Dependency Injection Containers

Agile Core implements basic support for Dependency Injection Container.

What is Dependency Injection

As it turns out many PHP projects have built objects which hard-code dependencies on another object/class. For instance:

$book = new Book();
$book->name = 'foo';
$book->save();         // saves somewhere??

The above code uses some ORM notation and the book record is saved into the database. But how does Book object know about the database? Some frameworks thought it could be a good idea to use GLOBALS or STATIC. PHP Community is fighting against those patterns by using Dependency Injection which is a pretty hot topic in the community.

In Agile Toolkit this has never been a problem, because all of our objects are designed without hard dependencies, globals or statics in the first place.

“Dependency Injection” is just a fancy word for ability to specify other objects into class constructor / property:

$book = new Book($mydb);
$book['name'] = 'foo';
$book->save(); // saves to $mydb

What is Dependency Injection Container

By design your objects should depend on as little other objects as possible. This improves testability of objects, for instance. Typically constructor can be good for 1 or 2 arguments.

However in Agile UI there are components that are designed specifically to encapsulate many various objects. CRUD for example is a fully-functioning editing solution, but suppose you want to use custom form object:

$crud = new CRUD([
    'formEdit' => new MyForm(),
    'formAdd'  => new MyForm()

In this scenario you can’t pass all of the properties to the constructor, and it’s easier to pass it through array of key/values. This pattern is called Dependency Injection Container. Theory states that developers who use IDEs extensively would prefer to pass “object” and not “array”, however we typically offer a better option:

$crud = new CRUD();
$crud->formEdit = new MyForm();
$crud->formAdd  = new MyForm();

How to use DIContainerTrait

Calling this method will set object’s properties. If any specified property is undefined then it will be skipped. Here is how you should use trait:

class MyObj {
    use DIContainerTrait;

    function __construct($defaults = []) {
        $this->setDefaults($defaults, true);

You can also extend and define what should be done if non-property is passed. For example Button component allows you to pass value of $content and $class like this:

$button = new Button(['My Button Label', 'red']);

This is done by overriding setMissingProperty method:

class MyObj {
    use DIContainerTrait {
        setMissingProperty as _setMissingProperty;

    function __construct($defaults = []) {
        $this->setDefaults($defaults, true);

    function setMissingProperty($key, $value, $strict = false) {
        // do something with $key / $value

        // will either cause exception or will ignorance
        $this->_setMissingProperty($key, $value, $strict);