A PHP-based implementation of generics (templated classes) to aid with stricter type consistency.
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Permalink
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.
src
tests
.editorconfig
.gitattributes
.gitignore
LICENSE
composer.json
readme.md

readme.md

Generics

A PHP-based implementation of generics (templated classes) to aid with stricter type consistency.

Table of Contents

Installation

The package installs into a PHP application like any other PHP package:

composer require artisansdk/generic

Usage Guide

For examples see tests/Example.php. Run the following for a performance test:

php tests/Example.php

Using a generic is just a matter of instantiating it with the required typed parameters which will be used for type checking from then on:

<?php

use ArtisanSDK\Generic\Types\HashMap;

// Generate a generic hash map consisting of integer keys and string values
// @example [0 => 'foo', 1 => 'bar', ... ]
$map = HashMap::generic(HashMap::TYPE_INT, HashMap::TYPE_STRING);
$map->set(0, 'foo');
$map->set('1', 'bar'); // throws InvalidArgumentException because string is first parameter

// Generate a generic hash map consisting of string keys and stdClass values
// @example ['foo' => stdClass, 'bar' => stdClass, ... ]
$map = HashMap::generic(HashMap::TYPE_STRING, 'stdClass');
$map->set('foo', new stdClass());
$map->set('bar', 123); // throws InvalidArgumentException

Each generic like ArtisanSDK\Generic\Types\Collection implements the ArtisanSDK\Generic\Contract which has all the pre-defined type constants. Importing the generic provides all the needed dependencies to use the generic. Instead of referring to Contract::TYPE_* constants, you can just refer to them on the generic itself like Collection::TYPE_*. See ArtisanSDK\Generic\Contract for all pre-defined type constants.

Motivation Behind the Library

Generics (or templated classes) come up a lot in systems that have lots of classes that all represent a certain type. Games for example have a lot of bad guys and weapons that often have similar behavior. In order to satisfy type checking in PHP this would mean creating hundreds of classes and either creating complex inheritance hierarchy or keeping it flat but repeating a lot of logic. Use of traits can help but introduces other complexities. Generics are the answer. Having a generic bad guy or weapon class from which you can define hundreds of others and ensure that they all behave consistently and that the wrong kind of ammo cannot be loaded into the wrong kind of weapon. Most languages would implement this with custom syntax but in PHP we have to resort to user-land code. With a little reflection magic and some clever composition though we can accomplish largely the same outcomes.

Further Reading: There was an RFC for generics in PHP but it got skipped over for lack of support. You can read it here →

Creating Custom Generics

A generic consists of a proxied template class and the typed generic that extends the base abstract generic. The proxied template class can make basic type assumptions based on its behavior but it is untyped with respect to its parameters. This allows for the proxied class to encapsulate the behavioral logic in the form of the template while remaining ignorant of the proxy that wraps the class. The template class implements the ArtisanSDK\Generic\Contract which requires a generic() static factory be implemented. Application code should never depend directly on this template.

The typed generic extends the base abstract generic ArtisanSDK\Generic\Generic which also implements the ArtisanSDK\Generic\Contract. The purpose of this class is to allow application code to type hint a class that has the defined behavior of the template while providing the templating functionality of a generic. This maintains type consistency. The parent logic of the abstract generic uses reflection when type checking is enabled (default) by comparing the templated parameters defined in the doc blocks of the generic() method implemented on the typed generic against those passed when a method on the proxied template class is called. A typed generic must use the same parameter names in all methods of the template if the type of the parameter is to be templated.

Stack Example

The following is an example of a custom App\Types\Stack generic which proxies to the untyped App\Types\Templates\Stack class. Note that the generic() method on both the typed generic and the proxied template have the same doc block (the parameter name is important) and that all the public methods of the proxied template class use the same parameter names in the doc blocks if the typed parameter should be checked. The order of the typed parameters does not matter for custom methods.

This is the typed generic which is what your application should type hint:

<?php

namespace App\Types;

use ArtisanSDK\Generic\Generic;
use ArtisanSDK\Generic\Contract;

class Stack extends Generic
{
    public function __construct($item)
    {
        parent::__construct(Templates\Stack::class, $item);
    }

    /**
     * @param mixed $item for generic stack type
     */
    public static function generic() : Contract
    {
        $args = func_get_args();

        return new static(...$args);
    }
}

This is the proxied template class which defines the generics behavior. Notice how push() type hints with the doc block the $item parameter and is therefore type checked while all() and pop() accept no parameters and are not type checked. Additionally slice() accepts parameters but does not type hint them and therefore are not type checked via the proxy (though they are via PHP internals). Technically you could omit the doc block on the push() method because the parameter name matches a typed parameter: only generic() strictly requires the doc block.

<?php

namespace App\Types\Templates;

use ArtisanSDK\Generic\Contract;
use App\Types\Stack as Type;

class Stack implements Contract
{
    private $items = [];

    /**
     * @param mixed $item for generic stack type
     */
    public static function generic() : Contract
    {
        $args = func_get_args();

        return new Type(...$args);
    }

    /**
     * @param mixed $item to push on stack
     */
    public function push($item)
    {
        array_push($this->items, $item);

        return $this;
    }

    public function pop()
    {
        return array_pop($this->items);
    }

    public function all() : array
    {
        return $this->items;
    }

    public function slice(int $offset, int $length = null) : array
    {
        return array_slice($this->items, $offset, $length);
    }
}

Then to use your custom generic, you'll need to define the stack's typed parameter. In this case we are creating a stack that accepts User classes only. Passing in any other class would throw an exception. The following is an example:

<?php

use App\Models\User;
use App\Types\Stack;

$users = Stack::generic(User::class);
$users->push(new User());
$users->push(new stdClass()); // throws InvalidArgumentException

$stack = Stack::generic('stdClass');
$stack->push(new stdClass());
$stack->push(new User()); // throws InvalidArgumentException

Run Without Type Checks

Set the environment variable PHP_GENERIC_DISABLE=1 to disable generic type checking. This is something you probably will want to do in production to improve speed so long as you run checks in your CI/CD pipelines.

PHP_GENERIC_DISABLE=1 php tests/Example.php

The performance difference for generating 100K type objects is negligible at only 0.0014ms average while the cost difference of making 400K calls to the proxied template class is 25756ms with type checking disabled vs. 26184ms when enabled. That is effectively a 363ms difference or 0.001ms per call (negligible). The memory consumption is more at 25MB disabled vs. 61MB enabled.

Licensing

Copyright (c) 2018 Artisans Collaborative

This package is released under the MIT license. Please see the LICENSE file distributed with every copy of the code for commercial licensing terms.