This document contains information for an outdated version and may not be maintained any more. If some of your projects still use this version, consider upgrading as soon as possible.

SQL Query


An object representing a SQL query. It is easier to deal with object-wrappers than string-parsing a raw SQL-query. This object is used by DataObject, though...

A word of caution: Dealing with low-level SQL is not encouraged in the SilverStripe datamodel for various reasons. You'll break the behaviour of:

  • Custom getters/setters
  • DataObject::onBeforeWrite/onBeforeDelete
  • Automatic casting
  • Default-setting through object-model
  • DataObject
  • Database abstraction

We'll explain some ways to use SELECT with the full power of SQL, but still maintain a connection to the SilverStripe datamodel.



$sqlQuery = new SQLQuery();
$sqlQuery->select = array(
  'Firstname AS Name',
  'YEAR(Birthday) AS BirthYear'
$sqlQuery->from = "
  LEFT JOIN Team ON Player.TeamID = Team.ID
$sqlQuery->where = "
  YEAR(Birthday) = 1982
// $sqlQuery->orderby = "";
// $sqlQuery->groupby = "";
// $sqlQuery->having = "";
// $sqlQuery->limit = "";
// $sqlQuery->distinct = true;

// get the raw SQL
$rawSQL = $sqlQuery->sql();

// execute and return a Query-object
$result = $sqlQuery->execute();


// ...
$sqlQuery->delete = true;


(currently not supported -see below for alternative solutions)

Working with results

The result is an array lightly wrapped in a database-specific subclass of Query. This class implements the Iterator-interface defined in PHP5, and provides convenience-methods for accessing the data.


foreach($result as $row) {
  echo $row['BirthYear'];

Quick value checking

Raw SQL is handy for performance-optimized calls.

class Team extends DataObject {
  function getPlayerCount() {
    $sqlQuery = new SQLQuery(
      "Team LEFT JOIN Player ON Team.ID = Player.TeamID"
    return $sqlQuery->execute()->value();

Way faster than dealing with DataObjects, but watch out for premature optimisation:

$players = $myTeam->Players();
echo $players->Count();


Useful for creating dropdowns.

$sqlQuery = new SQLQuery(
  array('YEAR(Birthdate)', 'Birthdate'),
$map = $sqlQuery->execute()->map();
$field = new DropdownField('Birthdates', 'Birthdates', $map);

"Raw" SQL with DB::query()

This is not recommended for most cases, but you can also use the SilverStripe database-layer to fire off a raw query:

DB::query("UPDATE Player SET Status='Active'");

One example for using a raw DB::query is when you are wanting to order twice in the database:

$records = DB::query('SELECT *, CASE WHEN "ThumbnailID" = 0 THEN 2 ELSE 1 END AS "HasThumbnail" FROM "TempDoc" ORDER BY "HasThumbnail", "Name" ASC');
$items = singleton('TempDoc')->buildDataObjectSet($records);

This CASE SQL creates a second field "HasThumbnail" depending if "ThumbnailID" exists in the database which you can then order by "HasThumbnail" to make sure the thumbnails are at the top of the list and then order by another field "Name" separately for both the items that have a thumbnail and then for those that don't have thumbnails.

"Semi-raw" SQL with buildSQL()

You can gain some ground on the datamodel-side when involving the selected class for querying. You don't necessarily need to call buildSQL from a specific object-instance, a singleton will do just fine.

$sqlQuery = singleton('Player')->buildSQL(
  'YEAR(Birthdate) = 1982'

This form of building a query has the following advantages:

  • Respects DataObject::$default_sort
  • Automatically LEFT JOIN on all base-tables (see database-structure)
  • Selection of ID, ClassName, RecordClassName, which are necessary to use buildDataObjectSet later on
  • Filtering records for correct ClassName

Transforming a result to DataObjectSet

This is a commonly used technique inside SilverStripe: Use raw SQL, but transfer the resulting rows back into DataObjects.

$sqlQuery = new SQLQuery();
$sqlQuery->select = array(
  'Firstname AS Name',
  'YEAR(Birthday) AS BirthYear',
  // IMPORTANT: Needs to be set after other selects to avoid overlays
  'Player.ClassName AS ClassName',
  'Player.ClassName AS RecordClassName',
  'Player.ID AS ID'
$sqlQuery->from = array(
  "LEFT JOIN Team ON Player.TeamID = Team.ID"
$sqlQuery->where = array(
  "YEAR(Player.Birthday) = 1982"

$result = $sqlQuery->execute();
var_dump($result->first()); // array

// let Silverstripe work the magic
$myDataObjectSet = singleton('Player')->buildDataObjectSet($result);
var_dump($myDataObjectSet->First()); // DataObject

// this is where it gets tricky
$myFirstPlayer = $myDataObjectSet->First();
var_dump($myFirstPlayer->Name); // 'John'
var_dump($myFirstPlayer->Firstname); // undefined, as it was not part of the SELECT-clause;
var_dump($myFirstPlayer->Surname); // undefined, as it was not part of the SELECT-clause

// lets assume that class Player extends BasePlayer,
// and BasePlayer has a database-column "Status"
var_dump($myFirstPlayer->Status); // undefined, as we didn't LEFT JOIN the BasePlayer-table

CAUTION: Depending on the selected columns in your query, you might get into one of the following scenarios:

  • Not all object-properties accessible: You need to take care of selecting the right stuff yourself
  • Overlayed object-properties: If you LEFT JOIN a table which also has a column 'Birthdate' and do a global select on this table, you might not be able to access original object-properties.
  • You can't create DataObjects where no scalar record-data is available, e.g. when using GROUP BY
  • Naming conflicts with custom getters: A getter like Player->getName() will overlay the column-data selected in the above example

Be careful when saving back DataObjects created through buildDataObjectSet, you might get strange side-effects due to the issues noted above.

Using FormFields with custom SQL

Some subclasses of FormField for ways to create sophisticated report-tables based on SQL.

API Documentation


Was this article helpful?