Using Custom Data Models

Extending PHP classes is a little different from extending other types of entities. You cannot simply replace a class by redefining it in a custom Sprinkle. In fact, classes with the same name in two different Sprinkles would be treated as two different fully-qualified classes per the PSR-4 standard. For example, if I loaded the Sprinkles Account and Site, and I had the following structure:

├── account
│   └── src
│       └── Database
│           └── Models
│               └── User.php
├── site
│   └── src
│       └── Database
│           └── Models
│               └── User.php

...then User.php in site would not override User.php in account. Rather, I'd have two different classes because both classes would have two different namespace : \UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\User and \UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Site\Database\Models\User.

To actually override and replace the functionality of a class, we have two tools available:

Class Inheritance

We could, for example, define our User class in the site Sprinkle to inherit from the User class in account using the extends keyword:

app/src/Database/Models/User.php :


namespace \UserFrosting\Sprinkle\MySprinkle\Database\Models;

class User extends \UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\User
    // ...

Now, we can start using \UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Site\Database\Models\User to extend the functionality provided by the User class in the Account sprinkle.

Dynamic Model Mapper

Of course, the limitations of object-oriented inheritance becomes clear when you want to change the behavior of the original class in other places where it has been used. For example, if I extended Account\Database\Models\User and redefined the onLogin method in my Site\Database\Models\User class, this would let me use Site\Database\Models\User going forward in any code I write in the site Sprinkle. However, it wouldn't affect references to User in the account Sprinkle - they would still be referring to the base class.

To allow this sort of "retroactive extendability", the Dependency Injector can be used to resolves interface identifiers to specific class names at runtime through Interface Binding and custom Autowiring.

UserFrosting uses this feature to solve this issue when dealing with data Models by binding each default model to an interface. Rather than hardcoding references to UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\User, UserFrosting reference the UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Interfaces\UserInterface interface and map the interface with the correct model in the Account Sprinkle service provider.

For example, a controller in the account Sprinkle will do something like:

public function __construct(
    protected UserInterface $userModel,
) {

public function __invoke(Request $request, Response $response): Response
    // ...
    $user = $userModel->where('email', '[email protected]')->first();
    // ...

...instead of:

public function __invoke(Request $request, Response $response): Response
    // ...
    $user = User::where('email', '[email protected]')->first();
    // ...

Default Model Identifiers

The following interface-model association are defined by default in the Account sprinkle :

Interface Model
UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Interfaces\ActivityInterface UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Activity
UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Interfaces\GroupInterface UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Group
UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Interfaces\PasswordResetInterface UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\PasswordReset
UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Interfaces\PermissionInterface UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Permission
UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Interfaces\PersistenceInterface UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Persistence
UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Interfaces\RoleInterface UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Role
UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Interfaces\UserInterface UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\User
UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Interfaces\VerificationInterface UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Verification

Overwriting existing map

It is possible for any sprinkle to overwrite the default mapping in a service provider. Then every time UserInterface is referenced for example, your model will actually be injected instead of the default User Model.


namespace UserFrosting\Sprinkle\MySprinkle\ServicesProvider;

use UserFrosting\ServicesProvider\ServicesProviderInterface;
use UserFrosting\Sprinkle\Account\Database\Models\Interfaces\UserInterface;
use UserFrosting\Sprinkle\MySprinkle\Database\Models\Members;

 * Map models interface to the class.
 * Note both class are map using class-string, since Models are not instantiated
 * by the container in the Eloquent world.
class ModelsService implements ServicesProviderInterface
    public function register(): array
        return [
            UserInterface::class => \DI\autowire(Members::class),

Keep in mind the last Sprinkle to be loaded, via the dependency tree, will be the last one to take effect. For example, if Site depends on Feature which depend on Account, and they each associate a custom model to UserInterface interface, the Site version will be used.

Note that it's not just database models that you can dynamically remap (though they are the most common use case!) Any class references that haven't been hardcoded can be dynamically remapped in another Sprinkle's service. You can learn more about services in Chapter 15.