Friend services?
09 August 2013

Using the Domain Driven Design methodology, I sometimes end up on such a situation: a behavior in a model class is complex and involving other classes. It’s time to put that behavior in a service (or a factory if the situation applies to a constructor).

The problem is that in my service, I am not in the context of the domain class. If I move Foo::something() into FooService::something($foo), then I can’t access private properties of Foo, thus limiting me to the public API of Foo.

Now I end up adding accessors, thus breaking encapsulation and complexifying everything where all I wanted was improving the code.

VB.Net has a concept of “Friend” visibility, i.e. if A is friend with B, then A can access private properties of B (or something like that it’s been a long time :p). PHP doesn’t have such a concept natively, but here is a tryout to apply it with workarounds.

Disclaimer: the code is not pretty and is not for production. This is just an idea thrown around.

class Foo {
    private $bar = 'hello world';
class FriendOfFoo {
    public function doSomething($foo) {
        return function() use ($foo) {
            echo $foo->bar;
$foo = new Foo();
$service = new FriendOfFoo();
$closure = $service->doSomething($foo)->bindTo(null, $foo);

See it in action on

Here, FriendOfFoo is a service that has access to Foo’s private and protected properties.

We achieve that by writing the methods of the service into closures. We can then bind those closures to the context of Foo, and voilà!

If you see a better way of achieving this, I am interested.