Introducing ipl/Sql – OOP SQL abstraction for PHP

by | May 7, 2020

During the past few months while working on Icinga DB, we have tested our existing libraries on how we work with data and how we present them programmatically. Maybe it was because we were doing something new with Icinga DB or we weren’t entirely happy with the existing code. In any case, it was time for new libraries :-). The IPL – Icinga PHP Library was born. And we want to share that work starting with ipl/Sql an OOP SQL abstraction for PHP.
The library ipl\Sql provides a database connection abstraction and an SQL query abstraction layer for building SQL queries via an OOP API. It is an extension to the native PDO and adds the following features on top:

Lazy connection

ipl\Sql connects to database only if you make a query or start a transaction.

Exceptions enabled by default

Connections start in the ERRMODE_EXCEPTION mode for error reporting instead of ERRMODE_SILENT.

New methods for common actions

The prepexec() method acts like PDO::query() but automatically creates a prepared statement and binds values to that as part of the call.
The fetch*() methods support common fetch actions and combines preparing the statement, binding values, execution and the actual fetch from the prepared statement into a single function call.

Straightforward construction

With PDO, you have to do formalities such as assembling the platform-dependent DSN string. With ipl\Sql\Connection, you just do your thing straightforward:

$connection = new Connection([
    'db'       => 'mysql',
    'host'     => '',
    'dbname'   => 'icinga',
    'username' => 'icinga',
    'password' => 'secret',
    'charset'  => 'utf8mb4'


Transaction wrapper

Use the transaction() method which accepts a callback in order to wrap your statements in a transaction, e.g.

$connection->transaction(function ($connection) use ($table, $data) {
    $connection->insert($table, $data);

You may still use the unified methods for transaction handling beginTransaction(), commitTransaction() and rollBackTransaction() on your own.

Prepared statements only

In order to protect from SQL injection and prevent worrying about value quoting, ipl/Sql uses prepared statements only. That means that the query and the data are sent to the database server separately.

No automatic identifier quoting

Since automatic identifier quoting is prone to errors and superfluous in most cases, you have to apply identifier quoting as needed by using Connection::quoteIdentifier(). Be aware that it is a must to quote identifiers if you allow user input for field names or if you are using special field names, e.g. reserved keywords for your DBMS.

Automatic array quoting

Throughout ipl/Sql you can bind an array of values to a placeholder used within an IN (?) condition for example. Placeholders having array values will be expanded automatically.


ipl/Sql is capable to build queries for MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL and SQLite. (Oracle and IBM will follow). Building queries is independent of any particular database connection and there are no database-specific classes to use.
The following examples should give you an idea about what’s possible and how to use the OOP API:

    (new Insert())
            'id'   => 42,
            'name' => 'John Doe'
    (new Select())
        ->where(['id IN (?)' => [42]])
    (new Update())
        ->set(['name' => 'John Doe'])
        ->where(['id = ?' => 42])
    (new Delete())
        ->where(['id = ?' => 42])

Granted, the query objects look a bit overkill here and you may use Connection::insert(), Connection::update() and Connection::delete() for simple tasks instead. But when it comes to INSERT INTO ... SELECT, complex WHERE clauses, CTEs, … and reusable and parameterised queries, you will love the flexibility!

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