Unit of Work

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Example
  3. Entity Registry
    1. Aggregate Roots
  4. Comparing Entities
  5. Entity Ids
    1. Id Accessors
      1. Reducing Boilerplate Code
    2. Id Generators


Units of work act as transactions across multiple repositories. They also schedule entity updates/insertions/deletions in the data mappers. The benefits of using units of work include:

  1. Transactions across multiple repositories can be rolled back, giving you "all or nothing" functionality
  2. Changes made to entities retrieved by repositories are automatically checked for changes and, if any are found, scheduled for updating when the unit of work is committed
  3. Database writes are queued and executed all at once when the unit of work is committed, giving you better performance than executing writes throughout the lifetime of the application
  4. Querying for the same object will always give you the same, single instance of that object


First, let's create a unit of work:

use Opulence\Orm\ChangeTracking\ChangeTracker;
use Opulence\Orm\EntityRegistry;
use Opulence\Orm\Ids\Accessors\IdAccessorRegistry;
use Opulence\Orm\Ids\Generators\IdGeneratorRegistry;
use Opulence\Orm\Repositories\Repository;
use Opulence\Orm\UnitOfWork;
use Project\Infrastructure\Users\UserDataMapper;

$idAccessorRegistry = new IdAccessorRegistry();
$changeTracker = new ChangeTracker();
$entityRegistry = new EntityRegistry($idAccessorRegistry, $changeTracker);

// Assume $connection was set previously
$unitOfWork = new UnitOfWork(
    new IdGeneratorRegistry(),

Next, let's take a look at how units of work can manage entities retrieved through repositories:

// Create our repository
$dataMapper = new UserDataMapper();
$users = new Repository("Project\\Domain\\Users\\User", $dataMapper, $unitOfWork);

// Assume user with ID 123 has username "foo"
$someUser = $users->getById(123);
echo $someUser->getUsername(); // "foo"

// Let's change his username

// Committing the unit of work will automatically detect and save changes back to storage

// To prove that this really worked, let's print the user's username
echo $users->getById(123)->getUsername(); // "bar"

Entity Registry

Entities that are scheduled for insertion/deletion/update are managed by an Opulence\Orm\EntityRegistry.

Aggregate Roots

Let's say that when creating an invoice you also create a list of line items. The invoice is what we call an aggregate root because, without it, the line items wouldn't exist. If your line items need to know their invoice's Id before storing them, you can use registerAggregateRootCallback():

// Order here matters: aggregate roots should be added before their children
$callback = function ($invoice, $lineItem) {

// Set the invoice Id for each line item
foreach ($lineItems in $lineItem) {
    $entityRegistry->registerAggregateRootCallback($invoice, $lineItem, $callback);


Note: Aggregate root callbacks are executed for entities scheduled for insertion and update.

Comparing Entities

Opulence\Orm\ChangeTracking\ChangeTracker is responsible for tracking any changes made to the entities it manages. By default, it uses reflection, which for some classes might be slow. To speed up the comparison between two objects to see if they're identical, you can use registerComparator().

Let's say that all you care about when checking if two users are identical is whether or not their usernames are identical:

// Assume $changeTracker is the same instance of ChangeTracker in the unit of work
$changeTracker->registerComparator($className, function ($userA, $userB) {
    return $userA->getUsername() == $userB->getUsername();

Note: PHP's clone feature performs a shallow clone. In other words, it only clones the object, but not any objects contained in that object. If your object contains another object and you'd like to take advantage of automatic change tracking, you must write a __clone() method for that class to clone any objects it contains. Otherwise, the automatic change tracking will not pick up on changes made to the objects contained in other objects.

Entity Ids

Id Accessors

Opulence lets you use plain-old PHP objects with the ORM, which means Opulence doesn't know which methods to call to get and set the unique identifiers in your classes. So, you must let Opulence know using the Opulence\Orm\Ids\Accessors\IdAccessorRegistry:

use Opulence\Orm\ChangeTracking\ChangeTracker;
use Opulence\Orm\EntityRegistry;
use Opulence\Orm\Ids\Accessors\IdAccessorRegistry;

class Foo
    private $id;

    public function getId()
        return $this->id;

    public function setId($id)
        $this->id = $id;

$idAccessorRegistry = new IdAccessorRegistry();
$entityRegistry = new EntityRegistry($idAccessorRegistry, new ChangeTracker());
// Accepts the entity and must return the identifier
$getter = function ($entity) {
    return $entity->getId();
// Accepts the entity and identifier and must set the new identifier
$setter = function ($entity, $id) {

$idAccessorRegistry->registerIdAccessors(Foo::class, $getter, $setter);

registerIdAccessors() also accepts an array of class names.

To use the accessor registry in your unit of work, pass it into the unit of work constructor.

Note: You must always register Id getters, but Id setters are optional.

Note: If you're using the skeleton project, you can set your Id accessors in Project\Application\Bootstrappers\Orm\OrmBootstrapper::registerIdAccessors().

If you don't have getter/setter methods for your Id, you can use reflection to get/set it using registerReflectionIdAccessors():

namespace Project\Domain\Users;

use Opulence\Orm\Ids\Accessors\IdAccessorRegistry;

class User
    private $id = -1;

$idAccessorRegistry = new IdAccessorRegistry();
// The second parameter is the name of the Id property in the User class
$idAccessorRegistry->registerReflectionIdAccessors(User::class, 'id');
Reducing Boilerplate Code

Opulence's flexibility comes at the price of a little bit of boilerplate code on your end to register Id accessors. However, if you want to get rid of the boilerplate code, you can optionally implement Opulence\Orm\IEntity, which has two methods: getId() and setId($id). Classes that implement IEntity automatically have their Id accessors registered.

Id Generators

Opulence can automatically generate Ids for entities managed by the unit of work. A common way of setting Ids is using sequences from your database. In this case, you can use:

All Id generators in Opulence implement Opulence\Orm\Ids\Generators\IIdGenerator, which has two methods:

To let the unit of work know which Id generator to use with your classes, register them to Opulence\Orm\Ids\Generators\IdGeneratorRegistry:

use Opulence\Orm\Ids\Generators\IdGeneratorRegistry;
use Opulence\Orm\Ids\Generators\IntSequenceIdGenerator;
use Project\Domain\Users\User;

$idGeneratorRegistry = new IdGeneratorRegistry();
    new IntSequenceIdGenerator('user_id_seq')

Then, pass $idGeneratorRegistry into the unit of work constructor, and you're set.

Note: If you're using the skeleton project, you can set your Id generators in Project\Application\Bootstrappers\Orm\OrmBootstrapper::registerIdGenerators().