Tim Nagel

A place to experiment

Polycollection for Symfony2 Forms

While creating a system at Infinite*, I came across the requirement that we have a form collection that could cope with single table inheritance used by Doctrine2. We have Invoices with many different kinds of lines that would reference back to whatever object they were about, but all contained common basic parameters common to all invoice lines.

Enter the Polycollection.

Note: It doesnt matter what type of inheritance you use. This example talks about Doctrine’s Single Table Inheritance but anything will work as long as the collection has a common parent.


For this blog post, I’ll describe a limited subset of actual classes we’re using, but you can use as many as you want with this set up.

First up, the structure of the entities we are using is as follows:

  • Invoice#lines is a collection that references a class InvoiceLine.
  • InvoiceLine is a Single Table Inheritance entity that defines additional line entities we need. (We do this in our ImplementationBundle so that we don’t need to worry about adding additional lines to the primary bundle that are not relevant to other systems using it)
  • InvoiceLine is a concrete class that contains our basic InvoiceLine which contains a description, quantity and unit price.
  • InvoiceJobLine extends InvoiceLine and links to a Job entity. We override the description getter/setter on this object to proxy them through to the Job.
  • InvoiceProductLine extends InvoiceLine and links to a Product entity. We override the description getter/setter as for the Job line except in addition we override the getter/setter of the unit price to disallow editing of the price and get the price set directly on the Product.

Set up

There is a bundle from Infinite* forthcoming that will contain this and other helpers we’ve created over the course of a few applications. Until then, there is a gist here that contains the code necessary to set it up.

On the primary InvoiceType, we need to pass an option types that contains either the string name of types registered in the DIC, or instances of FormTypeInterface.

The PolyCollection uses the data_class option of each form type to determine which will apply to an object of the collection. In the case where there is no type with a matching data class, the PolyCollection will pick the first type passed in via the types array. At this time, the PolyCollection does not support array types.

Each form type used in the PolyCollection must contain a hidden _type field that has the value returned by the form’s getName function. We’ve been using:

The definition of the InvoiceType could look something like:


Until Infinite* releases the bundle, there isnt any reference javascript to use for generating the template HTML, but it is basically the same as what is used for a normal collection with prototypes.

An abbreviated copy of the twig template we’re using: