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3.3. PHP Interfaces

In PHP, interfaces allow you to define which behavior a class should have, but without providing the implementation of such a behavior. This is also called a contract: by implementing an interface, a class agrees to the contract terms.

In Zend Framework 3, interfaces are widely used. For example, the Application class implements the ApplicationInterface, which defines the methods every application class must provide:

<?php 
namespace Zend\Mvc;

interface ApplicationInterface
{
    // Retrieves the service manager.
    public function getServiceManager();

    // Retrieves the HTTP request object.
    public function getRequest();

    // Retrieves the HTTP response object.
    public function getResponse();

    // Runs the application.
    public function run();
}

As you can see from the example above, an interface is defined using the interface keyword, almost the same way you define a standard PHP class. As a usual class, the interface defines methods. However, the interface does not provide any implementation of its methods. In the ApplicationInterface interface definition above, you can see that every application implementing this interface will have method getServiceManager() for retrieving the service manager (about the service manager, see later in this chapter), the getRequest() and getResponse() methods for retrieving the HTTP request and response, respectively, and method run() for running the application.

In Zend Framework 3, by convention, interface classes should be named with Interface suffix, like ApplicationInterface.

A class implementing an interface is called a concrete class. The concrete Application class implements the ApplicationInterface, which means it provides the implementation of the methods defined by the interface:

<?php 
namespace Zend\Mvc;

class Application implements ApplicationInterface
{
    // Implement the interface's methods here
   
    public function getServiceManager() 
    {
        // Provide some implementation...
    }

    public function getRequest() 
    {
        // Provide some implementation...
    }

    public function getResponse() 
    {
        // Provide some implementation...
    }

    public function run() 
    {
        // Provide some implementation...
    }
}

The concrete Application class uses the implements keyword to show that it provides an implementation of all methods of ApplicationInterface interface. The Application class can also have additional methods, which are not part of the interface.

Graphically, the class relations are displayed using inheritance diagrams. In figure 3.1, the diagram for Application class is presented. The arrow points from the child class to the parent class.

Figure 3.1. Application class diagram Figure 3.1. Application class diagram


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