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Propel behavior that adds extra key/value properties
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The ExtraPropertiesBehavior provides a key/value extension for an object.

Basic example

Given a product model, ExtraPropertiesBehavior will add a key/value extension interface.

<table name="product">
  <column name="id" type="INTEGER" primaryKey="true" autoincrement="true" />
  <column name="name" type="VARCHAR" size="255" />
  <behavior name="extra_properties" />
$tvSet = new Product();
$tvSet->setName('My big TV');
$tvSet->setProperty('size', '12 inches');
$tvSet->setProperty('frequency', '11 Hz');

$tvSet->getProperty('size'); // will result in '12 inches'
$tvSet->getProperty('frequency'); // will result in '11 Hz'


First clone the behavior in your vendor directory:

git clone git://

Or using Composer:

    "require": {
        "carpehora/propel-extraproperties-behavior": "1.*"

Then register behavior in either your propel.ini or configuration file:

propel.behavior.extra_properties.class =


Just add the behavior to your table definition:

<!-- in schema.xml -->
<table name="product">
  <!-- ... -->

  <behavior name="extra_properties" />

At this point the behavior will create an extra table to store properties and will add the following set of methods in the active record object:

Common methods

  • hasProperty('property_name')
  • countPropertiesByName('property_name')
  • initializeProperties()
  • deletePropertiesByName('property_name')

Single instance properties

  • setProperty('property_name', 'value')
  • getProperty('property_name', 'default value')

multiple instance properties

  • addProperty('property_name', 'value')
  • getPropertiesByName('property_name')

This is nice, but usualy what a developer wants is direct access through getters and setters. To do so, declare an extra properties list using the following methods:

  • registerProperty('property_name, 'default value')
  • registerMultipleProperty('property_name')

 property extraction methods

  • getProperties() returns an array of properties


First declare the behavior in your schema.xml:

<database name="user">
  <table name="user_preference">
    <column name="id" type="INTEGER" primaryKey="true" autoincrement="true" />
    <column name="key" type="VARCHAR" size="50" />
    <column name="value" type="LONGVARCHAR" />
    <column name="user_id" type="integer" required="true" />
    <foreign-key foreignTable="user" onDelete="cascade" refPhpName="Preference">
      <reference local="user_id" foreign="id" />

  <table name="user">
    <column name="id" type="INTEGER" primaryKey="true" autoincrement="true" />
    <column name="name" type="VARCHAR" size="255" />
    <behavior name="extra_properties" >
      <!-- related table -->
      <parameter name="properties_table" value="user_preference" />
      <!-- property label column -->
      <parameter name="property_name_column" value="key" />
      <!-- property value column -->
      <parameter name="property_value_column" value="value" />
      <!-- normalize property names and values using peer normalize methods ? -->
      <parameter name="normalize" value="true" />
      <!-- throw an error if shortcut get{PropertyName} cannot resolve PropertyName ? -->
      <parameter name="throw_error" value="true" />
      <!-- property denomination, if instead of properties, you think in terms of parameters/details/whatever -->
      <parameter name="property_name" value="property" />

To enable humanized getters, declare an initializeProperties() method in your model like this:

class User extends BaseUser
  protected function initializeProperties()
    $this->registerProperty('MY_MODULE_PREFERENCE', 'default_value');

Then you can use getters and setters directly with your model object:

// get/set methods created by initializeProperties()
$user->getMyModulePreference();             // or call $user->getProperty('my_module_preference');
$user->setMyModulePreference('preference'); // or call $user->setProperty('my_module_preference', 'preference');

// extend dynamicly
$user->registerProperty('MY_OTHER_PREFERENCE', 'default_value');
$user->getMyOtherPreference();             // or call $user->getProperty('my_other_preference');
$user->setMyOtherPreference('preference'); // or call $user->setProperty('my_other_preference', 'preference');

// simply deal with multiple occurences

// extract properties
// will result in
// array(
//   'MY_MODULE_PREFERENCE' => 'preference',
//   'MY_OTHER_PREFERENCE' => 'preference',
//   'MY_MULTIPLE_PREFERENCE' => array('pref1', 'pref2'),
// )

$user->getMyMultiplePreferences();        // will result in array('id_pref1' => 'pref1', 'id_pref2' => 'pref2')
$user->clearMyMultiplePreferences();      // remove all MY_MULTIPLE_PREFERENCE preferences

Use with single inheritance

It sometimes is useful to be able to extend the model depending on the inheritance classkey. ExtraPropertiesBehavior can do that for you.

Imagine a CMS with several content types:

<database name="content">
  <table name="content">
    <column name="id" type="INTEGER" primaryKey="true" autoincrement="true" />
    <column name="title" type="VARCHAR" size="255" />
    <column name="type" type="VARCHAR" inheritance="single">
    <behavior name="extra_properties" />

Given the default content structure, just define your content options by defining your possible key/values in the initializeProperties() method:

class Article extends Content
  protected function initializeProperties()

  public function getOMClass()
    return 'Article';


class Video extends Content
  protected function initializeProperties()

  public function getOMClass()
    return 'Video';

Then, just use extra properties as if it where built in fields:

$article = new Article();
$article->setTitle('Propel, greatest php ORM ever');
$article->setContent('Try it you\'ll see');

$video = new Video();
$video->setTitle('Propel + phpsh');


  • implement default properties (generate methods and register in initialize)
  • parameter to chose setters and getters name.
  • add a callback to convert property value
  • add namespace
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