Include PropelORM in a PHP project

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PropelORM is an open-source Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) for PHP5. It allows you to access your database using a set of objects, providing a simple API for storing and retrieving data.

In this article, I’ll explain how to use PropelORM in an existing PHP project.

Download and installation

If your project is using Git:

  • go to the root of the project:
    cd myproject
  • download Propel as a submodule of your project (if you want to download Propel in myproject/application/plugins/propel):
    git submodule add application/plugins/propel
  • commit the submodule:
    git commit -m "Added PropelORM as a submodule"

If your project doesn’t use Git:

  • go to the subdirectory application/plugins in your project and create a directory propel:
    cd myproject/application/plugins
    mkdir propel
  • download the latest version of PropelORM as a ZIP file or a TAR.GZ file
  • extract the content of the archive in the newly created myproject/application/plugins/propel folder

PropelORM uses a script to generate the mapping code. You have to create a symbolic link to the script in the application directory of your project:

cd myproject/application
ln -s plugins/propel/generator/bin/propel-gen propel-gen


Create a file myproject/application/ which will contain the basic information about the project and DB connection:

cd myproject/application

This file contains:

# Project name
propel.project = project_name
# Connection parameters
propel.database = mysql
# If you want to automatically update the DB, set the following values:
propel.database.url = mysql:host=db_host;dbname=db_name
propel.database.user = db_user
propel.database.password = db_password

DB schema creation

The DB schema is defined in the file myproject/application/schema.xml. You can find on the PropelORM documentation everything you need to build your DB schema: creation of the file and schema format.

Code generation

Once these files are created and contain the correct data, you can use the propel-gen script to generate the mapping source.

To generate the Object Model

cd myproject/application
./propel-gen om

To generate the SQL file

cd myproject/application
./propel-gen sql

To update the DB with the SQL file (need the DB connection info)

cd myproject/application
./propel-gen insert-sql

Runtime connection settings creation

For PropelORM to be able to be linked to the DB when running, you’ll need to create a configuration file that defines the DB connection.

cd myproject/application
touch runtime-conf.xml

This file must contains a configuration like:

<?xml version=&quot;1.0&quot; encoding=&quot;UTF-8&quot;?>
    <datasources default=&quot;project_name&quot;>
      <datasource id=&quot;project_name&quot;>
        <adapter>mysql</adapter> <!-- sqlite, mysql, mssql, oracle, or pgsql -->

The content of the file is described in the PropelORM documentation: Writing The XML Runtime Configuration.

Notice how the id attribute of the <datasource> tag matches the connection name defined in the <database> tag of the schema.xml. This is how Propel maps a database description to a connection.

To build the runtime conf:

cd myproject/application
./propel-gen convert-conf

To run the 3 commands (om, sql, and convert-conf):

cd myproject/application

Including PropelORM in your PHP code

Include in a setup/config file:

// Include the main Propel script
require_once '/path/to/propel/runtime/lib/Propel.php';
// Initialize Propel with the runtime configuration
// Add the generated 'classes' directory to the include path
set_include_path("/path/to/bookstore/build/classes" . PATH_SEPARATOR . get_include_path());

Using PropelORM inside your project

You can find how to use PropelORM on the official documentation.