Home arrow PHP arrow Page 4 - Enforcing Object Types in PHP: Filtering Input Objects in PHP 4

Preventing code contamination: enforcing object types inside of classes - PHP

When you are writing an object-based web application in PHP, you want to prevent your classes from being convoluted with input objects of the incorrect type. These input objects can cause the application to throw a fatal error. In this article, you will learn how to enforce object types in PHP 4.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. Enforcing Object Types in PHP: Filtering Input Objects in PHP 4
  2. Enforcing object types in PHP 4: building (X)HTML widgets classes
  3. Building an object-base web page: unexpected results due to the lack of object type checking
  4. Preventing code contamination: enforcing object types inside of classes
By: Alejandro Gervasio
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 6
February 15, 2006

print this article
SEARCH DEV SHED

TOOLS YOU CAN USE

advertisement

Fortunately, filtering input objects is fairly simple. One of the easiest ways to check whether an object is an instance of a specific class is by using the “is_a()” PHP built-in function. As you probably know, this function checks to see if a particular object is an instance of a given class or subclass, so it is very convenient to use for verifying object types.

Notice that in the previous sentence I used the words “instance of.” This follows a certain logic. The “is_a()” function has been deprecated in PHP 5 in favor of the “instanceof” operator, which is very useful for checking what object types you’re working with, in addition to determining whether objects are implementers of a particular interface. However, this is the subject of a future article, so now let’s focus again on the “is_a()” function.

As I said previously, I’ll introduce object type checking inside the page generator class, by using the “is_a()” function I discussed before, in order to avoid having objects of the incorrect type being utilized within this class. Please look at the code below:

class PageGenerator{
    var $output='';
    var $title;
    function PageGenerator($title='Default Page'){
        $this->title=$title;
    }
    function doHeader(){
        $this->output='<html><head><title>'.$this-
>title.'</title></head><body>';
    }
            // force type of input objects
    function addHTMLElement($htmlElement){
        if(!is_a($htmlElement,'HTMLElement')){
            trigger_error('Invalid (X)HTML
element',E_USER_ERROR);
        }
        $this->output.=$htmlElement->getHTML();
    }
    function doFooter(){
        $this->output.='</body></html>';
    }
    function fetchHTML(){
        return $this->output;
    }
}

As the above class shows, its “addHTMLElement()” method now is capable of determining the type of objects passed as a parameter, by the “is_a()” function. In this example, if input objects aren’t of the type “HTMLElement”, the class will trigger a fatal error and the script will be stopped. As you can see, a minor change in the class code can be translated into a major improvement of the logic implemented by the class.

Now that the web page generator class is enforcing the type of input objects, it’s also possible to go one step up to the implementation of object type checking inside the proper (X)HTML widget classes. Perhaps you’re wondering: what’s the point of doing that? Well, this process would allow the construction of more complex web pages by nesting their building elements, along with the achievement of much more than simple web page layouts.

All I have to do is refactor the “getHTML()” method of all the (X)HTML widget classes, and check whether the corresponding input data is also another (X)HTML widget object. After introducing this modification, this is how the (X)HTML widgets classes now look:

class Div extends HTMLElement{
    var $output='<div ';
    var $data;
    function Div($attributes=array(),$data){
        parent::HTMLElement($attributes);
        if(!is_a($data,'HTMLElement')&&!is_string($data)){
            trigger_error('Invalid type for data
parameter',E_USER_ERROR);
        }
        $this->data=$data;
    }
    // concrete implementation for 'getHTML()' method
    function getHTML(){
        foreach($this->attributes as $attribute=>$value){
            $this->output.=$attribute.'="'.$value.'" ';
        }
        $this->output=substr_replace($this->output,'>',-1);
        $this->output.=(is_a($this->data,'HTMLElement'))?$this-
>data->getHTML():$this->data;
        $this->output.='</div>';
        return $this->output;
    }
}
class Header1 extends HTMLElement{
    var $output='<h1 ';
    var $data;
    function Header1($attributes=array(),$data){
        parent::HTMLElement($attributes);
        if(!is_a($data,'HTMLElement')&&!is_string($data)){
            trigger_error('Invalid type for data
parameter',E_USER_ERROR);
        }
        $this->data=$data;
    }
    // concrete implementation for 'getHTML()' method
    function getHTML(){
        foreach($this->attributes as $attribute=>$value){
            $this->output.=$attribute.'="'.$value.'" ';
        }
        $this->output=substr_replace($this->output,'>',-1);
        $this->output.=(is_a($this->data,'HTMLElement'))?$this-
>data->getHTML():$this->data;
        $this->output.='</h1>';
        return $this->output;
    }
}
class Paragraph extends HTMLElement{
    var $output='<p ';
    var $data;
    function Paragraph($attributes=array(),$data){
        parent::HTMLElement($attributes);
        if(!is_a($data,'HTMLElement')&&!is_string($data)){
            trigger_error('Invalid type for data
parameter',E_USER_ERROR);
        }
        $this->data=$data;
    }
    // concrete implementation for 'getHTML()' method
    function getHTML(){
        foreach($this->attributes as $attribute=>$value){
            $this->output.=$attribute.'="'.$value.'" ';
        }
        $this->output=substr_replace($this->output,'>',-1);
        $this->output.=(is_a($this->data,'HTMLElement'))?$this-
>data->getHTML():$this->data;
        $this->output.='</p>';
        return $this->output;
    }
}
class UnorderedList extends HTMLElement{
    var $output='<ul ';
    var $items=array();
    function UnorderedList($attributes=array(),$items=array()){
        parent::HTMLElement($attributes);
        if(!is_array($items)){
            trigger_error('Invalid parameter for list
items',E_USER_ERROR);
        }
        $this->items=$items;
    }
    // concrete implementation for 'getHTML()' method
    function getHTML(){
        foreach($this->attributes as $attribute=>$value){
            $this->output.=$attribute.'="'.$value.'" ';
        }
        $this->output=substr_replace($this->output,'>',-1);
        foreach($this->items as $item){
            $this->output.=(is_a($this->data,'HTMLElement'))?
$this->data->getHTML():$this->data;
        }
        $this->output.='</ul>';
        return $this->output;
    }
}

As illustrated above, all the (X)HTML widget classes are now capable of rendering nested page elements. The checking line below:

$this->output.=(is_a($this->data,'HTMLElement'))?$this->data-
>getHTML():$this->data;

first verifies whether the $this->data property is an object of type “HTMLElement”. If it is, then its corresponding “getHTML()” method is called up. Otherwise, data is appended as a regular string to the class’ overall output. Additionally, each class constructor (excepting the “UnorderedList” class) performs a check, in order to make sure that only strings and “HTMLElement” objects are passed to it. It's simple and efficient.

My last example shows a simple script, which uses some of the improved classes for building a web page with nested elements. Here’s the corresponding PHP snippet:

$par=&new Paragraph(array('name'=>'par1','class'=>'parclass'),'Content for Paragraph element goes here');
// nest paragraph element with div element
$div=&new Div(array('name'=>'div1','class'=>'divclass'),$par);
$pageGen=&new PageGenerator();
$pageGen->doHeader();
// add 'HTMLElement' objects
$pageGen->addHTMLElement($div);
$pageGen->doFooter();
// display web page
echo $pageGen->fetchHTML();

Fine, after including some lines of code within the sample classes, useful for enforcing a particular type of object, I ended up with a bunch of classes that build web pages, and also allow nesting page elements. After studying all the examples you just saw, forcing object types in PHP 4 isn’t hard work at all, right?

Bottom line

This is it for the moment. In this first tutorial, hopefully I provided you with some useful pointers for preventing your PHP 4 classes from being convoluted with input objects of the incorrect type. As you saw, enforcing object types is a very simple yet powerful concept, that definitely can be a true time saver when developing an object-based application.

However, the topic is far from being completely covered. In the next article, I’ll be explaining the implementation of object type enforcement in PHP 5, by using the “instanceof” operator. In the meantime, have some fun programming with PHP, and most of all…don’t forget to check the input objects of your classes!



 
 
>>> More PHP Articles          >>> More By Alejandro Gervasio
 

blog comments powered by Disqus
escort Bursa Bursa escort Antalya eskort
   

PHP ARTICLES

- Hackers Compromise PHP Sites to Launch Attac...
- Red Hat, Zend Form OpenShift PaaS Alliance
- PHP IDE News
- BCD, Zend Extend PHP Partnership
- PHP FAQ Highlight
- PHP Creator Didn't Set Out to Create a Langu...
- PHP Trends Revealed in Zend Study
- PHP: Best Methods for Running Scheduled Jobs
- PHP Array Functions: array_change_key_case
- PHP array_combine Function
- PHP array_chunk Function
- PHP Closures as View Helpers: Lazy-Loading F...
- Using PHP Closures as View Helpers
- PHP File and Operating System Program Execut...
- PHP: Effects of Wrapping Code in Class Const...

Developer Shed Affiliates

 


Dev Shed Tutorial Topics: