Composite and Foreign Keys as Primary Key

New in version 2.1.

Doctrine 2 supports composite primary keys natively. Composite keys are a very powerful relational database concept and we took good care to make sure Doctrine 2 supports as many of the composite primary key use-cases. For Doctrine 2.0 composite keys of primitive data-types are supported, for Doctrine 2.1 even foreign keys as primary keys are supported.

This tutorial shows how the semantics of composite primary keys work and how they map to the database.

General Considerations

Every entity with a composite key cannot use an id generator other than “ASSIGNED”. That means the ID fields have to have their values set before you call EntityManager#persist($entity).

Primitive Types only

Even in version 2.0 you can have composite keys as long as they only consist of the primitive types integer and string. Suppose you want to create a database of cars and use the model-name and year of production as primary keys:

  • PHP
    <?php
    namespace VehicleCatalogue\Model;
    
    /**
     * @Entity
     */
    class Car
    {
        /** @Id @Column(type="string") */
        private $name;
        /** @Id @Column(type="integer") */
        private $year
    
        public function __construct($name, $year)
        {
            $this->name = $name;
            $this->year = $year;
        }
    
        public function getModelName()
        {
            return $this->name;
        }
    
        public function getYearOfProduction()
        {
            return $this->year;
        }
    }
    
  • XML
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <doctrine-mapping xmlns="http://doctrine-project.org/schemas/orm/doctrine-mapping"
          xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
          xsi:schemaLocation="http://doctrine-project.org/schemas/orm/doctrine-mapping
                              http://www.doctrine-project.org/schemas/orm/doctrine-mapping.xsd">
    
        <entity name="VehicleCatalogue\Model\Car">
            <id field="name" type="string" />
            <id field="year" type="integer" />
        </entity>
    </doctrine-mapping>
    
  • YAML
    VehicleCatalogue\Model\Car:
      type: entity
      id:
        name:
          type: string
        year:
          type: integer
    

Now you can use this entity:

<?php
namespace VehicleCatalogue\Model;

// $em is the EntityManager

$car = new Car("Audi A8", 2010);
$em->persist($car);
$em->flush();

And for querying you can use arrays to both DQL and EntityRepositories:

<?php
namespace VehicleCatalogue\Model;

// $em is the EntityManager
$audi = $em->find("VehicleCatalogue\Model\Car", array("name" => "Audi A8", "year" => 2010));

$dql = "SELECT c FROM VehicleCatalogue\Model\Car c WHERE c.id = ?1";
$audi = $em->createQuery($dql)
           ->setParameter(1, array("name" => "Audi A8", "year" => 2010))
           ->getSingleResult();

You can also use this entity in associations. Doctrine will then generate two foreign keys one for name and to year to the related entities.

Note

This example shows how you can nicely solve the requirement for existing values before EntityManager#persist(): By adding them as mandatory values for the constructor.

Identity through foreign Entities

Note

Identity through foreign entities is only supported with Doctrine 2.1

There are tons of use-cases where the identity of an Entity should be determined by the entity of one or many parent entities.

  • Dynamic Attributes of an Entity (for example Article). Each Article has many attributes with primary key “article_id” and “attribute_name”.
  • Address object of a Person, the primary key of the address is “user_id”. This is not a case of a composite primary key, but the identity is derived through a foreign entity and a foreign key.
  • Join Tables with metadata can be modelled as Entity, for example connections between two articles with a little description and a score.

The semantics of mapping identity through foreign entities are easy:

  • Only allowed on Many-To-One or One-To-One associations.
  • Plug an @Id annotation onto every association.
  • Set an attribute association-key with the field name of the association in XML.
  • Set a key associationKey: with the field name of the association in YAML.

Use-Case 1: Dynamic Attributes

We keep up the example of an Article with arbitrary attributes, the mapping looks like this:

  • PHP
    <?php
    namespace Application\Model;
    
    use Doctrine\Common\Collections\ArrayCollection;
    
    /**
     * @Entity
     */
    class Article
    {
        /** @Id @Column(type="integer") @GeneratedValue */
        private $id;
        /** @Column(type="string") */
        private $title;
    
        /**
         * @OneToMany(targetEntity="ArticleAttribute", mappedBy="article", cascade={"ALL"}, indexBy="attribute")
         */
        private $attributes;
    
        public function addAttribute($name, $value)
        {
            $this->attributes[$name] = new ArticleAttribute($name, $value, $this);
        }
    }
    
    /**
     * @Entity
     */
    class ArticleAttribute
    {
        /** @Id @ManyToOne(targetEntity="Article", inversedBy="attributes") */
        private $article;
    
        /** @Id @Column(type="string") */
        private $attribute;
    
        /** @Column(type="string") */
        private $value;
    
        public function __construct($name, $value, $article)
        {
            $this->attribute = $name;
            $this->value = $value;
            $this->article = $article;
        }
    }
    
  • XML
    <doctrine-mapping xmlns="http://doctrine-project.org/schemas/orm/doctrine-mapping"
          xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
          xsi:schemaLocation="http://doctrine-project.org/schemas/orm/doctrine-mapping
                        http://doctrine-project.org/schemas/orm/doctrine-mapping.xsd">
    
         <entity name="Application\Model\ArticleAttribute">
            <id name="article" association-key="true" />
            <id name="attribute" type="string" />
    
            <field name="value" type="string" />
    
            <many-to-one field="article" target-entity="Article" inversed-by="attributes" />
         <entity>
    
    </doctrine-mapping>
    
  • YAML
    Application\Model\ArticleAttribute:
      type: entity
      id:
        article:
          associationKey: true
        attribute:
          type: string
      fields:
        value:
          type: string
      manyToOne:
        article:
          targetEntity: Article
          inversedBy: attributes
    

Use-Case 2: Simple Derived Identity

Sometimes you have the requirement that two objects are related by a One-To-One association and that the dependent class should re-use the primary key of the class it depends on. One good example for this is a user-address relationship:

  • PHP
    <?php
    /**
     * @Entity
     */
    class User
    {
        /** @Id @Column(type="integer") @GeneratedValue */
        private $id;
    }
    
    /**
     * @Entity
     */
    class Address
    {
        /** @Id @OneToOne(targetEntity="User") */
        private $user;
    }
    
  • YAML
    User:
      type: entity
      id:
        id:
          type: integer
          generator:
            strategy: AUTO
    
    Address:
      type: entity
      id:
        user:
          associationKey: true
      oneToOne:
        user:
          targetEntity: User
    

Use-Case 3: Join-Table with Metadata

In the classic order product shop example there is the concept of the order item which contains references to order and product and additional data such as the amount of products purchased and maybe even the current price.

<?php
use Doctrine\Common\Collections\ArrayCollection;

/** @Entity */
class Order
{
    /** @Id @Column(type="integer") @GeneratedValue */
    private $id;

    /** @ManyToOne(targetEntity="Customer") */
    private $customer;
    /** @OneToMany(targetEntity="OrderItem", mappedBy="order") */
    private $items;

    /** @Column(type="boolean") */
    private $payed = false;
    /** @Column(type="boolean") */
    private $shipped = false;
    /** @Column(type="datetime") */
    private $created;

    public function __construct(Customer $customer)
    {
        $this->customer = $customer;
        $this->items = new ArrayCollection();
        $this->created = new \DateTime("now");
    }
}

/** @Entity */
class Product
{
    /** @Id @Column(type="integer") @GeneratedValue */
    private $id;

    /** @Column(type="string") */
    private $name;

    /** @Column(type="decimal") */
    private $currentPrice;

    public function getCurrentPrice()
    {
        return $this->currentPrice;
    }
}

/** @Entity */
class OrderItem
{
    /** @Id @ManyToOne(targetEntity="Order") */
    private $order;

    /** @Id @ManyToOne(targetEntity="Product") */
    private $product;

    /** @Column(type="integer") */
    private $amount = 1;

    /** @Column(type="decimal") */
    private $offeredPrice;

    public function __construct(Order $order, Product $product, $amount = 1)
    {
        $this->order = $order;
        $this->product = $product;
        $this->offeredPrice = $product->getCurrentPrice();
    }
}

Performance Considerations

Using composite keys always comes with a performance hit compared to using entities with a simple surrogate key. This performance impact is mostly due to additional PHP code that is necessary to handle this kind of keys, most notably when using derived identifiers.

On the SQL side there is not much overhead as no additional or unexpected queries have to be executed to manage entities with derived foreign keys.

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