Short answer: Doctrine is a must-have technology to keep consistent database structure and fast interactions between database and app logic after every change of requirements.
Size doesn’t matter when it comes to problems with complex data management, validation, and support application databases. Even small projects hit snags. Apps use a large number of patterns and approaches while data management gets distributed more and more within different parts of the system. As a result, data processing and database structure become increasingly more complex, too.
This is where Doctrine shines a light. Doctrine is the most-used, third-party middleware with an object-relational mapping (ORM) approach. Companies use Doctrine for data mapping when development teams deal with frequently changing requirements. Doctrine deftly deals with data: it efficiently processes and stores data in the database.
Doctrine developers were inspired by JSR-317 and Hibernate (an ORM for Java programming languages). They created a set of tools and best practices to optimize the development effort. These help make interactions between database and app logic easy and flexible.
Here we discuss how this happens by focusing on the following points:
What is Doctrine 2 and how does it work?
Doctrine is a collection of projects built for PHP.
1) Relational databases and classes in object-oriented languages assume different approaches to data storage and to different data management techniques.
2) Process of data synchronization between app and databases becomes crucial.
Data synchronization is complex. It contains myriad subtasks:
- change management
- validation of data structures between database and entities (objects that describe data structures, e.g., user profile)
Doctrine takes note of events initiated in the managed objects. It then maps changes to the database.
1) Developers add a new characteristic in the database.
2) They launch the migration process.
3) Doctrine updates the data structure with new database columns or tables.
When to use Doctrine?
Doctrine is best used for the following approaches:
OLTP (Online transaction processing) – a special approach to database management when the system responds immediately to small transactions.
Fast app prototyping – quickly models a business domain shortening time-to-market. A top choice for quick prototyping to validate hypotheses.
DDD (Domain Driven Design) – a set of rules that makes it possible to implement correct decisions. This approach enables improving app design in a new, unknown business domain.
Doctrine fits in with all PHP frameworks—valuable option for startup development.
When NOT to use Doctrine?
Doctrine creates considerable churn on a project under the following conditions:
Reporting and logging – Doctrine does not fit in with big data management in one database request (e.g., aggregation of analytics, reports data must use SQL for this).
Already created databases – when using Doctrine for an already existing database, developers have various problems related to system architecture and data processing, including performance.
What are the benefits of using Doctrine?
Doctrine helps startups present working solutions within a short timeframe, and it offers the opportunity to develop it to an enterprise-level system. Also, after an MVP has been presented and received positive feedback, approaches to data processing or database structuring might change significantly.
This is where Doctrine helps. Using most of best practices recommended for Doctrine, the source code of the system becomes:
Doctrine enables making changes to entities. This ensures quickly adding new features to the software and improving existing ones.
From a business point of view, Doctrine improves a project in the following cases:
- Initial boost up – Doctrine’s functionality is available right out of the package. Developers can launch it and start working immediately—no time wasted on fine-tuning.
- App Development time – Doctrine makes it possible to build database architecture at a pace instead spending months of hard teamwork needed to produce the same source code. Sure, there might be more elegant ways to build database architecture, e.g., using SQL queries directly, but none is more efficient than Doctrine when facing constantly changing requirements.
- Power and flexibility – apart from being attuned to work automatically, Doctrine supports both high- and low-level database programming. And it offers its own DQL dialect for writing database queries.
- Maintenance and refactoring – developers program their model only in one place. Hence, it is easier to update, maintain, and reuse the source code.
- Community support – Doctrine enjoys a large community ready to share their experience of implementing Doctrine on various projects. And, Doctrine contributors quickly answer different questions.
Doctrine is a great tool for boosting data management in the PHP system for businesses with frequent change requirements. It is also a great tool for startups with a big data structure. Doctrine fits well where startups use PHP as a back-end programming language and expect rapid growth of server load due to user influx and adding new features that will require rework of database structure.