics, such as member visibility, it takes a little more effort.

Defining the "package" class

namespace {

    class Package {

        /* protect constructor so that objects can't be instantiated from outside
         * Since all classes inherit from Package class, they can instantiate eachother
         * simulating protected InnerClasses
         */
        protected function __construct() {}

        /* This magic method is called everytime an inaccessible method is called 
         * (either by visibility contrains or it doesn't exist)
         * Here we are simulating shared protected methods across "package" classes
         * This method is inherited by all child classes of Package 
         */
        public function __call($method, $args) {

            //class name
            $class = get_class($this);

            /* we check if a method exists, if not we throw an exception 
             * similar to the default error
             */
            if (method_exists($this, $method)) {

                /* The method exists so now we want to know if the 
                 * caller is a child of our Package class. If not we throw an exception
                 * Note: This is a kind of a dirty way of finding out who's
                 * calling the method by using debug_backtrace and reflection 
                 */
                $trace = debug_backtrace(DEBUG_BACKTRACE_IGNORE_ARGS, 3);
                if (isset($trace[2])) {
                    $ref = new ReflectionClass($trace[2]['class']);
                    if ($ref->isSubclassOf(__CLASS__)) {
                        return $this->$method($args);
                    }
                }
                throw new Exception("Call to private method $class::$method()");
            } else {
                throw new Exception("Call to undefined method $class::$method()");
            }
        }
    }
}

Use case

namespace Package {
    class MyParent extends Package {
        public $publicChild;
        protected $protectedChild;

        public function __construct() {
            //instantiate public child inside parent
            $this->publicChild = new PackageMyParentPublicChild();
            //instantiate protected child inside parent
            $this->protectedChild = new PackageMyParentProtectedChild();
        }

        public function test() {
            echo "Call from parent -> ";
            $this->publicChild->protectedMethod();
            $this->protectedChild->protectedMethod();

            echo "<br>Siblings<br>";
            $this->publicChild->callSibling($this->protectedChild);
        }
    }
}

namespace PackageMyParent
{
    class PublicChild extends Package {
        //Makes the constructor public, hence callable from outside 
        public function __construct() {}
        protected function protectedMethod() {
            echo "I'm ".get_class($this)." protected method<br>";
        }

        protected function callSibling($sibling) {
            echo "Call from " . get_class($this) . " -> ";
            $sibling->protectedMethod();
        }
    }
    class ProtectedChild extends Package { 
        protected function protectedMethod() {
            echo "I'm ".get_class($this)." protected method<br>";
        }

        protected function callSibling($sibling) {
            echo "Call from " . get_class($this) . " -> ";
            $sibling->protectedMethod();
        }
    }
}

Testing

$parent = new PackageMyParent();
$parent->test();
$pubChild = new PackageMyParentPublicChild();//create new public child (possible)
$protChild = new PackageMyParentProtectedChild(); //create new protected child (ERROR)

Output:

Call from parent -> I'm Package protected method
I'm Package protected method

Siblings
Call from Package -> I'm Package protected method
Fatal error: Call to protected Package::__construct() from invalid context

NOTE:

I really don't think trying to emulate innerClasses in PHP is such a good idea. I think the code is less clean and readable. Also, there are probably other ways to achieve similar results using a well established pattern such as the Observer, Decorator ou COmposition Pattern. Sometimes, even simple inheritance is sufficient.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021
 
drowneath
answered 11 Months ago
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