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The Big PictureΒΆ

A common data import or export job usually consists of a source and a target. Generally, a source is any object or location from which data is received. In a similar way, targets are any object or location to which data can be sent.

Common examples for both sources and targets include structured files (XML, CSV, Json), databases, or third party APIs.

Often, it is also desirable to transform data so that it becomes compatible with the target. In such cases, workers are used. A worker does necessary changes to data before it is sent to targets.


Data flow

A common example of data import is having a structured file, such as an XML, as a source and a database as the target. Because databases can not accept XML files as valid input, these files have to be transformed into something a database can understand. In the example below we transform XML files to XML objects, which then are transformed to Doctrine entities. Finally, the doctrine entities are sent to the database.


Data import from XML files to database

We use procedures to define the configuration of various sources, workers and targets. In the case of the XML to Database example, we have one source, two workers, and one target.


XML Files to Database procedure

When procedures are defined, these are passed into a processor. A processor orchestrates the data flow and carries out communication between sources, workers and targets.

In Transfer, procedures are set up by using the procedure builder.

use Transfer\Procedure\ProcedureBuilder;
use Transfer\Processor\SequentialProcessor;

$builder = new ProcedureBuilder();

$procedure = $builder
   ->addSource(new StreamAdapter(fopen('articles.xml'))
   ->addWorker(new XmlStringToXmlObjectTransformer())
   ->addWorker(new XmlObjectToDoctrineEntityTransformer())
   ->addTarget(new DatabaseAdapter());

$processor = new SequentialProcessor();


In this example, we replicate our procedure in PHP by using the procedure builder. The procedure object is then appended to a processor. When everything is set up, the processor is invoked and procedure processing starts.