Data Types

ATK Data framework implements a consistent and extensible type system with the following goals:

Type specification

  • Provide list of out-of-the-box types, such as “percentage”
  • Provide list of classes such as Fraction
  • Mechanism to find corresponding class configuration based on selected type

Specifying one of supported types will ensure that your field format is recognized universally, can be stored, loaded, presented to user through UI inside a Table or Form and can be exported through RestAPI:

$this->addField('is_vip', ['type'=>'boolean']);

We also allow use of custom Field implementation:

$this->addField('encrypted_password', new \atk4\login\Field\Password());

A properly implemented type will still be able to offer some means to present it in human-readable format, however in some cases, if you plan on using ATK UI, you would have to create a custom decorators/FormField to properly read and present your type value. See \atk4\ui\Field::ui.

Persistence mechanics and Serialization

All type values can be specified as primitives. For example DateTime object class is associated with the type=time will be converted into string with default format of “21:43:05”.

Types that cannot be converted into primitive, there exist a process of “serialization”, which can use JSON or standard serialize() method to store object inside incompatible database/persistence.

Serialization abilities allow us to get rid of many arbitrary types such as “array_json” and simply use this:

$model->addField('selection', ['type'=>'array', 'serialize'=>'json']);

Field configuration

Fields can be further configured. For numeric fields it’s possible to provide precision. For instance, when user specifies type=money it is represented as [‘Number’, ‘precision’=>2, ‘prefix’=>’€’]

Not only this allows us make a flexible and re-usable functionality for fields, but also allows for an easy way to override:

$model->addField('salary', ['type'=>'money', 'precision'=>4', 'prefix'=>false, 'postfix'=>'Rub']);

Although some configuration of the field may appear irrelevant (prefix/postfix) to operations with data from inside PHP, those properties can be used by ATK UI or data export routines to properly input or display values.


ATK Data uses PHP native types and classes. For example, ‘time’ type is using DateTime object.

When storing or displaying a type-casting takes place which will format the value accordingly. Type-casting can be persistence-specific, for instance, when storing “datetime” into SQL, the ISO format will be used, but when displayed to the user a regional format is used instead.

Supported Types

ATK Data prior to 1.5 supports the following types:

  • string
  • boolean ([‘Boolean’])
  • integer ([‘Number’, ‘precision’=>0])
  • money ([‘Number’, ‘prefix’=>’€’, ‘precision’=>2])
  • float ([‘Number’, ‘type’=>’float’])
  • date ([‘DateTime’])
  • datetime ([‘DateTime’])
  • time ([‘DateTime’])
  • password ([‘Password])
  • array
  • object

In ATK Data the number of supported types has been extended with:

  • percent (34.2%) ([‘Number’, ‘format’=>function($v){ return $v*100; }, ‘postfix’=>’%’])
  • rating (3 out of 5) ([‘Number’, ‘max’=>5, ‘precision’=>0])
  • uuid (xxxxxxxx-xxxx-…) ([‘Number’, ‘base’=>16, ‘mask’=>’########-##..’])
  • hex (number with base 16) ([‘Number’, ‘base’=>16])
  • ip ( ([‘Number’, ‘base’=>256, ‘mask’=>’#.#.#.#’])
  • ipv6 ([‘Number’, ‘base’=>16’, ‘mask’=>’####:####:..’]);
  • model (used for containment)
  • fraction (5/7) ([‘Fraction’])

Additionally there is a support for

  • distance ([‘Units’, ‘scale’=>[‘m’=>1, ‘km’=>1000, ‘mm’=>0.001])
  • duration
  • mass
  • area
  • volume

All measurements are implemented with Units and can be further extended:

$model->addField('speed', ['Units', 'postfix'=>'/s', 'scale'=>['m'=>1, 'km'=>1000]]);
$model->set('speed', '30km/s');

echo $model->get('speed'); // 30000
echo $model->getField('speed')->format(); // 30km/s
echo $model->getField('speed')->format('m'); // 30000m/s

Supported Serialization

ATK Data prior to 1.5 supported:

  • ‘serialize’ - for storing PHP objects, uses serialize, unserialize
  • ‘json’ - for storing objects and arrays, uses json_encode, json_decode
  • ‘base64’ - for storing encoded strings, uses base64_encode, base64_decode
  • [serialize_callback, unserialize_callback] - for custom serialization

In 1.5 we have added support for more:

  • list - separate values with comma, good for storing IDs
  • binary - incredibly compact format for numbers

List of Field Classes