Custom DataSources

Custom DataSources – How to write your own DataSource driver.


Writing your own DataSource driver is the way to go when none of the existing driver suit your needs. It is actually pretty easy, and allows for great flexibility.

Of course, if you're trying to fetch data from an exotic source, writing your own driver is required. But, sometimes it's also the best way to achieve the best optimization, especially (but not only) with databases.

This document will present you the DataSource interface, and how to implement it.


A DataSource driver is a descendent of the Structures_DataGrid_DataSource class, which implements the DataSource interface.

DataSource is a synomym for DataSource driver.

The DataSource interface consists in a set of methods that drivers must or may overload and protected properties that drivers can use, as well as recommended practices.

A DataSource container is a constant or a variable of any type (string, array, object, etc...) that either contains data or describes how to retrieve data.

Every DataSource driver is specific to, and knows how to handle, a given DataSource container type.

The DataSource interface

Properties available to drivers

array $_options - Data binding options as an associative array. You can read the content of this property but you shouldn't change it directly.

Methods that must or may be implemented in drivers

constructor ( void )

The constructor must set default options, if any, and call the parent constructor. This method is optional.

object bind ( mixed container , array options )

bind() is reponsible for loading a DataSource container into the driver, according to some binding options. This method is optional. It must return a PEAR_Error object in case of failure.

object count ( void )

count() must return the total number or records found in the container. This method is required, and is always called before fetch(). It must return a PEAR_Error object in case of failure.

object sort ( mixed sortSpec , array sortDir )

sort() must sort the data according to sortSpec and the optional sortDir. This method is required, and is always called before fetch(). It must return a PEAR_Error object in case of failure.

mixed fetch ( integer offset , integer len )

fetch() must return a 2-dimension array of data, starting from record offset, containing len records..This method is required It must return a PEAR_Error object in case of failure.

Protected methods that drivers can use

void _addDefaultOptions ( array options )

_addDefaultOptions() is used to declare the driver-specific options, if any, as well as their default values. It must be called from the constructor.

void setOptions ( array options )

setOptions() is a public method used to set options. If they ever need to change options, drivers should use this method.

A simple driver

Let's start with a very simple driver. It is rather readable and you shouldn't have much trouble understanding it. It is not extremely useful to write a custom driver for a such simple SQL query, but it should get you started.

A simple SQL adaptor

require 'Structures/DataGrid/DataSource.php';

MyDataSource extends Structures_DataGrid_DataSource {
$orderBy '';
MyDataSource() {
$dsn 'mysql://someuser:apasswd@localhost/thedb';
$this->db =& DB::connect($dsn);

count() {
$query "SELECT COUNT(*) FROM animals WHERE species='cat'";

sort($sortSpec$sortDir 'ASC') {
$this->orderBy "ORDER BY $sortSpec $sortDir"

fetch($offset 0$len null) {
$limit is_null($len) ? "LIMIT $offset,18446744073709551615" 
"LIMIT $offset,$len";
$query  "SELECT * FROM animals WHERE species='cat' ";
$query .= $this->_orderBy $limit";



Testing your driver

Before going live, it is very recommended to test your driver with the dump() method.

Testing with dump()

= new MyDataSource();

$count $datasource->count();
"There are $count cats in the farm\n\n";


"Here are the 5 lightest ones: \n";

// dump() accepts the same $offset and $len argument as fetch()

That should output a nicely formated ascii table like:

There are 23 cats in the farm.

Here are the 5 lightest ones:
| name    | species | birthDate | weight |
| sarge   | cat     | 20021220  | 1.8    |
| etch    | cat     | 20000509  | 2.5    |
| potato  | cat     | 19980128  | 3.8    |
| sid     | cat     | 20011101  | 4.1    |
| woody   | cat     | 19970712  | 6.0    |

Using your new driver

Okay, so you have written a driver that's tailored to your needs, and tested it. It is now time to connect it to Structures_DataGrid.

For this purpose we're going to use the bindDataSource() method.

Binding a custom datasource


=& new Structures_DataGrid(); 

$datasource = new MyDataSource();



That should output a sortable HTML table.

Of course, the usual features of Structures_DataGrid are now available to you: paging, other output formats as XML, MS-Excel, etc...

How to build a datagrid using many of the features (Previous) How to write your own Rendering driver. (Next)
Last updated: Sat, 16 Feb 2019 — Download Documentation
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