The DBAL consists of two layers: drivers and a wrapper. Each layer is mainly defined in terms of 3 components: Connection, Statement and Result. A Doctrine\DBAL\Connection wraps a Doctrine\DBAL\Driver\Connection, a Doctrine\DBAL\Statement wraps a Doctrine\DBAL\Driver\Statement and a Doctrine\DBAL\Result wraps a Doctrine\DBAL\Driver\Result.

Doctrine\DBAL\Driver\Connection, Doctrine\DBAL\Driver\Statement and Doctrine\DBAL\Driver\Result are just interfaces. These interfaces are implemented by concrete drivers.

Apart from the three main components, a DBAL driver should also provide an implementation of the Doctrine\DBAL\Driver interface that has two primary purposes:

  1. Translate the DBAL connection parameters to the ones specific to the driver's connection class.
  2. Act as a factory of other driver-specific components like platform, schema manager and exception converter.

The driver components can be decorated using the four driver interfaces in order to add driver-independent functionality like logging or profiling. Those decorators are configured as a middleware.

The wrapper components Connection, Statement and Result are the objects that the application usually interacts with directly. They wrap the middleware stack as well as the driver at the bottom of that stack.

The DBAL is separated into several different packages that separate responsibilities of the different RDBMS layers.


The drivers abstract a PHP specific database API by enforcing four interfaces:

  • Doctrine\DBAL\Driver
  • Doctrine\DBAL\Driver\Connection
  • Doctrine\DBAL\Driver\Statement
  • Doctrine\DBAL\Driver\Result


A middleware sits in the middle between the wrapper components and the driver. By implementing the Doctrine\DBAL\Driver\Middleware, it decorates the Driver component of either the actual driver or a lower middleware. If necessary, the middleware might also decorate Connection, Statement and Result.

An example for a middleware implementation is Doctrine\DBAL\Logging\Middleware which implements logging capabilities on top of a driver.


The platforms abstract the generation of queries and which database features a platform supports. The \Doctrine\DBAL\Platforms\AbstractPlatform defines the common denominator of what a database platform has to publish to the userland, to be fully supportable by Doctrine. This includes the SchemaTool, Transaction Isolation and many other features. The Database platform for MySQL for example can be used by multiple MySQL extensions: pdo_mysql and mysqli.


The logging holds the interface and some implementations for debugging of Doctrine SQL query execution during a request.


The schema offers an API for each database platform to execute DDL statements against your platform or retrieve metadata about it. It also holds the Schema Abstraction Layer which is used by the different Schema Management facilities of Doctrine DBAL and ORM.


The types offer an abstraction layer for the converting and generation of types between Databases and PHP. Doctrine comes bundled with some common types but offers the ability for developers to define custom types or extend existing ones easily.