If you use the Doctrine PHPCR ODM Symfony Bundle, please look into the Tutorial to install the DoctrinePHPCRBundle. This documentation explains how to use PHPCR ODM outside of symfony, which requires some manual initialization.


Doctrine PHPCR-ODM should be installed through composer. The reason is that it depends on quite a few other libraries which in turn require other libraries. If you really can't use composer in a project, we recommend you do a test installation of phpcr-odm with composer to see the dependencies and add manually everything from vendor/ to your project.

Composer is the recommended installation method for Doctrine PHPCR-ODM. Define the following requirement in your composer.json file:

1{ "require": { "doctrine/phpcr-odm": "*" } }

Then run composer install and you are done.

PHPCR provider

Doctrine PHPCR-ODM uses the PHP Content Repository API for storage. You can force one of the available providers in your projects composer.json file require section by specifying one of the suggest libraries in the phpcr-odm composer.json

Each of the providers requires some additional setup. The following sections will briefly list how to set each of them up. Please refer to the documentation of the provider you choose for details.

Install Jackalope-Jackrabbit PHPCR provider

Jackalope-Jackrabbit uses the Java backend jackrabbit for storage.

Follow Running Jackrabbit Server from the Jackalope wiki to have the storage backend.

Bootstrap will roughly look like this:

$workspace = 'default';
$user = 'admin';
$pass = 'admin';
$repository = \Jackalope\RepositoryFactoryJackrabbit::getRepository([
    'jackalope.jackrabbit_uri' => 'http://localhost:8080/server',
$credentials = new \PHPCR\SimpleCredentials($user, $pass);
$session = $repository->login($credentials, $workspace);

Install Jackalope Doctrine DBAL PHPCR provider

Jackalope Doctrine DBAL maps PHPCR to relational databases. It should support all databases that Doctrine DBAL can support.

Create the database as described in the documentation of Jackalope Doctrine DBAL.

Bootstrap will roughly look like this when using mysql as storage backend:

$workspace = 'default';
$user = 'admin';
$pass = 'admin';

$params = [
    'driver'    => 'pdo_mysql', // or pdo_pgsql
    'host'      => 'localhost',
    'user'      => $user,
    'password'  => $pass,
    'dbname'    => 'phpcr_odm_tutorial',
    'charset'   => 'utf8mb4', // only when using MySQL

// Bootstrap Doctrine DBAL
$dbConn = \Doctrine\DBAL\DriverManager::getConnection($params);

$repository = \Jackalope\RepositoryFactoryDoctrineDBAL::getRepository([
    'jackalope.doctrine_dbal_connection' => $dbConn,
// dummy credentials to comply with the API
$credentials = new \PHPCR\SimpleCredentials(null, null);
$session = $repository->login($credentials, $workspace);

Jackalope Doctrine DBAL does currently not manage users, so the simple credentials are ignored.

Jackalope Doctrine DBAL also works with sqlite. Use the following parameters:

$params = [
    'driver' => 'pdo_sqlite',
    'dbname' => 'odm',
    'path' => '/tmp/jackalope.db',

Install Midgard2 PHPCR provider

Midgard2 is a PHP extension that persists PHPCR into relational databases like SQLite and MySQL.

Midgard2 needs the migard-php5 PHP extension to run. On typical Linux setups getting the extension is as easy as:

sudo apt-get install php5-midgard2

Bootstrap will roughly look like this when using mysql as storage backend:

$workspace = 'default';
$user = 'admin';
$pass = 'password';

$params = [
    'midgard2.configuration.db.type' => 'MySQL',
    '' => 'phpcr',
    '' => 'localhost',
    'midgard2.configuration.db.username' => 'midgard',
    'midgard2.configuration.db.password' => 'midgard',
    'midgard2.configuration.blobdir' => '/some/path/for/blobs',
    'midgard2.configuration.db.init' => true,
$repository = \Midgard\PHPCR\RepositoryFactory::getRepository($params);

$credentials = new \PHPCR\SimpleCredentials($user, $pass);
$session = $repository->login($credentials, $workspace);

Note that the `midgard2.configuration.db.init` setting should only be used the first time you connect to the Midgard2 repository. After that the database is ready and this setting should be removed for better performance.

The `$user` and `$pass` are the credentials for the PHPCR user. The `...db.username` and `...db.password` configuration values are used by the mysql driver of midgard to connect to the database.

Midgard can also use sqlite, with the following parameters:

$params = [
    'midgard2.configuration.db.type' => 'SQLite',
    '' => 'odm',
    'midgard2.configuration.db.dir' => '/tmp',
    'midgard2.configuration.blobdir' => '/tmp/blobs'
    'midgard2.configuration.db.init' => true,


Bootstrapping Doctrine PHPCR-ODM is a relatively simple procedure that roughly exists of four steps:

  • Installation (see above)
  • Making sure Doctrine class files are autoloaded.
  • Obtaining a DocumentManager instance.
  • Configuration of the Console Tool and run the register-system-node-types command

Straightforward bootstrap sample files for all PHPCR implementations are found in the root folder of phpcr-odm. They are called cli-config.*.php.dist. You will need one of those files to set up the console, but it can be used for the rest of your application too.

Class loading with composer

Autoloading is taken care of by Composer. You just have to include the composer autoload file in your project:

// Include Composer Autoload
// if this file does not exist, you forgot to run php composer.phar install
require_once __DIR__ . "/vendor/autoload.php";

Obtaining an ObjectManager

Once you have prepared the class loading, you acquire an ObjectManager instance. The ObjectManager class is the primary access point to the document mapper functionality provided by Doctrine PHPCR-ODM.

Prepare the mapping driver

In order to make PHPCR-ODM understand your documents, you need to provide mappings.

You can choose between the drivers for attributes, xml and yml configuration files. Add the respective code right after the autoloading.

See later in this chapter for more options with the mapping drivers.

Attributes Mapping Driver

With the attributes driver, you can add attributes to your document classes with the mapping metadata:

use Doctrine\ODM\PHPCR\Mapping\Driver\AttributeDriver;

$driver = new AttributeDriver(['/path/to/your/document/classes']);

XML Mapping Driver

With the XML driver, you create separate XML files that map between your documents and PHPCR:

use Doctrine\ODM\PHPCR\Mapping\Driver\XmlDriver;

$driver = new XmlDriver(['/path/to/your/xml-mapping/files']);

YML Mapping Driver

Your project must require symfony/yaml in composer.json:

use Doctrine\ODM\PHPCR\Mapping\Driver\YamlDriver;

$driver = new YamlDriver(['/path/to/your/yml-mapping/files']);

Quick Configuration Example

A complete configuration could look like this:

$workspace = 'default';
$user = 'admin';
$pass = 'admin';

/***** transport implementation specific code begin *****/

/* --- see above for sample bootstrapping code of other repository implementations --- */

$params = [
    'driver'    => 'pdo_mysql',
    'host'      => 'localhost',
    'user'      => $user,
    'password'  => $pass,
    'dbname'    => 'phpcr_odm_tutorial',
    'charset'   => 'utf8mb4',
$dbConn = \Doctrine\DBAL\DriverManager::getConnection($params);
$parameters = ['jackalope.doctrine_dbal_connection' => $dbConn];
$repository = \Jackalope\RepositoryFactoryDoctrineDBAL::getRepository($parameters);
$credentials = new \PHPCR\SimpleCredentials(null, null);

/***** transport implementation specific code  ends *****/

$session = $repository->login($credentials, $workspace);

/* prepare the doctrine configuration */
use Doctrine\ODM\PHPCR\Mapping\Driver\AttributeDriver;
use Doctrine\ODM\PHPCR\DocumentManager;

$driver = new AttributeDriver(['/path/to/your/document/classes']);

$config = new \Doctrine\ODM\PHPCR\Configuration();

$documentManager = DocumentManager::create($session, $config);

Your PHPCR implementation should document the options for the repository factory.

As you can see, the PHPCR implementation jackalope-doctrine-dbal used in this example needs a Doctrine DBAL connection to store its data in a database. You can learn more about the options for the connection in this case with the Doctrine DBAL connection configuration reference.

Configuration Options

The following sections describe all the configuration options available on a Doctrine\ORM\Configuration instance.

Proxy Directory (REQUIRED)

Configure the directory where proxy objects are cached:


For a detailed explanation on proxy classes and how they are used in Doctrine, see Installation.

Proxy Namespace (REQUIRED)

1$config->setProxyNamespace($namespace); $config->getProxyNamespace();

Gets or sets the namespace to use for generated proxy classes. For a detailed explanation on proxy classes and how they are used in Doctrine, refer to the Proxy Objects section further down.

Metadata Driver (REQUIRED)

1$config->setMetadataDriverImpl($driver); $config->getMetadataDriverImpl();

Gets or sets the metadata driver implementation that is used by Doctrine to acquire the object-relational metadata for your classes.

There are currently 4 implementations available:

  • Doctrine\ODM\PHPCR\Mapping\Driver\AttributeDriver
  • Doctrine\ODM\PHPCR\Mapping\Driver\XmlDriver
  • Doctrine\ODM\PHPCR\Mapping\Driver\YamlDriver
  • Doctrine\ODM\PHPCR\Mapping\Driver\DriverChain

Throughout the most part of this manual the AttributeDriver is used in the examples. For information on the usage of the XmlDriver or YamlDriver please refer to the dedicated chapters XML Mapping and YAML Mapping.

When you manually instantiate the attribute driver, you need to tell it the path to the entities. All metadata drivers accept an array of directories. With this feature a single driver can support multiple directories of Documents.

Metadata Cache (RECOMMENDED)

1$config->setMetadataCacheImpl($cache); $config->getMetadataCacheImpl();

Gets or sets the cache implementation to use for caching metadata information, that is, all the information you supply via attributes, xml or yaml, so that they do not need to be parsed and loaded from scratch on every single request which is a waste of resources. The cache implementation must implement the Doctrine\Common\Cache\Cache interface.

Usage of a metadata cache is highly recommended.

The recommended implementations for production are:

  • Doctrine\Common\Cache\ApcCache
  • Doctrine\Common\Cache\MemcacheCache
  • Doctrine\Common\Cache\XcacheCache
  • Doctrine\Common\Cache\RedisCache

For development you should use the Doctrine\Common\Cache\ArrayCache which only caches data on a per-request basis.

Auto-generating Proxy Classes (OPTIONAL)

1$config->setAutoGenerateProxyClasses($bool); $config->getAutoGenerateProxyClasses();

Gets or sets whether proxy classes should be generated automatically at runtime by Doctrine. If set to FALSE, proxy classes must be generated manually through the doctrine command line task generate-proxies. The strongly recommended value for a production environment is FALSE.

Development vs Production Configuration

You should code your Doctrine PHPCR-ODM bootstrapping with two different runtime models in mind. There are some serious benefits of using APC or Memcache in production. In development however this will frequently give you fatal errors, when you change your entities and the cache still keeps the outdated metadata. That is why we recommend the ArrayCache for development.

Furthermore you should have the Auto-generating Proxy Classes option to true in development and to false in production. If this option is set to TRUE it can seriously hurt your script performance if several proxy classes are re-generated during script execution. Filesystem calls of that magnitude can even slower than all the database queries Doctrine issues. Additionally writing a proxy sets an exclusive file lock which can cause serious performance bottlenecks in systems with regular concurrent requests.

Connection Options

The $session passed as the first argument to DocumentManager::create() has to be an instance of PHPCR\SessionInterface. See the documentation of your PHPCR implementation for further options when creating the session.

Proxy Objects

A proxy object is an object that is put in place or used instead of the real object. A proxy object can add behavior to the object being proxied without that object being aware of it. In Doctrine, proxy objects are used to realize several features but mainly for transparent lazy-loading.

Proxy objects with their lazy-loading facilities help to keep the subset of objects that are already in memory connected to the rest of the objects. This is an essential property as without it there would always be fragile partial objects at the outer edges of your object graph.

Doctrine implements a variant of the proxy pattern where it generates classes that extend your entity classes and adds lazy-loading capabilities to them. Doctrine can then give you an instance of such a proxy class whenever you request an object of the class being proxied. This happens in two situations:

Reference Proxies

The method DocumentManager::getReference($documentName, $identifier) lets you obtain a reference to a document for which the identifier is known, without loading that entity from the database. This is useful, for example, as a performance enhancement, when you want to establish an association to an entity for which you have the identifier. You could simply do this:

// $dm instanceof DocumentManager, $cart instanceof MyProject\Model\Cart
// $itemId comes from somewhere, probably a request parameter
$item = $dm->getReference('MyProject\Model\Item', $itemId);

Here, we added an Item to a Cart without loading the Item from the database. If you invoke any method on the Item instance, it would fully initialize its state transparently from the database. Here $item is actually an instance of the proxy class that was generated for the Item class but your code does not need to care. In fact it should not care. Proxy objects should be transparent to your code.

Be aware that in this situation, you may not pass null for the $documentName as the autodetecting only works when it can actually load the document from the repository.

Generating Proxy classes

Proxy classes can either be generated manually through the Doctrine Console or automatically by Doctrine. The configuration option that controls this behavior is:


The default value is true for convenient development. However, this setting is not optimal for performance and therefore not recommended for a production environment. To eliminate the overhead of proxy class generation during runtime, set this configuration option to false. When you do this in a development environment, note that you may get class/file not found errors if certain proxy classes are not available or failing lazy-loads if new methods were added to the entity class that are not yet in the proxy class.

When you set auto generate to false, you need to generate the proxy classes each time you change anything on your class or mapping:

$ ./vendor/bin/phpcrodm doctrine:phpcr:generate-proxies

This command is only available since PHPCR-ODM 1.1.

Multiple Metadata Sources

When using different components using Doctrine you may end up with them using two different metadata drivers, for example XML and YAML. You can use the DriverChain Metadata implementations to aggregate these drivers based on namespaces:

use Doctrine\ORM\Mapping\Driver\DriverChain;

$chain = new DriverChain();
$chain->addDriver($xmlDriver, 'Doctrine\Tests\Models\Company');
$chain->addDriver($yamlDriver, 'Doctrine\Tests\PHPCR-ODM\Mapping');

Based on the namespace of the entity the loading of entities is delegated to the appropriate driver. The chain semantics come from the fact that the driver loops through all namespaces and matches the entity class name against the namespace using a strpos() === 0 call. This means you need to order the drivers correctly if sub-namespaces use different metadata driver implementations.

Default Repository (OPTIONAL)

Specifies the FQCN of a subclass of the DoctrineCommonPersistenceObjectRepository. This will be used for all documents that do not specify a custom repository class:


The default value is Doctrine\ODM\PHPCR\DocumentRepository.

This option was introduced in PHPCR-ODM 1.1.

Setting up the Console

Doctrine uses the Symfony Console component for generating the command line interface. You can take a look at the bin/phpcrodm.php script for inspiration how to setup the cli.

If you installed Doctrine PHPCR-ODM through Composer, then the phpcrodm script is available to you in the bin-dir, by default at vendor/bin/phpcrodm. Otherwise create a symlink to the file or run it inside the phpcr-odm folder.

Next, you need to copy the cli-config.<implementation>.php.dist file from the phpcr-odm folder to the parent folder of where you have the binary and adjust it to bootstrap your application. The details of what you can configure are explained above.

The Tools Chapter explains the commands you have available.

Register system node types

PHPCR ODM uses a custom node type to track meta information without interfering with your content. Before you can use a PHPCR repository to store documents, you need to run the following command:

$ php bin/phpcrodm doctrine:phpcr:register-system-node-types