PHP 5.6.29 Released

Name resolution rules

(PHP 5 >= 5.3.0, PHP 7)

For the purposes of these resolution rules, here are some important definitions:

Namespace name definitions
Unqualified name

This is an identifier without a namespace separator, such as Foo

Qualified name

This is an identifier with a namespace separator, such as Foo\Bar

Fully qualified name

This is an identifier with a namespace separator that begins with a namespace separator, such as \Foo\Bar. The namespace \Foo is also a fully qualified name.

Relative name

This is an identifier starting with namespace, such as namespace\Foo\Bar.

Names are resolved following these resolution rules:

  1. Fully qualified names always resolve to the name without leading namespace separator. For instance \A\B resolves to A\B.
  2. Relative names always resolve to the name with namespace replaced by the current namespace. If the name occurs in the global namespace, the namespace\ prefix is stripped. For example namespace\A inside namespace X\Y resolves to X\Y\A. The same name inside the global namespace resolves to A.
  3. For qualified names the first segment of the name is translated according to the current class/namespace import table. For example, if the namespace A\B\C is imported as C, the name C\D\E is translated to A\B\C\D\E.
  4. For qualified names, if no import rule applies, the current namespace is prepended to the name. For example, the name C\D\E inside namespace A\B, resolves to A\B\C\D\E.
  5. For unqualified names, the name is translated according to the current import table for the respective symbol type. This means that class-like names are translated according to the class/namespace import table, function names according to the function import table and constants according to the constant import table. For example, after use A\B\C; a usage such as new C() resolves to the name A\B\C(). Similarly, after use function A\B\fn; a usage such as fn() resolves to the name A\B\fn.
  6. For unqualified names, if no import rule applies and the name refers to a class-like symbol, the current namespace is prepended. For example new C() inside namespace A\B resolves to name A\B\C.
  7. For unqualified names, if no import rule applies and the name refers to a function or constant and the code is outside the global namespace, the name is resolved at runtime. Assuming the code is in namespace A\B, here is how a call to function foo() is resolved:
    1. It looks for a function from the current namespace: A\B\foo().
    2. It tries to find and call the global function foo().

Example #1 Name resolutions illustrated

<?php
namespace A;
use 
B\DC\as F;

// function calls

foo();      // first tries to call "foo" defined in namespace "A"
            // then calls global function "foo"

\foo();     // calls function "foo" defined in global scope

my\foo();   // calls function "foo" defined in namespace "A\my"

F();        // first tries to call "F" defined in namespace "A"
            // then calls global function "F"

// class references

new B();    // creates object of class "B" defined in namespace "A"
            // if not found, it tries to autoload class "A\B"

new D();    // using import rules, creates object of class "D" defined in namespace "B"
            // if not found, it tries to autoload class "B\D"

new F();    // using import rules, creates object of class "E" defined in namespace "C"
            // if not found, it tries to autoload class "C\E"

new \B();   // creates object of class "B" defined in global scope
            // if not found, it tries to autoload class "B"

new \D();   // creates object of class "D" defined in global scope
            // if not found, it tries to autoload class "D"

new \F();   // creates object of class "F" defined in global scope
            // if not found, it tries to autoload class "F"

// static methods/namespace functions from another namespace

B\foo();    // calls function "foo" from namespace "A\B"

B::foo();   // calls method "foo" of class "B" defined in namespace "A"
            // if class "A\B" not found, it tries to autoload class "A\B"

D::foo();   // using import rules, calls method "foo" of class "D" defined in namespace "B"
            // if class "B\D" not found, it tries to autoload class "B\D"

\B\foo();   // calls function "foo" from namespace "B"

\B::foo();  // calls method "foo" of class "B" from global scope
            // if class "B" not found, it tries to autoload class "B"

// static methods/namespace functions of current namespace

A\B::foo();   // calls method "foo" of class "B" from namespace "A\A"
              // if class "A\A\B" not found, it tries to autoload class "A\A\B"

\A\B::foo();  // calls method "foo" of class "B" from namespace "A"
              // if class "A\B" not found, it tries to autoload class "A\B"
?>
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User Contributed Notes 10 notes

up
17
kdimi
6 years ago
If you like to declare an __autoload function within a namespace or class, use the spl_autoload_register() function to register it and it will work fine.
up
14
rangel
7 years ago
The term "autoload" mentioned here shall not be confused with __autoload function to autoload objects. Regarding the __autoload and namespaces' resolution I'd like to share the following experience:

->Say you have the following directory structure:

- root
      | - loader.php
      | - ns
             | - foo.php

->foo.php

<?php
namespace ns;
class
foo
{
    public
$say;
   
    public function
__construct()
    {
       
$this->say = "bar";
    }
   
}
?>

-> loader.php

<?php
//GLOBAL SPACE <--
function __autoload($c)
{
    require_once
$c . ".php";
}

class
foo extends ns\foo // ns\foo is loaded here
{
    public function
__construct()
    {
       
parent::__construct();
        echo
"<br />foo" . $this->say;
    }
}
$a = new ns\foo(); // ns\foo also loads ns/foo.php just fine here.
echo $a->say;   // prints bar as expected.
$b = new foo// prints foobar just fine.
?>

If you keep your directory/file matching namespace/class consistence the object __autoload works fine.
But... if you try to give loader.php a namespace you'll obviously get fatal errors.
My sample is just 1 level dir, but I've tested with a very complex and deeper structure. Hope anybody finds this useful.

Cheers!
up
4
Kavoir.com
2 years ago
For point 4, "In example, if the namespace A\B\C is imported as C" should be "In example, if the class A\B\C is imported as C".
up
4
safakozpinar at NOSPAM dot gmail dot com
6 years ago
As working with namespaces and using (custom or basic) autoload structure; magic function __autoload must be defined in global scope, not in a namespace, also not in another function or method.

<?php
namespace Glue {
   
/**
     * Define your custom structure and algorithms
     * for autoloading in this class.
     */
   
class Import
   
{
        public static function
load ($classname)
        {
            echo
'Autoloading class '.$classname."\n";
            require_once
$classname.'.php';
        }
    }
}

/**
* Define function __autoload in global namespace.
*/
namespace {
   
    function
__autoload ($classname)
    {
        \
Glue\Import::load($classname);
    }

}
?>
up
1
anrdaemon at freemail dot ru
9 months ago
Namespaces may be case-insensitive, but autoloaders most often do.
Do yourself a service, keep your cases consistent with file names, and don't overcomplicate autoloaders beyond necessity.
Something like this should suffice for most times:

<?php

namespace org\example;

function
spl_autoload($className)
{
 
$file = new \SplFileInfo(__DIR__ . substr(strtr("$className.php", '\\', '/'), 11));
 
$path = $file->getRealPath();
  if(empty(
$path))
  {
    return
false;
  }
  else
  {
    return include_once
$path;
  }
}

\
spl_autoload_register('\org\example\spl_autoload');
?>
up
2
llmll
1 year ago
The mentioned filesystem analogy fails at an important point:

Namespace resolution *only* works at declaration time. The compiler fixates all namespace/class references as absolute paths, like creating absolute symlinks.

You can't expect relative symlinks, which should be evaluated during access -> during PHP runtime.

In other words, namespaces are evaluated like __CLASS__ or self:: at parse-time. What's *not* happening, is the pendant for late static binding like static:: which resolves to the current class at runtime.

So you can't do the following:

namespace Alpha;
class Helper {
    public static $Value = "ALPHA";
}
class Base {
    public static function Write() {
        echo Helper::$Value;
    }
}

namespace Beta;
class Helper extends \Alpha\Helper {
    public static $Value = 'BETA';
}   
class Base extends \Alpha\Base {}   

\Beta\Base::Write(); // should write "BETA" as this is the executing namespace context at runtime.

If you copy the write() function into \Beta\Base it works as expected.
up
1
CJ Taylor
2 years ago
It took me playing with it a bit  as I had a hard time finding documentation on when a class name matches a namespace, if that's even legal and what behavior to expect.  It IS explained in #6 but I thought I'd share this with other souls like me that see it better by example.  Assume all 3 files below are in the same directory.

file1.php
<?php
namespace foo;

class
foo {
  static function
hello() {
    echo
"hello world!";
  }
}
?>

file2.php
<?php
namespace foo;
include(
'file1.php');

foo::hello(); //you're in the same namespace, or scope.
\foo\foo::hello(); //called on a global scope.
?>

file3.php
<?php
include('file1.php');

foo\foo::hello(); //you're outside of the namespace
\foo\foo::hello(); //called on a global scope.
?>

Depending upon what you're building (example: a module, plugin, or package on a larger application), sometimes declaring a class that matches a namespace makes sense or may even be required.  Just be aware that if you try to reference any class that shares the same namespace, omit the namespace unless you do it globally like the examples above.

I hope this is useful, particularly for those that are trying to wrap your head around this 5.3 feature.
up
-2
dn dot permyakov at gmail dot com
2 years ago
Can someone explain to me -  why do we need p.4 if we have p.2 (which covers both unqualified and qualified names)?
up
-3
rangel
7 years ago
The term "autoload" mentioned here shall not be confused with __autoload function to autoload objects. Regarding the __autoload and namespaces' resolution I'd like to share the following experience:

->Say you have the following directory structure:

- root
      | - loader.php
      | - ns
             | - foo.php

->foo.php

<?php
namespace ns;
class
foo
{
    public
$say;
   
    public function
__construct()
    {
       
$this->say = "bar";
    }
   
}
?>

-> loader.php

<?php
//GLOBAL SPACE <--
function __autoload($c)
{
    require_once
$c . ".php";
}

class
foo extends ns\foo // ns\foo is loaded here
{
    public function
__construct()
    {
       
parent::__construct();
        echo
"<br />foo" . $this->say;
    }
}
$a = new ns\foo(); // ns\foo also loads ns/foo.php just fine here.
echo $a->say;   // prints bar as expected.
$b = new foo// prints foobar just fine.
?>

If you keep your directory/file matching namespace/class consistence the object __autoload works fine.
But... if you try to give loader.php a namespace you'll obviously get fatal errors.
My sample is just 1 level dir, but I've tested with a very complex and deeper structure. Hope anybody finds this useful.

Cheers!
up
-4
StanE
1 year ago
What the name resolution rules do not say: Namespaces are case-insensitive.

You can write: namespace myframework\errorhandling;
Or: namespace MyFramework\ErrorHandling;

Same applies to namespaces after the "use" keyword or directly used qulified name namespaces in front of classes, functions or constants.
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