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The ORM lets you map your database tables to objects and create relations between them.

Naming conventions

The model name should be the singular form of the table name and camel casing should be used instead of underscores.

Table name Model name  
articles Article
import_jobs ImportJob

If you're converting an existing database to use the ORM and don't want to rename all your tables then you can use the $tableName property to define the name of your table.

All tables are also expected to have an auto incrementing primary key column named id. The name of the primary key column can be configured using the $primaryKey property and you can also tell the model not to use an auto incrementing key by setting the the $incrementing property to false.

The ORM expects foreign key names to use the following the pattern <model name>_id (e.g., item_id, user_id). This can be configured when setting up relations and we'll get back to this later on.

Basic usage


Lets say you have a table called articles with three columns (id, title and content). This is all you need to interact with the table:


namespace app\models;

class Article extends \mako\database\ORM


Creating a new record is as simple as this:

$article = new Article();

$article->title   = 'Super awesome stuff';
$article->content = 'This is an article about some super awesome stuff.';


You can then fetch the article by its primary key value like this:

$article = Article::get(1); // Will return FALSE if not found

The ORM is built on top of the query builder so you can also use other criteria to find your record:

$article = Article::where('title', '=', 'Super awesome stuff')->first();

Modifying an existing record is done like this:

$article = Article::get(1);

$article->title = 'New title';


And deleting a record is done like this:

$article = Article::get(1);


Selecting columns

By default the ORM selects all columns from the result set. You can specify the columns you want to select like this:

$articles = Article::all(array('id', 'title'));

Specifying a custom set of columns will make the records read-only.


You can also use joins when working with the ORM. In the following example we'll select all articles that have at least one comment:

$articles = Article::join('comments', '', '=', 'comments.article_id')->all();

The code above will execute the following SQL:

SELECT `articles`.* FROM `articles` INNER JOIN `comments` ON `article`.`id` = `comments`.`article_id`

It will return duplicates for articles that have more than one comment. This can be solved using a distinct select:

$articles = Article::distinct()->join('comments', '', '=', 'comments.article_id')->all();


Being able to set up relations between tables is important when working with databases. The ORM supports has one, belongs to, has many and many to many relations.

Has one

Lets create a user model and a profile model and set up a has one relation between them.


namespace app\models;

class User extends \mako\database\ORM
	public function profile()
		return $this->hasOne('\app\models\Profile');

Lets not bother creating a relation in the profile model jus yet.


namespace app\models;

class Profile extends \mako\database\ORM

You can now access a users profile like this:

$user = User::get(1);

$profile = $user->profile;

Belongs to

The belongs to relation is the opposite of a has one or has many relation.

We can continue to build on the article model and add a belongs to relation. All we need to get this to work is add a foreign key column named user_id to the articles table.

public function user()
    return $this->belongsTo('\app\models\User');

Fetching the user that owns the article can now be done line this:

$article = Article::get(1);

$user = $article->user;

Has many

We can now add a has many relation to our user model.

public function articles()
	return $this->hasMany('\app\models\Article');

We can now fetch all the articles that belong to the user like this:

$user = User::get(1);

$articles = $user->articles;

Many to many

The many to many relation requires a junction table between the two related tables. The name of the junction table should be the names of the two tables you want to join in alphabetical order separated by an underscore.

junction table

The relation would then look like this in the user model:

public function groups()
	return $this->manyToMany('\app\models\Group');

And like this in the group model:

public function users()
	return $this->manyToMany('\app\models\User');

This is how you would use the relations:

// Fetch all the groups that the user belongs to

$user = User::get(1);

$groups = $user->groups;

// Fetch all the users that are in the group

$group = Group::get(1);

$users = $group->users;

Relation criteria

The ORM is built on top of the query builder so you can add query criteria to your relations.

public function articles()
	return $this->hasMany('\app\models\Article')->orderBy('title', 'asc');

They can be in the relation definition itself or you can add them when you're accessing the related records.

$articles = $user->articles()->orderBy('title', 'asc')->all();

Creating related records

The ORM lets you create related records without having to worry about remembering to set the right foreign key value.

$user = User::get(1);

$article = new Article();

$article->title   = 'My article title';
$article->content = 'My article content';


The article will now be saved and the value of the user_id foreign key will automatically be set to the users id. This method works for both has one and has many relations.

The many to many relation is a bit different since it requires a junction table. You'll have to use the link method to create a link between two related records.

$user = User::get(1);

$group = Group::get(1);


// This will produce the same result as the example above:

$user = User::get(1);

$group = Group::get(1);


You can also pass the primary key value of the record you want to link instead of the object.

The unlink method is used to remove the link between the records:


// This will produce the same result as the example above:


Eager loading

Loading related records can sometimes cause the 1 + N query problem. This is where eager loading becomes handy.

foreach(Comment::limit(10)->all() as $comment)

The code above will execute 1 query to fetch 10 comments and then 1 query per iteration to retrieve the user who wrote the comment. This means that it has to execute 11 queries in total. Using eager loading can solve this problem:

foreach(Comment::including('users')->limit(10)->all() as $comment)

The code above will produce the same result as the previous example but it will only execute 2 queries instead of 11.

You can eager load more relations using an array and nested relations using the dot syntax:

$articles = Article::including(array('user', 'coments', 'comments.users'))->limit(10)->all();

You can also define relations to eager load in the model definition using the $including property. This is useful if you know that you're going to need to eager load the relations more often than not.

protected $including = array('user', 'comments', 'comments.user');

You can then disable eager loading of the relations if needed by using the excluding method:

$articles = Article::excluding(array('user', 'comments'))->limit(10)->all();

Overriding naming conventions

The ORM relations rely on strict naming conventions but they can be overridden using the optional parameters of the relation methods. The first optional parameter lets you set the name of the foreign key. The many to many relation method has two additional parameters that let you set the junction table name and the junction key.

In the example below we are telling the relation to use a foreign key named user instead of the default, which should have been user_id.

public function articles()
	return $this->hasMany('\app\models\Article', 'user');

Getters and setters

Getters and setters allow you to modify data on the way in and out of the database. Setters are prefixed with set_ and getters and prefixed with get_.

The following setter will encode the value when its assigned.

protected function set_numbers($numbers)
	return json_encode($numbers);

You can assign the value like you normally would:

$model->numbers = array(1, 2, 3, 4);

And the following getter will decode the value when accessing it.

protected function get_numbers($numbers)
	return json_decode($numbers)

You can retrieve the value like you normally would:

$arrayOfNumbers = $model->numbers;


Scopes allow you to specify commonly used query criteria as methods. All scope methods must be prefixed with the scope_ prefix.

public function scope_published($query)
	$query->where('published', '=', 1);

public function scope_popularAndPublished($query, $count)
	$query->where('published', '=', 1);
	$query->where('views', '>', $count);

You can now retrieve published articles like this:

$articles = Article::published()->all();

$articles = Article::popularAndPublished(1000)->all();

Scopes also work through relations:

$articles = User::get(1)->articles()->published()->all();

$articles = User::get(1)->articles()->popularAndPublished(1000)->all();

Mass assignment

The ORM allows you to use mass assignment when creating or updating records. This can save you some time since you don't have to set each value individually but it can open attack vectors in your application if you're not careful.

// Create a new record using mass assignment


// Update an existing record using mass assignment

$article = User::get(1);



The code above might seem like a good idea until a hacker adds an is_admin field to the POST data and gives himself admin privileges.

You can make mass assignment a bit more secure by using the $assignable property and define a whitelist of fields that can be set through mass assignment.


You can validate your records before saving them using ORM validation. The ORM validation uses the Mako validation class.

protected $rules = array
	'title'   => 'required',
	'content' => 'required',

We can now validate our record before saving it:

$article = new Article();

$article->title = 'My article';


All values are validated when creating a record and only modified values are validated when updating a record.

Optimistic locking

When two users are attempting to update the same record simultaneously, one of the updates will likely be overwritten. Optimistic locking can solve this problem.

To enable optimistic locking you have to set the $enableLocking property to TRUE. The database table also needs an integer column named lock_version. The name of the column can be configured using the $lockingColumn property.

$user1 = User::get(1);
$user2 = User::get(1);

$user1->username = 'Foo';


$user2->username = 'Bar';


The second save will throw a mako\database\orm\StaleRecordException since the record is now outdated compared to the one stored in the database. The reload method can be used to load the updated record.


Optimistic locking will also check for stale records when deleting, although not when deleting through a relation.

Read-only records

You can make your records read-only by setting the $readOnly property to TRUE. Doing so will make it impossible to update or delete the records and a mako\database\orm\ReadOnlyRecordException will be thrown if attempted.

// Load a read-only record

$user = User::get(1);

// Will throw a mako\database\orm\ReadOnlyRecordException


Cloning records

You can clone records using the clone keyword:

$clone = clone User::get(1);


You can also clone an entire result set:

$clones = clone User::all();

foreach($clones as $clone)

Array and JSON representations

You can convert an ORM object or result set to an array using the toArray method and to JSON using the toJson method. The ORM objects and result sets will also be converted to JSON when casted to a string.

$json = (string) Article::limit(10)->all();

You can exclude columns from the array and JSON representations by using the $protected property.