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Defining class methods in PHP


No, as of PHP 5.2. However, you may use __call magic method to forward call to arbitrary function or method.

class A {

    public function __call($method, $args) {
        if ($method == 'foo') {
            return call_user_func_array('bar', $args);


function bar($x) {
    echo $x;

$a = new A();
$a->foo('12345'); // will result in calling bar('12345')

In PHP 5.4 there is support for traits. Trait is an implementation of method(s) that cannot be instantiated as standalone object. Instead, trait can be used to extend class with contained implementation. Learn more on Traits here.

Yes it is possible to add a method to a PHP class after it is defined. You want to use classkit, which is an “experimental” extension. It appears that this extension isn’t enabled by default however, so it depends on if you can compile a custom PHP binary or load PHP DLLs if on windows (for instance Dreamhost does allow custom PHP binaries, and they’re pretty easy to setup).

class A { }
classkit_method_add('A', 'bar', '$message', 'echo $message;', 
$a = new A();
$a->bar('Hello world!');

Example from the PHP manual:

class Example {
    function foo() {
        echo "foo!n";

// create an Example object
$e = new Example();

// Add a new public method
    '$num1, $num2',
    'return $num1 + $num2;',

// add 12 + 4
echo $e->add(12, 4);

You could perhaps override __call or __callStatic to locate a missing method at runtime, but you’d have to make up your own system for locating and calling the code. For example, you could load a “Delegate” class to handle the method call.

Here’s an example – if you tried to call $foo->bar(), the class would attempt to create a FooDelegate_bar class, and call bar() on it with the same arguments. If you’ve got class auto-loading set up, the delegate can live in a separate file until required…

class Foo {

    public function __call($method, $args) {
        if (class_exists($delegate))
             $handler=new $delegate($this);
             return call_user_func_array(array(&$handler, $method), $args);



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