Lazy Loading PHP Subclasses as Attributes

Today I began writing a set of classes to consume a SOAP service. The classes are growing in strength, and with performance, and scalability in mind, I decided to auto-load the classes. The object structures are as follows:

  • MainClass
  • MainClassNameSpace
    • ChildClass
    • ChildClassNamespace
      • GrandChildClass
    • ChildClass2
    • ChildClass2Namespace
      • GrandChild2Class

The MainClass contains calls to some of the SoapClient classes I've written, but the objects are the part I want to lazy load. Here's an example: 

$cls = new MainClass($someParameters)

$collection_of_grand_child_classes = $cls->ChildClass->getGrandChildren();
$collection_of_grand_child2_classes = $cls->ChildClass2->getGrandChildren()

Let's say I'm calling $cls->ChildClass2, but I don't want to use up the memory space to load Childclass.

To implement this, I've used the __autoload() magic function of php. 

function autoload($full_namespace) {

$full_namespace = str_replace('\\', '/', $full_namespace);

try {

$file = dirname($_SERVER['SCRIPT_FILENAME']) . '/inc/' . $full_namespace . '.php';
if(file_exists($file)) {

require $file;

} else { 

throw new Exception('Could not autoload class: ' . $full_namespace);

} catch (Exception $ex) {
return $ex->getMessage();

function __construct() { 

This dynamically finds the class, and then loads their include files when they are called, and thus defines the class. They are, unfortunately, still not instantiated, unless I call their constructor. To get around this, I define an array of child objects : 

private $_objects = array(); 

I then you use the magic function __get() to create the object: 

public function __get($var) { 
if(!isset($this->_objects[$var])) { 
$class = get_class() . '\\' . $var;
$this->_objects[$var] = new $class($this);

return $this->_objects[$var];

Best Practices: Data Connectivity and PHP Deployment

The environment I work in is a complex mess of COTS tools and custom developed code. We're preparing to bring up a new server farm, and clean up this inherited mess and as the lead developer I'm tasked with making some critical development decisions with regard to this environment. 

One of these decisions is surrounding data connectivity. Currently, every application has it's own data configuration file, or the server names are hardcoded in the files. I completely hate this, as when we prepared to bring up a new mysql server, it was a nightmare task of searching and find/replace in files. 

I was contemplating adding a PHP variable in the Apache Config, but that wouldn't help with COTS tools, unless I modify their configuration:

SetEnv mysql.server "localhost"

We currently make use of SetEnv to configure things like CakePHP paths 

SetEnv cake_includes_path "/path/to/lib/"

SetEnv cake_apps_path "/path/to/apps/"

The change I'm attempting to make is standardizing the server configuration. I'm planning to add a host entry into the web servers called mysql.server. This will allow all the COTS tools to easily be configured to use the server, as well as any coding applications. 


Does anyone have any other best practices with load balanced Apache servers in terms of database connectivity?