Models, resource models, and collections

##Describe the basic concepts of models, resource models, and collections, and the relationship they have to one another

Models are where your main business logic should be handled and is a single instance of an object. The model will use the resource model to talk to the database and get/set data for it on save() and load().

A resource model is where your main C.R.U.D happens (Create, Read, Update and delete). The resource model shouldn’t contain business logic however it will talk to the adapters and basically talk to the database.

Collections are also a resource, however instead of being a single instance of an object collections store an object of objects, you can use a foreach to loop through a collection which can be handy. For instance outputting a list of products to a category page.

##Configure a database connection

Your database connection is handled in both code/etc/local.xml` and code/etc/config.xml`.

##Describe how Magento works with database tables

Tables are define under the models > entities node in configuration xml, anytime a table is called through your resource you can use $resource->getTableName('somemodule/sometable');. This method is in the Mage_Core_Model_Resource class. You should use this function incase there are any table prefixes.

##Describe the load-and-save process for a regular entity

###Loading Data.

When working with your model you can call a specific entity by calling Mage::getModel('module/model')->load($id);. The method which has just been called can be found at: Mage_Core_Model_Abstract::load(). This function will clearly not connect and load the object from the database as models don’t handle and C.R.U.D:

	public function load($id, $field=null)	{
    $this->_beforeLoad($id, $field);
    $this->_getResource()->load($this, $id, $field);
    $this->_hasDataChanges = false;
    return $this;

$this->_beforeLoad($id, $field); dispatches 2 events:

  • Mage::dispatchEvent('model_load_before', $params); - For generic utility
  • Mage::dispatchEvent($this->_eventPrefix.'_load_before', $params); - For model specific utility.

Next Magento uses the models resource model, defined in the _init() method which is set in the _construct function to take care of the C.R.U.D actions for us $this->_getResource()->load($this, $id, $field);.

Next Magento runs the function $this->_afterLoad(). This fires 2 events just like before:

  • Mage::dispatchEvent('model_load_after', array('object'=>$this)); - For generic utility
  • Mage::dispatchEvent($this->_eventPrefix.'_load_after', $this->_getEventData()); For Model specific utility.

Finally Magento sets two more variables on the object which are both used for referencing changes:

  • $this->setOrigData();
  • $this->_hasDataChanges = false;

###Saving Data

This method is almost the same as the $object->load($id) method with a few additions. The first thing Magento does is checks to see if `$this->isDeleted()</code is set to true, if it is, it simple deletes the entity.

Next Magento checks $this->_hasModelChanged(), if this is false, the module will return. In short this just checks the $this->_hasDataChanges mentioned earlier.

Now Magento starts the transaction with the write adapter and sets the $dataCommited to false.

Now Magento will enter a try method to begin saving the data, like with load Magento now calls $this->_beforeSave(); Which does the following:

	if (!$this->getId()) {
Mage::dispatchEvent('model_save_before', array('object'=>$this));
Mage::dispatchEvent($this->_eventPrefix.'_save_before', $this->_getEventData());

Now if the $this->_dataSaveAllowed is set to true Magento will save the data using the resource model, directly after this Magento will call $this->_afterSave(); which does the following:

Mage::dispatchEvent('model_save_after', array('object'=>$this));
Mage::dispatchEvent($this->_eventPrefix.'_save_after', $this->_getEventData());

##Describe group save operations

Magento uses database transactions when handling group saves to the database to keep the database consistent, it does this by using an atomic operation.

##Describe the role of Zend_Db_Select in Magento

The Zend_Db_Select is the class for SQL SELECT generation and results.

##Describe the collection interface (filtering/sorting/grouping)

    $collection->addFieldToFilter('field_name', array('eq', 'some_value'))
$collection- >setOrder()
$collection- >getSelect()->order()

##Describe the hierarchy of database-related classes in Magento

Most of Magento’s flat resource models extend Mage_Core_Model_Resource_Db_Abstract which handles the main C.R.U.D, this model then extends the Mage_Core_Model_Resource_Abstract class.

##Describe the role and hierarchy of setup objects in Magento

Setup objects provide ways of easily updating database tables using DDL and adapters.

These objectives fall into two broad areas. The first is about how models work with resource models and collections in order to access the database storage layer; the second is about how to work with the database directly by using the adapter classes and the Zend_Db_Select object to create queries.

###Which methods exist to access the table of a resource model?

$resource- getMainTable()
Mage::getModel('core/resource')- >getMainTable($modelEntity)

###Which methods exist to create joins between tables on collections and on select instances?


###How does Magento support different RDBMSs?

Magento uses adapters which means you should never really be writing in a particular database syntax, however this does get overlooked somewhat.

###How do table name lookups work, and what is the purpose of making table names configurable?

Table names are defined in config XML under the entities node, you should always use the Mage::getModel('core/resource')->getTableName($modelEntity) method to work with tables encase there are table prefixes or some other modifications.

###Which events are fired automatically during CRUD operations?


###How does Magento figure out if a save() call needs to create an INSERT or an UPDATE query?

Magento checks if the object has an id set $object->getId(). If it does then Magento updates, otherwise it inserts.

###How many ways exist to specify filters on a flat table collection?


###Which methods exist to influence the ordering of the result set for flat table collections?


###How do the methods differ?

setOrder appears to loop through the object setting the order where Zend_Db_Select::order() adds it to the select statement.

###Why and how does Magento differentiate between setup, read, and write database resources?

Mage::getSingleton('core/resource')- >getConnection('core_write')

This is because Magento supports master/slave configurations for databases.

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