In the lessons learned post, I talked about how Aura was born of the idea that we could extract independent decoupled packages from Solar, and how in doing so, we discovered that some of those extracted packages themselves could be further split into independent pieces.

For example, take Aura.Sql. From Solar_Sql, we pulled out the database connection abstraction layers, the query objects, and the schema discovery tools, then added on a connection manager and a mapper/gateway implementation. It was very natural to think of all these things as belonging together; they all need an SQL connection, so of course they should be bundled with an SQL connection implementation, right?

Even More Decoupling

Well, it turns out that merely extracting the SQL parts was not good enough for some of our audience. They asked, “Can we download just the SQL connection classes, without the query objects or the mapper?” As with Solar, we had to answer, “No; although the Aura.Sql package is independent from every other Aura package, the various SQL tools all have be taken together as a whole.”

As a result, we have done even more decoupling with the Aura.Sql-v2 packages. We have managed to make these packages independent from each other:

  • Aura.Sql-v2 is composed primarily of an extended PDO implementation, along with a connection manager and a bare-bones profiler. Its only dependency is the native PDO; there are no userland dependencies. As an added bonus, we have taken pains to make it PHP 5.3 compatible.

  • Aura.Sql_Query is a package of SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE query objects for MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and Microsoft SQL Server. It has no dependencies at all, not even on PDO. You build your query with the object, then pass it along to the database abstraction layer of your choice. Because it uses traits, it is for PHP 5.4 and up.

  • Aura.Sql_Schema comprises “list tables” and “list columns” functionality for MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and Microsoft. As with Aura.Sql-v2, its only dependency is the native PDO (note, not the Aura.Sql-v2 ExtendedPdo). Also as with Aura.Sql-v2, it is PHP 5.3 compatible.

With this dedicated effort at decoupling and true independence, you can now use just the extended PDO connection object, or the query objects, or the schema discovery tools, without having to download the others. Of course, you can use them all in concert if you like.

Let’s talk a little more about just the new Aura.Sql-v2 package.

Aura.Sql-v2: The ExtendedPdo Class

Instead of wrapping PDO, the ExtendedPdo class extends PDO directly. Among other things, this means you can drop it into any code already using PDO, including methods and functions typhinted against PDO, with no changes.

(N.b.: The only caveat here is that persistent connections may be an issue with extensions of PDO. If you simply cannot do without persistent connections, ExtendedPdo may not be for you.)

Once you have replaced PDO with ExtendedPdo, you can begin to use the added functionality in Aura.Sql-v2 piece by piece.

  • Lazy connection. ExtendedPdo connects to the database only on method calls that require a connection. This means you can create an instance and not incur the cost of a connection if you never make a query.

  • Bind values. You may provide values for binding to the next query using bindValues(). Multiple calls to bindValues() will merge, not reset, the values. The values will be reset after calling query(), exec(), prepare(), or any of the fetch*() methods. In addition, binding values that do not have any corresponding placeholders will not cause an error.

  • Array quoting. The quote() method will accept an array as input, and return a string of comma-separated quoted values. In addition, named placeholders in prepared statements that are bound to array values will be replaced with comma-separated quoted values. This means you can bind an array of values to a placeholder used with an IN (...) condition.

  • Fetch methods. ExtendedPdo provides several fetch*() methods for commonly-used fetch styles. For example, you can call fetchAll() directly on the instance instead of having to prepare a statement, bind values, execute, and then fetch from the prepared statement. All of the fetch*() methods take an array of values to bind to to the query statement.

  • Exceptions by default. ExtendedPdo starts in the ERRMODE_EXCEPTION mode for error reporting instead of the ERRMODE_SILENT mode.

  • Profiler. An optional query profiler is provided, along with an interface for other implementations.

  • Connection locator. A optional lazy-loading service locator is provided for picking different database connections (default, read, and write).

All this functionality is the result of extracting three classes, plus interfaces and exceptions, into their own independent package.


If you are the kind of developer who likes clean code, fully decoupled libraries, and truly independent packages, then you can see from the above examples that the Aura project is for you. Download a single library package and start using it in your project today, with no added dependencies.

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