Data - Entity Manager


Entity is class presentation of database table where class name becomes table name and its property maps to table columns. Once entity class is created for table, it can be used to manage data stored within that table. It allows selecting data from table or reflecting changes in table that is update, insert or remove.

We don't have to worry about creating query for selecting or managing data. Because Nishchay data processor prepares query based on database type of your class. This makes entity class to work with all supported database type, there won't be changes to your class even if you change database for it.

To select or manage data of entity, it requires EntityManager. Nishchay\Data\EntityManager instance is created with entity class.

Let's start with creating our first simple entity class for table.

  1. We will create entity for User table.
  2. Table user has following columns:
Property Type Identity
userId Int Yes
firstName string -
lastName string -
gender string -
birthDate date -

To make class an entity, declare Nishchay\Attributes\Entity\Entity attribute on class. Below example demonstrates how to declare Entity attribute on class.

use Nishchay\Attributes\Entity\Entity;

class User {

This class will be map to 'user' table in database.

Parameters of Entity attribute is listed below.

Parameter Description
name Entity class will be mapped to given name. If value is this, then table name will be same as name of full class name. To consider base class name as table then value should be this.base
separator If the table name contains forward slash it will be converted to passed separator. This happens only when we user full class name as table name. We can use any value for separator, but be careful it should not results into error by using inappropriate separator.
case Whatever is table name, we can convert table name to lowercase, uppercase or use same as defined. By default case is same, it will not change case of table name.

Below code demonstrates various usage of above three parameter. To explain, we are taking class name as Application\Entity\User

// Table name will be 'user'. #[Entity(name:'user')] // Table name will be 'Application_Entity_User' #[Entity(name:'this')] // Table name: ApplicationEntityUser #[Entity(name:'this',separator:'')] // Table name: applicationentityuser #[Entity(name:'this',separator:'',case:'small')] // Table name: User #[Entity(name:'this.base')] // Table name: USER #[Entity(name:'this.base',case:'upper')]

An application can connect multiple database. By default entity uses default database connection as specified in config. But Nishchay also allow us to use other connection than defined in database config by using Nishchay\Attributes\Entity\Connect attribute.

Connect supports only one parameter called name whose value should connection name. Below example demonstrates how we can use Connect attribute on entity class.

#[Entity(name:'this.base',case:'small')] #[Connect(name:'auth')] class Auth {

Each property of entity class maps to database table column if it matches following:

  1. Nishchay\Attributes\Entity\Property\DataType or Nishchay\Attributes\Entity\Property\Derived declared on property.
  2. Property name should not start with underscore.

Remember following points too:

  • Access type of property does not matter.
  • Property declared as private or protected are still accessible from entity manager instance.
  • Property name should be same as table column.

Mapping our first column to property.

use Nishchay\Attributes\Entity\Entity;
use Nishchay\Attributes\Entity\Property\DataType;

class User {

    public $id;


When we declare DataType attribute on property, that property will be mapped to table. Here id will be mapped to id column of user table.

Below code demonstrates how whole table can be created as entity.

#[Entity(name:'user')] class User { #[Identity] #[DataType(type:'int',readOnly:true)] public $id; #[DataType(type:'string', length:20, required:true)] public $firstName; #[DataType(type:'string', length:20, required:true)] public $lastName; #[DataType(type:'string', length:10, required:true)] public $gender; #[DataType(type:'date', required:true)] public $birthDate; }
Create an instance of Entity Manager

Creating an instance of Entity Manager class is very easy.

$user = new EntityManager(User::class);

Entity Manager accepts only one parameter which should be class name or an instance of Entity Class.

Now we have $user using which we can select or manipulate data. Now and on we will use $user to demonstrate most example.

Fetch single record

get method of an Entity Manager class allows us to fetch single record from table using its primary(identity) key.

$record = $user->get(1);

get method returns instance of self class but this behaves exactly like instance of an User class. We can access each property of class even if its defined as private or protected. We can also call method which are public.

Fetch all records

getAll methods returns all records from table. It will return array of Entity Manager instance representing each row.

$records = $user->getAll();
Access/Update property

Property of entity class can be accessed the same way as it is property of EntityManager class. Suppose we want to print id of an user, it can be printed just with following syntax.

<?= $record->id; ?>

Let's change first name of an user.

<?php $record->firstName = 'Ray' ?>

Above will update first name in entity class only, but it won't be reflected in table. To learn how to reflect changes into table, please read below section.

Data manipulation

Any changes made to entity property does not directly reflected to table. There are number of methods using which we can decide how it should be reflected into table.


Once we create an instance of Entity Manager class for Entity. We can directly use it to set value of each properties, then calling insert method on same instance will insert record into table.

$user->firstName = 'Bhavik';
$user->lastName = 'Patel';
$user->gender = 'male';
$user->birthDate = DateTime::createFromFormat('Y-m-d', '1991-01-01');

Above will insert record into table. If you have fetched record and call insert method on it, it will still insert record.


Update works on only fetched record. Calling it on instance which was not fetched, will not do anything.

$record = $user->get(1);
$record->firstName = 'Ray';

Calling insert method will always insert record and update will always update record. If we call insert multiple times on same instance it will always insert record. We have save method which works smartly. It will insert record if record is not fetched from database, then calling save method again on it will update its value. If the record is fetched then it will do update.

Save method first checks if its need to be inserted or updated, then it takes appropriate action. If no changes has been made to instance then nothing happens. Not even query will be fired.


Just like update method remove works on fetched record only. Calling remove method will remove record from table.

$record = $user->get(1)->remove();
Setter methods - Update value before it returns

Setter methods are called on property before it returns but after applying value to entity class. Suppose we want make sure that first name of an user should be first case upper and remaining lower then we can create setter method to do same.

Create setter for firstName property.

public function setfirstName($firstName){
    return ucfirst(strtolower($firstName));

Setter method follows this pattern set{property_name}. Here property name's first character should be in upper case and remaining unchanged. Value returned by setter method get assigned to entity class property.

Data Type of property

Entity supports various types of data including custom.


Entity property supports integer data type. How many types of integer can support property is depends on entity's database environment. Suppose for MySQL, it can support TINYINT, SMALLINT, MEDIUMINT, INT, BIGINT. For integer data type value of type parameter of DataType attribute should be int and this remains same for all database environment. Based on length of data type we set in parameter, which data type from database environment to choose is decided. For integer data type value should be byte. As in MySQL uses 4 byte for INT data type, setting length: 4, will choose INT data type.

#[DataType(type:'int',length:4)] public $userId;

Property which has fractional point. Float and Double data type can be use for property.

#[DataType(type:'float',length:5.2)] public $amount;

Above will allow property to store 5 digit value of which 2 can be fractional point.


If the property type is Date or DateTime then its value should be instance of DateTime class. Fetched value from table converted to DateTime instance by entity manager. Upon reflecting to database table Nishchay converts it into type appropriate to database environment.

public $createdAt;

This is just like php array. Value is serialized while reflecting into database and unserialized upon assigning it to property.


Value type mixed means it can support any scaler value except Date/DateTime as it is class.


We can specify class name to type. When we give class name to property it is serialized while reflecting into database and unserialized upon assigning it to property.

Property attributes

Each class should contain identity property. Only one identity property per class is allowed. To make property an identity declare Identity attribute on it.

#[Identity] public $id;

Property can be make required. Property which are required, its value should not be null. To make any property required, set required parameter value of DataType attribute to true.

#[DataType(type:'string', required:true)] public $firstName;
Read only

If the property is an read only, its value can not be changed. Its wise to make identity property read only. Once we set value to read only property, it can not changed later. We can make any property read only.

Readonly property can only be set for new record only. If it is fetched from database then it can not be changed.

#[Identity] #[DataType(type:'int', readOnly:true)] public $id;

We can also use readonly property which should not be changed once its saved in database on insert.

Allow values from list only[time:60]

We can define list of values and property value can only contain value from defined list ony.

#[DataType(type:'string', values=['male','female'])] public $gender;

By defining above values parameter on above property, we are restricting property to have only male or female only.

$user->gender = 'invalid';

Above code will throw exception because value being assigned is not from list.

Default value[time:120]

Default value applicable for new record only but it should not be for required property. If we are inserting a record while property is (means setting property to null) untouched and it has default value defined for data type, then default value will be applied to property.

If record has been fetched from database and setting its value to null then default value won't be applied.

Below is an example for how to define default value for property

#[DataType(type:'int', default:1)] public $userTypeId;

Below code will use default value 1 for userTypeId property.

$user = new EntityManger(User::class);
$user->fullName = 'Bhavik Patel';
$user->gender = 'Male';

Because we are not setting any value to property userTypeId will have default value 1.

Default value can be dynamic for Date and DateTime data type.

If an entity contains properties like createdAt which will have time when the record was inserted. Below example will make property to have default value as current time.

#[DataType(type:'datetime', default:'now')] public $createdAt;

Setting default value now for the Date or DateTime data type will insert current time.

For these data type, default can have any value which can modify date. Check here for supported values.

Static property

Entity can also have static properties. There's no special attribute to define static property. Entity static property works same way as static property of standard class.

Static properties are accessed directly using its class name. Before we access static property it needs to be initialized only once. As soon as we create first instance of Entity Manager class, all static properties are initialized and this happen only once. Entity Manager have separate method to save static properties in database.

Update static property

To reflect changes in database, call saveStatic method on instance of Entity Manager. Suppose we have created instance of Entity Manager for User entity class and we call saveStatic it reflect static property of User class only. If there are no static property in entity class and we call saveStatic nothing will happen.

saveStatic method first checks if there are any changes in any static property. Only property which are updated will be reflected to database, nothing happens for unchanged properties.


This works like foreign key of table. Property can be relative to identity property or property of another class. If we want to relate one entity to another entity, we can do that with the help of relative property.

Relative property is defined using Nishchay\Attributes\Entity\Property\Relative attribute. See below example.

#[Relative(to:Department::class)] #[DataType(type:'int')] public $departmentId;

Here departmentId will be relative to identity property of Application\Entity\Department class.

Value of to should be full class name.

Relate property other than identity[time:60]

If we need to relate property to property other then identity property, it can be done with the help of name parameter. Value of name should be property of to class. This is optional parameter, if we don't define this parameter then identity property of relative class is considered for this parameter.

#[Relative(to:Department::class, name:'departmentId')] #[DataType(type:'int')] public $departmentId;
Relative loos or perfect[time:60]

We can define relativity relation type with the help of type parameter of Relative attribute. Value of this parameter should be loose or perfect.

If type is perfect, then value of property should exists in relative class. Leaving property null or assigning value which doest not exists in relative class results in an exception.

#[Relative(to:Department::class, type:'perfect')] #[DataType(type:'int')] public $departmentId;

We can make this property loosely relative to relative class by assigning value loose to type parameter. Assigning null to this property won't result in an exception, but assigning value which does not exists in relative class will still result in an exception.


Derived properties are property whose value is derived from another entity or it can be generated from callback. Nishchay\Attributes\Entity\Property\Derived attribute makes property derivable, it has many parameter and are listed below.

Property Description
from should be property name of self class which should be relative to another entity or class name which has property relative to identity of self class
join should be callback method name which returns join statement, callback response will be assigned to property
callback should be callback method name, callback response will be assigned to property
property list of properties whose value needs to be derived.
group to apply group by clause
hold whether derived value should be single or multiple
type relativity loose or perfect

We do not have to declare DataType attribute on derived property as its datatype will be the same as property we fetch from another entity.

NOTE: We can not change value of derived property because deriving property is not owned by self class. Class can reflect changes to database only of its own class.

Deriving based on relative property of self class

If one of property in entity class is relative to another entity(related entity), then we can fetch related entity.

#[Relative(to:Department::class)] #[DataType(type:'int')] public $departmentId; #[Derived(from:'departmentId')] public $department;

Because we have specified that value of property $department should be fetched by $departmentId property. Entity manager will fetch record with value of $departmentId and creates an instance Entity instance for Application\Entity\Department, then instance of this class will be assigned to $departmentId.

Deriving specific property

By default Entity manger fetches whole entity for the derived property. But in some case we might not need all properties of related class, in this case we can use property parameter to specify one or more property which only need to be fetched.

property parameter of Derived attribute accepts string or array. If we have to derive more than one property, specify each properties in an array.

#[Relative(to:Department::class)] #[DataType(type:'int')] public $departmentId; #[Derived(from:'departmentId', property:['departmentName', 'departmentCode'])] public $department;

Entity Manager will now fetch only two properties from related class and both of these properties will be assigned to $department property.

Form class which has property relative to identity of self class[time:180]

To better understand this case, let's take one example. We have User entity which stores all user data. These users have different skills which are stored in another entity. Skill entity stores userId and skillName and identity of this class skillId.

Now when we fetch user record, we also want to fetch all skills of fetched user. To do that we will create one derived property called skills which will be relative to Skill entity.

When we specify class name instead of relative property name of self class, Entity Manager will look for property which is relative to self(User) entity in related entity (Skill). Based on this record will be fetched for derived property.

Skill Entity

#[Identity] #[DataType(type:'int', readOnly:true)] public $skillId; #[Relative(to:User::class)] #[DataType(type:'int')] public $userId; #[DataType(type:'string',length:50)] public $skillName;

User Entity

#[Identity] #[DataType(type:'int', readOnly:true)] public $userId; #[Derived(from:Skill::class, hold:'multiple')] public $skills;
Derive multiple records from related entity

By default Entity Manager fetches only one record for the entity. In some case we might need multiple records from related property.

Such example is mentioned in above section, where user can have multiple skills. If you look at how Derived attribute is declared on $skills property, we have defined hold parameter.

Using hold parameter we can tell Entity Manager to fetch multiple records instead of single record.

#[Derived(from:Skill::class, hold:'multiple')] public $skills;
Deriving based on extended relation[time:300]

We can also derive entity or entity property which have extended relation. To explain this, we will take example of user only. User can belongs to department and this department can have Zone. This Zone stores zone name and address.

When we fetch user record, we also want to fetch zone detail of department which user is belongs to. As Department stores on zoneId, fetching Department entity only we won't have zone detail. Before we go further see entity properties of Department and Zone.

Department entity.

#[Identity] #[DataType(type: 'int', readOnly: true)] public $departmentId; #[DataType(type: 'string', length: 50, required: true)] public $departmentName; #[Relative(to:Zone::class)] #[DataType(type: 'int', required: true)] public $zoneId;

Zone entity

#[Identity] #[DataType(type: 'int', readOnly: true)] public $zoneId; #[DataType(type: 'string', length: 250, required: true)] public $zoneName; #[DataType(type: 'string', length: 50, required: true)] public $zoneAddress;

To achieve this we specify extended relation separated by dots. Let's take a look how User entity can be modified to fetch zone.

#[Identity] #[DataType(type: 'int', readOnly: true)] public $userId; #[Relative(to:Department::class)] #[DataType(type: 'int', required: true)] public $departmentId; #[Derived(from: 'departmentId.zoneId')] public $zone;

If you are not able to spot, take a look at from parameter of Derived attribute on $zone property of above class.

This will fetch whole Zone entity but we can define property parameter to fetch only specified properties.

We can also derive values using class separated dots.

Specifying how records should be fetched: Applicable for from type only

Records are fetched based on perfect or loose relationship. For the perfect relationship, record should exists in relative class. If record does not exists in relative class, no record will be returned. While for the loose relationship, if there's no record in relative then null value is assigned to property.

If we do not define type relationship using type parameter on derived property then relationship is taken from relative property. If relative property does not have type defined then perfect relationship applied by default.

#[Relative(to:Department::class, type: 'loose')] #[DataType(type: 'int')] public $departmentId; #[Derived(from:'departmentId', property: ['departmentName', 'departmentCode'])] public $department;

For above code loose relationship is applied because $department does not have defined such relationship and relationship has been taken from $departmentId property.

Suppose $departmentId does not have type parameter set then default perfect would be used.

Derive using custom join

Deriving using from parameter is for straightforward relationship and is perfect relationship which follows standard. If we are not able to derive using from parameter, we can use join parameter, which should have callback method name declared in same class.

This callback method must return join rule. Callback method must exists in same class. As joins returned by callback method can have multiple table, we have to tell Entity Manager which property to fetch from which Entity.

NOTE: from parameter also limits deriving property from one entity only, while using join callback we can derive property from multiple entity for derived property.

Example explained in above section can also achieved using join callback.

#[Derived(join: 'getZoneJoin', property: ['zone.zoneName', 'zone.zoneId'])] public $zone; public function getZoneJoin() { return [ '[<]' . Department::class . '(department)' => 'departmentId', '[<]' . Zone::class . '(zone)' => ['zoneId' => 'department.zoneId'] ]; }

Please learn here, for how join works for Entity class.

Using callback

For properties whose value is prepared based on fetched record, can be created using callback method. Response of callback method is assigned to property.

Using callback parameter we can specify callback method for the derived property.

Because callback exists in your entity class, you can access each property's value by using $this. You might not be able to access some derived property which is based on callback as order of processing callback property depends on how its defined in class.

#[Derived(callback: 'prepareFullname')] public $fullname; public function prepareFullname() { return $this->firstName . ' ' . $this->lastName; }

NOTE: For callback derived properties, all other parameters are ignored.

Fetching array of values

By default derived property fetch only first value, but sometimes we might need to fetch array of values form another entity. Parameter hold can accepts single or multiple, if we do not define it then by default single is record is fetched. Setting multiple fetches multiple values.

Just like fetching whole entity, fetching array of values makes derived property lazy. Read more about Lazy properties.

Applying group clause

We sometime might need group clause for record which needs to be fetched. Such thing can be applied using group parameter. Whatever you specify in group parameter is taken in group by clause.

Lazy properties

If property is holding array of values or whole entity, it becomes lazy. Separate query is fired to fetch whole entity. By default lazy properties are disabled, we need to enable it to fetch lazy properties. We can do that with the help of enableLazy and enableDerived method, here parameter must be boolean.

Use enableLazy to enable properties which hold array of values and enableDerived to enable properties which holds whole entity.

Suppose we have one derived property which hold whole entity and we have enabled lazy property then two query will be fired. One for fetching entity records and other for fetching deriving entity records. Derived properties gets value after property which has value of self entity. Same thing happens for property which holds array of values.

For each entity property gets value in following order.

  1. Property which has value from self entity
  2. Derived property which holds whole entity or array of value but only if lazy property is enabled.
  3. Callback derived property

Lazy and derived properties can enabled globally by changing value in database config global.

Property value validation

Based on attribute DataType, Derived and Relative declared on property, Entity Manager validates record upon fetching or while updating property value.

Such example, User entity's identity property is of data type int. Assigning string value to this property results in an error. Same thing is applied for each data type. It also validates if property is readonly or not, its relativity with another entity, whether it is required.

Apart from this validations we can also define our own validation for property. This can be achieved by declaring Validation attribute on property. This attribute accepts only parameter called callback which should have callback method name.

If callback exists in same then specify only method name otherwise specify in {class}::{method} format.

Validation callback must return boolean. Returning value other than true invalidates property value and prevent it from assigning value or reflecting changes to database.

#[Validation(callback: 'validateAge')] #[DataType(type: 'int')] public $age; public function validateAge($age) { return $age >= 18 }

Above will allow age property to have user's age greater or equal to 18 only.

Extra property

All entity records have properties defined within that class. Apart those property, we can also add more properties to row which is called extra property for the row. Extra property added for one row is visible for that row only.

This extra property behave same as property defined within class. It can be accessed and update same as class property.

To create an extra property, we first need to create extra property using ExtraProperty class. We must bind it to row to which entity should be applied to.

ExtraProperty have following method which can be used to set data type, required and readonly attributes.

Method Description
setDataType Sets data type of the property.
setLength Sets length of data type.
setReadOnly Makes property read only
setRequired Makes property required
bindTo Row to which extra property need to be added

Once we prepare extra property, we need DataClass Reflection for the Entity. Using which we can add property to row.

$entity = new EntityManager(User::class);

# Fetching single record
$row = $entity->get(1);

# Preparing extra property
$extra = new ExtraProperty('extra');

# Creating reflection class so we can add extra property to row.
$reflection = new DataClass(User::class);

# Once extra property is added to row, we can then set its value.
$row->extra = 3;

Above will add extra property to $row. Next time we fetch $entity->get(1), it will come with extra property called extra

Temporary data

As the name suggest we can also add temporary data to row if needed, it gets removed along with object. Temporary data are just stored in memory and are not reflected to database. Its get lost once object destroyed.

We can add any kind of temporary data, there are no limitation and validation on it. Once temporary data added it can also be removed. Below are some methods to manipulate temporary data.

Method Description
setTemp which accepts two parameter, first temporary data name and second for its value.
getTemp Returns temp data if it exists otherwise it throws exception
isTempExists Returns TRUE if data with name exists in temp data
removeTemp Returns TRUE if data with name removed from temp

Events are executed on specific action. Action can be insert, update or remove. There are two types of events, one is execute before(Nishchay\Attributes\Entity\Event\BeforeChange) any action is taken place and other is executed after(Nishchay\Attributes\Entity\Event\AfterChange) the action has been taken place.

AfterChange and BeforeChange both have same parameter which are listed below:

Parameter Description
callback Can be method name of same class or it can be in {class}::{method} format. If attribute is declared on method then this parameter will be discarded.
priority Priority of events
for Event for which action(insert, update, remove). By default action event will be considered for all actions

Both event attributes can be declared on entity class or method. When attribute declared on method, callback parameter will be discarded.

NOTE: Unlike other attribute BeforeChange and AfterChange can be defined multiple times.

Event callback must return boolean value. Value other than true considered as failure of event, applicable for before change event only. Exception is thrown and operations is discarded if callback returns failure.

Event callback receives following parameters.

Parameter Description
old All properties having old values
new All properties having new values
mode Mode for which event has been called. This can be any of insert, update and remove
updatedName List of properties whose value has been changed

We can't change old and new values in events.