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Bence Eros' Blog: Life without static in PHP

Note: This article was originally published at PHPDeveloper on 21 December 2010.

In this new post to his blog Bence Eros shares some of the frustrations and issues he's had when dealing with static methods and properties in his applications and how, with a bit of re-engineering, you might be able to have "life without static".

The problem with static members in PHP is the poor initialisation capabilities. The initial value of a static property can only be a literal or a named constant. [...] The same problem exists for non-static properties too, but the constructor is a dedicated place to initialize non-static properties. But since we don't have Java-like static constructors in PHP there is no place to do static property initialization. In a lot of cases people do it by putting the assignment statements after the body of the class, but this method is very ugly.

An alternate method he suggests is using a singleton to initialize and grab the value of a class value. He gives some sample code to show how it might be done, but warns that it might not be the right way to do things. It has "significant disadvantages" that could cause trouble down the road (for one, singletons make it difficult to unit test).