Getting Started with OOPHP - Real Life Example

I've been writing procedural PHP for about six years now. My team and I have decided to make the conversion over to OO for several reasons.  This being said, I see a lot of examples about creating classes for animals, trains, planes, etc.  I have yet to find a good practical real life example that I could learn from.

I wrote a class below that I would use in a few different applications.  I'm not sure if I'm on the right track with this or not, but if somebody wouldn't mind going over what I've done and give suggestions, It would be greatly appreciated.

A little back story for how this will be used, if I understand OO right.  My company has two different types of accounts.  Prospects, who have never done business with us before, and Customers, who have placed an order at some point.

Most of our programs interact with our main companies table at some point, and several of which call functions from within this class.  Most applications have a link to create or edit a contact, and a prospect account can also be created from several spots.

While I only have one script for each (edit contact, create contact, add a prospect), I'm thinking that I can call this class from where I would link to perform said functions.

I'm not sure if what I posted below is a good start or example of what should happen with object oriented code, or if there is a better way to go about it based off of the information provided.


class Account() {
	//Define Variable
	var $compId;

	//Used to create a customer account 
	public function __construct() {
		//Not sure what this is...will it be used for $account = new Account();
	//Pulls Account Data For AR Account
	function getArAccount($compId) {
		//This pulls all the data about the account and puts it in tabs
	//Pulls Contact Management Search Results
	function getCMSearchRes($compId) {
	//This pulls account #, name, address, city, state, zip, country
	//Pulls Contact Management Page Details
	function getCMCompDetails($compId) {
		//This pulls account #, name, address, city, state, zip, country, county, sales rep, sic, referral, email address, website
	//Create a customer account 
	function createProspect() {
		//sql to handle post variables?  what about errors??
	//Function to update prospect information
	function updateProspect() {
		//sql to handle updating the prospect information
	//Creates a prospect account
	function createCustomer() {
		//sql to handle post variables?  what about errors??
	//Function to update the customer data
	function updateCustomer() {
		//sql to update the customer information
	function getContacts($compId) {
		//pulls all company contacts
	function addContact($compId) {
		//post variables, error handling for adding a contact
	function updContact($compId) {
		//post variables, error handling for updating a contact

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Ray PaseurCommented:
You're doing the right thing.  Welcome to the light!  The first thing you want to understand are "design patterns."  This is the canonical reference:

Some valuable learning resources... (Mandatory reading!) (Excellent and up-to-date.)

You probably want to read the entire PHP OOP manual.  Don't be discouraged if it sounds a bit arcane at first.  And don't worry too much about the details of the programming language.   You want to know the major concepts and where to look for the details of implementation.  Then when you're learning about object oriented design you can refer back to the concepts you learned from the OOP manual.

Object oriented programming is one thing -- but good object oriented design is an entirely different thing.  When we do OO design we think mostly about the interface between objects.  The programming usually follows easily if the interfaces are well designed.  If you have some time to study and want to learn from one of the best, find this guy and absorb everything he will share with you.

About the code snippet - you can dispense with "var" because that's something that is leftover from PHP4.  We don't do that any more; instead we declare the properties of the object as public, protected or private.  The methods are declared the same way.  There are two good articles here at E-E that teach some of the basic principles.

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Beverley PortlockCommented:
If you want a real world example, I wrote an article a few years ago here on EE

I hope you find it helpful
Ray PaseurCommented:
Almost forgot about it, but here is another article with real-world examples of OOP design and notation.  It computes "average" locations from a collection of geocodes.  Read the ones from @gr8gonzo and @bportlock first!
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t3chguyAuthor Commented:
Thank you so much.  I'm sure I'll have more questions along the way, but glad to know I at least have a good starting point.  I'll definitely check out all references listed above!

Thanks again!
Ray PaseurCommented:
Thanks for the points -- it's a great question.  Don't be in too much of a hurry to learn this stuff; it's a whole new way of thinking about application design and programming and it will not come to you overnight.  Give yourself some time and make simple code examples (maybe keep a library of your code samples) along the way.  You'll get it, slowly at first, then all of a sudden, and as you do, you'll be amazed at the ways it changes your thinking about programming.  One of the interesting benefits is the amount of time you spend debugging.  It will fall to almost zero because your code will be so much simpler and you can automate your test process.
Beverley PortlockCommented:
Thank you for the points. I agree with Ray's point about debugging time. I need to spend so much less time on it these days because forcing myself to get the OO design right gets me out of most of the problems I would otherwise program myself in to.

If I have a complaint about OO it is that coding becomes very boring and (mostly) childishly simple.
+1 to the question and the responses.  This is a great reference thread.

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