Items with relationships

Cherrycake does not restricts you on how to establish relationships between tables in your database, and the Item and Items classes provide some capabilities that will help you build the relationship structure of your liking.

For example, in addition to our movies table, let's imagine we have also a simple directors table containing the names and birth years of movie directors, and that it looks like this:

Field name



unsigned int auto_increment primary key

The unique id to identify movies.



The name of the director.



The year the director was born.

A simple relationship would be one that allows us to get the name of the director of one of our movies. Since we already defined our Movie class, let's now define a class to represent a director. We create the file /classes/Director.class.php, and it looks like this:


namespace CherrycakeApp;

class Director extends \Cherrycake\Item {
    protected $tableName = "directors";
    protected $fields = [
        "id" => [
            "type" => \Cherrycake\DATABASE_FIELD_TYPE_INTEGER
        "name" => [
            "type" => \Cherrycake\DATABASE_FIELD_TYPE_STRING

Now, we add a method to our Movie class that allows us to get a Director object:

class Movie extends \Cherrycake\Item {
    function getDirector() {
        return new Director([
            "loadMethod" => "fromId",
            "id" => $this->directorId

So now, whenever we have a Movie object, we can get its Director by calling the getDirector method, for example:

$movies = new Movies([
    "fillMethod" => "fromParameters",
    "p" => [
        "limit" => 5,
        "order" => ["random"]

foreach ($movies as $movie)
    echo "{$movie->title} directed by {$movie->getDirector()->name}\n";
Explorers directed by Joe Dante
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial directed by Steven Spielberg
Tron directed by Steven Lisberger
Close Encounters of the Third Kind directed by Steven Spielberg
Arrival directed by Denis Villeneuve

Getting the director's name was this straightforward: $movie->getDirector()->name

Note that in this example we've also applied the random order, which is always available in addition to your custom orders, to simply randomize the order of the resulting Item objects.

See this example working in the Cherrycake documentation examples site.

Custom filtering with relationships

Quite often you'll need to look for data in other tables when using your Items classes. For example, let's say we want to be able to get all the movies whose director was less than 35 years old when they were released.

This is done by adding a custom filter to our Items class, but because the director's birthYear is in the directors table and not in the movies table, we'll need some way to access it in the new Movies custom filter.

We'll call this filter releasedWhenDirectorWasYoungerThan, and here's how it would be done:

class Movies extends \Cherrycake\Items {
    protected $tableName = "movies";
    protected $itemClassName = "\CherrycakeApp\Movie";
    function fillFromParameters($p = false) {
        // Treat parameters
        self::treatParameters($p, [
            "releasedWhenDirectorWasYoungerThan" => [
                "default" => false
        // Modify $p accordingly
        if ($p["releasedWhenDirectorWasYoungerThan"]) {
            $p["tables"][] = "directors";
            $p["wheres"][] = ["sqlPart" => " = movies.directorId"];
            $p["wheres"][] = [
                "sqlPart" => "movies.year - directors.birthYear <= ?",
                "values" => [
                        "type" => \Cherrycake\DATABASE_FIELD_TYPE_INTEGER,
                        "value" => $p["releasedWhenDirectorWasYoungerThan"]
        // Call the parent fillFromParameters
        return parent::fillFromParameters($p);

Here's what we did in this filter:

  • First we added the table directors to the tables parameter to make it available in our SQL statements by doing $p["tables"][] = "directors";

  • Then we've added a new entry to the wheres array of SQL statements to connect the directors with the movies table, with the sqlPart: = movies.directorId

  • Finally, we've added another where statement to filter out only the movies whose director was younger than the specified age when the movie was released, with the sqlPart:movies.year - directors.birthYear <= ?

Remember that when using values coming from untrusted sources, it's highly recommended to use the prepared queries methodology: Use a question mark ? instead of the value, and then pass along the value specification in the values key of the array.

So now it's ready to run:

$movies = new Movies([
    "fillMethod" => "fromParameters",
    "p" => [
        "releasedWhenDirectorWasYoungerThan" => 35

foreach ($movies as $movie)
        " directed by ".
        " at age ".
        ($movie->year - $movie->getDirector()->birthYear).
"The Thing" directed by John Carpenter at age 34
"Silent Running" directed by Douglas Trumbull at age 30
"The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" directed by Garth Jennings at age 33
"Tron" directed by Steven Lisberger at age 31
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" directed by Steven Spielberg at age 31
"The Abyss" directed by James Cameron at age 35

See this example working in the Cherrycake documentation examples site.

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