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Mike Naberezny's Blog:
Fluent Interfaces in PHP
December 21, 2005 @ 06:59:39

Mike Naberezny has a new post on his blog today with a look at "fluent interfaces" in PHP. The concept of fluent interfaces is based on this structure, a method to make the code "flow" more.

Today on Martin Fowler's bliki, I read a great new article describing what he calls "fluent interfaces". Normally, most setter methods of an object will return void. In an object with a fluent interface, setters will instead return an object to promote object chaining.

In PHP 4, it was not possible to do chaining, but one of the great new features of PHP 5 is that it supports directly deferencing objects returned by methods. It might sound complicated, but it's really not and it has the potential to greatly improve the readability of some code. Let's take a look at how to implement a fluent interface in PHP.

He continues the post, giving a nice, simple (and clear) example of how to create these interfaces within the functionality that PHP provides. For PHP, the fluent interface is such that the setter methods return an object handle (such as a "return $this")...

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