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What Is Method Chaining In PHP?


18th May 2020 2 mins read
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Hi folks in this article I would like to share what is Method Chaining in PHP. I would like to tell my how I got fascinated to it and started to implement as much as possible in my daily life.


You will learn


  1. What Is Method Chaining
  2. Why Do You Use It?
  3. Lets Built With Example
  4. Advantages & DisAdvantages

What The Hell Is Method Chaining


Hope you might have come across the code like the following which is very fluent and simple to chain the method callbacks. Nowadays in most of the frameworks then do use it.


Example: Larvel - Eloquent, Codeigniter - ActiveRecords to mention some.


$rss->siteName('SiteName')
    ->siteUrl('https://siteurl.com')
    ->description('Some random description of the site')
    ->language('en-US') /** Default is en-Us you can set any of yours */
    ->lastUpdated($feedItems[0]['updatedAt']) /** Just pass datetime string or date string */
    ->generate($path, $rssItems, $filename);


OMG! Yes. Yup this is what method chaining is, basically you chain the output of one method and add it as input to upcoming methods context.

Why Do I Need It?


Without method chaining you would have to keep it in many intermediate variables.

For example


$rss = new RSS();

$siteName = $rss->siteName('StackCoder');
$siteUrl = $rss->siteUrl('https://stackcoder.in');


Which may not be very wise. But there are also downsides of using Method Chaining stay tuned till last.


Lets Build It Then (return $this)


Hope your now super excited to learn it. Lets start then with an example


class RSS{

    public function siteName($siteName)
    {
        $this->siteName = $siteName;
        /** Return the current context with $this */
        return $this;
    }

    public function siteUrl($siteUrl)
    {
        $this->siteUrl = $siteUrl;
        /** Return the current context with $this */
        return $this;
    }
    
}


In my RSS class I have siteName & siteUrl which I want to chain as follows


$rss = new RSS();

$rss->siteName('SiteName')
    ->siteUrl('https://siteurl.com');


This can be achieved by simply returning $this in RSS class methods siteName() & siteUrl() as shown in the above example.


Advantages & DisAdvantages


Advantages


  1. Very simple & easy to understand
  2. Overcome unnecessary intermediate variables
  3. Type less do more kind of thing (DRY approach)



DisAdvantages


  1. Debugging can be harder
  2. If written in a single line then can be harder to read
  3. User will be confused to know what does the chained method may return

Conclusion


Use method when you want simpler code. Never use between different classes, as it may increase the complexity for debugging.







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AUTHOR

Channaveer Hakari

I am a full-stack developer working at WifiDabba India Pvt Ltd. I started this blog so that I can share my knowledge and enhance my skills with constant learning.

Never stop learning. If you stop learning, you stop growing