How to Kill Parents

I see too many skilled developers missing final in every class they use. So I reposed When to declare classes final - 4 years old post that shows you why. If you should learn just one skill this year, read and learn this one.

It's easier said than done, but the more parents you kill, the better you get at it. Today, we look on 3 effective ways to kill them.

tl;dr

Always declare your classes final and learn ways how to code with them.

It's not an easy path, but it will teach you SOLID better than anything else.

SOLID - 3 letters from famous coding principles are related to final classes, classes that cannot have children. The final topic is very popular:

But have you seen them in your favorite package?

No Parents = Happy Family

There are few cases the when parent class is required by 3rd party package or PHP code:

<?php

use PHPUnit\Framework\TestCase;

final class PrivatesCallerTest extends TestCase
{
}
<?php

use Symfony\Component\Console\Command\Command;

final class PropagateCommand extends Command
{
}
<?php

use Exception;

final class OutputFormatterNotFoundException extends Exception
{
}

These cases are valid - after all, if they shouldn't be extended, they would have been marked them final, right?

But in other cases, it is optional. One of the most spread terribly wrong use of parent class is Doctrine repository.

<?php declare(strict_types=1);

namespace App\Repository;

use Doctrine\ORM\EntityRepository;

final class PostRepository extends EntityRepository
{
}

Symfony upgrades this problem to one more layer of vendor lock:

<?php declare(strict_types=1);

namespace App\Repository;

use Doctrine\Bundle\DoctrineBundle\Repository\ServiceEntityRepository;

final class PostRepository extends ServiceEntityRepository
{
}

Switching 3rd party dependency from one class to another doesn't solve your issue. You might switch heroin for meth, but you're still an addict.

Doctrine and Symfony documentation is full of this nonsense and it gives developers an idea that inheritance is a good thing. That's why migration of database layer is so difficult. Read about How to use Repository with Doctrine as Service in Symfony if you still have extends in your repository.

Why is this Such A Big Deal?

In the end, the code without limits look like:

namespace App\Repository;

namespace Doctrine\Bundle\DoctrineBundle\Repository\ServiceEntityRepository;

-final class PostRepository extends ServiceEntityRepository
+class PostRepository extends ServiceEntityRepository
 {
 }

Do you need a homepage post? Just extend, it's the Symfony way:

<?php declare(strict_types=1);

namespace App\Repository;

use Doctrine\Bundle\DoctrineBundle\Repository\ServiceEntityRepository;

class HomepagePostRepository extends PostRepository
{
}
<?php declare(strict_types=1);

namespace App\Repository;

use Doctrine\Bundle\DoctrineBundle\Repository\ServiceEntityRepository;

class CachedHomepagePostRepository extends HomepagePostRepository
{
}

This code is not made up, but the common sense of applying inheritance over composition approach on everything that can be extended. And everything that is not final, can be extended.


Vendor-Lock Payback

Overusing extends is similar to overuse of static methods in Laravel. Everyone with bad expensive experience knows why it's bad, but they're not able to pass this experience who are in "the zone" of using.

Then comes the day when 3rd party code changes:

 <?php declare(strict_types=1);

 namespace Doctrine\ORM;

 class EntityRepository
 {
-    public function createQueryBuilder($alias, $indexBy = null)
+    public function createQueryBuilder(string $alias, ?string $indexBy = null)
     {
     }

-     public function findAll()
+     public function findAll(): array
      }
 }

Have you overridden this method? Your code is broken. If this example doesn't cover your method, maybe you've changed one of 15 methods in EntityRepository you can override now. And what is not final can...

And if you inherit Doctrine\Bundle\DoctrineBundle\Repository\ServiceEntityRepository, you'll have to wait for them to fix the code first. It's like waiting on Android upgrades with Samsung.

Your Parents are Good Parents

You can avoid this completely by playing with your own parents. Do you need a common method for all your repositories? You can:

<?php

abstract class AbstractDoctrineRepository
{
    // @inject EntityManager here

    // your common methods
}
<?php

final class ProductRepository extends AbstractDoctrineRepository
{
}

This way

Make Children in Factory Instead

This week we started a migration of Nette application to Symfony with Rector. One of the changes is Nette\...\Response to Symfony\...\Response change. It's easy:

 class SomePresenter
 {
-    public function someAction(): \Nette\...\Response
+    public function someAction(): \Symfony\...\Response
     {
     }
 }

There are over 50 classes like this, but still do-able even without Rector.

But how would you approach cases like this?

<?php

class SomeResponse extends \Nette\...\Response
{
}
<?php

class SomePresenter
{
    public function someAction()
    {
        return new SomeResponse($values, $code);
    }
}

Again, there are over 50 classes in this format.

Oh, and the arguments are in different order and there is one extra:

 <?php

 class SomePresenter
 {
     public function someAction()
     {
-        return new SomeResponse($values, $code);
+        return new Symfony\...\Response($values, $headers, $code);
     }
 }

Now we have to go through all these cases and change them. To add more salt to the wound, once there is OkResponse or DeniedResponse, all children of Nette\...\Response. This got us by shock. Our big plan to refactor application in one afternoon went to dust.

And it doesn't have to be such a big change as a framework, but argument swap or just new type declaration - there will be so many BC breaks just for type declarations in next 2 years.

"What if instead, we'd have a factory."

 <?php

 class SomePresenter
 {
     public function someAction()
     {
-        return new SomeResponse($values, $code);
+        return $this->responseFactory->createSuccess($values);
     }
 }
<?php

class ResponseFactory
{
     public function createSuccess($values)
     {
         return new Nette\...\Response($values, 'OK');
     }
}

The change here for every such call would be in 1 place instead of 50:

-return new Nette\...\Response($values, 'OK');
+return new Symfony\..\Response($values, $headers, 'OK');

Luckily, Honza added support for new Instance($args)$this->instanceFactory->create($args) to Rector, so it won't be a stopper for us. But if the original parent would be final, this would never happen.

Static Anal to the Rescue

We don't have to wait for changes in all packages. There is a static analysis to help us. I just learned about localheinz/phpstan-rules. I can't wait to try these nice rules:


Next time you'll try to do coding, try using final. Do you know what will happen?


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