Better use of a Getter method in PHP

February 25, 2012

You are probably familiar with getters and setters in object-oriented code. Usually they are something like this:

public function GetId(){
   return $this->id;
}
public function SetId($value=0){
   $this->id = $value;
}

Normally I improve these two methods by setting them into one method, like this:

public function Id($value=null){
   if($value == null){
      return $this->id;
   } else {
      $this->id = $value;
   }
}

But when doing this you have no place to add arguments into the getter method, based on the idea of a improved getter. Having an input argument as the fallback value if what you are getting is the false value. This is the new getter:

public function GetId($fallback=0){
   if(!$this->id || $this->id == 0)){
      return $fallback;
   } else {
      return $this->id;
   }
}

For an id this kind of fallback functionality may not make that much sense(but it might), but for a GetName or other it probably is. Consider this:

$html = 
'<input name="name" value="'.
($obj->GetName()?$obj->GetName():'Please enter your name')
.'" />';

Now you can replace it with this reducing unneccessary logic from the presentation:

$html = 
'<input name="name" value="'.
$obj->GetName('Please enter your name')
.'" />';
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