Using namespaces: Basics

(PHP 5 >= 5.3.0, PHP 7, PHP 8)

Before discussing the use of namespaces, it is important to understand how PHP knows which namespaced element your code is requesting. A simple analogy can be made between PHP namespaces and a filesystem. There are three ways to access a file in a file system:

  1. Relative file name like foo.txt. This resolves to currentdirectory/foo.txt where currentdirectory is the directory currently occupied. So if the current directory is /home/foo, the name resolves to /home/foo/foo.txt.
  2. Relative path name like subdirectory/foo.txt. This resolves to currentdirectory/subdirectory/foo.txt.
  3. Absolute path name like /main/foo.txt. This resolves to /main/foo.txt.
The same principle can be applied to namespaced elements in PHP. For example, a class name can be referred to in three ways:
  1. Unqualified name, or an unprefixed class name like $a = new foo(); or foo::staticmethod();. If the current namespace is currentnamespace, this resolves to currentnamespace\foo. If the code is global, non-namespaced code, this resolves to foo. One caveat: unqualified names for functions and constants will resolve to global functions and constants if the namespaced function or constant is not defined. See Using namespaces: fallback to global function/constant for details.
  2. Qualified name, or a prefixed class name like $a = new subnamespace\foo(); or subnamespace\foo::staticmethod();. If the current namespace is currentnamespace, this resolves to currentnamespace\subnamespace\foo. If the code is global, non-namespaced code, this resolves to subnamespace\foo.
  3. Fully qualified name, or a prefixed name with global prefix operator like $a = new \currentnamespace\foo(); or \currentnamespace\foo::staticmethod();. This always resolves to the literal name specified in the code, currentnamespace\foo.

Here is an example of the three kinds of syntax in actual code:

file1.php

<?php
namespace Foo\Bar\subnamespace;

const 
FOO 1;
function 
foo() {}
class 
foo
{
    static function 
staticmethod() {}
}
?>

file2.php

<?php
namespace Foo\Bar;
include 
'file1.php';

const 
FOO 2;
function 
foo() {}
class 
foo
{
    static function 
staticmethod() {}
}

/* Unqualified name */
foo(); // resolves to function Foo\Bar\foo
foo::staticmethod(); // resolves to class Foo\Bar\foo, method staticmethod
echo FOO// resolves to constant Foo\Bar\FOO

/* Qualified name */
subnamespace\foo(); // resolves to function Foo\Bar\subnamespace\foo
subnamespace\foo::staticmethod(); // resolves to class Foo\Bar\subnamespace\foo,
                                  // method staticmethod
echo subnamespace\FOO// resolves to constant Foo\Bar\subnamespace\FOO
                                  
/* Fully qualified name */
\Foo\Bar\foo(); // resolves to function Foo\Bar\foo
\Foo\Bar\foo::staticmethod(); // resolves to class Foo\Bar\foo, method staticmethod
echo \Foo\Bar\FOO// resolves to constant Foo\Bar\FOO
?>

Note that to access any global class, function or constant, a fully qualified name can be used, such as \strlen() or \Exception or \INI_ALL.

Exemplo #1 Accessing global classes, functions and constants from within a namespace

<?php
namespace Foo;

function 
strlen() {}
const 
INI_ALL 3;
class 
Exception {}

$a = \strlen('hi'); // calls global function strlen
$b = \INI_ALL// accesses global constant INI_ALL
$c = new \Exception('error'); // instantiates global class Exception
?>

add a note

User Contributed Notes 5 notes

up
199
richard at richard-sumilang dot com
14 years ago
Syntax for extending classes in namespaces is still the same.

Lets call this Object.php:

<?php

namespace com\rsumilang\common;

class
Object{
  
// ... code ...
}

?>

And now lets create a class called String that extends object in String.php:

<?php

class String extends com\rsumilang\common\Object{
  
// ... code ...
}

?>

Now if you class String was defined in the same namespace as Object then you don't have to specify a full namespace path:

<?php

namespace com\rsumilang\common;

class
String extends Object
{
  
// ... code ...
}

?>

Lastly, you can also alias a namespace name to use a shorter name for the class you are extending incase your class is in seperate namespace:

<?php

namespace com\rsumilang\util;
use
com\rsumlang\common as Common;

class
String extends Common\Object
{
  
// ... code ...
}

?>

- Richard Sumilang
up
106
Anonymous
7 years ago
<?php

namespace Foo;

try {
   
// Something awful here
    // That will throw a new exception from SPL
}
catch (
Exception as $ex) {
   
// We will never get here
    // This is because we are catchin Foo\Exception
}
?>

Instead use fully qualified name for the exception to catch it

<?php

namespace Foo;

try {
   
// something awful here
    // That will throw a new exception from SPL
}
catch (\
Exception as $ex) {
   
// Now we can get here at last
}
?>
up
48
Lukas Z
10 years ago
Well variables inside namespaces do not override others since variables are never affected by namespace but always global:
"Although any valid PHP code can be contained within a namespace, only four types of code are affected by namespaces: classes, interfaces, functions and constants. "

Source: "Defining Namespaces"
http://www.php.net/manual/en/language.namespaces.definition.php
up
39
tom at tomwardrop dot com
10 years ago
It seems the file system analogy only goes so far. One thing that's missing that would be very useful is relative navigation up the namespace chain, e.g.

<?php
namespace MyProject {
   class
Person {}
}

namespace
MyProject\People {
    class
Adult extends ..\Person {}
}
?>

That would be really nice, especially if you had really deep namespaces. It would save you having to type out the full namespace just to reference a resource one level up.
up
16
philip dot preisser at arcor dot de
11 years ago
Working with variables can overwrite equal variables in other namespaces

<?php // php5 - package-version : 5.3.5-1ubuntu7.2

   
namespace
   
main
   
{}

    namespace
   
main\sub1
   
{
       
$data = 1;
    }

    namespace
   
main\sub2
   
{
        echo
$data;// 1
       
$data = 2;
    }

    namespace
   
main\sub1
   
{
        echo
$data;// 2
       
$data = 1;
    }

    namespace
    {
        echo
$data;// 1
   
}

?>
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